The Wombats on new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life – “It’s kind of a guide at how to fail the task of being an adult.”
In February, prolific hit makers The Wombats released their fourth album entitled Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. The album is the bands fourth release in the 11 years since their first album and the band has forged itself a reputation for being one of the most energetic acts in the world today, routinely creating infectious hits with guitar hooks that make you want to dance and lyrics that are cheeky, witty fun and relatable.
Over the last few months, the band has been on an extensive schedule of tours playing their own shows and also supporting the likes of Wheezer and The Pixies, both credited as being influences of Wombats.
“It’s…a different experience (supporting the likes of Wheezer and The Pixies),” comments Wombats Bassist, Tord Øverland Knudsen, “because you’re playing to a lot of people that never heard you before. It was only a half an hour set as well, which is difficult because when you have four albums you have to pick out seven songs you kind of swap the sound a lot to keep it fresh. But it was a really great experience and such a pleasure to be invited. It was a surreal…to be honest.”
In fact Wheezer was a band that Tord himself particularly emulated in the early years, often playing covers from the Blue Album, so supporting a band that had such an influence on him, was a huge honor. When pressed on whether he was able to suppress the fanboy within, he sheepishly says, “I liked think I managed to keep my cool but it was hard work.”
And while the old adage of ‘never meet your heroes’ may be true for some, the bands experience getting close to and hanging out with The Pixies, could not have been more opposite.
“We got really friendly with The Pixies and were hanging out a lot after the shows,” continues Tord. “We made this little bar outside of the tour bus and had all these camping chairs outside, and they called it The Crowbar. We’d hang out with them, drink red wine and eat cheese – it was really nice.”
The latest leg of their tour has seen them play a series of festival dates and small intimate shows in Australia, a country that has a special place in their hearts; “(Australia is) kind of like a second home and we come here quite a lot. We always feel really welcome the shows always have this kind of like special atmosphere – better than anywhere else really. We did a show in Melbourne and all these people knew all the songs and they’re singing them back to us – it’s just a crazy experience. We’re just really privileged to come back here and people still want to see us – it’s an amazing feeling.”
And whilst most tours end with the uncertainty for the band and the fans alike, of when they will return to a country again, that’s not the case for the Wombats who have already announced a shows in November in Melbourne, once again, with more dates to be confirmed in the near future.
For now the focus is on sharing the new album with as many people as they can, including continuing the tour in the UK and their highest billing to date at the Reading and Leeds festival – something that the band feel is a step in the right direction to being a headline act in the years to come.
“We’ll be playing the main stage for the first time the NME/Radio One tent. I think we’re like three from the top of the bill. We’re getting closer to being a headliner and, you know, maybe in 10 years we’ll be headlining,” comments Tord.
If the band continues to display the same consistency they have over the last 11 years, churning out a plethora of catchy hits over a veritable few albums, it’s unquestionable that they will one day find themselves on the big stage.
Speaking of the new album, it has all of the hallmarks of a Wombats album featuring their trademark humour and ability to sing about topics that continue to resonate with fans to this day with the majority being about dysfunctional relationships. The catchy tunes and quirky lyrics have always been something that Wombats have effortlessly wielded but with the new album, comes a maturity of age and experience.
“Obviously it sounds more mature, I guess, that’s expected when we’re 11 years since our first album came out. It’s a natural progression because our lives aren’t exactly the same as what they were like back then when we were just starting out. Now we’re getting married – Murph got married last year and I’ve just had a kid – your lives changed so much, and when things happen like that in your life that would have cost affect the writing and the way the music sounds as well.”
Despite the English trio being in established relationships, Tord believes that this has given them a different perspective on what defines a dysfunctional or toxic relationship that has allowed them to continue to create songs that resonate with audiences.
“I think that even when you’re in a relationship it’s never 100% is never fully settled,” muses Tord. “There’s no such thing as smooth sailing in relationships whether you’re married or not, you’ll still have problems and in any relationship there’s always going to be arguments. I think a lot of the lyrics on this album are exactly about that.”
Lemon To A Knife Fight is one such example, and features the lyrics “I’m unhinged and you’re undone / I’m not getting out of here alive / I brought a lemon to a knife fight”. They’re fun, truthful and relatable, which is likely why these marsupials continue to see their streaming and audience figures continue to grow. That and the energy that fans can expect at one of their shows.
“I still feel like there’s loads of energy though the music and we still have that same energy when we play shows, which is really important for us as a band.”
That’s not to say that the new album lacks originality with tracks like I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do having a distinctly different feel to it than any of the tracks that have preceded it in the last four albums.
‘I really like the final track on the album. I think it shows a different side of us that we haven’t shown on any of the albums before. So I really like playing it live for that reason. I also really like playing songs like Turn. It’s been on radio and people know the words and it’s great when they sing them back to us. It’s a really great feeling.”
While the focus for now is touring the new album, Tord says that they have started working on material for a new album, but first they will be releasing a couple of new song on a deluxe version of the current album out in August.
“We don’t really have any plans to release anything new in the near future but we’ve definitely been working on some new tracks and some extra songs that are going to be added on to the deluxe edition of the last album. We had two or three more songs that we wanted to do for the album and we didn’t manage to finish them on time, so we worked on two more trucks and they will feature on the deluxe version of the album,” says Tord.
We’ll certainly be keeping a watch out-for that.
The Wombats will be back in Australia in November. Click here for tickets.