Things Got Very Intense When The Wombats Were Recording Their New Album

14 January 2022 | 12:22 pm | Michael Prebeg

The difficult conversations and intense situations that led to The Wombats’ fifth studio album, ‘Fix Yourself, Not The World’, as recalled by frontman Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy.

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Despite never being in the same room together throughout the recording of their new album, The Wombats have somehow produced some of the most captivating, inventive and forward-thinking music of their career to date.

Fix Yourself, Not The World is the fifth studio album from the beloved UK trio.

“We did a lot of writing together initially and about five songs from that ended up on the album and then obviously the world went to hell in a handbasket,” frontman Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy explains. 

“So, the rest was kind of born out of my studio next door. There was a lot of songs written and we just kind of had to pick the ones that were the best and worked together.”

The 12-track album will no doubt become an instant favourite amongst fans with a classic Wombats sound, but it also has some experimental elements, even including some brass horns and psych-rock riffs. 

“There was this kind of David Byrne, Bowie-ish stuff happening,” Murphy notes, “so we took that and tried to bring it to the forefront on certain songs.

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“There's kind of this early LCD Soundsystem New York/Brooklyn stuff too. We strived to take all those three things and bring it to the forefront as much as possible and obviously intertwine it with The Wombats’ sound which isn’t really probably ever going to change that much.”

With Murphy in Los Angeles, bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen in Oslo and drummer Dan Haggis in London, being physically separated hasn’t stopped them from creating another impressive record. 

They got together on Zoom to hash out each day’s plan then recorded separately and sent individual files to producers Jacknife Lee (U2, The Killers), Gabe Simon (Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey), Paul Meaney (Twenty One Pilots, Nothing But Thieves) and Mark Crew (Bastille, Rag‘n’Bone Man) to mix into the finished tracks.

Murphy says “it was kind of awesome”.

“I was working in a studio two miles down the hill in Highland Park and with an engineer - we worked 9-5 so I could be back home to help with the kids,” he tells. “There wasn't the intensity of all three of us being in a room and debating or occasionally arguing about something, I didn't have to deal with all of that, so the recording was great!”

Murphy says he would definitely record like this again: “Selfishly it was really great, but the putting together of everything afterwards was the challenging part!” 

He describes listening to some of the early mixes and having some difficult conversations together with the producers about what to keep and what to delete. 

“Imagine the Mona Lisa, but then we'd like add a rainbow behind and seven forests, a flying unicorn and a milky way,” he jokes, “when there's so much stuff it's really hard because you get used to it and it's hard to delete it but that was what we had to do. I don't want to go through that part again.

“One of the producers basically had a breakdown in the middle of the process too,” he reveals. “It was fairly intense during the mixing with us all sending different parts to him to mix and he had just sold his house so he was living in the studio and working seven days a week. It was pretty crazy when this happens to one of the guys who's overseeing and kind of in control of everything but after a break and some time off things worked out.”

The Wombats have plans to bring their huge headline tour to Australia in June this year, playing massive nights in every state.

“We’re probably going to be wanting to play a lot of the new album but it’s important to play songs that other people know too and we want everyone to have a good laugh and a good time – we want to have that connection with the audience,” Murphy explains.

His favourite track from the new record is This Car Drives All By Itself and whilst there’s a lot of stuff happening sonically, he wasn’t sure how they would pull it off live.

“We just spent two weeks in London rehearsing - it's quite a complicated [song], but I can proudly say that we have [pulled it off], and it sounds awesome.”

‘Fix Yourself, Not The World’ is out now. For more details on The Wombats’ Australian tour, head to theGuide.