Skip to main content

3rd April 2018

Interview: The Wombats

Tord Knudsen from The Wombats sits down with Jake Oliver for a chat about karaoke, inspirations and how the band have changed over the last decade
Interview: The Wombats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Wombats have become one of the most influential indie bands since the 2000s , as they’re now four albums down, and have over ten years on the road under their belt. Their albums chart the highs and lows of adolescence and adulthood with flare, humility and honesty and have truly reached an iconic status in the music genre.

Ahead of their second sold out show at the Academy, bassist Tord Knudsen took ten minutes out of his busy schedule to chat to The Mancunion

So, how does it feel to have two sold out nights at the Academy and an upcoming sold out night at Alexandra Palace?

We’re feeling really humbled. To be able to continue playing at this level, to still be The Wombats and for people to still want to come see us live and listen to our music, we feel very privileged, especially ten years on.

Your first album had a lot of post-punk sounds to it, but now on your fourth album there’s a very mature nature to it. How would you say you’ve changed? Has it been a deliberate process or something else entirely?

We kind of wanted to go back to our roots a little bit on this album (Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life). This Modern Glitch and Glitterbug were both quite synthy which we enjoyed doing but you come to a point where you’ve explored a lot of it, and it’s nice to then go back to where we started. We made a conscious decision to try and go back to the bare essentials, not soaked in too much production. We feel like it worked out!

You’ve been together as a band for over ten years now, have you come across the phrase “guitar music is dead” and what do you think about this?

People keep saying that and I think it’s bullshit. I don’t think it’s dying; I think there’s always going to be guitar music around. I live in Oslo at the moment, and there’s a big tropical house movement where kids are growing up wanting to be DJs but it’s the same with bands. It just takes one to inspire the kids to start making that kind of music. I don’t think its accurate to say it’s dying, it just means that it’s not mainstream.

Now four albums down, what would you say is your favourite song that you’ve produced or played live?

I find that an impossible question really. I feel like it’s always the latest work you are proudest of. I can probably pick two from Beautiful People: ‘Cheetah Tongue’ and ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’. I feel like they represent something a bit new for The Wombats. They’re exciting to play live.

Given how much you’ve changed over the years, who would you say your biggest inspiration has been and have you been picking up new inspirations as you’ve progressed as a band?

You always do! Whether it’s music, what’s happening in the world or your experiences that fuel the story for a song. I tend to go back in time to get creative — Glitterbug was very 80s inspired. Now I’ve been getting into more stuff from the 70s. We kind of just pick up on little bits, like psychedelia for example.

What are you listening to at the moment then?

I’ve been getting really into Superorganism, Tame Impala and I really like the new Beck album actually!

Maybe I’ll check that out then! Last question then, what’s your go-to karaoke song?

‘Take On Me’ by a-ha. I played it yesterday on my DJ set and I was made up — people were going mental! I love playing it on the road, it’s my Norwegian pride!

Can you hit those high notes though?

Just! They don’t sound as crystal clear or smooth but I can get there! I do sound like a crow that’s being choked though!

I’m sure you’re not that bad! Thank you very much and good luck tonight!

More Coverage

John Power: “The idea was to make a seminal record”

During his solo tour of the UK, we catch up with John Power to discuss new Cast music, the Liverpool music scene and his relationship with Lee Mavers

Peace live in Manchester: Worcester indie rockers return to their roots

Worcester’s finest, Peace, embark on a return to live performances following a five-year hiatus

The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival returns to Manchester in March 2024

Now stationed permanently in Greater Manchester, The BBC Radio 6 Music Festival returns in March 2024

CMAT live in Manchester: “…or, should I say CMATchester?”

A gut-wrenching new LP, but the same old cowboy boots… the Irish singer/songwriter enthrals Manchester’s 02 Ritz