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Matthew or Murph? The Wombats frontman sets me right, in time for the UK tour

It was a pleasure to catch up with Murph, as the band began the launch of the UK leg of their world tour. The interview took place in mid March, when the band had finished their N American leg and were about to start the brief, but mile-rich S American leg. After a week down south of many borders, Murph would be back home again for a fortnight , before a jump across the pond to the UK and Europe – then back to the UK and Down Under for a while. Never a dull moment when your stacking up the Air Miles.

With that in mind, Murph was pretty subdued as we chatted. The wonders of technology had me in a studio that night, on a windy Aberystwyth evening, talking to someone basking in the glorious Californian morning sunshine at his house. A docile Rottweiler dozing on the couch next to him. It was that kind of Sunday morning scene that most people dream of, but don’t always achieve.

For Murph, it was probably a short period of calm. In-between the rigours of travelling from city to city, different countries, different time zones, the adrenalin peaks of performing, followed by the opposite, like a rip tide… Apart from all that, anyway, Murph also has two very young toddler daughters. Never a dull moment for him – nor, it must be said, for Mrs Murph, with hubbie traversing around the world in 80 gigs (or so…)

Murph is a US resident, with his wife being American by nationality. Lockdown has certainly been of ‘interesting times’ for the band. Murph is in the US, Dan in London and Tord in Norway. Three different studios, three different time zones. Loads of zoom calls. The fact they pulled off an album which has got many belters on it, is impressive. I am sure very cathartic for all involved, given the dark period the world has been through.

My amazing faux pas was to start the interview by forgetting the name of the title of the latest single, This Car Drives All By Itself. To rub salt in the wounds, it’s one of my favourites, as well. To someone of a thinner skin (or of advance artistic luvvydom), having an interviewer get stuck on naming your work, only to blurt out ‘The one about the Cars!’ would have gone down like a calorie controlled kebab at a late night takeaway. He took it in his stride. I probably got away with it due to me being related. My Mother and Murph’s Dad share the same set of grandparents on one side. The main man, Jack Murphy, was a publican in the city during the inter war years. (or as my mother put it: ‘He was one of the most important people in Liverpool – he ran a pub on the Dock Road…’)

We haven’t met before(ok, his Mum made me Sunday lunch after I wheezed around the Allerton 10k in 1995, when he was a kid, but that doesn’t count. The food, though, was fabulous)  – and so this was a first conversation. Happy to say though, we quickly got in our stride. The ‘relly’ connection meant I had tapped his Dad for some intel, so could ask a few questions not normally dealt with by your mainstream journos. I was keen to try and not get stereotypical with the content and the answers I got were certainly entertaining.

Murph is very composed and methodical in his delivery. We were allowed an insight into the album production, touring and how much he was looking forward to the UK leg – especially the O2 headline gig. That arena represented the largest headlining venue for them in the UK. It is an achievement that he was obviously proud of and was ‘looking forward to smashing it’. He did, by the way…

Not averse to new media, the band have also planned a ‘live’ gig in the metaverse. You register and watch them play virtually at the Brixton Academy. the concert will also see ‘stunts’ on the metaverse that are beyond reality. I am intrigued, even if I don’t quite understand it – Hell! When I grew up, singles were on a rotating piece of plastic…

We also discussed his solo project : Love Fame Tragedy. The debut album came out during lockdown, with album two due in the autumn. As Murph pointed out ‘When you’re in that kind of creative mood, it’s not a good time to stop.’

The interview went out on the eve of the UK tour, Tuesday 12th April at 7pm, live via www.radioaber.wales. You can revisit it via this link:

It’s a mixture of chat, punctuated by old an new Wombats tracks. A couple of solo efforts thrown in there also, for good measure. I wanted to showcase as much as possible with the conversation and had plenty to go on.

Happy listening!

By Geraint Roberts

Stuck in a limbo and desperate to do something meaningful, what to do? That is where writing began for me. A creative way of expressing myself and a chance to harness my wondering imagination. I close my eyes and I'm there. Wish I'd picked 'there' as a warm sunny day on a sandy beach, with the waves gently lapping on the shore...but I have to let the story load in my mind, then watch it unfold, wherever it may be. Currently I'm on a windy bridge, or a Devon beach, or a Cornish ti mine, or a submarine, or looking towards a Hebridean port...

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