After the anticipated release of Glitterbug in 2015, it’s safe to say The Wombats have been relatively quiet since, with fewer performances around the globe. After the announcement of this years Groovin the Moo lineup, The Wombats will return to Maitland for the festival leg and selective sideshows in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, celebrating ten years since the release of their first album.
When it comes to interviewing highly acclaimed artists, usually you can only get so close, being limited to a phone or email interview. However, Daniel Haggis, the drummer and vocalist for The Wombats agreed to meet in London for what he initially thought to be a quick and painless interview.
CD: Looking back on 10 years, do you have that favorite Wombats moment?
DH: “With the amount of stuff that has happened over time, I honestly don’t think I can pick just one individual moment. It’s like a snowball as you go along, so the more you tour, the benchmark lifts. Maybe meeting Paul McCartney, that was insane. We interviewed him on the radio; we were the ones doing your job now. I remember we were drinking a bottle of wine because we were so nervous”.
CD: I’m not going to lie; I just did the same thing at a bar across the road
DH: “Yeah see, Dutch courage. As cliché as it may sound though, I would say the best part is being with two of your best mates and making music. Somehow we are still doing it, and now we get these amazing opportunities like playing the Sydney Opera House.”
CD: I hear a lot of stories about weird fan encounters band members have had. What was yours?
DH: “This wasn’t the most ridiculous one, but it seems fitting because of the context. We were playing Groovin the Moo in Bendigo and had to do a signing session in one of the tents. It was the first show so we had no idea what to expect. As soon as they opened the curtains to the tent, we looked up and there was this girl pushing her boobs up and said (in a thick Australian accent) ‘Sign me Titties’. We were warned that those festivals were wild, but I guess we underestimated it. There have been a lot of those encounters.”
CD: With so many banger songs from three different albums, when you are playing live what is your personal favorite?
DH: “The first one that came to mind would be Greek Tragedy, but then I immediately think of Emoticons. It’s hard actually; we have songs like Lets Dance to Joy Division and Moving to New York, which when played live, get the crowd moving. In Australia it’s completely different, it feels like everyone just knows every song and can belt it out. Its hard, it’s like me asking you what your favorite memory is, and it could be that time you kissed that girl, or that time you saw a certain band live, you can never really pick a favorite. Lets just go with Greek tragedy”.
CD: Being ten years since the release of Love, Loss and Desperation, how do you plan on celebrating it?
DH: “We have the show in London in April, and a few sideshows in Australia. We didn’t want to do a full-blown tour, because that would only delay the fourth album, which we again will do a tour for. We were toying with the idea of playing the entire first album from start to end, but now what we are leaning towards is doing all the singles from all the other albums. I don’t want to say anything further, because a few things haven’t been confirmed as of yet. We have a few surprises in stall”. (*cough* new music *cough*)
CD: In regards to new music, can you give me a little bit of insight? Obviously not by giving away too much.
DH: “We have a bunch of songs that we are taking to Oslo next week. So hopefully by the end of that, we will be past the half way stage of writing. We are aiming to have the recording of the album finishing by the end of this year, and if it isn’t out, maybe the start of next year. We are working tirelessly to get there, believe me”.
CD: No pressure…
DH: “We will see how it goes”.
CD: How will the sideshows differ from your Groovin the Moo shows?
DH: “Well the sideshows will be our show, I imagine we will have longer playing times to that of our Groovin sets. The sideshows will be more or less directed at our first album”.
CD: And in return, what do you expect from the Australian audience?
DH: “The energy, the warmth and the Australian banter. I feel like we can rely on the Aussies now”.
On a different note, Daniel will be releasing his solo album Circadian Circus on February 24th, a follow up to his 2012 release Dan the Man. The album is a change of scenery for Dan, including a collection of songs compiled over a number of years.
DH: “I’m really excited for it to be released. I finished it just before Christmas, and I would say I have been working on it since before we were doing Glitterbug, so about four years now. I had 15 songs, and narrowed it down to 11. The songs that I have ended up with are the kind of songs that would have never worked in The Wombats world. It’s something that no one would expect The Wombats drummer to release”.
CD: How does it feel moving from being in a band to working in a solo dynamic?
DH: “It’s a bit weird. When we first started the band, we were all in different musical projects, some of which were solo. It soon became obvious that The Wombats was our successful project, and all the rest fell by the wayside. With this album, I’ve had a bunch of close friends collaborate with me, so it hasn’t been just been me. I couldn’t think of leaving my two best mates whom I’ve conquered the world with to all of a sudden being alone. I have nothing but admiration for solo artists. Sometimes you miss having your band mates around you so you can bounce ideas off each other”.
“Originally when I took to social media and announced that I was releasing a solo album, everyone freaked out thinking that this meant the end for The Wombats, but really its just something that I have made on the side. We were told that we needed to start posting more on our socials”
CD: I had that same impression, but talking about social media, you realize that you’re the only Wombat without a Wikipedia. It made it quite difficult to prepare for this.
DH: On The Wombats Wikipedia page, it mentions that there was a fourth member; so don’t believe everything you read on there. Funny story actually, in a museum in Liverpool, on the very top floor there is a whole section dedicated to music, and we get a mention. However it states that there were originally four members, but the tambourine player from Kazakhstan was kicked out due to drug problems. Obviously someone has just ripped that straight from Wikipedia and now its in a f**king museum…”
Circadian Circus will be available via digital release on February 24th.
The Wombats are set for Australian appearances starting in April.
Friday 28th April
Adelaide Showground, Wayville SA
Saturday 29th April
Maitland Showground, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 30th April
Murray Sports Complex – Townsville Cricket Grounds, Annandale, QLD
Wednesday 3rd May
Festival Hall, West Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 6th May
Bendigo’s Price of Wales Showground, Bendigo, VIC
Sunday 7th May
University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT
Monday 8th May
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 11th May
Metro City, Northbridge, WA
Saturday 13th May 2017
Hay Park, Bunbury, WA
If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live