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Interview: Tord Øverland-Knudsen of the Wombats

By on Monday, 7th November 2011 at 11:00 am

Before their show at the 9:30 Club last month, the incredibly nice bass and synth player of the Wombats, Tord, gave me a ‘tour’ of their home away from home and we talked about instruments and a funny thing about the ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ video…

Many thanks for Caroline and Sarah for sorting this interview out for us.

Hello Tord. How are you today?
It’s all good. [smiles]
Congratulations on your new album, ‘This Modern Glitch’, which was released here earlier this year. What was it like writing and recording this album compared to the last one?
How I would compare it? Hmmm…let’s see. I think a lot of the energy and a lot of the songwriting is quite similar to what was going on on the first record, but I think we got slightly bored of using the same instrumentation. Guitars, bass, drums….there’s only so much you can do with those three instruments, and we needed to do something new and refreshing for ourselves. And also we’re not like…I’m just not a bass player, I play other instruments, and the same with Dan [Haggis], he’s not just a drummer. We needed to have other elements and that’s when we started playing around with keyboards and synths. And with new programming with synths, all that lot. There was obviously moments that made us do those decisions but we’ve always be into electronic music, even before we did the first record. But this was the first time as a band we wanted to put those instruments into our music, and you can hear a lot of that in the (new) record, with an electro influence. But it’s still guitar-y and indie.

The cover of the album is very unusual. What can you tell me about it?
Yeah, we got sent through a load of ideas that we really didn’t love. We liked some of them but we didn’t love them. We’ve been fans of Storm Thorgerson and his artwork. He’s done a lot of things we liked, like Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Led Zeppelin…he did all the Muse artwork, Biffy Clyro’s artwork, Biffy’s labelmates of ours…that’s how we got the link, that’s how the label pulled it off to get him to do our artwork.

So I know you as the bass player of the Wombats. When did you start playing bass?
I was 13, I think, when I started playing bass. I came from a classical background: I started playing cello when I was about 6. I come from a musical family; my dad is a music professor. We had a piano in our house, and he could play anything, he’s like a multi-instrumentalist. At the time I was listening to so many bands, skate punk and grunge around when I was 12, 13 when I decided, yeah, I wanted to give it a go so I could play the kind of music I liked listening to. Got an opportunity to do a course in high school to play bass there. Some friends of mine played in a band, one of them played guitar, this other guy had drums…they had already played for a while but they didn’t have a bass player, so that’s where I came in. And I’ve been in loads of bands since, really.
So what other instruments do you play, to varying degrees of mastery?
There are a lot of instruments I play, even though I don’t really know how to play them! [laughs] Then there are instruments that I play that I actually know how to play and can play. Cello, and bass, obviously. We all sing. But that’s not really an instrument, is it?
Now did you play the strings on ‘Anti-D’?
I didn’t actually, because it was recorded in the States. There were talks about doing it at Abbey Road at some point and I thought, “I have to be involved!” and there were talks about me getting into the string section and doing it, but it was cheaper to do it out here and the arrangements as well. But yeah, I also play keyboards…and piano. Guitar, bass…
How did you get to playing bass, was it one of those things where you played guitar and then a band needed a bass player so you switched to bass because of peer pressure?
No, I started with bass and went the other way. I played guitar in a load of bands before the Wombats, so I’ve been through both (situations). Oh! And drums is one of the instruments that I’d like to…I try to play but I can’t say I play drums. I know all the beats but I can’t really play them.
That’s okay! Cello, bass, guitar…that’s a lot already!

The single ‘Tokyo (Vampire and Wolves)’ has a crazy video that looks like it was a lot of fun to shoot. Was it actually filmed in Japan?
[deadpan] No. [Editor’s note: I was honestly fooled because I assumed it was filmed somewhere in Japan so I really need to take a closer look at this…] It was a lot of fun. If you look closely, you can see the road signs and you can see it was done in LA. So if you look closely, you can see it’s in LA. We didn’t fool anyone in Japan, they’re all “nahhh”…but it was a kind of a joke, it wasn’t “let’s fool people and pretend that we’re in Japan”. It’s very cool and very LA-esque, so…and the only really Japanese place that we filmed in was that restaurant/bar, because that was actually a Japanese restaurant. But yeah, that was a lot of fun. We filmed it over 2 days. The first day were all fresh-faced and like “yeah!” [smiles broadly] That night we did exactly what happens in the video [editor’s note: watch the video below, I won’t have to explain it] and we woke up feeling awful. We didn’t even have to act to look bored or tired because we actually felt bad and hungover at the time. The last shot, when the manager put us into the van, we were actually asleep, more or less. [laughs]
So no acting required there, then?
No, not really.


Speaking of Japan, what’s it like touring outside the UK? Do you love it? Do you hate it?
I love it. I love going to places, seeing places I’ve never been. It’s nice to meet new people, see new places. I’m a traveller, definitely. I like being in the bubble. Being on tour, being with the crew and the band.
Are you getting any time to do any sightseeing on this tour?
Sometimes. We get a day off here and there. But mostly it’s this lot [points to camper van we are sitting in], hotel and venue. I really want to see the White House but I guess that’s for another time.

You just came back from Australia. Were you playing music festivals or playing your own shows?
No, they were our own shows. We did five shows, the biggest shows we’ve done yet in Australia. It’s quite different to America, over there it’s small arenas, basically. Play to 5, 6,000 people every day and with full production, it’s a lot more polished because we have screens and lasers, so it’s a visually different show than what we’re doing tonight, but musically it’s not going to be different.

You also just finished off an entirely sold out tour of the UK. How did that feel, finding out that every single date of that tour had sold out?
It’s always a relief, because we did that with the first record. With the way everything’s going with the new record, everything has been positive and going the right direction. It’s very hard to sell tickets these days, even bands that are doing all right…with the recession, I think people think twice before (buying tickets) before going to see a band. We feel very privileged to have sold out so many shows and we have fans that are really into us and are really genuine (about us).

Final question, courtesy of the album: girls or fast cars?
Eh…girls! Girls, definitely! I’m not a car person. I haven’t even got a car!


The Wombats / October 2010 UK Tour

By on Tuesday, 17th August 2010 at 2:30 pm

The Wombats have announced a string of UK dates for October. Tickets will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday 18 August) at 9 AM.

Tuesday 19th October 2010 – Southampton Joiners
Wednesday 20th October 2010 – Stoke Underground
Thursday 21st October 2010 – Leeds Cockpit
Friday 22nd October 2010 – Hereford Jailhouse
Sunday 24th October 2010 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Monday 25th October 2010 – Glasgow King Tuts
Tuesday 26th October 2010 – London Heaven
Friday 29th October 2010 – Liverpool Static Gallery


Preview : BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend

By on Wednesday, 22nd April 2009 at 2:00 pm

Looking for a review of the Saturday of the Big Weekend? Click Here.

KasabianBBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend is an annual musical festival with bit of a twist. Every year, the 2 day event takes place in a different town, with past locations including Dundee, Preston and Maidstone. This 2009, Radio 1 will be bringing their Big Weekend to Lydiard Park, Swindon, on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of May. Tickets to the event are free, and are obtained through a random lottery on Radio 1’s website (registration has now closed). Lucky winners will blag a pair of tickets to their selected day (Saturday or Sunday), with Swindon residents receiving allocation priority in order to make the event more accessible to locals.

Every year the event has boasted an impressive line-up (past artists include Madonna, Muse and Foo Fighters), and this 2009 is absolutely no exception. Snow Patrol (pictured top), Kasabian (pictured right)and Dizzee Rascal will be headlining the ‘Main Stage’ on Saturday, while Lily Allen, Akon and Franz Ferdinand will be taking over the top slots on Sunday. Other artists who will be featuring within the main arena over the weekend include The Script, Calvin Harris, The Wombats, The Saturdays, Scouting for Girls, Ne-Yo, Alesha Dixon and N-Dubz.

Meanwhile, headline acts hitting the smaller ‘In New Music We Trust Stage’ on Saturday include Basement Jaxx, Doves and Jack Penate, while Sunday will be tastily offering up The Enemy, Maximo Park and Gossip. Further impressive artists appearing on this stage across the May weekend include Friendly Fires, Florence and the Machine, Fightstar, Enter Shikari, Ladyhawke and White Lies.

Should you fancy checking out some new music while at the event, why not head over to the ‘Introducing Stage’, where you can get up and close with a range of upcoming talent including Stornoway, The Temper Trap, Bombay Bicycle Club, Thee Vicars, Gallop and Marina and the Diamonds. And if that’s still not enough, you can catch a wide-range of top DJs spinning the decks over at the ‘Outdoor Stage’, with Radio 1 favourites including Chris Moyles, Annie Mac, Tim Westwood, Zane Lowe and Rob da Bank all making an appearance.

Registration for tickets to the event has now closed, but never fear, as the BBC will be broadcasting highlights of the festival on Radio 1 and BBC Three across the weekend. You’ll also be able to catch footage online, as well as on your trusty red button. If you’d like more information on the event, along with a full line-up, head over to the Big Weekend’s website now.

Top photo comes from Radio 1’s Flickr Stream.


Preview: V Festival 2009

By on Wednesday, 18th March 2009 at 12:00 pm

Oasis (live, V Festival, credit)It’s undeniable that V Festival is a lot more commerical than other music festival’s across the country, and while the bash has certainly recieved the odd bit of criticism for it’s uber radio-friendly line up, the fest is no less fun in our eyes. Certainly – going by the awesome line-up, it’s unsurprising that the event managed to sell out in just two hours this year.

The summer bash – which is happening on Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd August – will be taking place across it’s two usual sites this ’09: Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.

Oasis (pictured right) and The Killers are the two big name headliners confirmed to be playing the festival’s top spot this year. Other major acts gracing the fest’s main stage (aptly titled ‘V Stage’) across the weekend include Razorlight, Snow Patrol, The Specials, Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Lily Allen, James, Seasick Steve and, intriguingly, Taylor Swift.

The smaller sized ‘4Music’ stage will also be featuring further super cool artists including Fatboy Slim, Pendulum, The Ting Tings, The Wombats, Keane, The Enemy, Katy Perry and Dizzee Rascal.

If nothing has still managed to catch your eye (or ear!), why not head over to ‘The Arena’ where you can check out a varied selection including MGMT, Lady GaGa, Happy Mondays, The Streets, Pete Doherty, and latest girl band sensation, British Sea PowerThe Saturdays.

If that’s still not enough, the festival has another 50 acts up its sleeve to announce in the coming few weeks. Exciting!

As I told you earlier, tickets for the Chelmsford leg have sadly sold out. There are still some available for the Staffordshire event, however. For more information regarding ticket outlets, check out V Festival’s website.

Top photo comes from stevec77’s flickr stream, and side photo from John Griffiths’ flickr stream under the Creative Commons License.


Preview: Evolution Weekender 2009

By on Wednesday, 11th March 2009 at 12:00 pm

The Wombats - press shotWe all hear about the major summer festivals taking place across Blighty this ’09 – but here at There Goes The Fear, we like to bring you previews of those smaller, little known music events too! This week, we’d like to tell you about Evolution 2009. The festival, which started back in 2005, has grown rapidly in both size and popularity over the past few years and Evolution ’09 looks set to be the biggest and best yet!

The Newcastle-based festival is certainly ahead of the big name summer events in the calender stakes, taking place across the May bank holiday (Sunday 24th – Sunday 25th May). Still, the outdoor shows, which will take place along Gateshead’s quayside, are fully expected to attract a crowd of around 60,000. Judging by the line-up, we can see why!

Headliners confirmed so far include Dizzee Rascal, The Wombats (pictured right), Mystery Jets, The View and The Maccabees. Other impressive TGTF-favourites playing the Evolution Weekender include White Lies, Ladyhawke, Esser, Friendly Fires, Little Boots, Twisted Wheel, Marina and the Diamonds, Chapman Family, VV Brown and The Big Pink.

(And breathhhh….!) Impressive, don’t you agree? You can even catch headline electronica acts such as Boys Noize, Chase & Status Live and Kissy Sell Out over at the dance stage too, should something a little less guitar-based take your fancy.

If it couldn’t get any better, a weekend ticket for Evolution 2009 is priced at just £15! You can also grab a day ticket for £9.50 (note : only weekend tickets are on sale at the moment – day tickets go on sale Thursday!). Furthermore, a contribution of the ticket price will be donated to WaterAid. If you’d like to learn more about the festival and general ticket info, check out Evolution 2009’s website.


New ITV2 Show: FM

By on Monday, 23rd February 2009 at 12:00 pm

FM (side)There Goes The Fear is primarily a music blog as many of you can probably work out by our rantings and ravings. However, every so often there comes along a film or a TV show that we just have to talk about – last month we raved about MTV’s great Pete Doherty documentary. For February, we reckon you should check out FM, a new show on ITV2 next Wednesday evening.

The series follows a London based radio station and a group of fame-hungry friends who run a daily “indie” show. Chris O’Dowd (who you’ll know from The IT Crowd) and Kevin Bishop (from, errr, The Kevin Bishop Show and also Star Stories) play the DJs Lindsay Carol and Dom Cox, who, let’s face it, would be sacked if they were on most radio stations. Whilst Nina Sosanya (from the amazing Teachers) plays their producer, Jane Edwards, with the up-tight portrayal she does so well of someone responsible for the whole show.

It’s a sort of hybrid of “The Office” and “Peep Show” – both hilarious and eye-wateringly embarrassing at the same time. Whilst it’s pretty good in its own right, the special “Live lounge” style performances and real-life celebrities are what take the show from good to great. They’ve got the likes of Guillemots, Ladyhawke, Wombats, The Charlatans, The Subways, all performing or as a guest on the show oh, and Justin Hawkins (who has a new album out, funnily enough).

Some of the show is hilarious (the dating exploits of all members of the team are absurd and all the better for it), some of it is musically great (Guillemots all around a piano, playing the same piano) whilst other bits are quite cringing (Ladyhawke’s laptop going “missing”). Either way, it’s captivating viewing, and looks set to be (just about the only) good reason to tune in to ITV2.

FM is like “2 pints and a Packet of crisps” (the cult BBC3 show) – it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure show, simple enough to dip in and out of without missing too much. I must admit, not usually an ITV watcher (let alone ITV2), however this could be one to catch on ITV Player one hangover-filled Sunday afternoon.


FM is on ITV2 Wednesdays at 10:30pm. Catch the official website here, and myspace here.


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

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