Murph is back on solo duty, as The Wombats frontman heralds the arrival of his second album as LOVE FAME TRAGEDY. Check out the latest cover story for our New Music Friday playlist edit, The Cut.
Words: Sam Taylor.
You’d think Murph had enough on. Not content with his role at the head of platinum-selling indie sensations The Wombats, he’s back with his second album under his solo alias, Love Fame Tragedy. A testament to his versatility and evolution as an artist, his latest offering, ‘Life Is A Killer’, is raw, introspective dive into the complexities of relationships, self-reflection, and the challenges of balancing fatherhood with a bustling music career.
The album’s lead single, ‘Slipping Away’, is a poignant reflection on the shifts that occur in a marriage, capturing the essence of seeing a partner in a new light after the honeymoon phase. It’s a track that showcases Murph’s ability to intertwine personal experiences with relatable themes, all while experimenting with fresh sounds that unveil a side of him previously uncharted.
Crafted over two and a half years between the bustling streets of London and the sun-soaked avenues of LA, ‘Life Is A Killer’ is Murph’s most candid work to date. With the expertise of renowned producers Jacknife Lee and Mark Crew, the album pushes the boundaries of Murph’s signature sound, promising a sonic experience that’s both familiar and refreshingly new.
From voice notes from his wife, Akemi, that add a unique dimension to the album, to collaborations that saved the day, we caught up with Murph to grab a glimpse into the heart and soul of an artist at the pinnacle of his creativity.
Hi Murph! How’s it going? What are you up to today, anything fun?
Hi. I’m good, thank you for asking. I’m on tour, currently in Sydney, Australia. I just had some chocolate, actually, and I had forgotten how good this particular (very big) brand was. Two more festivals, and then that’s it for the year. The last six weeks have been great, but it’s, without a doubt, time to go home.
Tell us about your new single, ‘Slipping Away’ – what’s it about, where did it come from?
It was a bit silly tbh, I remember fumbling around with that simple Rapture-esque guitar riff in the verse and getting excited about writing a song called ‘Tethered’. As per usual, that’s not what happened. And with time, it slowly morphed into something else. I think it’s about coming to realise things may not be as simple as I often experience, that life is complicated to the point of hilarity and generally feeling overstimulated by it.
It’s an early teaser from your second album, why did you pick this one to launch it?
I felt there was something exciting and different about it from previous works. As soon as Mark Crew, Dan Priddy and myself had given that chorus bass part a damn fine seeing to, I figured it was gonna be a good one to lead with.
Are relationships a prominent theme on the record? What other topics does it touch on?
The album seems to be more about my relationship with myself, with the people I surround myself with, and, of course, with my wife and kids. In the last four years, my life has changed immeasurably; I feel like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards but come out the other side stronger and better for it. This album is definitely about the part I was in the hedge, though.
How long have you been working on the album for, and how have you found that time?
Pretty much straight after tracking had finished for the last Wombats album, so around the start of 2021. I think I was finished with the writing process and ready to record in the summer of 2022. Lots of things happened in that time; between touring commitments, trying to be the best Dad possible, and a crazy travel schedule, I did a spot of unravelling. That’s the aforementioned hedge.
Were there any specific experiences or moments that stand out as particularly influential during the album’s creation?
Yeah, I was searching for something to give the album a timestamp other than the songs, something so I could remember that period of life and something that would be somewhat of a recurring theme. That’s where the voice notes came from. There are five or six voice notes from my wife, Akemi, dotted throughout the album. For me, it helps give the album an extra dimension, and it ultimately becomes more than just listening to a collection of songs. We currently live in a singles world – which is great, I’m totally up for that. Crafting a cohesive body of work, however, is still really important to me.
“I feel like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards”Murph
Did you come up against any unexpected challenges during the album’s creation?
The recording of the album got a bit ‘Chinese Democracy’, to be honest. Jacknife Lee and I agreed we had both taken things as far as we possibly could, and I was pretty much left with four or five songs unfinished and a looming deadline. It was stressful, so I called (long-time collaborator and all-round bff) Mark Crew and told him the situation. He said yes and flew to LA a few weeks later. I’m so grateful to both him and Dan Priddy. Without them, it would have got real messy, real fast.
Do you think anything about the album will be a surprise to fans?
It’s a pretty raw album, lyrically speaking. More so than anything else I’ve done in the past. I tried hard not to unnecessarily sugarcoat anything or hide too far behind metaphor.
What, for you, would be the biggest compliment someone could pay the album?
That they listened to it from start to finish, more than twice.
Is there anything else we should know?
Sam Hales from Jungle Giants came in clutch at the back end of the process, too. I love that man. He co-produced the song ‘Eat, Fuck, Sleep, Forever’. ■
Love Fame Tragedy’s album ‘Life Is A Killer’ is out 19th January 2024. Follow Dork’s The Cut Spotify playlist here.