The Wombats at Reading Festival 2021: “A Sigrid collaboration? We’ll get on that!”

The scene stalwarts brought their cuddly indie to a massive main stage crowd – but not before sitting down to tell NME about their forthcoming new album

Frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy has seen a few Reading & Leeds Festivals in his time. He first played here with The Wombats back in 2008, and the indie scamps have barely stepped away from the festival circuit since. And even he is taken aback by the atmosphere at Little John’s Farm. “It seems pretty, like, lawless,” he marvels. “It’s kinda like the Wild fucking West here compared to back home for me. But I’m excited and it seems like people are really ready to go nuts.”

Let’s not count the ways in which the Liverpool-born star’s adopt home of Los Angeles differs from this increasingly gnarly festival site, and instead cast our thoughts to the band’s earliest performance here, when they were touring debut indie smash ‘A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation’: “Walking on that stage and seeing that many people give a shit about us was probably a needed confidence boost.”

He adds: “On the third album [2015’s ‘Glitterbug’], we headlined one of the smaller stages, the Festival Republic Stage. Apparently the promoters had a digital heat map on their phones and they could see the heat all around our tent and people leaving Metallica to go and watch us, for some reason. And the next year, we were on the Main Stage.”


Now, with fifth album ‘Fix Yourself, Not The World’ on the way in January, they’re back on that stage, still playing to enormous audiences after all these years. In fact, The Wombats are so in-demand that, earlier in the day, pop hero Sigrid told NME she’d love to collaborate with them. “We’ll have to get on that,” says Murph. “We covered one of her songs in Oslo at a radio station and we royally messed it up. She was listening, as well, so maybe a collaboration would put closure on that.”

Credit: Emma Viola Lilja

In the meantime, though, we have that fifth album to look forward to. What can we expect? “With our fourth album,” the frontman reveals, “I put a lot of pressure on it and I knew I had to do something really great, and so for me this album was just to focus on the energy that we were given from the fourth album and just shift it across a few more years. And if it’s better than that, then so be it – and it might just be, actually.”

Watch the full interview with The Wombats backstage at Reading Festival above