Remember Alf? He was odd, am I right? He was everyone’s favorite extraterrestrial being, but unlike other lovable alien life forms, he had a weirdly fun personality that planet Earth grew to love over his TV show’s four year run. That’s kind of the same feeling I get with weirdo indie rockers Wombo, who are set to play twice this weekend — Friday 11/16 at Odeon with Future Killer (go here for more details) and then again this Saturday 11/17 at The Care Less Lounge with Tall Squares and Prayer Line (go here for more details on the event).
Their blend of erratic pop and controlled spasmic vocals set them apart from other like-minded acts — for evidence, check out their debut record Staring At Trees, which is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple etc.
As a fan of this eccentric collection of noise makers, I reached out to the band for a quick Q&A. Read on as Wombo collectively answers questions about what makes them tick, what the future holds, and whether or not Bugs Bunny is attractive…
Never Nervous: How did Wombo come to be as a band? Is there a fascinating origin story?
Wombo: Well the truth is we can’t actually tell you because it is confidential. But it is a fascinating story.
NN: The music you make is tough to describe to friends and family, so why don’t you help me out? How would you describe this noise to someone you’ve never met?
Wombo: We have a hard time describing it because we are too familiar with it. We are just trying to make interesting songs, man.
“We are just trying to make interesting songs, man.”
NN: Whether they be related to music or not, are there any direct influences behind the music you folks make?
Wombo: Well absolutely. For Sydney, it was when she first discovered post punk music like The Bush Tetras. Cameron had a hard year in 2015 where he lost his ego, but he went to a show at House of Blood that made him believe in the power of music. Joel says seeing The Debauchees definitely impressed him. We were all coming out of bands that were dissolving at the same time.
NN: What’s with the name Wombo? What the hell does that mean anyway?
Wombo: It is from a Spongebob episode where Spongebob has a mermaid man’s belt. It has an M for mermaid man, but he turns it upside down to set it to WOMBO. It is just a good made up word.
NN: Now that Staring At Trees has been released, what’s the plan moving forward? Do you plan to tour?
Wombo: We are saving for a van right now and recording our second album. Once we get the van we are gonna start touring as soon as possible. We have been taking our time with the new album because we have a chance to be more creative with the recording and mixing. We’ve been working with Nick Roeder. He is really patient and helpful and he has a lot of good ideas and advice. On our first album we chose to do it all in one day which made for an interesting live sound, but we had much less control.
“We have been taking our time with the new album because we have a chance to be more creative with the recording and mixing.”
NN: (To S. Chadwick) Sydney, you’ve got a unique approach and cadence to your vocal patterns throughout Staring At Trees. Who or what inspires you as a singer to make these sorts of interesting sounds?
Wombo: Phantom of the Opera, Evita, the OG Snow White, basically things like that. I would listen to music in my headphones as a kid and literally almost piss myself, and start to sweat and shit from how good it was. If music or art or anything makes me feel like that, then that’s where I draw my influences most from.
NN: (To S. Chadwick) What happened with The Debauchees? Is that band now defunct, or on hiatus? What’s the deal?
Wombo: Well, Cameron was also in the Debauchees so it’s pretty much me and him making music together still but with our friend Joel instead of Ashley, who played bass in The Debauchees. Debauchees is no more. Wombo is really a much different thing, as we are much different people now. This is a good thing though. Those years can smooch my buttcheeks. No, I shouldn’t say that. It sounds too sexual.
NN: What is the last thing that made you cry? For me, it was a particular episode of The Wonder Years where Winnie tells Kevin that she’s “met someone” on a field trip.
Wombo: Sydney cries a lot so she says it’s hard to tell. For Cameron, it was a story on NPR about a WWII veteran who returned to France to give back a painting that he stole from a house in France. Joel says he cried a little bit seeing this “Luke-Child of God” poster his late brother made in elementary school and also when D-Rose dropped a career high 50 points after suffering 3 knee injuries.
“I would listen to music in my headphones as a kid and literally almost piss myself, and start to sweat and shit from how good it was.”
NN: Do you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he puts on a dress and played a girl bunny?
Wombo: Cameron says no. Sydney has to be honest, she’s never seen that as she didn’t watch that show that much but did find his girlfriend in Space Jam very attractive. Joel says yeah cartoon characters are attractive (Bugs Bunny no exception.)
NN: Before you go, tell us about one of your favorite records from 2018.
Wombo: Flowering Jungle by Monster Rally, Cameron says. Sydney says Blackstar by David Bowie but can’t remember if that was this year or 2017. What is time? Joel has been jamming to Render Another ugly method by Mothers a ton. Also CTRL by SZA.
Top photo by Cincinnati City Beat.