The Wombats kick off action on Firefly’s Main Stage

The Liverpool-based band, The Wombats, will take the Main Stage at the Firefly Music Festival today at 2:15 p.m. and perform a follow-up show at the Toyota Tent at 5:30 p.m. (Submitted photo/Matilda Finn)

The Liverpool-based band, The Wombats, will take the Main Stage at the Firefly Music Festival today at 2:15 p.m. and perform a follow-up show at the Toyota Tent at 5:30 p.m. (Submitted photo/Matilda Finn)

DOVER –– The Liverpool-based rock trio The Wombats will be first to take the Main Stage at Firefly today during their U.S. summer festival swing.

The Wombats might bring to mind the image of a fuzzy Australian marsupial but the band chose the name in a last-minute bind.

“We just needed a name, something that we could put on a poster and wombats just kind of started as a joke,” said bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen this week while traveling. “We said we’d get around to changing it later but never did.”

Although Mr. Knudsen plays bass and sings backing vocals, he started working with music at age 6 with the cello, followed by the bass at 13 and guitar and keyboard later on.

His two bandmates are well-versed musicians as well –– each learned to read and play music during childhood and pursued their passion at the Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts.

Mr. Knudsen was born and raised in Norway but moved to the UK to attend the institute where he met Wombats’ frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy.

“I met Murph through a mutual friend and we went out one night, ended up deciding to play together so we did a few times and it was pretty fun so we decided to start a band,” he said.

They soon picked up fellow Liverpool student Dan Haggis in 2003 and the three have recorded three studio albums since taking them on tour all across Europe, Australia and now the U.S.

“After each album, we’ve gone on tour to support it and this summer we’re doing the U.S. festival circuit,” Mr. Knudsen said.

“The festivals have gone great so far and it’s fun because the crowds are a lot bigger. There’s people who are already fans and people who are just checking us out that we can win over,” he added.

After their 2:15 Main Stage performance today, the Wombats will be heading to the Toyota Music Den for a 30-minute set in an intimate show across from the Porch Stage.

“Small shows are fun because there’s not that massive gap between you and the audience like on a big stage,” Mr. Knudsen said.

Despite having three successful albums that have sold 1 million copies worldwide, screaming fans and YouTube videos with more than 6 million views, the band always keeps the focus on the music.

“Our focus is the music and gigs,” Mr. Knudsen said. “The music is what we enjoy. It’s great to see people liking our videos, but the music is first and everything else comes second.”

Most of the Wombats’ tunes starts simple, usually with some three-part harmonies then continues to grow.

“We like to experiment a lot with different instruments, different sounds,” he said. “And for our third album (2015’s “Glitterbug”), I think we were able to take a lot from the second album and perfect it.”

While the three musicians are off the road, each returns to his home and for Mr. Murphy, home is Los Angeles, Mr. Haggis considers London home and Mr. Knudsen retreats to his roots in Oslo.

“It’s nothing new for us. We’re used to being spread out,” Mr. Knudsen said. “We know how to use the internet and use it a lot.”

The three frequently exchange ideas with one another online then flesh out ideas, rehearse and record together –– the past two recordings were done in LA.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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