A great song can change your life or at least make you re-evaluate certain aspects of it. It can become a legend that affects all different kinds of people. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION‘s ‘Behind The Song’ series wants to explore the stories behind those songs, in the words of the people who wrote them.
How time flies? It’s hard to believe that it’s been a little more than ten years since Liverpool-based indie rockers The Wombats delivered their legendary debut album A Guide To Love, Loss And Desperation which spawned such iconic floorfillers like Kill The Director and the inevitable Let’s Dance To Joy Division. The bands from those days moved on since then and often not in the best possible way as we recently pointed out. The Wombats, however managed to keep their quality up and their loyal fanbase close to their hearts. The trio just released their really satisfying fourth full-length called Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life and it’s the musical proof that they haven’t lost their talent for proper indie-pop tunes. On their upcoming tour new hits like Lemon To A Knife Fight will team up with the classics we’ve all come to love. Moving To New York is such a, let’s say; ‘golden oldie’ that hasn’t lost its charm over the past decade. Exclusively on NOTHNG BUT HOPE AND PASSION drummer Dan Haggis tells the story behind the song.
Moving to New York was one of the first songs we recorded that started to define our sound for the first album. I remember first hearing Murph playing around with it on a piano, slowly, like a ballad, in a practice room in our music college, LIPA, in 2004/5. I thought it sounded cool and we decided to try it with the band. We had a band practice in LIPA and it suddenly became this fast, upbeat and dancy song that felt like something new and exciting. The story behind the song was about a Norwegian girl that Murph had been on a few dates with. One night he asked her if she was going out for a few drinks, she said ‘no’ and that she was just going to stay at home. Later that night Murph walked into a bar in Liverpool called Hannah’s bar (incidentally where we played our first ever show in 2003!) and saw the Norwegian girl kissing another girl!
We first recorded Moving to New York during a ‘night shift’ session with one of our sound engineer friends at LIPA. We used to get free studio time there but the day time was always busy with other bands so we’d go in from 11pm till 7am! I remember loading out of the studio as people were starting school and feeling so tired but excited about what we’d just recorded walking back home through the streets of Liverpool.
We put it out on our 3rd EP and it quickly became a favourite amongst our hometown fans and family. All 5 of them!!
We re-recorded it in 2006 for a Japanese release called Girls, Boys and Marsupials and that version of the song ended up being released by an indie label called Kids in the UK. Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 started playing the song and shortly after that we signed a publishing and record deal! I’ll never forget playing it dressed in a giant bear costume at the opening of Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture 2008 in front of 30,000 Scousers! Every band needs a song that is a catalyst for their sound and career and fortunately for us Moving to New York became one of our best known numbers and it is still one of the most fun songs to play live.