love fame tragedy

Love Fame Tragedy – Life Is A Tragedy

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Is enough ever enough? That’s what you think when you look at The Wombats’ frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy. He’s done the role as the head of a platinum-selling indie band, he’s done the role of a rockstar. Add doting father and husband to the list of achievements, and while juggling it all, Murph is back with his sophomore album under his solo alias Love Fame Tragedy. We spoke to him after school drop-off in Los Angeles, where he now resides with his family.

A testament to his versatility and evolution as an artist, Life Is A Killer is a raw, introspective dive into the complexities of relationships, self-reflection, and the challenges of balancing fatherhood with a bustling music career. “When I started this record, it was to document how ridiculous my life was getting and how my childish pursuit of nihilism was smashing up against having to be a mature adult,” Murph begins. “I felt like I was torn in two and the two people I was being just couldn’t get along,” he continues. “They still can’t to be honest. Both sides of me might be a bit better now but they’re still not on the same page.”

From listening to the record, you can tell that Murph’s personalities have battled it out over the years. His brutally honest lyrics detail such times and find him opening up more than ever before about the mistakes he’s made and the journeys he’s been on. “Being myself is super important otherwise what’s the point,” he says, referring to his ultra-personal songwriting. “I have worked with artists and attempted to write more poppy tracks, because I do like pop music, but in terms of accessible lyrics, it does nothing for me!” he exclaims. “There has to be something about what I’m writing, whether it’s the meaning, the production, or even the documentation, in order for me to really get excited; you need to be excited about what you’re doing otherwise you’ll never see it through,” he continues. “If I’m not 100% behind it, I switch off,” he simply states. “Whatever I’m doing has to resonate with me or mean something on a personal level for me to get it through all the necessary stages otherwise it gets left behind and I lose interest,” he notes. “After that, it’s all down hill. If you lose interest, it starts to change. It’s kind of like when you don’t water a plant and it starts to look a bit weird then dies. I’ve got to be hopelessly in love and authentic with what I’m doing so that I remember it needs to be finished.”

Crafted over two and a half years between the bustling streets of London and the sun-soaked avenues of LA, the influence of two personalities could also be down to the expertise of renowned producers Jacknife Lee and Mark Crew. Individually, they helped craft a record that pushes the boundaries of Murph’s signature sound, promising a sonic experience that’s both familiar and refreshingly new, whilst also aiding in keeping a distinctive difference between Murph from Love Fame Tragedy and Murph from The Wombats. “Working with two producers was a massive fucking ballache,” Murph proclaims. “Jacknife is so talented, I love him, but we had to stop working with each other halfway through,” he tells us. “He couldn’t commit to a big chunk of time and I really wanted the record finishing,” he states. “We were just going back and forth and it didn’t help either one of us. I didn’t know where anything stood,” he continues. “In the end, I called Mark and told him he needs to come to LA. He made me feel guilty for cheating on him, in a loving way, and then I think he was here within three weeks,” he details. “He really saved the day to be honest.”

At its core, Love Fame Tragedy bears all the hallmarks of Murph’s confessional lyricism, where hedonism, responsibility, anxiety, and the fragility of love collide, all wrapped up in a classic synth-pop soundscape reminiscent of The Wombats; though his projects may have similarities it is important for the Liverpudlian singer-songwriter to separate the sonics within his ventures. “It’s all kind of cut from the same loaf of bread isn’t it?” he questions, asking himself rather than me. “Songs like ‘My Head’s In A Hurricane’ were done with Jack and he’s pretty mad,” he notes before detailing the reasons behind working with the Irish music producer. “I thought he would take care of the difference between my sonics and The Wombats’ whereas with Mark, there’s a pre-existing work relationship there because he’s worked on some of The Wombats’ records,” he says. “For me, the differentiation between projects is in the writing. With Love Fame Tragedy, I’ve gone darker, deeper almost, than I have before, and we just build around that in the studio,” he states. “We just go in the studio and try our best to stay away from the things we’re used to and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it hilariously sounds like everything we’ve done before because slipping into what you know is most natural.”

Despite Murph’s insistence on being brutally honest across the record, there’s a vulnerability there too that can be sensed by the desperation in his tone. Masked behind futuristic synths and groovy beats, “It’s Ok To Be Shallow” resembles the fatigue of surface-level friendships and interactions a life in the limelight brings. “I love those kinds of songs,” he says, referring to the latter. “I love songs that have a sugary sensibility to them and ‘It’s Okay To Be Shallow’ is one song I always want to listen to over and over again.”

His previous single, “Don’t You Want To Sleep With Someone Normal?”, was the result of listening to Pulp. Murph may not remember what song initially sparked the inspiration but he sure remembers the inspirational spiral that it sent him on. “I was listening to Pulp one morning and I knew I needed to reconnect with a few classics I enjoyed in my early twenties,” he recalls. “I had been listening to a lot of melancholic music before that and the contrast between them and Pulp made me realize I had forgotten music can be fun,” he laughs. “It helped me come out with a few songs too and though they may not sound like it now, things would make way more sense if you had heard the original demos,” he proclaims. “They were a lot more ’90s than what we ended up going with.”

He’s been in the game for over a decade now but whether Murph would listen to his own discography as a reminder that music can be fun is a story for another time. “I would never chose to listen to any of those myself,” he quickly brushes past the subject. “I want to say I’ve listened to three albums I’ve worked on from start to finish and those are Proudly Present… A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, and this album, Life Is A Killer,” he counts. “I feel like when I can listen to one of my own albums all the way through, I know I’ve done a good job,” he claims. “That’s why I’m so excited for this one to come out. I’m very proud of it,” he expresses. “I think the main reason I don’t go back and listen to anything else is because I’m scared. I don’t like looking backwards,” he opens up. “It’s like looking in the rearview mirror. It could shorten what I see on the road ahead and you’ve just got to keep moving forward,” he explains. “You can’t be stuck in the past. It’s too easy to overthink,” he states. “I’ve done that before, especially when we were signed to Warner, because there was pressure coming in from all sides,” he admits. “I would get so stressed to the point I’d try re-creating songs like ‘Moving to New York’ just to keep them happy and it never worked. Whenever I entered that mind-frame, I would become stressed, miserable, and a little depressed which resulted in writing music that was crap,” he elaborates. “I’ve learned that living in the present, not holding onto the past or trying to recreate it, is the way to go. Holding on to the past is not how great songs are written.”

As stressful as the records process may have been, it is refreshing to see Murph leave himself so exposed in his art and show his truth to the point fans can really get a sense of the experiences detailed in Life Is A Killer. Keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of plans for the rest of the year, Murph expresses his excitement for the release of his latest record. “At the moment, I’m just hoping for the album to do well and that people like it,” he wholesomely admits. “I can’t wait for it to come out!”