Wombo — the Louisville trio of singer/bassist Sydney Chadwick, guitarist Cameron Lowe, and drummer Joel Taylor — brew an intriguing art-rock elixir. It's straight-ahead post punk, until it's not: Tempos blur, timbres slur toward the psychedelic, and Chadwick's eerie voice adds a truly surreal element to the mix. Dropping the needle on the group's new single, "Below the House," is much like dropping acid, in that the experience can be either fun or existentially terrifying, depending on the user's initial state of mind.
Set to a strict 7/4 meter and a limited chord progression, it's a claustrophobic track that places the listener in Chadwick's mental crawlspace, where repressed secrets unravel. The options are simple: Surrender to her dream's logic or go insane.
"'Below the House' is about leaving things buried for the best sometimes when there’s nothing you could gain from trying to make sense of them," she says.
The song's sparse but effective fantasy is matched with an equally austere and just-as-effectively realized visual treatment, courtesy of Lowe and premiering here along with a brief interview. Watch the video, read Wombo's Q&A with The FADER, and view the band's upcoming tour dates below.
The FADER: Home plays an important role in your music, especially your new song. What does home mean to each of you, beyond a physical location?
Wombo: Cameron says home is somewhere he feels safe and can be with family. Sydney says home is a quality bidet, a cup of hot tea, and Pride and Prejudice on the telly. Joel just needs somewhere he can chill and be alone.
Louisville is its own kind of music city. What has it been like coming up as a rock band in a legendary but isolated scene?
First off, we appreciate you saying Louisville has a legendary scene. It’s been great. There has always been a strong DIY presence and we’ve really felt supported by our community. It feels isolated but in a way that gives us space and prevents the scene from being saturated with too much of the same.
"Below The House" is in 7/4, and it's one of the better-executed tracks I've heard in that time signature. Did you set out to write a song in 7, or did the meter come organically?
Joel Taylor: Organically. It’s one of my favorite time signatures so we’re always jamming in it. It feels slightly mathy but still very rooted and easy to vibe to.
Sydney, can you tell me about the dream that inspired the song's lyrics and video? Do you think of dreams as a place where secrets can safely emerge into the open?
Sydney Chadwick: I dreamed that I was the father figure/leader of a nomadic family of cave people. We were traveling through a vast desert plain and up ahead there was a narrow passage between two cliffs. I was looking into a small puddle and fell into it to discover it was a much larger body of water. It was dark underneath and as I was floating inside of it, unable to see anything, this translucent, alien-like mermaid creature came swimming up to me. She had piercing eyes and was enticing me. I was trying to reach out to her but she disappeared, so I swam back up to the surface and rejoined my family, but now I had a sense of sadness and longing like I was missing something important. This dream loosely inspired the lyrics for "Below the House." I don’t know to what extent dreams reveal hidden desires. Sometimes I feel like it’s just random imagery from things I’ve seen.
You've got a month of heavy touring coming up, and you ventured out on tour last year as well. How did it feel to tour the states in the 2021 stage of COVID, and is there anything you hope to change this time around?
Wombo: 2021 touring was great, everyone was doing their best to keep things going for artists and keep everyone safe. Looking forward to 2022, we hope it continues in the same trajectory. We are excited to continue touring and hope for the best. We wanna do it big.
Wombo 2022 tour dates
3/13 - Chicago, IL - Sleeping Village ^
3/15 - Austin, TX - House Johnson ~
3/16 - Austin, TX - Cheer Up Charlie's ~
3/17 - Austin, TX - Hole In The Wall ~
3/17 - Austin, TX - Hotel Vegas ~
3/18 - Austin, TX - Swan Dive ~
3/22 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad *
3/23 - Denver, CO - Hi Dive *
3/25 - Boise, ID - Treefort Music Festival
3/29 - Carboro, NC - Cat's Cradle #
3/30 - Asheville, NC - The Grey Eagle #
3/31 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade #
4/1 - Nashville, TN - The High Watt #
4/2 - St. Louis, MO - Blueberry Hill #
4/3 - Lawrence, KS - Granada Theatre #
4/5 - Denton, TX - Andy's Bar #
4/6 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall #
4/7 - Austin, TX - The Parrish #
4/9 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad #
5/11 - Detroit, MI - The Sanctuary +
5/12 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison +
5/14 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg +
* = w/ Ed Schrader's Music Beat
# = w/ Naked Giants
^ = Cola
+ = BBambara
~ = SXSW