Client Liaison have quickly become one of this year’s most talked about up-and-coming bands. Love them or hate them, they still have you talking. With their turn of the 90’s aesthetic, infectious tunes and incredible live performances, it’s safe to say the hard work they’ve put in for 2014 has not gone unnoticed. A BIGSOUND showcase, supporting Flight Facilities on their national and international tour, and slots at Falls Festival; if you haven’t seen them yet, you need to leave the house more. We caught up with singer Monte Morgan to get in past the mullet and turtle neck to see just how things work on their end!
Hey Monte! How are you?
Good! How are you doing?
Pretty good thanks, it’s actually so hot! Summer is here!
You’re hot?! Where are you?
Oh wow, it’s not hot here in Melbourne! You need to let go and give into the heat, or you’re going to let your blood boil. There are two types of people when it comes to heat: there is the type where it relaxes them, and the type where it stresses them out. You may as well be the person where it relaxes them.
I love the heat. I have a cold temperament.
Well you’ll be good when you play at Byron Bay’s Falls!
Yeah! I love it!
Okay, so how did it all start? How did Client Liaison come to be?
I knew Harvey from ages ago, he’s a friend of my brother’s. We went to school together and we were always making music side by side. It was just circumstantial; he would play me a beat and I’d sing on it. A few months later he’d come back with a change and I’d say yes or no. It was a bit of a long process. It was fun though, we were just putting things together and learning.
How was your latest tour? I saw you guys three times in one week when you were here for BIGSOUND!
That’s amazing! Every one!
Tuesday was pretty crazy, at the “pre-BIGSOUND” party, then Wednesday you guys were playing really late, and then your actual showcase on Thursday – was it hard to maintain that energy and level of performance?
No, we actually did five shows that week. But yeah, it’s more just about the vibe, I mean you want every show to be great. Sometimes the vibe isn’t right. That second show in Brisbane I just didn’t enjoy; it was too late, there were problems with the staging and sound, we were sober backstage. I tried to pick myself up and sometimes it’s just not right. Did you notice we weren’t enjoying ourselves in that second show?
I couldn’t tell, but I’m pretty biased and I was with a good bunch of people so I suppose MY vibe was different!
We still gave it our all and tried to do everything we could.
How did the tour go all up then?
Yeah it was great! We played this great show in Wollongong, in this tiny little room with like 60 people. Everyone had to like tiptoe so they didn’t get pushed onto us, so that was fun! It’s great to get around the country playing shows.
How do you think it’ll go playing on the Flight Facilities tour now, playing bigger, and more prestigious venues?
I think it’ll be great! Big crowds are fun! We’re really looking forward to it. We had a few stage elements in Sydney and Melbourne, like an ice swan and eskys coming from the roof, but because we’re supporting we probably won’t be able to have all that. But we’ll still make the most of it!
Then you’ve got Falls Festival at the end of the year – I’m curious with your live show, will it change much from playing a smaller venue to a bigger one like Falls?
Yeah, we’ve been doing some shows with Harvey’s brother, Jordy. He’s been playing guitar and saxophone. We’re putting more live elements in there. Especially at the start of tours, the live show is often a testing ground for new songs, then we find the best for us. Things are always changing; we’re always trying to make it better.
How much is actually shared in the writing process, with you singing and Harvey making the music? How much is shared when not on the stage?
We work alone a lot, and then bring our ideas together. Things happen in all kinds of ways, but the general format is Harvey will bring me a beat, I’ll start singing and take it back to him. Then, he’ll create more music then I’ll usually rearrange it a bit, and then take it back to him and he’ll finish it and we’ll mix it together. I guess it’s equal – sometimes Harvey will bring me a song with lyrics and a melody, and I’ll just change the lyrics. Sometimes it’s just Harvey’s song, or me bringing the music. Generally it’s Harvey on the beats and me singing though.
I find you guys, personally, quite inspiring the way you are so unashamedly into what you’re into and how serious you take yourselves. Do you get tired of people assuming you’re being ironic or that it’s a joke?
There’s a couple of layers to that. In a way, yes. Sometimes people are like, “Oh, you guys are funny!” Or, “You’re from that era,” or something like that. But then on another level, there’s layers of understanding. It’s great that people don’t initially get it. I’ve always said you have to hear the music, watch the film clip AND see us live to understand there is a conceptual side to this; there’s something to think about and talk about, and re-appropriate. I mean, we don’t consider ourselves a joke band or a band from a certain era, but if people think that, it’s okay too.
In a way, you kind of hold a mirror up to the Australian identity in all of it’s cringe-worthy glory. Is that intentional? Some of your songs touch on some pretty important issues…
Yeah! Our songs come from a serious place about what we don’t like about Australia, but then we turn it on it’s head and celebrate it. I don’t know, there are things that interest us. End Of The Earth is quite an old song for us now. We have a song called Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight, which is about the diplomatic man breaking through the bureaucracy of Australian politics. We were talking about the film clip and how we had the idea of decommissioning Canberra because it’s a waste of the taxpayer’s money. From one idea stems another!
Speaking of End Of The Earth – let’s talk about that. The lyrics are pretty important, but you’ve managed to kind of cloak it in a pop disguise almost?
I wrote it a long time ago, but generally I was quite upset with Australia. People would hurl abuse at me because I wore different clothes or if I danced like crazy. I was sick of that narrow minded rural Australian culture. I was also sick of tall poppy syndrome of cutting down anyone who believes in themselves and wants to say they’re good at something. There’s also ideas about how much of a crazy, crazy country this is. What a weird and wonderful place! I can’t even remember all the lyrics, even though I sing it! You know like, big animals and big fruit – what a weird way to celebrate this country!
That’s really funny you say that – a friend of mine used to be really inspired by the 80’s and when we were 14 she’d dress up like that. She’d tease her hair and wear fluro tights and stuff. People would do the same thing to her! I should tell her about you and it might make her do it again!
With some of the songs on the EP, they were written quite a while ago, right?
I read that you were kind of “clearing the slate” by releasing them in preparation for the album – what can we expect from that?
There’s not so much a drastic change in sound. We still have a lot to explore in that sound I think. We’re just trying to write new songs. A lot of them have a diplomatic world vibe. There are still a lot songs that we’ve finished, but didn’t end up on the EP so we can try and find a place for them. We don’t know exactly though.
When can we expect it to be out?
Oh I can’t put a date on it. When you haven’t written something, you can’t If you were in the mixing stage you could start talking dates, but we’re not even there yet. It’s quite liberating right now. The EP is out and we’ve still got three more videos we have to release from the EP, so it’s great to be in a place where you can write freely!
You obviously value the importance of film clips, can you elaborate on that?
I guess it’s just an interest of ours. We really enjoy it. We come from art school backgrounds, I did film at uni. We just like that conceptual side, and engaging people. It’s another way to make people listen, but you can do it in such a fun way. We like doing low budget things ourselves with our own VHS cameras, or high budget things with big crews and stuff. It’s fun to learn about that side of the industry!
What can we expect still to come from you? An international tour, perhaps? Take your show to the world?
Yeah, we’d love to eventually! We’re talking about doing an extended series of film clips, or feature films. We like the idea of something with narrative, but with songs in it. The most important thing for us is searching for that pop hook really.
The elusive pop hook!
You can catch Client Liaison at the following dates for Falls Festival:
Dec 28, 2014 to Jan 01, 2015 in Lorne, VIC *sold out
Dec 29, 2014 to Jan 01, 2015 in Marion Bay, TAS
Dec 30, 2014 to Jan 03, 2015 in Byron Bay, NSW *sold out