‘Think Nothing. Feel everything. Pleasure is good. Fantasy is truth. Experience Client Liaison.’
So goes the tagline of Melbourne indie-pop band, Client Liaison who are discussing their upcoming, debut album Diplomatic Immunity in a special CL themed office space, in the heart of the CBD. Bandleaders, Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller, break down exactly what this statement means.
“Yeah, it’s fun, essentially,” says Monte. “It’s theatre and it’s fun, but it has a level of sophistication and layered meaning to it – It’s not stupid, but it’s ‘let go and get wild’, basically.”
“It’s a good, strong statement,” Harvey adds. “We’ve kept that, we haven’t updated it. It does say, ‘we’re here to have a good time’. And you can’t really argue with that, that’s what we like. I think somewhere else it says, ‘ask yourself not do you like Client Liaison, but do you like dancing?’ I mean, who doesn’t like dancing and having a good time?”
Releasing their debut, self-titled EP in 2014, Client Liaison have been busily touring and working towards their debut full length, Diplomatic Immunity, due out on November 4th this year. Seems like a long time coming for the band. Harvey feels differently.
“It’s kinda weird saying that it’s our debut album, as we’ve been around for… not a long time, but not a short time, and we’ve felt busy during that whole period. We went to the States three times and to Europe once, finished the album and also have a fashion label, CL Designer Line, coming out in a few weeks so there’s been lots of things we’ve been able to focus on.”
Certainly right. Indeed, when listening to Client Liaison, as the boys describe, you enter a “multi-sensory world” with the video clips, the live show and the online narrative that weaves between all of it.
The video clip for latest single, ‘Wild Life’ is no exception. Depicting Client Liaison as a ‘rising investment consortium’ with a takeover bid for fictional company, Quintex LTD and subsequently being investigated for tax evasion by the ATO, the clip has a political flavour to it, which the pair revels in without taking it all too seriously.
“Harvey has always had an interest in politics,” Monte claims, before Harvey interjects. “I think more the theatre of politics. We kind of like to remain apolitical. It’s not like a big political statement. It’s just tying into people like Les Patterson and that kind of corporate, businessman travelling which is the CL idea: Client Liaison as travelling businessman.
The album itself has a very Australian feel to it, with a song about the nation’s capital, didgeridoos appearing on the track, ‘Where do we belong’ as well as a collaboration with recent ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, Tina Arena on ‘Foreign Affair’.
“Monte has a keen interest in Australiana,” Harvey says, “so we’re sort of flying the Australian flag overseas, kind of that idea.”
“Yeah,” Monte replies, “we started with our first song, ‘End of the Earth’, which was all about Australia. We started on that foot by chance. So then we just continued that theme aesthetically and as a concept, so it’s just what we’re interested in.”
“And we live in Australia so by proxy,” Harvey continues, “so it’s not this highly calculated theme, it’s just always there. That’s a point we like to remind people.
Although the duo wants to remain apolitical and simply influenced by what’s around them, they do still have opinions about the current political climate, both locally and overseas, and how social media can sometimes blow things out of proportion.
“I think social media gives the appearance of people being very divided,” Monte claims. “Things are very heated. But it’s all words. In some ways it’s a scary time but in some ways maybe we’re in relative peace. Like an echo chamber.”
Harvey steps in. “I was listening to the radio and heard some professor talking about whether we’re living in a more violent time to the past. And he said, ‘we’re not if you compare to the crusades and world wars and things like that.’”
All in all, it all forms part of the ‘multi-sensory world’ of Client Liaison, which extends to their multi-faceted sound: a derivation of 80s/90s synth-pop and modern techno/house beats. As naturally happens, both Harvey and Monte have influenced each other in different ways and brought everything to the table.
“I always liked ’80s music,” Monte tells us, “like Prince and funky electronic synthesiser stuff, and Harvey has an interest in early naughties French house. I wasn’t so into dance music until I started working in that field with Harvey. But we always try to be as eclectic as possible. Sort of try to touch on as many sounds as possible and still keep our aesthetic going.”
The rich tapestry of Client Liaison’s music doesn’t stop there though. When questioned about the cover art, Harvey rushes off and comes back with the complete illustrations, which includes a globe on the back cover. The tracks are numbered at the bottom and each is placed somewhere on the globe. Harvey connects the dots.
“So 9 is ‘Home’ which is on Melbourne. ‘Hotel’ Stay is 6 which is in Singapore. ‘Do it my way’ is in Chicago cause it’s quite house-y. ‘Bravest Beginnings’ is in Syria. ‘Foreign Affair’, Tina Arena, is in France cause that’s where she lives. This is like a travel album with recurring themes that come together at the end.”
“And here you can see the mace from Parliament house that sits in the House of Reps,” Monte adds. “But we really like this. It’s got this very like, children’s book, kind of feel to it.”
Completing the full line-up, Client Liaison are joined on stage by Harvey’s brother, Geordie, on guitar and Tom Tilly (of Triple J’s, ‘Hack’ program) on bass. With a growing live reputation and the band starting to play on bigger stages, Monte explains what’s next for Client Liaison.
“Yeah, we’re playing four Falls shows and Field Day in Sydney across New Years and then we’ll do our own tour in March/April around Australia and then around the States as well. The album tour.”
Finishing on a jovial note, anyone who’s had a quick gander at the band’s Wikipedia page will note that Harvey has AO next to his name so the question was posed: does Harvey Miller really have an Order of Australia?
“Self-appointed. If I just have AO for long enough, you build this network of support, sort of web of lies, that just ends up supporting back on itself so like 10 years later it’s just like, ‘yeh, he has an AO.’ So every time I sign up for something, I put it on there. If you are to write that just put ‘self-appointed.’”
Well played, sir.
Client Liaison’s debut album, Diplomatic Immunity, is out today through Dot Dash/Remote Control. For more info on their tours, check out the band’s FB page.