THE MELBOURNE DUO TALKS AUSSIE ICONS, CULTURAL CRINGE, AND WHY THEY’VE JUST LAUNCHED A NEW FASHION COLLECTION.
“If you do anything with conviction, it renders it serious,” one half of Melbourne band Client Liaison, Harvey Miller, replies when asked if it’s hard for the duo to be taken seriously. “That’s the motto we live by. There may be elements of humour and absurdity, but what we’re doing isn’t slapstick.” We should point out they’re currently styled like ’80s businessmen – complete with abrasive suiting and phones the size of house bricks. Anyone who knows Client Liaison already was probably introduced to them by the viral video for 2012 single ‘End of the Earth’. A collage-like celebration of Australia’s “cringe culture” icons, it featured John Farnham, Ansett Airlines, Big Kev, John Howard’s furious powerwalking, XXXX Gold and Bob Hawke’s epic consumption thereof. Hilarious, sure. But it also cemented Client Liaison’s pinpoint cultural commentary that, coupled with well-crafted dance-pop songs with an ’80s-twinge, singlehandedly opened the eyes of a generation unfamiliar with Big Kev or how excited he truly was. Talking to GQ from a Collins St headquarters (where else?), Miller and Monte Morgan are surrounded by props from their infamous live shows: vintage broadcast cameras, fake plants and a wardrobe fit for the Diners Club gentleman. It’s not surprising to learn that they have an art school background. “Music is the priority, but we wanted to create a multi-sensory experience,” says Miller. With a tagline of ‘International in flavour, cosmopolitan in style’ the duo’s crafted a mythology of sorts, with an Australia-circa-theBicentenary flavour. “We were both born at the end of that era,” says Miller. “We’ve always liked that sophisticated, synthesised sound, and that extends to fashion and design,” he continues. “It’s not like we try to make things ‘Australian’ – we’re responding to our environment. It’s not as calculated as one would think.” Morgan agrees. “We grew up in the cultural cringe, where America was cool and Australia was uncool,” he explains. “We’re just looking around going, ‘Actually, there’s something amazing to celebrate here.’ So hopefully we’re part of the narrative that has gotten past that now.” Despite the name, Client Liaison’s debut album, Diplomatic Immunity, is not meant as a political statement. “We don’t want to litter our art with politics – that’s already forced down our throats every day,” explains Morgan. “Our approach to music is just trying to do something different, make people dance and feel sentimental at the same time.” Diplomatic Immunity is out now; Client Liaison play the Falls Festival, Dec 28-31; fallsfestival.com