Following a huge six months, power pop duo Client Liaison are quickly becoming a welcome staple on the Australian music circuit. Their aesthetic alone is outstanding, but it’s their catchy, eighties-tinged pop dreams that are truly grabbing the attention of huge audiences both inside and outside of Australia. Although their dreams of performing at Clive Palmer’s dinosaur park have not become a reality just yet, they are about to embark on their biggest national headline tour to date. We were lucky enough to talk to Harvey Miller AO; one half of the duo and brains of the production as they prepare to hit the road around the great sunburnt country they treasure so much.
The past six months have been huge for you guys, how is everything shaping up? Are you happy with how the Client Liaison project is going?
Yeah, very much so. It’s always a bit weird when you’re on the other end of it. We have to keep reminding ourselves that a lot of people haven’t heard of us yet, understandably of course. For instance, we have been working on lots of new songs which now even feel old to us. You have to position yourself from the perspective of the listener so you can get a good grasp of whats happening, because we do get lost in our own world a lot of the time.
With every video release, festival appearance and show announcement you appear to be doing all of this in a very controlled manner, is there a game plan? Or is that feeling of control just a result of the Client Liaison aesthetic?
Our manager Adam is always discussing strategies with us, all that tactical hoo-ha you know. I’ll take that as a compliment if that’s how we appear. I guess its a good thing.
Over the new year Client Liaison played Falls Festival in all three locations, I’ve had many a friend come back raving about your performance. Have you found that those sets opened your music up to a completely new group of potential fans?
It’s hard to gauge it, the ticket sales for this upcoming tour are going really well, so I’m sure that would have something to do with it. That combined with the Flight Facilities tour, we played in front of probably around 50,000 people in total, so surely that would have transposed into a bit of a ground swell of some sort. I remember when we did the Golden Plains festival because we were much smaller we were able to gauge the progress we had made. Afterwards we put on our first headline show at the Toff and sold it out with weeks to go.
You mention the Flight Facilities tour that happened last year. How was that tour as a whole, playing over in Europe and the rest?
It was awesome, every show was sold out and full. We were playing to large crowds so it was totally worth it. I’m sure a lot of bands are familiar with support slots that get sidelined and become the background music that no one is even there to see. But it was quite the opposite with Flight Facilities, the crowds were full and by the end of our set it was packed most nights. Hugo and Jimmy (Flight Facilities) are fantastic to tour with as well, their people really look after you on tour so we really need to commend them on taking us on tour with them. We get along so well because we both put a big emphasis on the visual aspect of our music, those guys have fantastic video clips and not to mention their amazing songs. We just sit on the same wave length with those guys.
And those shows were huge as well, Client Liaison are clearly the kind of act that thrive on a larger audience. Were you able to harness the energy of the thousands of people?
Yeah, of course. We did actually kind of learn something from the Falls Festival crowds. Playing festivals of that size you need to change your set a little like including a cover because everyone is so munted – which is of course fantastic for a festival – everyone could have sung along and we could have moments of call and response and audience participation. We did drop in the Like A Version we did but we thought some more interactive and well known mega pop songs would have worked well. But that’s just us being hyper critical and taking something away from it.
Given the nature and aesthetic of Client Liaison was it hard in the early days to stay away from doing covers and pioneer your own sound?
Yeah, well we’ve never played a cover apart from the Like A Version last year. We haven’t done any covers apart from that. It would be nice to have a few covers ready to go for our sets and hype the crowd up in certain situations.
You have added a live member to Client Liaison, your brother Geordie I believe. What was the decision behind utilising a live guitarist?
Yeah, he’s a permeant live member with the exception of overseas shows, but every other show he’s playing. Theres quite a lot of guitar in our tracks and we also have him on keyboards playing some synth lines. he’s a very accomplished guitarist so it’s really helpful having him in the live show.
The last time i saw you guys live would have been the last 170 Russell show last year. The stagecraft of your shows is getting more incarcerate and visually incredible. Last time we had the swan ice sculpture and an Eski full of beer descend from the roof. What do you have in store for us this time around?
I’m glad you noticed the mini Eski, after that show I was asking people if they saw it and hardly anyone had noticed. It kind of felt like our Spinal Tap mini stonehenge moment.
And the John Howard tracksuits at the end of the performance?
We’ve gone to all this effort, so I’m glad it’s resonated with someone. This time around we are adding more live elements to the show like rejigging all the songs and orchestrating them for the live setting so people who are familiar with the EP can hear a point of difference. But to answer the previous question, we are mainly focusing on the music. Really looking forward to that.
I really love that when you go to a Client Liaison show it feels somewhat similar to a pop spectacular, the kind of thing you’d go to see at Rod Laver Arena or Etihad (sorry, my bad – Colonial Stadium). Is that the kind of show you guys would one day like to put on?
Yeah, for sure! An all-star arena spectacular. We love traditional sense of theatricality and showmanship. A real spectacle.
And speaking of arena spectaculars, has there been any communication between your management and SBS on Client Liaison on the possibility of you guys representing Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest this year?
No! Actually maybe. I’m not sure, we have been investigating that. We saw that news.com.au had put us forward on their list of candidates, so that was quite humbling to know there are people who think we would be appropriate. We would definitely be open to that. We have been too busy to put together a Eurovision campaign.
Let’s talk the single ‘Pretty Lovers’, my personal favorite from the EP. This track is an old one, and so is the video I believe. What was the logic behind delaying its release and letting the newer music take the stage?
We kinda did the video early last year, and we just had it in the back pocket. We just kinda realised we had to put it out, because if we put it out any later it would be confusing because there were so many clips on the EP.
So far Client Liaison have a video for every song you have released with the exception of a few remixes. Is the plan to keep this up and keep on releasing a video for every song?
Yeah, thats the goal although i’m not sure currently. We are working towards an album, so we would be hard pressed to have a clip for every song. That would be a huge undertaking. But we are aiming for it, we love the visuals as you might be able to tell.
Could we perhaps expect a Beyoncé style visual album down the track?
Of course that would be on the cards, we are in talks with friends about a possible feature film rather than just a video clip for every song.
Plans for 2015?
An album is the goal, but the goal posts are always moving. Just writing more songs, and playing more shows is all we have set in stone at the moment.
Client Liaison Tour Dates
Tickets are available from www.clientliaison.com.
Wednesday March 4
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Thursday March 5
Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane (sold out)
Friday March 6
Jimmy’s Den, Perth
Saturday March 7
Pirie St. Social Club, Adelaide
Friday March 13
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (unannounced 2nd show)
Saturday March 14
Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (sold out)
Wednesday March 18
170 Russell, Melbourne
Friday March 20
170 Russell, Melbourne (sold out)
Client Liaison’s self-titled EP is out now through Dot Dash/Remote Control.