School chums go at it alone as one of SA’s biggest bands

School chums go at it alone as one of SA’s biggest bands

The Parlotones recently launched their latest album, ‘Antiques & Artefacts’, and toured nationally in support of their first self-produced release.

PETER TROMP caught up with frontman KHAN MORBEE to find out where the band is at this point in their journey.

Tell us about The Parlotones’ latest album, ‘Antiques & Artefacts’. How is this one different to your past releases?

It’s an album inspired by freedom. It’s our first independent release with the fruits of our labour and creativity coming directly to us. I think that sense of freedom spills over into the sound of the album, and we had midgets do the backing vocals.

You guys decided to go at this one without the assistance of a label. What prompted this decision?

There’s a lot wrong with the traditional record industry model that we disagree with. The business of music has changed, but the industry is clinging to an archaic model. We prefer to approach a model of balanced benefits, freedom and flexibility.

What can you tell us about the pressures of having remained one of the top bands in the country for more than a decade?

A lot of sacrifice, time on the road, dealing with criticism and remaining relevant.

You guys were school friends when you formed the band in the 1990s. How important is friendship between the members for a band’s longevity?

Very important. We spend about 250 days together touring, recording, rehearsing etc. Longevity can only be achieved through like-mindedness, amicable demeanours and friendship.

How would you say the influences on the band have changed over the years to what you guys are vibing on these days?

I guess we went from kind of being obsessing with Britpop, Brit indie and Brit culture to expanding our palettes to extend to all genres, across all continents. We fell in love with SONG and brushed off the limitations of only listening to one genre.

You are also performing as a solo artist these days. How do you approach song writing differently going solo versus composing for The Parlotones?

I guess it’s a bit more mellow and introspective. I’m less concerned about being defined by a sound specific to the brand.

You guys recently embarked on a series of dates at Barnyard Theatres across the country. How did these dates go, and how did the affiliation with the Barnyard group come about?

The shows have been amazing, sold out (affairs). Approximately 10000 tickets were sold across the country, including for other venues. The Barnyards have a great space and infrastructure.

“Last night an album changed my life.” Which album?

‘High Violet’ by The National. It’s so sonically brilliant and intelligently layered. The melodies are hooky but subtle, and the lyrics are fresh and smart. It’s the album I wish I’d created.

* Keep up to date with one of SA’s favourite bands at www.theparlotones.co.za.