Moroccan Kings are major up-and-comers on the Melbourne alternative rock scene. Though they fit fairly comfortably within our musical landscape, the outfit are doing things just a little differently. They’re set to release their brand new single, Grizzly Bear, with accompanying video, and while the song itself is ready to go, it's been a mad scramble to have the self-made video ready for its launch. They’re working around the clock to have it ready for the day, singer and guitarist Declan O'Leary explains.
“We've got the video launch, but we haven't made the film clip yet,” he laughs. “So I'm pretty much flat chat doing that. Just trying to figure it out, each day we work on it we realise it's going to look a lot different to what we imagined, so it's just trial and error. A process of elimination. When everyone sees it, I'll probably be finishing it that day,” he says excitedly.
“We recorded the single a couple of months ago with Damian Charles,” he continues. “It's the first show that we've run, we organised it – we're headlining, we organised the venue, we organised what bands we want to play, the lighting guy and all that kind of stuff. Mainly for the last year or so we've been doing the bigger festival gigs, like Showdown and Creepshow, Rock The Bay. They're all good, but we decided to do our own kind of shit, and see if we can pull the numbers. We don't even know, we've never even had our own big show before,” he quips humbly.
The band has some unusual add-ons planned for their first headlining gig, where they’ll virtually carry the night on their own. They also plan to offer punters a show free of rock clichés. “We're kind of excited about it,” he enthuses. “This is the first time we've kinda got our own lighting guy. He's more of a theatre lighting guy. We want to try and avoid the typical kind of pub rock lighting show, where's it's just constant colours flashing all the time. We want someone who knows the music, understands where the changes are coming. So yeah it's a big deal.
“There's a lot of energy in the show,” he describes. “We don't take ourselves too seriously. We never ask the crowd to make some noise. I never put the microphone into the crowd and assume that everyone knows the words. We try to have it relaxed but not too unprofessional at the same time. You see pub bands, and even in big Rod Laver events, where they think that the music alone is enough, but if people are going to stop watching TV and leave their houses, they should be entertained. You get these bands who say 'I don't care what the crowd wants, I just do what I feel'. But if you didn't really care what people wanted, you wouldn't be doing live shows. We want to do something different to what other bands are doing. We've got a sound now, all we need are the visuals.”
And what do they expect from the crowd in return? “I just want them to have a good time,” he replies. “I don't want them to feel awkward. I don't want their sympathy, I don't people to think 'Oh well he gave it his best shot!' I want it to be as relaxed in the crowd as it is onstage. By the end of the gig I want people to think it's a comfortable thing. I don't want to give them too much, I want them wanting more.
“I've seen a lot of gigs where it feels awkward, and you feel awkward for [the performers].” Declan goes on. “Often it's because the lighting's shit. Or someone's hitting some bung notes. Or it's just awkward in general. It feels like the people onstage don't want to be there, or the people onstage are bored of their own music. I know bored's the 'new cool' but you get a bit over it. I like people who get excited by their own music.”
Post launch, Declan has some serious downtime in mind – a visit to his back specialist may be in order after sitting at a computer for so long, working on the clip. As for the band, it’ll be time to dive back into the writing process and the rehearsal room.
“I need to take a holiday,” he laughs, “And go to an osteopath. We've been smashing out 15 hour days. But for the band? More writing. This is a test to see what works and doesn't work for our own show, so we'll know next time what we need to work on.”
BY ROD WHITFIELD
Moroccan Kings launch their brand new single and video clip with support from Sheriff and A Lonely Crowd at Revolver Upstairs this Saturday April 28.