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20 December 2007
Clue to Kalo
MARK: I'm not from a musical background where I actually can play an instrument, but I always wanted to, I guess, make music and make records specifically. A friend of mine had a computer at high school and I went round there and we used to spend weekends kind of making songs on his computer and I thought this was great because I didn't actually need to know any of the theory. The songs that I heard in my head, I could work out a way with the technology to actually realise them.
CURTIS: I can remember when... Soon after Mark and I first met, for some reason, Mark was playing solo and we decided that I would kind of improvise. We didn't really know each other that well at that point. Yeah, and we did that a few times and it kind of worked really well. We seemed to work well together. And then soon after that, Mark got signed to Mush Records in America and he realised he wanted to have more of a live performance, a band, for his music, so he asked me to join. First question was, "Can you play the guitar?" And...
MARK: And Curtis said, "Not really."
CURTIS: "I could probably work it out."
ALAN: I think what happened was you asked me... I was playing in a hardcore band as a drummer and Mark got asked to tour - he got asked to come out to the States. And we were friends. I remember you called me. I was in Melbourne and you were like, "Hey, do you wanna play drums for me?" I can probably get you a ticket to the States, so I said, "Oh, really? That'd be cool."
MARK: I've never felt like we're lacking in any kind of expertise or anything, although maybe we are, but it feels like...
ALAN: I think it's funny, because it felt like we were all just kind of learning the instruments as we were going and how we were going to do it.
ALAN: Well, Clue to Kalo on the record is quite different from how it appears live. When I first started, it was very much based around the composition and production process at home in my room. Live, the interest has always been towards finding ways to translate that into something which is interesting and something which is very performative. The record is kind of given to Alan and to Curtis and then they kind of work out ways of playing parts as they appear on the record. The division between the band and the studio work has kind of broken down a lot and now I'm very much influenced and inspired a lot by what these guys are doing.
This is a video we shot for a song called 'The Just is Enough' off our last album. We filmed this in beautiful Thousand Oaks outside of L.A. Yeah, we went out and we walked through... ..through wet grass all day. And I didn't have to because I was the star of the show. I play a corpse in this video, as you'll see. So it was a bit of a stretch.
CURTIS: You were dead on dry grass.
MARK: These guys were alive on wet grass, so I won out of that deal.
CURTIS: We first toured America a couple of years ago and it was pretty tough. It was amazing and we were really lucky to be able to tour America. We did, I think, around 28 shows in 34 days?
MARK: But this last tour...
ALAN: We watched so many bands, we went to a lot of festivals and it was good to kind of place what we were doing in that context a little bit. We feel a little bit more comfortable with what we were doing.
MARK: Certainly than what we felt like last time.
ALAN: Yeah, last time, we were just like, "Oh, my God.
CURTIS: What the hell are we doing here?"
MARK: Even though we've been to America twice, you know, we're not rock stars, you know, or anything. We're still just an opening band.
ALAN: Well, that was the really nice thing about Japan, is everyone was really appreciative of the music.
MARK: The fans are amazing.
ALAN: We haven't really signed autographs that much before. Yeah!
CURTIS: But we were signing a lot of CDs and even signing iPods in Japan.
MARK: I signed someone's iPod and I wasn't sure if...
ALAN: If you were defacing it!
MARK: Yeah, if he wanted me to sign the iPod. I thought maybe I'd misunderstood. So I was kind of there with a Sharpie kind of lowering it to the iPod, going, "Where's he gonna say, 'What the hell are you doing?'" But then I touched it and it was fine and I signed two after that as well so...
ALAN: Right on the screen.
MARK: Yeah, that's right.
The new record's called 'Lily Perdida', which is theoretically, I guess, the name of the character who the record's about. Stylistically, it's quite different. There's a lot more real sounds rather than electronically processed sounds like there were on the last couple of records. It's more based on traditional ideas of folk music and rock music. It should be out early 2008, so January, February. And then we'll be touring, to support the release of the record, through the US at that time. At the moment, we're introducing a fourth member into the band to be able to play these songs live. The record has a mix of male and female vocals. We really now want to sort of have a lot more of a live element, and that's really exciting, and being able to sort of focus on the live performance and making it as good as we can make it.
If I make a record which I think is something that I wanted to make, then that record is always there for people to search out and hopefully enjoy. It alleviates that pressure to be successful, in a certain sense. If I can just keep on putting out the records I wanna put out, then I can sort of leave knowing that I did my best and that's there for people if it's something that they might enjoy.