A Melbourne based duo, supporting the idea of decommissioning Canberra, a self-appointed Order of Australia member, a family worth millions, a privileged upbringing, and the last time they were here, they ended up yelling at their audience, “why do you even live here?! Canberra is too small!” It sounds like there isn’t a lot to like about CLIENT LIAISON. But, somehow there is.
I had a chat with Monte Morgan, one half of the synth-pop, disco-revival pair in question, and found some surprising tales to tell you. First up, the last time they played here, we left them with a pretty bad taste in their mouths. “It was one of the worst gigs of our entire lives,” Morgan said frankly of their Academy show. “There were only a few die-hard fans there, and people were treating it like a club night – so they were like ‘who are these fairies?’. I got heckled. I was even on my mic, walking through the venue, and some guy tried to push me into the corner while I was singing. Even the security guards were giving me rude gestures … so it was not the best night.”
I felt like I needed to apologise on behalf of Canberrans for such shameful treatment. “Nah, it’s all good,” the affable Morgan said. “To be honest by the end of the night I had a few too many drinks and began yelling back.” Hence the round of Canberra-based insults, but really, who could blame him?!
Morgan’s grandfather is Roy Morgan, founder of the market research colossus of the same name. The company has very much been kept in the family, with (Monte) Morgan’s dad once leading the charge to simply decommission Canberra – just pull it from government service. “My father had a campaign in the early ‘90s, I think, to decommission Canberra. He said it’s a bane to the Australian taxpayer.” Well, given the number of politicians that spend time here, their fat pay checks and all seemingly infinite perks, it’s hard to argue the point. “I do think Canberra is beautiful,” Morgan added, almost defensively of the Capital. “But I do like going along with that idea of just decommissioning a city. It’s just so controversial, ‘hey, all you people with all your lives and all your jobs – it’s over! We’re moving everything to Sydney! Melbourne deserves it, but Sydney is too competitive, so we’ll just give it all to them’.”
In doing my research on the duo, I of course consulted Wikipedia where I spotted that Harvey Miller (the other half of the double act) is an AO, or Order of Australia – reserved for the most outstanding members of the community, often philanthropists, sports stars, scientists, and those who fall into the “Aussie legend” category. Members are appointed on Australia Day by the Governor-General (on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) at the flagship ceremony in Canberra. I had to ask, was it true? But, alas, was informed it was a self-appointed accolade. “But include it [in your article], he hopes that people will include it in enough things that it becomes a reality.” So there you have it gents, it’s in here! Also, additional proof not to trust Wikipedia.
But despite Canberra-bashing (directly to their Canberra audience), supporting the notion of axing the city and making a mockery of a significant national award, Morgan says Canberra is dear to their hearts. “The first song on the album is about Canberra (‘Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight’) and we have a long history with the Capital. We really like the political landscape – Harvey is really into the theatre of politics. We like the architecture … but we are yet to have a knock-out show to show Canberra what we can really do. It’s always been pretty on the edge.”
Well, the stars may be aligning as the pair bring their band and a whole new game plan – braving Academy again. “We have a whole new bag of tricks!” Morgan said excitedly. “We are taking visuals up to the next level, especially when it comes to animations.” This sounds like a perfect fit for the underground club which used to be a cinema, and I believe still uses one of the screens from the old Electric Shadows (#CBRtrivia). The Acads audience will be treated to visuals dedicated to the architecture of Parliament House, and Morgan will also be sporting an undoubtedly suave suit with embroidered cockatoos on the front and Parliament House on the back. Slick, in a distinctly Client Liaison manner.
Rounding out the touring band is Harvey’s brother Geordie, an avid producer and electronic engineer in the making, and Tom Tilley of triple j Hack fame. So it seems Canberra is in for a pretty big show, but how is Morgan feeling about returning to the heart of the nation? “I think it’s growing and is really becoming something,” he muses. “I like that it’s so close to the mountains and that it’s so cold at night, and the wildlife – it’s a special place.” I don’t think I heard air-quotes down the phone line …