The Parlotones are making impactful waves in their wake as they continue their epic adventure of world expansion – having kicked off a two month, three continent ‘A World Next Door To Yours’ tour to release the first single and promote the second international album. In fact, Id go as far as to say that the word ‘parlo’ is soon gonna be on a par with expressions such as ‘phat’, ‘massive’ and ‘mega’ – a word portraying an extremely sizeable presence – a presence which the Parlotones have created, and one deserving of a word to encapsulate it. The Collins and Oxford dictionaries should add it to their list for the upcoming edition! (Note: to be used in the context of ‘whoa, that gig was totally parlo man!”)
And the Parlotones lead singer, Kahn Morbee, is a man on a serious mission, with a birth name of Dingaan (as in Shaka Zulu’s brother), Kahn’s inherent fighter spirit is evident. “Else I wouldn’t have chosen music as my career,” muses Kahn! From humanitarian work as an ambassador for WWF’s recent Earth Hour climate campaign, to being the black shirt, red tie guy with radiating eye-liner escaping down his face like Johnny Depp’s gouged out eyes in ‘Once upon a time in Mexico’, Kahn is a multi-talented member of the parlo four who perform on stages across the world!
Just how big they’ve become, Kahn answers humbly with a reply that makes complete sense, yet gives little capacity of the coverage and exposure they’ve attained. “I supposed it’s like watching a child grow Р when you’re with that child everyday you don’t notice, but if you didn’t see that child for say, two years, the growth would seem electric!”
To put some context around the scale of their world assault, the Parlos played over 300 gigs last year alone – from Africa to Europe and across to Dubai. Factor in the plane and train transit times and you’ll realise that these boys are massively in demand. “Our biggest following is definitely in SA and Namibia, followed by pockets of fans in Germany and the UK! And we are now starting in the US where we recently signed a management deal and have just played New York for the first time,” reflects Kahn, “and since the beginning of this year we’ve been to the top industry showcase events too – in January to Midem in Cannes and last month to South by South West in Texas!”
To refresh your memories or introduce you to the Parlos rise to fame – it was back in 2006 with a track called ‘Beautiful’ used in a Fuji Film ad in Ireland that the Parlotones got their big international break. Taken on board by Universal, they were the first ever SA band to receive a multi-territory record deal.
Now with new album ‘A World Next Door To Yours’ imminently being released around the world, starting in the US, then followed by the UK where they are taking part in a practical and clever ‘artist exchange’ whereby they piggy-back a local band on a national tour to build new fans where die hard ones already exist for the hosting artist – in this case British indie rockers Starsailor. The Parlotones have already hosted Starsailor in SA!
And from always doing things on a ‘parlo’ scale – they have developed an expectation of greatness in their music videos and they’ve been recognised for this talent as well! At the recent MK awards in March (SA’s equivalent of MTV), the Parlos received not one, not two, but three awards for their video ‘I’ll be there’, in the categories of best video, best animation and best serenade!
Animator/director Claudio Pavan of Lung Animation is behind the creations and has walked a long road with The Parlotones. In 2008, the ‘I’ll Be There’ video also won the Loerie Kraft Award (advertising awards), marking the first time a music video has won a Loerie! And they were recently nominated for three SAMAs – one in the best music video category for Overexposed!
For this new single ‘Overexposed’, the Parlotones went plastic to prove that to be massive, you don’t have to be larger than life. In fact, 3D animated versions of the band members, Kahn complete with spider eyeliner streaks of course, is the concept behind the addictively adorable animated video to support the new single, set on a roof top, with Table Mountain firmly planted in the background. Complete with plastiscened turtles, monsters and multi-coloured bunnies bouncing down the streets of animated Cape Town, this video is yet another ingenius piece towards building their parlo empire, well on the way to achieving their global goal!