Much can be said about Chelmsford’s KLOQ, who surfaced onto the electronic music scene in 2005 and three years later wowed with the brilliant ‘Move Forward’; an innovative, intelligent, ultimately a club album, which proved that Oz Morsley’s production knowledge and experience was indeed vast and branching out of the synth genre in many a direction.
2013 ‘Begin Again’ drifted away from the previous album’s path and made no impact on puzzled KLOQ fans, who expected more Doug McCarthy and less of the accidental mish-mash of tunes.
The reviews, however, were mostly positive and the chart positions commendable. ‘The Gun’ EP released this summer however, promised a comeback to the fluidity of work Morsley is capable of, and marked a vengeance return into the electronica field, interspaced with the influences of other genres, which KLOQ like to indulge in.
TEC chatted to KLOQ’s Oz Morsley about the past, present and what the future may hold for them…
Having worked on EMPIRION, what were the expectations when setting up KLOQ?
The original expectation was to release any material I wrote at the end of empirion or straight afterwards and see what happened. I had mainly techno/industrial tracks kicking around so I finished what I could and released on a couple small labels one of them being Atomic Reactor from Brighton. At that point I was trying to pick up the pieces from EMPIRION and carry on with what I knew, I wanted to develop KLOQ and had a few ideas in mind, one of them was being in a position to collaborate with vocalists and musicians. This is where I began to think about KLOQ being a live band rather than a studio project.
The vision to create a perfect live band, did that happen for you?
Yes, but there’s been so many people come and go that the shape of the band has taken some left turns from time to time. I think at the beginning I almost had it right but after my original frontman Greg departed the band, it left a question as to where KLOQ should go next.
I really believe that a live electro band is what people want to see. There’s been some musical changes and member changes, but I have to say that the current line-up and material is the way forward for KLOQ… and I also believe that the best is yet to come now that we are all together.
How did the collaboration with Doug McCarthy come about?
Me and Doug spent quite a bit of time together back then, he would come out to my house in the country and stay for a weekend, have good food, good drinks, and do some shit in the studio. I’d written some music for some films he’d directed and we got on well together in the studio. There’s a few tracks we didn’t even release that are still kicking about somewhere. I had a couple of songs that were marked for the first KLOQ album and played them to him, he came up with lyrics pretty much on the spot and that was it. I think we recorded ‘We’re Just Physical’ at my studio while he was staying over and then we recorded ‘You Never Know’ at his flat in London… in his living room !
In a nutshell… loads of ideas, loads of experimenting with production and instruments, and loads of collaborating with vocalists. I had no clear plan until it was all done. The album is quite a mixture on styles and influences, this never worried me to be honest and my way of looking at it is that most people are probably like me when it comes to music… I don’t listen to one type or style of music, I like to listen to an album that is different and doesn’t repeat each track over and over again.
I’ve heard so many albums that almost scared of doing something different and pushing the envelope. I’ve always released music that might not always fit but that’s the gamble… sometimes it works… sometimes it doesn’t. This time it worked.
‘Begin Again’ received positive reviews, but fans didn’t take to it as readily as the previous release. Are you happy with what you set out to achieve on it?
At the time of this album being made, the band had gone though so many changes. We had changed two singers, a drummer, added a new guitarist, a new manager, left the label we were signed to, wanted to take KLOQ into the mainstream along side of personal issues etc etc. This was always going to be hard for old KLOQ fans to jump on board… the sound had changed so much it could almost have been a new band altogether, we were desperate to gain more fans from other places and this was not going to go down well with the ‘Move Forward’ fans.
We gained new fans and lost old fans, that’s how it goes when you try pushing in different directions, you simply have to take it on the chin and crack on. Yes… looking back I would change things but that’s mainly because I’m comparing it to the last few years and the last album, that’s not always the best thing to focus on though, I learnt a lot on that album and that’s what really makes me want to show people what KLOQ can do now.
You remix a lot of artists. Which remix was your favourite to work on?
How can I possibly choose one? Argh ! I dunno… the obvious answer is the ‘Firestarter’ remix because it was back in a time when EMPIRION were touring and hanging out with the guys from THE PRODIGY and everything was so fucking rock n roll. Liam Howlett massively threw us a bone and helped us with our profile back then and to get asked by him to remix one of the best electronic tracks of all time was crazy. There are so many remixes we did back then and we enjoyed working on all of them… well most of them… I think we had to do one or two “political” remixes like most people *laughs*
Yes definitely, we all wanted to bring the harder side of KLOQ to the table. It’s where we feel more comfortable. I really like the breaks type feeling of the drums and the distorted bass, it’s got a lot more balls to it now. It still sounds like the band but the electronics guide the way again just as they should, like the first album, I hope everyone gets it this time.
How does the new EP ‘Behind The Screams’ differ from ‘The Gun’?
It’s the second part of the story really, the sound and feel is the same across all eight tracks of both EPs and we just had to split them up and devide them so each EP sounded balanced and not too much in one direction. The second EP will kick as much as the first one and we can’t wait to get it out there. The track ‘Behind the Screams’ is one of our favourite tracks to play live, we normally end on that one, it’s a killer and you can see the reaction from the crowd… it goes down very well.
You’re gigging again soon…
We’re almost starting from scratch again with these new songs and the gigs. There’s not too many old fans that turn up to see us if I’m honest, but there’s loads of new fans getting to hear it and it’s going down well, so all we can ask for is to get the music out there and let people make up their own minds. We like to give the live shows a lot of energy so that’s what we’ll be doing… we like to have a bit of a laugh on stage also.
Are we to expect any big names for the future productions?
I’d love to get some more collaborations going in the future. We’ve been concentrating on ourselves for now but who knows what will come along in the future. The first album worked really well because it was a collaboration with other vocalists, but we never got the chance to do that on the second album, I think mainly because we had cemented ourselves as a band, we had a new singer (Dean) and a new drummer and we felt that we had to set this in stone. Therefore working with other vocalists just wasn’t on the cards at that point.
Your musical influences are quite eclectic and it’s hard to place you into a genre. Is that something you do purposely?
Kind of. I mean, there’s something to be said about sounding like another band or artist because it means that people have something to compare you to and if they can relate to your style/sounds etc then it generally helps the transition of people getting into your music. I don’t actually know who we sound like and what people are into us ! I’m guessing people who are into the normal electronic crossover bands would be the ones who pick it up.
We do try and make the music accessible to people who are into the electronic scene, we try and create a link or path to these bands but it’s hard to know whether we’re getting it right. However, we do feel at the same time it’s good to have something different and to stand out…..bottom line is that we try not to over think it and just do what comes naturally when we make the songs.
The idea of releasing couple of EPs before a full length album is a clever PR exercise… is the album dead as a format?
Well, the original thinking was that we wouldn’t release an album but put the songs out on two EPs… but everyone keeps asking us “when will the album be out?”… hahaaa!
We thought this time around we wouldn’t bother doing all the promo for one release (an album), but we would simply try and keep the promo going for two EPs as this would give us more exposure over a 3-4 month period.
I don’t think the format of an album is dead but we certainly wanted to try another route with these songs. It’s also probably down to us not being overly precious about how the music is delivered to people… the idea of creating this perfectly created album with months of promo and campaigns didn’t really make us excited if I’m honest. We wanted to do it ourselves this time and see what came of it.
Are there any album plans? What’s next for KLOQ?
I’d like to think so. It’s all down to how long it would take and if everyone would get bored waiting for another album? It might be a case that we keep going with EPs? We don’t really know at this stage… let’s see what comes about first.
I do know that the next songs will be a lot more in balance and the sound of KLOQ will be more refined, we know where we are going musically again now so I’m sure that the best is still yet to come. It’s been a strange old journey to get to this place in time, there’s been so many changes but now more than ever it feels like we could really kick some doors down and make ourselves known… so I guess that’s what we’ll concentrate on for now.
The Electricity Club gives its sincerest thanks to KLOQ
KLOQ play London Camden Dublin Castle on Friday 27th November 2015
Text and Interview by Monika Izabela Goss
23rd November 2015