Q&A :: Elizabeth Morris – Allo Darlin’
October 3rd 2012
Allo Darlin’ – it’s an interesting greeting, isn’t it? You can even say it in different accents and it brings a new meaning. Try, Hagrid. Now try a Texan oil miner. See? Completely different meanings, both kind of creepy. Though the phrase Allo Darlin’ can bring smiles of joy, especially when somebody is talking about the London-based band. FBi’s Lee Tran Lam had a chat with frontwoman Elizabeth Morris of this London-based band and discussed everything from being chased by men with sledgehammers, to Weezer frontman smashing a ukulele.
You’ve just started your first Australian tour. What’s on your Australia to-do/to-visit list?
Bill [Bassist] and I have been to visit our families in Queensland. My sister has been getting married this last weekend, which was why we were able to come out and play this tour – she had Allo Darlin’ as her wedding band. It was very nice to play our song ‘Capricornia‘ under Capricornia skies!
Today, we might be going to the Koorana Crocodile Farm, show the boys some big teeth! And I’ll also drive them to the whale that is the cover of the Capricornia single. It was once an aquarium, but now I think it’s abandoned.
What have been your favourite experiences of touring? And the downright lowlights?
Going around America for a month earlier this year has been my favourite tour so far. It really didn’t seem real – everything looks like it does in the movies. But we have been lucky enough to tour a lot these last three years we’ve been a band; so many places stand out in my memory. The lowlights – well, there have been a few. Being chased by a man with a sledgehammer in Montreal and crashing our van the first day of a five-week European tour spring to mind first!
A few of your songs reference other bands (Weezer on ‘Kiss Your Lips‘ & The Go-Betweens on ‘Tallulah’) and you’ve done some great cover songs for the Rough Trade release of your latest album, Europe. Have the respective bands heard these songs? Do you know what their reaction has been?
Well, I know that Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens has heard ‘Tallulah’, as I gave it to him myself, but I don’t know what he thinks. He’s such a gentleman – I’m sure he’d be polite, whatever he really thought! I have no idea if Weezer have heard our song, they exist in a different universe to us. They’d probably hate it, as when I saw Weezer play in London last year, [frontman] Rivers smashed a uke on stage, so I’m guessing he doesn’t like the instrument.
Besides your own material, what are some interesting tracks that have slipped onto your set list?
Well, we learned a bunch of covers to play at my sister’s wedding: Dancing Queen, Call Me Al and so on. They were fun to play but really hard! Recently we’ve been playing a song by The Just Joans, a great indie pop band from Scotland. It’s called ‘If You Don’t Pull‘. Sometimes we play those other covers that are on the Rough Trade version of the album, too.
What do your parents think of your band? Are there going to be some family members checking out this tour?
We’re lucky that all of our folks are very supportive and love to come to the gigs. Lots of Bill’s family will be at the Brisbane show, and some of mine, too. Paul’s sister lives in Sydney now and she’ll come to that show. Hopefully lots of old friends will be at the shows, too!
Do you think there’s a reason why Australia pops up in quite a few of your songs?
Well, when I was writing the songs for Europe, my visa for the UK was about to expire, and I had no idea how I would be able to stay. So I was thinking a lot about what I would take back home with me, if I had to leave. So naturally Australia popped into my mind a lot, as well as places in Europe. I suppose I have an expat’s view of Queensland, particularly – which leads me to see things differently. Perhaps through rose-tinted glasses. I would love to live in Australia again sometime, but I can’t see it happening for a long time.
What do you have coming up next?
After we play these Aussie shows, we’ll go home to London for two weeks, then we’ll be away for all of November touring the continent. It’s a nice way to finish off touring Europe, back where it all began. Then we have Christmas 7″ coming out on December 7, as part of a singles club for the WIAIWYA label. Then we’ll give ourselves a holiday, I think!
What: The first ever Sydney gig for Allo Darlin’
Who: Allo Darlin’ with Monnone Alone and O Little Sister
Where: Green Room Lounge, 156 Enmore Road, Enmore
When: Friday October 5
How Much: Free