Words by Caleb Sweeting
I’m awaiting a call from Ambrose Kenny-Smith, the singer of Melbourne five-piece The Murlocs – the reason he is late for this phone interview is a valid one – he is getting ready for a four-week tour in Europe with his other band, you may have heard of them – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.
“I head off tomorrow night,” Kenny-Smith says in a tired but excited voice, “I’ve just been running around the house quickly trying get all my crap together.” You must be pumped I say, to which he replies, “Yeah, I’m gonna miss the summer here though going into the winter, having to pull out jackets from the cupboards…” It’s hard to imagine as we were transcribing this interview on a hot 34-degree day in Adelaide.
The reason we are talking is The Murlocs are set to release their second album, Young Blindness this Friday. I for one, am excited to hear the psych-rock outfit’s follow up from Loopholes.
“This time around we made sure we we’re all prepared”, he says. “I’m happy with all the performances, like all the takes with Loopholes, I think we’ve kind of rushed it after being frustrated with the last recording.” Though, he says he is more satisfied with their follow up LP. “I’m much happier with this one... I can still listen to it a year later and still be proud of it, unlike the previous.”
While the band has harnessed the harmonica in the past, Young Blindness has taken a different direction. “I haven’t really been writing anything on the harmonica,” he says, “I just sort of wing that on the spot - it takes long enough to get the sounds down and then by the time they’re down I’m unsure if it needs it or not.
“I’ve been writing a lot of songs just on guitar and I sort of bring it to the guys and then we kind of jam them out.”
Ambrose doesn’t just shred the axe and his voice box, he also shreds the box at his local skate park and his passion on four wheels has undoubtedly influenced the type of music he creates. “I guess a lot of musicians – you’d be surprised – grew up on skate videos, or surf videos and the music, so I guess without even realising I’m always trying to make music that I like and it sort of all came from those skate videos.”
His rigorous touring schedule in two bands, makes it hard for him to hold a job, “I’d like to,” he says. “I sort of come and go so much these days that I only get like a month between tours so it’s kind of hard… Gotta find someone that is insane enough to hire my lifestyle” (laughs).
“I’m grateful that I can keep Murlocs as active as it is, hopefully more once we put out this record and go overseas this year.” However, the singer is happy to have his fingers dipped in more than one pie…
“It’s always been my baby (The Murlocs), it’s just been neglected… I love equally playing in both bands, it’s just become bigger and recognised quicker and a bit more natural (King Giz) – like the singer Stu (Mackenzie) is just a maniac-genius, constantly making great music, so it’s always making me better as a player… I think if it wasn’t for them (King Giz) I’d be a lot shitter as a person” (laughs).
Young Blindness is out this Friday March 26... You can catch The Murlocs in the flesh on Thursday March 31 at Jive - tix on sale here.