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Wednesday July 30th 2014

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Parlez-Vous Parlotones?

By Katya Ivanov

Hailing from Johannesburg, The Parlotones are the highest-grossing band from South Africa, where their albums earned multiplatinum status. They completed a 300-date world tour in 2010 and played Live Earth. They set off for North America in 2011 and stopped by DeLuna Fest last fall. This year, they return to Pensacola with their high-energy stadium rock in the wake of their new album.

They met after school after a mutual friend suggested they start a band. Now music is their full-time job. Their image has evolved over the years. Their lead singer Kahn Morbee is known for his soaring vocals and striking eye makeup. “We try to create a ‘uniform’ on stage to be more visually interesting,” said lead guitarist and keyboardist Paul Hodgson. “Sometimes a band in jeans and t-shirts is just a little boring.”

IN: What did you think of DeLuna Fest last year?
HODGSON: We had an awesome time, it was definitely one of the best experiences we had last year.

IN: What do you enjoy most about performing live? Touring internationally?
HODGSON: No matter how tired or down you’re feeling during the day, the second you hit the stage you come alive. It’s really the best part of being in a band. We enjoy touring, we got to see our whole country, and now we’ve pretty much seen most of the world. We’ve crossed America numerous times, we’ve spent years in the UK, and have also traveled to Russia, Japan and Australia. It’s truly a privilege to be able to travel the world doing what we love.

IN: How has travel influenced your musical development?
HODGSON: You meet many different bands and musicians; hear all kinds of different music and experience different cultures. Your “world view” is definitely expanded. You experience things you never would if you never left your hometown, city, or country. We’ve had some crazy experiences, and it all filters through into your music.

IN: What was your favorite album to work on?
HODGSON: “Journey Through the Shadows,” the most recent one.

IN: What compels you to make music?
PARLOTONES: The love of it, it’s almost magical the way songs come together. Often listening back to songs we’ve written and recorded, we don’t even know how we came up with most of the stuff. It’s a constant learning experience; you’re never quite good enough and always pushing to improve your technical abilities, your songwriting skills and your gear.

IN: Could you please share about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro?
PARLOTONES: It was probably the toughest thing we’ve ever done, physically and mentally. We all got to the top, which was an amazing achievement, but none of us are keen to do it again anytime soon!

IN: Your music videos have won numerous awards and demonstrate mastery of an art form and tell stories in their own right. How involved are you in the conception and direction of the videos?
PARLOTONES: We provide the song, the video-makers do the rest! We don’t try to interfere too much with their ideas. They know what they’re doing and we leave them to it. We have been lucky enough to work with some really creative and talented people over the years, and they’ve been a big part of our journey as a band.

IN: How did “Dragonflies and Astronauts” in 3D come about, and do you plan to pursue another theatrical/streaming project?
PARLOTONES: We recently did a “storyteller” kind of show, which was also broadcast worldwide on the Internet. It’s definitely an idea that’s going to become more commonplace. The experience of actually being at a live show will never be replaced, but it’s an awesome platform for people around the world to “see” your band live if you’re not in their city or country.

THE PARLOTONES
WHEN:  Saturday, September 22
WHERE: DeLuna Fest, Pensacola Beach
DETAILS: theparlotones.net, delunafest.com