In the pre-earthquake moralistic confines of Christchurch, Von Klap enjoyed a mixed reputation for providing bawdy ‘carny prog’, musical entertainment of a quality that won them many fans among fellow musicians. Tim Moore played dan bau, keys and guitar in the band, with occasional vocals for good measure, while also running a bar called Goodbye Blue Monday. If his name sounds naggingly familiar however, it might well be because he is the author of Marlon Williams’ striking Silver Scroll-nominated single Dark Child. Amanda Mills talked with Moore about the Von Klap daze and his own recently released album, ‘Rough As Guts’.
Tim Moore moved from Christchurch to Melbourne four years ago in order to study nursing. He’s since headed way up to Darwin for work, a city which is pretty much, as he terms it, “…opposite from Christchurch.”
Moore met friend and erstwhile bandmate Sam Wilkinson a number of years ago, while he was in Cowboy Machine. Moore gradually became a part of Wilkinson’s band, Von Klap, or The Klap as they were still known at that pre-2009 stage.
After Moore joined, history has it The Klap changed their name upon realising it was international slang for what are these days safely referred to as STDs.
“I’d be keen if you kept that up!” Moore laughs at the reference. “We just got sick of it. There was another band called The Klap… so that was a reason we wanted to change it. We just said it was because we found out it was another name for gonorrhea!”
Von Klap cultivated their reputation as a party band with infamous stage shows that indulged their love of spectacle.
“It got to the point where we were doing some really big shows at the Mexican café in Christchurch… they just let us trash the place… I suppose we liked the idea of it being a distraction from how shit we were sometimes… If there’s confetti exploding constantly, it’s more fun.”
The band also had assistance – performance dancer, Tawdry Trainwreck (Audrey Baldwin). “She’d be on stage, stripping with us when we were playing. She’d be taking her clothes off, and taking everyone in the band’s clothes off, and putting bras on us, and strapping strap-ons to different parts of us while we were playing. It was distracting, and quite humorous to watch.”
Von Klap came to an amicable end in 2011, with all band members going their own ways. Moore played solo shows with Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents), and Christchurch’s alt-country darling Marlon Williams at his bar, Goodbye Blue Monday.
“Marlon would play every Monday night, or maybe Tuesday night, we’d just sit in the corner, and just play along, so that was a good buzz. I’d always been playing around, and supporting various bands, and doing my own thing.”
While Moore moved to Melbourne in 2012, ready for a change, he was still playing and writing music, and occasionally performed in his new hometown and back in Christchurch. Things changed with Marlon Williams’ recording of his song Dark Child, which was subsequently nominated for the 2015 Silver Scroll.
Dark Child is deeply personal to Moore. “It was written after a funeral… I was just thinking about how hard it would be as a parent… just trying to imagine what it would be like having a kid that had depression and addiction issues, and how destructive that would be for the psyche for someone, as a parent,” he explains.
“The song was hanging around for years before [Williams] started singing it, he went to record his album… and I said, ‘You can have any of my songs if you want.’ So, he did!”
Around the time of the 2015 Silver Scroll Awards, Moore was persuaded to put out his own album, ‘Rough As Guts’, which appeared on Christchurch’s Melted Icecream label with little fanfare, though the song Organ Grind got good student radio attention.
‘Rough as Guts’ was recorded at All Plastics Repairs studio in 2010, in pre-earthquake Christchurch.
“Sam played all the drums, and I played all of the other stuff, and we’ve got Michael Summerfield in for a couple of things, and Delaney Davidson… on slide guitar.
“I worked and worked on it, and got it right to the point where it was pretty much finished, and I just spent too long on it… it kind of needed that gap.”
The title reflects the DIY aesthetic of the album, where all sorts of unrelated music was thrown together, a kitchen sink approach as Moore describes it. His decision to release with Melted Icecream was pragmatic as the label’s Brian Feary found the tracks on a hard drive.
“Brian and Sam got in touch and were like, ‘Sort your shit out, we’re going to put this out’,” Moore says.
“I really like what Melted Icecream do… so, why not?” His working relationship with Wilkinson has been significant in their individual solo endeavours.
“I think a big thing is that we make each other get shit done!” Moore admits. “And we have a pretty similar sensibility in terms of what we want to achieve… I think we just compliment each other well.”
As of mid-January Moore moved to Darwin, and with that his musical plans for 2016 revolve around developing his songwriting.
“I kind of like the idea of isolating myself a bit and just working on home recording, and see what comes out of that. I’d really like to record an album that has some kind of unity and flow… that’s probably my aim for this year, just see what comes out of setting up my home recording studio.”