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Roy Molloy Alex Cameron
Nine Songs
Roy Molloy

Alex Cameron’s saxophonist and business partner talks Sean Kerwick through the songs that are currently pricking up his ears.

06 September 2019, 08:00 | Words by Sean Kerwick

Roy Molloy and Alex Cameron enjoy a unique partnership. Whilst Cameron is technically a solo artist, Molloy has remained his saxophonist, business partner and confidant since the release of 2014s’ Jumping The Shark. The pair have experienced a wild ride together since meeting at the age of five, when Molloy moved in next door to the Cameron household in New South Wales, Australia.

Cameron recalls a particularly special moment in the partnership’s history as he revealed his Nine Songs to us. After finding a fan in The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, the pair were invited to support the band on a worldwide arena tour. “We were up there every night playing to 15,000 - 20,000 people” Cameron recalls. “Roy took his top off, greased up and played saxophone in front of all those people in Melbourne. We just pulled the fucking house down man. You don’t know if moments like that are meant to happen or will ever happen again.”

Aside from providing soaring sax solos and business acumen to the partnership, Molloy also brings a lighthearted edge to their shows - his in-depth reviews of stools mid-set have become famous among their fanbase. He approaches these monologues with the cool collectedness of a stand-up comedian 20 years deep into their career. This same aura of calm collectedness must have been accessed when he rescued a boy from drowning on Rockaway beach in a rip tide just last year - the event made national news and prompted Russell Crowe to Tweet that everyone should follow Molloy on Twitter

I caught up with Molloy in the midst of some downtime in New York, before the release of Cameron’s forthcoming third record Miami Memory. “I’m out here in Rockaway, Queens strolling down the Boardwalk,” he explains over the phone. “Right down the street from me, around a 10 -12 block walk, there’s a crane graveyard.” If you’ve scrolled through Molloy’s Twitter or Instagram feeds, you’ll be acquainted with the crane obsession that defines his online persona; he now gets sent pictures of the towering construction devices that pierce our skylines from fans all over the world.

“They’ve just dumped all these old cranes in what looks like an abandoned shipyard, so that’s my local resource but New York itself is a cornucopia, well a ‘crane-ucopia’. It’s real nice.”

It’s very clear what Molloy brings to the records and onstage, so I ask whether he gives any direction on Cameron’s lyrics or compositions in the studio. “No, Alex is the guide there. He’s an incredible songwriter as you know. I just cling on for dear life and try and throw in an idea every now and then. When you’re with a songwriting force like Al Cam, you’re better off just encouraging him and letting him do his thing.”

Molloy’s Nine Songs are comprised of recent gems that have popped up on his radar. “I realised as I looked over the song list that I haven’t included anything with saxophone on it, but not to worry. These are the songs that have come across my desk in the last couple of weeks or months that have made an impression. I tend to flog a song once i’m listening it. I’ll play it fucking again and again until I can’t stand it anymore, so these are the kind of songs that have done that to me.”

“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

“I don’t really get the chance to listen to the radio or playlists too much, but this is one which strangely filtered through to me via Twitter and Lizzo has this incredible Twitter presence. I saw the song, hit play and since then it’s been a jamming hot track - the lyrics are so fucking awesome.

“She’s such a great singer. ‘Truth Hurts’ has become the sort of song which makes you want to scream “This is my song!“ and dance around the bar or whatever. It’s become a bit of a party track, I love it and gets me really jacked up. I’m becoming a big fan of Lizzo.”

“Listen To My Song” by Darondo

“This was one that I heard for the first time when I was working in Colorado, at the camps where they trim the hemp and the marijuana. You’re trapped in these little compounds with these random groups of people, where someone’s going to grab the aux cord and you won’t have control of what you hear.

“That can range from somebody playing Jedi mind tricks all day to people coming through with an obscure ‘70s track like this Darondo one. I had never heard of Darondo and now I fucking love him. This song is so red hot, he’s got such a great voice.

“When I was making this list I came across a really good YouTube video for the song that someone made, I think it’s the guy Darondo walking around an American town. The song initially really caught my attention though, it builds so nicely and there’s something so assertive about the title. Anyways, it stuck with me and I ended up flogging it to death.”

“This World Should Be More Wonderful” by Shintaro Sakamoto

“I don’t actually know anything about the artist. In New York, come summertime you end up with a lot of house guests and I’ve got a free couch, so a really good friend of mine was staying over and she showed me this the other day.

“I’ve been lying on the beach a lot. I live right around the corner from Rockaway Beach, so I go there to watch the planes go over and listen to some nice mellow music like this track. The guitar in it is so hypnotic, it’s got such a beautiful warm feeling.

“It’s another one of those in my ‘thumbs up’ playlist which I’ve been cranking recently. The feeling in the air is stinking hot, so it’s nice to have something a bit cooler and more mellow in your ears.”

“Man With a Gun” by Jerry Harrison

“This is such a great track, it’s really beautiful. I don’t know whether the message in the lyrics is any good, but I love the feeling he generates across this song and that whole album Casual Gods.

“The first track on it is called ‘Rev it Up‘ and when I was back in Los Angeles I had this beautiful mid-‘90s Lexus that I’d drive round and feel like the coolest motherfucker around. The mid-‘90s was when Lexus really focussed in on that crossover of executive luxury and motoring comfort, it’s a beautiful era of vehicle.

“Unfortunately, we defaulted on a few parking tickets and stuff like that and the car is trapped in Los Angeles, so I’ve progressed to a nicer song which is this, ‘Man With A Gun.’”

“Water of Love” by Dire Straits

“That first eponymous Dire Straits record, I can listen straight through that thing again and again, it’s an album that’s never really floated up for me. ‘Water Of Love’ makes me feel so much longing, but it also makes me feel a bit sexy. It’s got such a nice rhythm section and Mark Knopfler’s guitar is out of control. It’s just a sexy song that I had to put on this list.

“They’ve got a ton of great albums and that’s the kind of stuff my parents were cranking when I was a kid, but definitely for me that first album really hit a home run for us. We’ve got plenty of driving to do, so you need good albums to burn up that highway. The whole album holds up.”

“Wonder Girl” by Sparks

“This song came to me a funny old way. I’ve been Twitch streaming a lot and I’ve been playing a lot of the cowboy game Red Dead Redemption and trying to build up a little online posse. That actually ended up being mostly fans of the music, so they’d watch me game and come and game online with this avatar.

“It’s quite absurd, I had no idea that video games had even reached this point. I probably hadn’t played a video game for five or six years, since me and Alex agreed “Enough time with that shit, we need to get a couple of records out.” We’ve got record number three done and in the can and thought it was time we deserved to buy ourselves a PlayStation. So I’ve been ripping through this game and playing online with fans and one of them suggested this Sparks track. I had no idea about the project, then another friend whose staying with me showed me the track, it sort of sounds like sexy clown music, I really dig it.

"When I’m playing the game I try and concentrate. I go into the tunnel when I’m out there online and in a lot of ways the music soundtracks it perfectly. I can’t tell you how strange the feeling is, to be riding a horse through a prairie in a video game on the internet. It bugs me out, but I love it and Sparks has been the soundtrack to it.

"CameronMalloyAssociates is the tag you can sign into and from about 6 or 7pm EST is when I come online. It’s coming up to that time here now, so I’m getting ready to saddle up and self-actualise as a cowboy. My avatar in the game is sunburnt as well, so that enhances the feeling of reality and thankfully it’s starting to cool off a little as well.”

“Underneath It All” by No Doubt

“Another guy sleeping on my couch played some No Doubt songs the other night and ‘Underneath It All’ was one of them. I’m a bit of a follower when it comes to music, I’m lucky that the people around me have good taste, otherwise who knows what I’d be listening to.

“I had no idea that I might have been into ska-punk. The pop songs that they were writing were just out of control, the songs are so fucking good. There’s a dive there to be done and the album that has ‘Just A Girl‘ on it is great. I did a little dive the other day and thought I’d need to throw some respect to Gwen Stefani for that.”

“Putoan Kaivossa” by Risto

“‘Putoan Kaivossa‘ is in Finnish. Our drummer Henri is Finnish, he’s an amazing player, he tours with us all over the world and he’s a wonderful guy. We finally played a show in Helsinki, so it was a hometown show for him. We played this big festival and all of his friends were there and this guy Risto was playing the festival.

“I went along with him to watch it. Risto played this song and in the chorus he stopped singing, the crowd picked it up and sang it with such passion and delivered this roaring chorus. I was dumbfounded, it was such a beautiful moment. Then I spoke to Henri and he explained to me the lyrics were about kidnapping someone and explaining “you’re gonna kill him.” I thought that was a bitter Finnish moment.

“This song made one of my playlists and I listen to it all the time now. The rest of his stuff is incredible too. It’s so sweet and so pretty, but the lyrical content is not so PC.”

“Junkie Logic” by SPIKE FCUK

“She’s a great songwriter out of Melbourne and she’s going to be releasing some really exciting new stuff soon. I guess she played a couple of shows with us a few years ago, that was how I discovered her.

“That “Junkie Logic” song is a really nice concise Melbourne story. They’re really clever lyrics, I love the way she writes songs and her voice is really pretty. I enjoy that song a lot and I had to add it to this list. My finger is totally off the pulse on the Australian scene unfortunately, but I hope she can come over to the US and do some work with us another time.

Miami Memory is released 13 September via Secretly Canadian
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