The Parlotones frontman Kahn Morbee tells his story about the man behind the make-up and the Fender guitar.
Morbee was born in Belgium and he moved to South Africa with his parents at the age of two. He explained that most people only know him as Kahn but his real first name is Dingaan.
“My mother was against apartheid and she called me Dingaan because of that,” said Morbee with a smile on his face. The singer said that he is a real West-Rand ‘boytjie’, as he grew up in Roodepoort and attended school in the area as well.
He explained that his love for music came from a young age. “I was in primary school when I started to play guitar and I wanted to be part of a band but no one ever gave me a chance and I thought ‘screw this’, I’m going to start my own band one day.”
Morbee said that after school, he didn’t know what he wanted to do for a living although he kept on dreaming about performing one day. “I spoke to one of my buddies who mentioned that he was going to study BA Communication Studies, so I decided to do the same and I enrolled to study at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) although it was still called RAU back then.”
He explained that he met Glenn Hodgson and his brother Paul and The Parlotones started jamming as a garage band in 1998. “I can’t believe that we have been jamming together for 16 years already and Glenn and Neil Pauw feel like family members to me.”
Prior to The Parlotones, Morbee worked as an IT technician at a very popular internet-based company and after that he started a job as a financial broker. “The only reason why I became a broker is because it freed up some of my time so that I could spend more time in the afternoons writing songs as I jammed every single night at various venues with my band mates.”
Morbee says the band became well known across South Africa in 2006 and one of his favourite memories of the ‘early days’, was when the band performed at the Coca-Cola Dome in 2009. “We became the first South African band to sell out the Coca-Cola dome that year with about 13000 fans who attended that show of ours.” He added that another proud moment for him was when the band performed at the opening concert of the 2010 FIFA World Cup with famous artists like The Black Eyed Peas and Shakira.
Morbee explained that his trademark show make-up actually happened because the band wanted to stand out at a show. “A couple of years ago we did a show at a cosmopolitan party and we played with eight other bands. We wanted to stand out and be remembered, so I applied the make-up and it has been a hit ever since.”
After all of the touring with the band, the singer decided to start his solo career. “I thought it was time to start working on my own unique sound, but I’m still involved with The Parlotones, before people start worrying.” He explained that he will be known only as KAHN for his solo performances. “I’m already performing shows as a solo artist, but although my solo album is not available yet, songs from the album are available on www.muchlovekahn.com.
He concluded and said that the Parlotones will still keep on making music and they are currently working on their next album which will be called The Lost Singles. “The album will launch in April next year and it will have 22 singles on it that we’ve never used on any of our CDs before because they never fitted in, so we decided to create a misfit album.”