LIVE REVIEW & INTERVIEW: THE JEZABELS @ LEEDS WARDROBE: 3/5

Words: Emily Ames

Images: Scott Salt

The Jezabels don’t really give a fuck and you either take it or leave it.

Friendly but nonchalant in the interview, they’re not giving more than you can suck out of them and they’ve done it one too many times to make it easy for you. The same goes for their performance. They’ll engage with the audience to a degree but no niceties needed when you’ve got your performance down to a T.

The Australian indie/rock band care about what they do, but have an attitude pertaining to those that don’t have a label to adhere too, but as a result do A LOT of touring. Their twitter reads “Sydney band on tour until you hear otherwise,” and while they may be tired of journalists, all that practice has lead to a tight as hell live performance.

Hayley’s voice is impressive and dramatic singing at extremely high and low octaves without being acrobatic while Heather with backing vocals and keys bring subtle gothic undertones to the mix. Sam and his guitar adds to the emo/rock/indie punch while the drums for me took centre stage. There’s no bassist. Deal with it.

Check out what the band had to say when we caught up with them in the Wardrobe restaurant…

EA: What decade of music do you most relate too?

Sam: I guess we could probably go chronologically. Heather goes first at like 1780….in the middle of Europe somewhere. I’m the 60s and 70s up until the 2000 which isn’t really a decade is it…..

Hayley: I’m probably the 80s. Some Cyndi Lauper stuff. But my favourite bands aren’t even from the 80s so I don’t know why I chose it. I just like the vibe, the overtness.

Nik: 90’s for me. Love the whole Seattle grunge movement and what was going on in America.

 EA: So you like a lot of denim

Nik: I guess…..

EA: Have you always been confident in what you do or was the initial support from radio stations in Australia vital in spurring on your career.

Hayley: Thanks for finally giving us a good question. Yeah I think we have always been confident but we had good feedback early on whether it was from radio or just people at shows.

 Heather: After our first release that didn’t get added to any playlist, apart from community radio, that would help us along substantially our general vibe was “fuck it lets keep going.”

Nik: I think we would have always kept going, just with different levels of confidence if we hadn’t got some of the great feedback.

 

EA: Do you ever feel like your creativity is hindered by the business side of your music?

Nik: Have you been in a band before?

Sam: We are very lucky in that respect because we don’t actually have a label in Australia. So we don’t have to answer to anyone creatively apart from ourselves. But you have to operate within a system like everything. We just maneuver rather than accept everything. I don’t think it restricts us….

Hayley: Yeah, but in regards to deadlines, single decisions, video clips, it does. The visual side we struggle with because we are really focused on the music, but the visuals are still important and part of your creativity but you are made to compromise because of business stuff.

EA: Where in the world do you feel most creative?

Heather: In a small room with just the four of us.

Nik: Retrospectively that’s where I’d say I’ve been most creative, I’d like to say on top of a mountain top in the Himalayas with my Alpacas wearing nothing but cloth.

Hayley: Not necessarily in a particular country but in a window. Looking out of a window with a beer. Or I’d sometimes even smoke a cigarette. Just a frame of mind. Movie moment

 Nik: You can never force creativity, like I’m gonna go and be creative because then it will just never come.

EA: Is there a main theme/mood/story that is explored in this album?

 Hayley: We’ve become aware that it is a concept album which we didn’t intend to do. The title suggests imprisonment of different kinds and escapism in the expansive nature of the music.

What is your favourite lyric in the album?

Nik: Think for both Sam and I, Hayley sings, “all my dreams were ordinary…”

Hayley: no…

Nik: I get lyrics wrong notoriously…

 Hayley: “I found my dreams were ordinary.”

 Heather: Mine is, “dancing as a child, like a figurine”.

EA: How did the recording of your album differ from the three EPs. Was there more pressure?

Nik: We tried a totally different approach where we wrote, demoed and recorded concurrently. We walked in, in the beginning of January, with maybe two ideas for two songs and knew that by July we’d have to get something mastered. And we just went in the studio, doing 12 hour days where we could and we’d record before we’d written other songs. Traditionally we’d write all the songs in the studio and then produce them but this was just ass-backwards.

 Heather: We felt the most pressure on our third EP because we were aware of what we had to do and what people expected of us. So we were more prepared for the pressure of the album.

EA: What’s your view of the British Charts. Have you got a vibe of the English music scene so far.

Hayley: I have no idea what’s in the British Charts. Reckon Adele is in there.

Heather: A lot of rubbish.

Sam: People like Example, I think are just so British. He goes well in Australia as well but that sort of grime/Dubstep/rap/pop is so British. I also think the vibe is more corporate here.

Nik: I don’t know if this counts as the music scene but I just have to share my fright when I saw something called Jedward on the television…what is that?

EA: You are opening for Benjamin Francis Leftwich in the US in April, do you enjoy support tours?

Nik: I love support tours.

Hayley: The only thing about support tours is that you don’t make money which is quite hard. You actually lose money. And because you don’t make money you don’t have a crew. Your doing all the work yourselves, which is what we are doing in our headlining tours everywhere but Australia, but at least were headlining.

Nik: You feel a lot more pressure when you are headlining though. I like when you are supporting and you are the underdog and it gives you a bit more gusto. And afterwards you get to have a beer and watch the headliner.

EA: Is there a gig/tour that stands out for you in your history as a band and what made it so memorable?

Heather: Our last Australian tour. It was really big for us and was a cornerstone….

 Hayley: It was crazy. We did 5,000 people in Sydney and that is just weird for a band. The year before that we were playing rooms of maybe 400 people. It was a massive jump, and a scary jump into theatres and other venues. All our family came and they finally registered that we do things…..

Nik: that we have jobs.

EA: What Australian bands do we need to listen too over in the UK?

Hayley: Tame Impala

Heather: Cloud Control

Nik: Agents of Abhorrence are amazing

Sam: Boy and Bear.

Hayley: Parkway Drive

For tourdates and more info check: http://thejezabels.com/

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