reppin: sydney, australia // dine alone records & MGM // 2007 - present
sounds like: ever seen The Neverending Story? It is like taking a magical journey through the clouds with Falcor the Luckdragon
last album drop: synthia (feb, 2016)
featuring: nik kaloper // sam lockwood // hayley mary // heather shannon
Take a moment and think about the tracks you threw in your earbuds today or on your speaker system while you were getting ready. Did you play that song just because? Did you play it because there is a special meaning behind it? Or were you just stoked to hear that new track? On the surface music is so simple and euphoric, but you come across that band who brings you their tunes in such a more complex, yet more beautiful way. Then the lyrics kick in and you don’t just sing along to them, you find meaning behind them. And finally, you get to go see them live, in the flesh and watch as they play those tunes. The Jezabels are more than just music you hear...listen closer and take a dive into the story, interview and performance...
What started as 4 separate journeys back in 2007 has blossomed into one of the more consistent and ever evolving bands in Australia these days. Hailing from Sydney, these 4 musicians played around with their talent and musical desires through three successive EPs before they really started to rattle some emotions on a larger scale. “she’s so hard,” the second of the three, hit college kids hearts with a bang, which led to the dark, daring and beautiful “dark storm” EP. They began hitting the road for long periods of time across Australia and then grew to support some very well known acts across their homeland and the UK. Take yourself on an adventure through those EPs into their more recent albums. You’ll notice how their sound evolves and becomes multi-dimensional...and it is totally backed by 11 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) nominations and acclaimed reviews. Their first 3 full lengths debuted in the top 5 of the Australian music charts. And most recently, some rave reviews of the stimulating album, Synthia.
So this brings me to the moment you see these kids live, and more so with that latest album. Cynthia offers you this uplifting sound with these deep and darker lyrics that you would think contradict one another. The soothing intro of “stand & deliver,” the dark meaning of “smile” and i don’t give a fuck “pleasure drive.” Then you finally arrive at their finale of “stamina,” pulling and pushing you to a wide spectrum of dreaming and reality. Like their record, the live performance is more play than talk and more emotion than head banging. We all have our own stories and our personal mission of how we want to make it through life. But, listen closely, someone else’s story may intertwine with yours and when you can share that together live, well, that is an experience.
Tap into this journey of you all finding each other’s musical desires and blending it into one through these 9 years
Hayley: It is challenging to come together and write a new album...Synthia took 2-6 months, which is pretty fast by our standards. I think I’ve gotten better at it, at becoming one. We have very different taste and at the start our sound was chaotic and destructive, which provided a ton of energy and over time we’ve kind of learned where we can sit these different paths, which makes the music flow a lot better. Working with people creatively is non-sexual when the music is actually sex...an initial stage where you don
Sam: Naturally when you work together with people for ages you kind of become similar. You can’t really see it from a distance. We are like four conjoined people now
Heather: People glorify the whole the collaboration thing, you don’t need to be best friends, we need to be able to challenge one another.
The balance of your strong percussion, beautiful melodies and vocals throughout your albums are so vastly different from the stories you tell...tell us more about the sad behind the uplifting? What can kids going through the ups and downs of life learn from this?
Heather: I think this is something we try to do consciously
Hayley: Some of my favorite music is actually one dimensional, but it is kind of an old school thing now. I don’t think people today are able to accept one dimensional truths so there is always a contradiction in your circumstance...privileged westerners today are living in a golden age and have great resources and are sort of undermined by a constant guilt of what else is going on around the world. Things are always happening simultaneously...we can’t be isolated with the information age. I can’t see a moment that is purely sad or happy, it is all interconnected...to make a song or painting that is truthful is very difficult...nothing is original and that is fine, but it is how you tell the same stories and what you combine them with.
Sam: I see between music and vocals trying to sabotage any earnestness..it is like a natural censorship on our part
Tell me more about the meaning behind the name, most notably the biblical character, Jezebel, an issue that is so prominent these days. How do you see your band, voice fitting into the discussion and what positive vibe are you pushing?
Sam: With the age of the internet, the trolls, it is like a snake eating its own tail and it is really hard to engage of it, it the sense of just standing up for anything. We are in an unprecedented age where it is pretty bad. The foundation is crumbling when people tear you down when you are trying to stand up for something you believe in.
Hayley: This is a strange thing to say at this time, but it's funny because it feels like we’ve been going on about this for ages and for awhile it was waving in a dark corner...and now it is really kind of coming to forefront and agrees it is important. It is strangely glorifying because now it is in the mainstream because of Trump being elected. He is a symptom of the problem and now I don’t want to say there is optimism, but it is relevant and maybe can spawn something….it reminds me of vegetarian, I’m not hurting you, I’m not telling you to do anything, the fear of losing privilege. We’ve been coming to America the last few years and no one ever talked about politics and now everyone is!
Heather: There is a new program in Australia that helps domestic violence victims and it is interesting to see how people react online and when men immediately think they are the victim...it’s a strange time.
I really do feel like I’m taking this journey through Synthia...even just closing your eyes and imagining your own world is so doable, what was the goal of Synthia as far as communicating and connecting with your fans...as well as making new ones?
Hayley: I think it comes back to the contradictions...if you make things ambiguous enough the listener can make their own meaning of it.
Sam: You seem to be in the smaller crowd when you are trying to tell a story or make something that isn’t a drug based escapism. I think our producer is a good visionary when it comes to listener experience. He likes things to repeat a lot and build slowly.
You’ve expressed how much you love performing live, and how you miss it when you are not. What do you see in your audience, fan’s eyes that motivate you to keep doing this?
Hayley: This guy Gary who was almost 70 and came almost 300 miles to see us in Minneapolis and was so happy and stoked to be there...you could be my Grandpa, that’s amazing...it’s also a bit of an ego stroke as well, but we are always on the phone, computer and when we write a song, someone can tell us that that song helped them get over the fear of bridges that is amazing...it is the surprise factor when you go to a city so far away from where you could ever be
Sam: The human connection is a big drug from me...when we are at the merch table and you see everyone thanking you, being so nice.
Tell me about this transition and evolution of yourselves and people and musicians between the albums Prisoners and The Brink. What did you learn about yourselves and the world around you?
Hayley: When we first got together we just knocked a few songs around and it sounds good to you and we are having fun and not really sure what we are trying to achieve...not really realizing what is sounds like at the beginning. Then people start telling you what you should do and where you are going and what you sound like, then it is confusing and then you start writing music with all that in your head. Then it comes out the other side and you are like, no, fuck that. It takes awhile to go through that process. You go into form and look at songs and trying to make songs, and while some say that is the wrong intentions to write an album, but that is where we were at. Now, it is less of that youthful drive burst to write whatever and more considered. Coming out of that this new burst of energy brought so many more skills. Synthia was really beneficial of the process of writing
Heather: I mean you are always searching for what it is you want to do. You don't want to say too much though, you kind of want to outline
Sam: It is amazing how much you learn every time you write an album. First album - let's do what we can, second album - let’s what all that we can, and the last one was lets just try and do something. Looking back you can see the different things you wanted to achieve at that point. Almost subconscious
Words for those who don’t look for new music and the musician counterparts who are trying to find them?
Hayley: I don’t search for music, I’m exposed to it. My childhood, my parents played, meet some friend sand they play that. It is all experiential...but that is what is hard these days, there is so much to take in during this day and age, I don’t know what to listen to. Also, your local scene, I always try and listen to bands from Sydney...radio stations don’t tastemake anymore...people want familiarity and safety and that’s why they go to the radio, they don't want to be surprised. Certainly quite apt where today’s physci, the fear of the unfamiliar.
Heather: I’m going to find some weird obscure band from Iceland but now everything trends and it all really doesn’t sound unique to me. Mitsky is a Japanese born artist who is living in NYC who mixes this familiar sound with a different story and maybe that is a way to flip the script.
Sam: Just see bands live...I come across bands at festivals and such and yea, they are sweet. Radio just doesn’t do it for me. It is the last way to feel that connection, it is direct.
Finally, I use funny metaphors, or at least try, to describe band's sound...what should I use for you?
Everyone: Once a blog in Australia did a review if the bands using gifs and ours was from The Neverending Story, when the kid is riding that magical dog (laughs), Falcor. But instead, there is an old man on the dog flying around! (more laughs)
suggested listening experience: those nights it gets dark early and you need some tunes to get you through the rest of the day // getting cozy with that significant other // motivation for that next project