The Jezabels | The Brink | Interview

January 13, 2014

When I was first asked to do an interview with The Jezabels, I wasn't sure if I would do it or not. Not because of them, but because I've only ever done interviews via email and actually talking to someone seemed so daunting. However in the spirit of getting out of your comfort zone, and the fact that I'd be an idiot to turn it down, I said yes. So a couple of weeks ago I nervously sat by my phone waiting for Heather (Piano, Keyboard) to give me a buzz. Here's what happened...

What are some of the themes and influences for your new album The Brink?
It’s a bit of a dramatic title The Brink, it was a very challenging year for us to move to London and be writing through the coldest winter we’ve ever experienced. There was a feeling of living on the edge and really trying to find your feet, not really knowing what we were doing and working towards. A lot of challenged cropped up along the way, adjusting to a new place.

The themes are quite similar to Prisoner, still romance and melodrama. There’s one song in particular that she (Hayley Mary, Vocals) tried to be, in a very subjective way, talked a bit more about politics, individual politics.

How does The Brink differ from your first album?
Musically it’s very different, with Prisoner we recorded it and wrote at the same time, which made things slightly more difficult and more stressful. This time we jammed and wrote six months before we even recorded anything. It really freed us up and we could trial and error a lot of things, rather than have to make decisions quickly. It’s a bit more straight forward, a bit more inviting to listen to and more consolidated and clearer with our ideas.
via Two Fish Out Of Water
How did you encounter Jarek Puczel’s (album artwork) paintings?
Chris Doyle, our art director, found the artwork and we absolutely loved it. There are also other artworks of Puczel’s that are throughout the album as well. They’re all really cool and this one seemed really intimate.

While 90% of the comments on your video The End are positive, there are some negative and criticizing comments, do you take much notice of criticism and how do you handle it?
When we first started out you’re sort of more aware of it and it affects you a bit more, but you can’t make everyone happy. If I come across something like that I think 'fair enough, that’s a good point,' but you can’t do anything about it. It’s cool though, I like that people talk about it.
via Two Fish Out Of Water
What’s it been like touring the UK with the Pixies and Depeche Mode?
It was really cool, I actually didn’t really know much of Depeche Mode’s music before we toured so I got to know their music through the tour. The production was massive, and their performance was incredible. It was really cool to see and think oh god, we have so far to go. You learn a lot from them and it pushes you into trying to be better.

Are the audiences different in the UK to Australia?
Not really, when you’re doing a support gig it’s different because everyone was there to see Depeche Mode and were all diehard fans. A lot of Eastern European goths. A lot of the time they were polite and just listened quietly but then sometimes up north in the UK it gets a bit more rowdy and people shout things to you and you have to play on. You have to have a bit more of a thick skin.

What can audience expect from your Laneway Festival shows? 
We’ll play probably half new, half old. Mix it up a bit.

Which bands on the Laneway lineup you looking forward to seeing? 
Pretty much all of them. There’s a couple of songs by Chvrches that I really like so I want to see them, and Haim, I’m a bit curious about them. Savages are pretty massive in London at the moment, I see pictures of them everywhere.
via Two Fish Out Of Water
If one were to see you in a bar, and impress you so that they can join the band, what would work? 
If they were a cello player, or someone who plays synth-bass or owns really cool synthesizers.

What are you currently listening to? 
A lot of Shostakovich. I’m not very proactive about trying to stake out new music, but I fell absolutely in love with an album this year by Fever Ray, the lead singer of the band The Knife. Being compared to Homogenic by Bjork, that kind of soft electro beats and strong vocals.

What did you grow up listening to? 
My parents listened to a lot of Australian music, like Vika and Linda Bull, the Tiddas sisters, Crowded House, Paul Kelly, Frente! and a bit of Fleetwood Mac. I was always into classical music.

The Brink is coming out on the 31st of January, and is available to preorder on iTunes here. You can also catch them live at St Jerome's Laneway Festival across Australia! 

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