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We Interview Jebediah

Our resident interviewer Danni L got the chance to catch up with Brett Mitchell from Jebediah and talk about the tour, new songs and much more!


How does it feel to get back to the business of Jebediah after all these years?

It feels pretty cool.

It's pretty fun. It was always fun, but I think that I appreciate it for what it is a bit more now. By the time we recorded Braxston, I think we really were getting to the point where we needed a long break from, not so much each other, but just everything. It's amazing how much the heavy end of the industry that we were kind of standing on for a few years, it kind of gets to you after a while. You start thinking about things in different terms altogether, and I think it winds up being not particularly productive and psychologically healthy. You know, you're second guessing everything. In essence, it's a simple pleasure for me, and I think for all of us, so I think it's nice to get back to the basics a bit more. which is kind of what we're doing now. You know, just doing it because it's fun, and not particularly having that much to prove to anyone.


The band formed in 1994,and the lineup hasn't changed since 1995. 16 years on, you're still seeing similar chart success, with your latest album Kosciusko debuting in the album charts at #6. How do you explain the consistent success of a band like Jebediah?

B: How do I explain anything? I think that we probably dropped out of . . . there was no media profile from quite a few years when we took our break and screwed around with the recording over five years or so, but I guess just the amount of time that we have stuck around. I guess you're sort of working to almost a generational kind of consciousness, for better or worse. You know, some people hated us, some people loved us, but a lot of people know of us, and I don't know.

Success . . . I guess there are objective criteria, but I guess in the end it's quite subjective, and I feel quite privileged to have been involved in it at all because it is a group effort, and I wouldn't have the drive to create anything like this, so I've kind of been swept along to some extent. I suppose in the end, if you're relatively honest in what you do, and you're not completely crap, you're going to connect with a certain number of people, and I guess that if you add that to the fact that you sort of hang around for 10 or 15 years, then yeah, you've played some part in people's lives, and there's an element where maybe it's a bit sort of sentimental after this amount of time. It kind of is for me as well sometimes. In the end I don't know how to explain it. I think it's just the way the universe has rolled for us.


You've been in the industry for a long time. How has it changed since you started in the mid 90s?

B: Gee, I mean, I think that we've always been a little bit wary, and probably a bit removed from some of the most seriously commercial aspects of the business, or the job, and I think those people probably have seen some of the most drastic changes, you know the people who work for record companies. Obviously that's a very tangible change in the way that people acquire their music, let's say, but I guess they're starting to catch up with that a little bit now. I don't know. I think that people have always and will always listen to music for the same sort of reasons. Obviously, it's a very personal thing, but it's very real, and regardless of what's going on in the business world, the core of it is the same. So, while all of these things - technology and delivery has changed, I think, and of course with live performances being the bread and butter of any band, especially in Australia, that's still the same, and because we were never that commercial, I suppose it feels like some of those drastic changes haven't really affected us as much as it would have if we'd been selling millions of copies of albums and whatnot. You'd get a different response from someone who worked for a record company, I'm sure. I think that for individuals listening to music, and for individuals performing music, all the important stuff is exactly the same.


How has your writing process changed over the years?

Probably aside from the fact that we're marginally more proficient at playing our instruments, I don't think that much has really changed. It still comes down to the four of us in a room sort of making a racket until something comes together. Having said that though, it's always been the case that Kevin, being the lyricist and the rhythm guitarist - it's guitar music, and that's pretty pivotal base for everything. He's certainly the creative kind of drive behind the band, and then we come in and just sort of muck around until something forms around that core. It does vary. We don't have a writing process, but noone ever comes in with a demo tape. Well, it wouldn't be a tape now, would it? It would be an MP3, and whacks it on.

There's a little bit more confidence in what we do individually on our instruments, but it's such a comfortable situation, to be in a room with those three guys, for me. It's like they're a de-facto family, so whenever it happens it kind of feels the same as it always has.

Dave Parker was kind of a fifth member of the band really, because it was done over such a protracted period, and because he loves sitting around in his studio twiddling with knobs and trying weird Protools plugins. He spent a lot of time with stuff when we weren't there, and some stuff really was kind of built in the studio, and I suppose that hasn't really happened before. So that was a little different, not through any intention, but because the time was there. So it was a co-production really between us and Parko.


The band has also contributed to 'Rewiggled' a celebration of The Wiggles' music, performing "Getting Strong". It's set to be released November 4th. How did the band get involved in the project?

The request just came through. The ABC were wanting to put this together. We were just, I guess, on the list of bands. There's probably about 20 bands involved, I imagine, because the songs are only about two and a half minutes long, so you'd need a lot to fill up an album.


Yeah, I had a look at the list. It's like a Who's Who of Aussie music. I think The Living End are doing "Hot Potato". . . and Spiderbait. . .

Spiderbait have got one, I know. I'm really looking forward to hearing it.

Was it difficult to be true to The Wiggles and true to Jebediah?

No, not really because we can't really do anything but Jebediah, and I think we've sort of known that because we've never seriously tried . . . we've pretty much gotta do what we do, and just deal with the consequences. So, yeah, it wasn't hard at all. I mean, they're not exactly songs. They're kind of ditties, so really not that dissimilar to some of our songs anyway. We just extended it by about a minute, and tried to chuck another bit in, and I think it turned out pretty well. It was fun to record.

What do you think loyal Jebediah fans will make of it?

I'm not sure if this is more for Wiggles fans or more for Jebediah fans, and I also wonder how big the intersection is of those groups. I guess all those things will become clear.

And because I'm 37, I kind of missed the wiggles, but I think there's a lot of admiration for what they've done, and I mean, who could dislike the wiggles?

Only a mean-spirited person.

Yeah. So, it's a tribute from the ABC and I guess it's a tribute as well from any of the bands who would have jumped immediately at the chance to do it, and so what anyone thinks of it, I don't know. Maybe it will be a moot point, but I think it's a little bit of a novelty thing. It will be really interesting to see

how it's received, but I guess if it's received in the same spirit as it was created, and the spirit behind the whole conception of it, you know it'll just be a bit of fun. They don't need to make any money off it anyway, do they?


You're touring next month with the Battle For November tour, promoting your new single "Battlesong".

What do you want fans to take from the shows?

Um, I don't know, a free glass from the venue maybe, or a new friend. I don't know. It is kind of weird. There are obviously people coming along to shows now that have been there from the start, and this is fantastic, but it's a bit more mixed than I would have guessed that it would be. There are still some young folk coming along, and people who say, 'when I turned 18, I'd been listening to you for a while', and we weren't playing at that stage, and they're seeing us for the first time, and that's kind of weird to get your head around actually. So, in terms of how the audience responds, I'm at a bit of a loss. I just figure we'll sort of do the best we can, to do what we always do to the best of our ability, and try not to get too drunk to play well, and then hopefully the spirit of it kind of carries it. So, yeah, what will they take? Oh how about some merchendise? That'd be good - bit of beer money.


Danni L - AAA Backstage

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