Back You are here: Home Interviews We Interview The Jezabels

We Interview The Jezabels

The Jezabels

The Jezabels don’t need a record deal to impress- Their debut album, Prisoner is a remarkable achievement in every sense, after scooping up the coveted Australian Music Prize and being named Rolling Stone’s Album of the Year. Likened to everyone from The National and Arcade Fire to Kate Bush to The Pretenders, such varied comparisons suggest that The Jezabels are not only difficult to pigeon-hole, but are very much their own band with their own sound.

With echo-soaked guitar riffs fused to hard-rock drums, layers of unexpectedly inventive keyboards in addition to climaxed wails that soar and plummet cinematically through your chest- One gets the feeling that The Jezabels are yet to reach their desired destination. It's an exciting notion that The Jezabels are just getting started and you can't help but feel that the sky is indeed their only limit.

AAA Backstage’s Bailey got on the phone with drummer Nik Kaloper for a chat before they got onstage to play a show in the States…

So where are you guys at the moment? Is it New York or Boston?

We’re in Boston actually, in the dressing room at the Music Hall, just waiting to play, the support band is just sound checking, it’s a bit loud sorry!

I’ll just yell at you, I hope that’s okay!

Haha yell at me, scream, throw your arms in the air, we’re all friends here!

It seems like things have just exploded in the last 6 months for you guys….

Yeah it been pretty incredible touring in the last 6 months, it’s been growing in a bit more of an exponential rate recently but we’re really excited to see where it takes us, we’ve been busy that’s for sure!

Whats been your most exciting and surprising gig on the tour so far?  Especially in terms of international audiences?

Oh dear, I think the one that stands out in my eyes was, well, we came from Europe recently and before that North America, and in Berlin we sold out an 1000 capacity venue which was just so amazing, we were played on the radio over there which was so helpful in getting people to the show, and so we played this huge show in Berlin which was just mind-boggling to us.

You guys just got announced for Lollapolooza as well!

Yeah I know, how cool is that?!

That’s super cool, I haven’t checked out the lineup yet.

Some of the lineup is Red Hot Chili Peppers and Black Sabbath, that magnitude of acts are headlining, so it’s incredible!

I read some of your reviews for the album “Prisoner”, and I saw US Senior Editor David Fricke of Rolling Stone gave you a beautiful review! 4 stars! That’s so impressive, I’ve been reading his stuff for years…

Yeah we couldn’t frigging believe that, that was so exciting for us, I mean, even our manager was so excited because he is such a well respected music journalist, I mean what else can you say… It’s just really humbling to know that someone of that calibre and that history has even listened to your album and more-so given it a thumbs up, so you know, it’s incredible…

Congratulations on winning the Australian Music Prize and the massive recognition for the Rolling Stone Album of the Year too! These are huge accolades… How has winning these awards affected your career so far?

Well I think it’s raised eyebrows which is never ever a bad thing for a band, and I think all those types of things certainly help you get on festival bills and help you book more shows, but at the same time all the accolades make you just keep working hard!

Making dynamic, gothic, melodramatic music can sometimes reflect the band members as these serious troubled artists, but you guys mustn’t take yourselves too seriously…

It would make life really really exhausting if you’re always that serious haha, so no, not entirely no… we have certain thoughts or certain mindsets that helps us write these stupidly melodramatic songs but half the time we’re just laughing about stupid shit in the van, just trying to annoy each other and just doing funny shit really… You’d get way too tired way too quickly if you take yourself seriously the whole time.

So what kind of music do you listen to personally to chill out, so rather than what has influenced you as a musician?

I mean, I’m still stuck in a 90’s grunge Seattle mood, I’ve been stuck there for god knows how long…

Yeah but that’s a great place to be!

That’s not a bad place though haha you’re right… But yeah I almost get annoyed at myself sometimes; it’s such a struggle to find new music…. It’s almost annoying that I’m stuck in my 90’s phase but some new bands that I’ve been listening to M83 or The National… The National are not new at all haha!

What's the biggest misconception people overseas have about Australian music?

One thing that is sorta annoying is especially in the UK, is that a lot of the media will just latch onto the fact that you are Australian- I don’t see the value in doing that all the time, I mean we’ve had more than one review which has mentioned Foster’s or Crocodile Dundee…

That’s so embarrassing…

Yeah I know! I don’t understand the significance in that sort of thing. We don’t drink Foster’s right…

Americans always ask me about drinking Foster’s… No one fucking drinks it here!

I know right, it’s a joke!

Along with the Jezabels, there seems to have been a lot of brilliant talent emerging in recent years. Do you think there's any particular reason for this? I think it’s because we’ve let go of a lot dominant genres and adapted by not subscribing to one genre…

Like how we all come from four different corners of music…

Yeah, like how the members each bring their own influence to create this bigger picture? Like how audiences require something more substantial, music that challenges, rather than pidgeonholed?

Yes! We never set out to make the type of music we make, so it was just sort of lucky that we ended up stumbling upon something that sounded… a little bit different than some of the other things that were happening I guess… Because I think it was purely because we come from 4 different backgrounds, it can get a bit tedious because it takes us a lot longer to finally compromise when we’re writing songs…

To marry it all together?

Exactly, to find a way to glue all that stuff together, but when we do I think were all pretty satisfied with the outcome.

Finally, what artist would you personally love a collab with, alive or dead?

Jeez, that’s a scary question because I imagine if I ever got the opportunity to collaborate with my favourite artist I’d be so shit-scared that I’d just make a fool of myself so I don’t how or even ever want to!

Kind of like going on a date with someone super hot that you’ve liked for ages and just standing in the corner staring at your feet…

Yeah! They’d be so musically out my league, it would be like, seriously, what are you doing here haha! It would be a dream of mine to make a record with a guy called David Bazam, even if I just played the shakers on it, it would be so intimidating at the same time I just wouldn’t know how to deal with that.

Well thank you so much for your time tonight and I hope you have a killer set!

Oh yeah it’s just there is so many people back here, it’s crazy, thank you so much, I hope to speak to you soon!


Martina Bailey Pitrun - AAA Backstage

Our Community

  • Facebook
  • instagram
  • Twitter
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Google+

Contact Us

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.