The Jezabels are thrilling. Imagine larger than life vocals, adrenaline fuelled drums, blending with organs and reverbed guitars to create sweeping, cinematic feel of stadium proportions, evident throughout their album Prisoners. The Jezabels released of a trilogy of EPs (in the span of 20 months, no less), their critically acclaimed debut LP Prisoners won them this year’s coveted Australian Music Prize, winning AUD30000 and beating the likes of Kimbra and even the world’s current fixation, Gotye. No small feat, indeed. Drummer Nik Kaloper took some time out in between packing for their Asia tour to have a quick chat with us.
Hello there! How are you guys today?
Awesome, thank you for asking! We’re getting ready for our trip out to Asia, it’s going to be a blast.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. What is/was on the schedule for the day for The Jezabels?
At the moment we’re taking a few days off to regroup and relax after our Australian tour. It was pretty incredible to play to so many people in our home country. The only thing left for today is making sure we’re all packed up and ready to go for our flight to Singapore tomorrow. We won’t come back to Australia for at least another 6 months, so we definitely can’t forget anything!
We sure are looking forward to your show in KL! The Jezabels have toured extensively around Europe and North America before and have played at various festivals; there must be some awesome/random stories to tell. Do tell!
We are looking forward to our show in KL – it’s one of the few places we’re playing this year that we’ve never been to before. It’s always an absolute blast playing in a new city for the first time. You never know what the crowd is going to be like and it’s always a great surprise. A random story? Earlier this year we were traveling from Whistler to Nelson and saw a black bear on the side of the road! There aren’t many places we’ve toured at where there is a chance of seeing a bear next to the freeway, needless to say we rolled our windows up.
Looks like you’ve got a busy year ahead promoting Prisoner and with a US/Canada tour coming up! You must be veterans by now. Has all that experience prepared you for the next long grueling days of touring?
Honestly, I think it has. We’ve learnt a lot about what it feels like to be on the road for 3 months at a time and we’re all pretty good and dealing with it! The rest of the year touring should come quite naturally, I believe. The worst part is trying to entertain yourself in the van, as soon as you’re at the venue there’s plenty of work to be done. Make sure your laptop has enough battery for the van – that’s a lesson well learnt!
Which do you like better: Touring, performing at festivals or recording in the studio. Why?
They all have their own pros and cons, naturally – I think at the end of this long year of touring, we’ll be really looking forward to settling down in one place, where we don’t have to move from, to write our next album. It will be really refreshing not being on the move for the whole year. By the end of the album however, I think we’ll be ready to hit the road again. You definitely get to drink more while you’re on tour, so three cheers to that.
Which song gets sung along to the most in gigs?
Probably ‘Hurt Me’. It’s one that people seem to sing along to quite a lot. I think whichever song is played most on the radio in the local town is the song that gets sung along with the most.
Each of you seem to be interested in different genres, how did you manage to come together to find common ground to make music as a band?
We basically found each other by chance and started making music, to enter a University band competition. We eventually ended up thinking that our different musical backgrounds resulted in a type of music that we found interesting. We decided to keep making music together after the band competition, to see what would happen. I think the only common ground we have, musically, is that we want to write songs, and we want to perform them as well as we possibly can. In all the other departments, we’re quite different!
Also kudos on the good stuff too, what with the release of your critically acclaimed album Prisoners and also winning the 7th Australian Music Prize, to name a few. What, in your opinion, have been downsides to the success The Jezabels have had so far?
I don’t think there is an easily definable downside to the success we’ve enjoyed. Any success you’ve enjoyed makes you more susceptible to public scrutiny. We’ve discovered knowing people are being quite critical of what you do can be a little nerve wracking. Having said that, we just keep the course, and believe in what we’re doing, and it helps stave off the worries of public opinion.
The band has grown from strength to strength from the first of the trilogy EPs to your debut album. Do you have an inkling of how The Jezabels will sound in the next album?
It’s very hard to say, but it’s a question we’ve been discussing quite a lot lately! We think if we try and go any bigger in our sound, we might turn into a metal band, so we’ll need to rethink our approach to the next album, that’s for sure.
Do you think your sound evolve from the artists you are listening to at the moment?
It’s almost impossible not to derive some influence from the bands that give you the most inspiration. I love listening to music, and always think about what my favourite bands do in comparison to myself. I think the artists I listen to, more than anything make me feel continually inspired to keep creating music.
What is the band currently listening to?
There are very few bands that we all listen to together, namely, The Arcade Fire and The National.
How do you pass the time when the band is touring?
A lot of reading at the moment – which is great because I never used to read much. I’m on the third book of the Milliennium Series by Steig Larson. I find them absolutely enthralling and love the subject matter in the context of a captivating crime fiction novel.
Lastly, tell us something about the band nobody knows.
Before every show, Sam, Heather and I form a human pyramid, on top of which Hayley climbs, and warms her voice up for twenty minutes. …. Just kidding!
The Jezabels will be performing at The Bee, Publika tomorrow (16 June 2012). Can’t get enough of these Aussies? Then get clickin’ here.