The Jezabels: music and the steel city

Words by Natalie Wood

This week saw Australian band The Jezabels play in Sheffield for the first time ever. They’re currently on their European tour promoting their debut album Prisoner and they’re literally taking the world by storm. I caught up with them before their gig to talk music, touring and monkey dancing.

Hayley Mary, Heather Shannon, Nick Kaloper and Samuel Lockwood all met at the University of Sydney. Only one member of the band studied music, the rest studied science, english and history. Nick can also do maths. If they hadn’t been played on the Triple J radio station in Oz, and got their big break, they told me they’d be teachers. “We’d start a school, Jezebel High School, with no sports except bushwalking and yoga.” They then laugh about how it’d also be a Stein larger school. It’s easy to see people flocking to go to that school.

The Jezabels (named after the Bible story) are a band that constantly tour, this way they can promote their music and build an audience worldwide and not just in Australia. Hayley mentions that the UK is more critical of up and coming bands so they get beaten down a bit. “We’ve read a lot of reviews in the UK that’ve played up the whole Aussie thing.”

There’s also reviews floating around that wrongly compare them to other famous bands. Don’t be fooled by these! Hayley Mary being compared to the likes of Hayley Williams is so wrong, except for the same name. As Hayley Mary points out “If you heard that about us before hearing us you’d have such the wrong idea.” These terribly wrong comparisons don’t seem to have dented the bands fan base at all.

If you listen to any song of The Jezabels you can feel the work put into it. The deep lyrics aren’t just the only part of the song, they admit the writing of the lyrics is hard to describe. When writing the song they like to have the music first and get a general structure. “We then go find sounds that are words not jibberish.” Each song as its own uniqueness that makes it sound like the writing process should have been much more complex.

Most bands have been influenced by music throughout their lives and The Jezabels are no exception. All four have different music tastes; Nick was in a thrash metal band before The Jezabels and likes 90’s grunge from the States. Hayley listened to a lot of Abba and Queen. Heather listened to a lot of classical music and learnt to play the piano through this and Sam just likes all sorts. With such a mix up of influences you can see why no one can tag one genre on the music they make.

So what did they think to our fair city? “If you can find one thing good it means it’s a good city.” They found and liked the Blue Moon Cafe and wondered around the shops so I think that’s a good sign. Another good sign was Hayleys film knowledge. “I’m looking forward to being in the same town as the Full Monty, I love the movie.”

After the gig I spoke to them again and they loved the crowd. They stayed around to talk to their fans and sell merchandise, showing how down to earth and human they really are. This band is going to be one of the next big things so do yourself a favor and go take a listen. You’ll thank me later.

There’s a pretty funny tour story on the recording, it involves monkey dancing and more. So go take a listen to the entire interview.

Find the Jezabels at http://www.thejezabels.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheJezabels

Youtube http://www.youtube.com/thejezabelsvideos

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