Monday, 7 November 2011

the jezabels interview.

the jezabels are an australian four piece that know how to create a thundering pop hook that is at once visceral, intimate and epic. like a painfully aware emo kid they declare their sound to be 'intensindie'. which it is, when lead singer hayley mary's voice soars to kate bush or florence welch heights.

the band's last london show was a stunning sold-out performance at xoyo. they now return for a show at heaven on tuesday 29th november- set to be their biggest headline to date in the uk. poxymash caught up with sam of the jezabels to talk intensity...

poxymash: how did the band come to be, sam?

sam: we met at sydney university. we didn't know each other that well - though hayley and heather at least had known each other for a long time. i met hayley outside the library and we shared a desire to start a band. we then recruited nik via the cafe he was working at. i suppose it was fate because that was really the first serious manifestation of the jezabels, with the four of us.

poxymash: where does this thundery, dark and epic quality come from!?

sam: i think it comes from each of us in a different way. from the start we were doing the post-rock thing. but yeah our producer lachlan mitchell loves expansive sounds and big drums so i think he has something to do with it too. he is in a black metal band so that's maybe a place of inspiration. we feel quite free when we write in that we sort of let the songs build to where we think they can get to. it's all about big crescendos for us i think!
poxymash: you've mentioned writers block in the past, how do you overcome it?
sam: we've been pressed pretty hard every time we write so i think that has allowed us to avoid any serious writers block. when you have to write in a given time, the pressure helps i think. because the four of us write together, it helps in that when one of us isn't firing, one of the others will step in and offer a new direction for the song to take.

poxymash: how have you found playing europe different from australia?

sam: certainly - but also not really. there are the obvious differences in culture and language, but it's actually quite uncanny how similar everywhere in the world is these days. we speak english, and that's now fine anywhere you go. the people who come to our shows are from a similar group as well - just nice people. i guess the main difference is the scale of possibility that exists over there. you can tour and tour in europe which is very exciting.

poxymash: what do you hate most about touring?
sam: i hate it when shows aren't going so well. it's a personal thing for sure - i had a run of shows last tour through europe and my amps were sounding crappy and we were playing new songs that weren't quite right yet. everyone said the shows were great but i was having a real hard time. i actually had a little freak out after our paris show and had to go home. but these things come and go and i think most of the time it's to do with your personal psychology. but that's what i hate about touring. the awesome highs and deep troughs. it's a constant battle.

poxymash: does the band have a philosophy it goes by?
sam: we've acknowledged between the four of us that we never want to get too caught up in all of this. it's a bit of a cliche but we do always want to be grounded. that helps in many ways but yeah i think it has helped us heaps so far. we get along better; we don't take positives to seriously, which means the negatives don't hurt so much. so i guess the motto would be along the lines of: 'don't take yourself too seriously. you're just in a little rock band.'

poxymash: have you any words of wisdom you would like to bestow upon your fans?
sam: if you want to do anything, just be crazily stubborn and keep on trying to do it. it took us a long time to get here and we could have stopped at so many points in time.
the jezabels live at heaven, london- tuesday 29th november

[aine herlihy]

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