Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Interview With The Jezabels

In Australia, The Jezabels have won large awards (such as the Australian Music Prize), but they're only headlining small clubs in the US. However, that shouldn't last too much longer, as this excellent indie rock band is finally gaining recognition in the states and in other places around the world after the release of their album Prisoner. The band took some questions from us at MuzikDizcovery, involving topics such as being an independent band, festival sets, Daytrotter sessions, and much more which you can read below.

It will be a year since the release of Prisoner next month. Looking back on the last year, is there anything you’d do differently with the album?

Not really - I think that we learned a lot from the writing process, but to be honest I wouldn't change a thing. We made so many cool mistakes, for example, that looking back really improved the album. I think if we had a few more days to record we could have added a few more things. But it's already really long. On that note, perhaps, maybe the next one will be a bit shorter?

You released the album independently, and still are an independent band. Are there any plans to go with a label any time soon?

We have labels in the US, UK, Europe, Canada and Asia. They are all great labels so we'll be staying with them. For Australia, though, I think that we'll stay with the independent way. It's working well I think and our manager has set it up so well.

What are the benefits and costs to staying an independent band?

If you are going alright as a band, then being independent is perfect. You can forge a steady income and completely control your destiny because you answer to no one. We're lucky in that way. But labels are there to help bands get on their feet and help them ride out rough times and give them support when they need it to tour, for example. So for us it works that we're independent in Australia and have labels that support us overseas.

You guys are a fairly large band in Australia, but rather unknown in the US. Is it tough shifting from the bigger shows in Australia to much smaller club shows in the US?

It's not hard - and it can be better. I really love playing in small venues because (although it's a massive cheesy cliche) they feel more intimate. Arghh.

You’ve been playing a lot of festivals throughout the summer. How does playing a festival show differ from playing a normal set?

Our festival shows over here are basically us trying to win over new crowds so they feel like a challenge. But a good one. You don't get that long to play either so you can fill your set with the more fun songs and hopefully tailor it to the day.

Are there any particular festivals that stood out for you this summer?

Dockville in Hamburg was a really great festival. As was Melt in Leipzig. Lollapalooza was mammoth. I can tell you that playing all these festivals really makes you feel like a small fish in a big pond. So many great bands everywhere and playing so well live. It's quite inspiring really.

Your Daytrotter session was just released. Can you reflect on the process of recording it?

We were so lucky because the engineer didn't tell us that we were live when we were setting up. We could have said some offensive things! But we didn't. It was great - we're pretty good at doing these sessions because you actually do a lot of them on tour. It's a good time to try slightly different things in the songs.

Daytrotter sessions are only a few songs long, so song choice is a big part of how great the session is. How did you decide to pick the songs that you recorded?

It's easy! First, you definitely do your current single. Secondly, you do your most 'successful' song, and thirdly you do one that everyone in the band loves to play. Haha it's not always like that but that's usually the logic we use. Pretty boring.

Do you guys have any plan to put out any new material any time soon?

We've just checked out a rehearsal space in North London, which will be our place to do some writing next year. We're playing till December, and then have some time off then. That's all I know as of now.

You’re doing a full US tour in the fall. What do you expect the setlist to look like in terms of older material versus newer material?

We're a bit freer I think to be more experimental with the set list. The last tour was our album tour so we had to focus on that live. I hope that we can do some really fresh things for this tour, because people like hearing stuff like that live.

Other than the upcoming US tour, what other touring plans do you have in the upcoming months?

We're supporting Skunk Anansie throughout Europe in November, and then head back to Australia after that. Just more shows really. Then some time off.

Any final things you have to say?

Go the Rabbitohs!

I'd like to thank the band again for taking time out of their day to answer our questions. Prisoner was one of my favorite albums of 2011, and the album still blows me away. It's definitely worth a listen, and you can stream the entire thing here. Also, be sure to follow them on Facebook, and if you have a Daytrotter account, you can download their session here

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