The Jezabels, an Australian band, is comprised of singer Hayley Mary, pianist/keyboardist Heather Shannon, drummer Nik Kaloper, and guitarist Samuel Lockwood and are ready to wash up on our shores with their melodies and sweet harmonies. The Jezabels music and Hayley Marie’s voice bring the listener to another atmosphere and their songs are very inspiring, moving, and uplifting. The Jezabels are not a new band; they have been around the Australian club scene since 2007.
Robert Frezza sat down with Heather Shannon prior to their gig at Webster Hall and had this to say:
What are the band’s goals? Would breaking into the States be one of them?
When we first started, our goal was to play a headline show at a venue in Sydney called the Hopetoun Hotel. It is no longer there, but fit about 200 people in it. So we definitely started small with our goals, as we didn’t know what to expect. Coming from Australia, ‘breaking in the states’ is a strange concept. It sounds a bit ridiculous to me. At the moment some of our music gets played on College radio which is awesome.
Would the band ever want to relocate to the United States?
I don’t know to be honest. I can’t see a reason why not. I really love NYC and have some good friends that live there. It’s a bit overwhelming though. But I could live there for sure.
You have a big fan base in Australia. How are the crowds different from there and stateside?
We play to a lot of people on the other side of the world who don’t know us very well, or who are only seeing us for the first time. It is more challenging to play to an audience who is judging you by every song, but it’s also exciting because you see your fan base grow gradually. I enjoy the hard slog. It is very rewarding if you stick at it.
You have opened for many bands thus far. Which one did you learn from the most?
Probably our first support tour with Tegan and Sara. We were just starting out when we supported them. It was great to see how professional they were and how many hours their crew put in each day. I think we learnt more from watching their crew from behind the scenes. They worked so hard and such long hours. I have a lot of respect for those people.
How does Prisoner differ from the rest of your EPs, besides being a full length?
We had a very different process writing our album to our EPs. We wrote as we recorded and used a lot of layers and textures to write our songs. The EPs were all written using just the instruments we had in front of us, so they are barer sounding in a way. I think the structures of the songs on our EPs are more pronounced and one of the more important things of the songs, but on the album, it is more of an overaching soundscape and mood we are going for.
Do you think there is a market for Jezabel’s music? It seems like the demo is getting nothing but younger here in the USA. Is it the same in Australia?
I know what you mean. It seems like everything played on commercial radio these days is written for 12 to 13 year old kids. I think they are one of the only demographics that still buy a lot of albums…..them and the over 60 year olds with x factor and stuff. I’m not sure about markets and things, but all I know is that there are people out there that search for other things, and the internet has made it possible to find more obscure music. Maybe that’s why the commercial market has become so exaggerated in the past few years.
Music is becoming more and more accessible these days; do you find it harder as a band to breakthrough that way or is touring the easiest way to get noticed?
Touring and playing live is a really important thing for us. I think it is an important part of understanding where the four of us are coming from. We also love to meet the people that listen to our music and hear why they like it or how they found it. I’m not sure if it’s easier to get noticed by touring, but if you stick at it, you can build up a solid foundation.
And speaking of getting noticed, “Easy Love” has been featured on some major television programs. Do you think that’s good exposure for the band or not?
People say these days that getting your music synced on a television show is the new age radio. I think to a certain extent this type of publicity can’t be a bad thing. You should be aware of the content of what your music is being synced with, and if you can live with it, then it’s not a bad thing.
The Jezabels play Webster Hall on October 17.