The Jezabels on the Excitement of Returning

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The Jezabels on the Excitement of Returning

Diving head-first into a crowd of people while screaming the high notes of a brooding track sounds like a rare feat. But for Hayley Mary, lead vocalist of Sydney’s beloved four piece The Jezabels, it doesn’t even require a second thought.

“It’s not really thought out, I just do it. I guess it’s just a way of being part of the crowd. Most shows in Australia I did it because it was warranted, and the crowd was big enough for it to be safe. But it just depends, it’s not a rule.

“It also depends on the size of the venue or how drunk I am,” Hayley laughs.

Since forming in 2007, The Jezabels have been well-known for these shenanigans at their shows, having now released and internationally toured a trilogy of EP’s, as well as three full length albums, including their third and latest release Synthia – a release that wasn’t foreseen by the band.

“We didn’t actually plan on making a third album for a while. We were just chilling and having some time off because Heather had been sick while we were making the second album and touring it. So, we kind of just got together to play a show and we just accidentally started writing. I think that was part of the joy of it.

“There was no pressure, we just did it ourselves because we felt like it.”

Following months of uncertainty as to whether fans would actually experience Synthia live (due to keyboardist Heather Shannon’s health and a cancelled album tour), their most recent tour this year was even more special to the band, featuring sold out shows and rave reviews.

“The thing I noticed with this tour, and it was the same in Australia and the US actually, but because we hadn’t been touring in either country for a while, it was like a new-found excitement at these shows,” Hayley says.

“It felt really like we had a lot of proper fans there. Everyone knew the songs really well, and had seen us before and were just really excited. It felt like ‘oh we’ve been away for a while’, but there’s definitely a very solid fan base here, so it was worth coming back.”

Between chatting about ‘Stamina’, their new seven-minute long track about pushing through long, hard times, and Hayley’s interest in Charles Bukowski’s books of poetry, the carefree musician admits confusion as to the genre The Jezabels fall under.

“It’s a bit confusing. I’d say we are kind of a little bit art rock in that we will create things according to what instruments we have, and the concept will develop around that,” Hayley says.

“But at the moment, I think we are a little bit synth-pop with a gothic sort of new age aspect to it, and I guess we are kind of indie as well. I’ll just do whatever comes, personally. I do like what rock stands for – as in real people telling their stories in some kind of resistance to the powers of the beat.”

With The Jezabels set to return to Australia in January as part of Urban Spread Summer Series, the synth-pop, art rockers will be playing in front of suburban crowds in three locations across Victoria.

“Really, that’s how every band starts. But by playing suburban, intimate shows, I think it’s also this idea of providing a service. You live a pretty privileged life if you make a living off your music so you owe it to more remote areas as much as you can.

“It’s all part of being an actual live touring band. You go to a lot of small towns with the time that you have and it helps you build up a fan base. Fans come and go, they are very fickle, and it’s been the small towns that you revisit over and over again where you end up making the best fans a lot of the time. They really care about music I feel, because that’s where most of the dreaming is going on.”

Keen to get back in front of the Australian fans, Hayley says we are a crowd like no other: “I find that they are usually the fun crowds. They are just less spoiled and more down to earth – we are looking forward to it.”

If there is one thing certain – The Jezabels sure know how to put on a show, and from the band themselves [via Facebook], “Lockup your sons and daughters Victoria, this is gonna be a hoot!”

Written by Talia Rinaldo
Photo by Cybele Malinowski

When & Where: Urban Spread Summer Series @ The Wool Exchange, Geelong – January 19, Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights – January 20 & Village Green Hotel, Mulgrave – January 21 2017