We chat to The Jezabels
Last week in the spring sunshine I caught up with Sam Lockwood, the Guitarist from Australian synth-indie-rock group The Jezabels, in Yellowave Café on the seafront to talk about their tour, their new album Brink and Italian architecture.
Hi Sam! How are you finding Brighton so far today?
Well we actually arrived last night. We were playing a show in London and drove down afterwards at around 2am. I was asleep when we got here but a few of the others had a couple of drinks and went in the sea! It’s nice to wake up right next to the beach though. I’d say that Brighton and Newcastle-upon-Tyne are my two favourite cities in the UK. Our tour manager is from Newcastle so we always have a good time there and I just like Brighton. We played The Great Escape a few years back. It’s like London here but not pretentious.
What are the audiences like in the UK compared to say the rest of Europe or the US?
They are mostly surprisingly similar. When you’re playing the club level gigs could just as easily be Bristol as Minneapolis. In Asia they seem to have a slightly different attitude to music. They are very appreciative and it makes the music feel fresh. Most of the Western world is similar though, especially when we often only get to see a café or bar nearby to the venue.
The album artwork for Brink stands out. What was the significance of it?
It’s always hard to design an album cover. We have a designer from Australia that we’ve used for all of our covers. He’s done such a good job there’s been no need to use anyone else. For the Brink cover he actually sourced a painting from a Polish artist. We wanted something like black and white, but slightly warmer. I think that the cover is universally attractive, which is what we were hoping for.
The music video that you shot for Angels of Fire uses a lot of different locations, from rural to urban. How did you decide on which ones to use for the final cut?
We shot the video up in London, in and around the Shoreditch area. We took a heap of clips and just pieced them together really. London is a great city to shoot film in. We wanted to capture the mundane things that people see every day but don’t really see. We weren’t trying to grab headlines, we just wanted to engage with the audience and I think it does that really well.
Does the new album having an over-riding theme or was it more a collection of songs?
It was probably more of the latter, in the sense that there wasn’t a concept or anything behind the album as a whole. We were in London for this album which was something new for us. Stylistically and technically we had a checklist of things that we wanted to achieve with the album and looking back afterwards we pretty much did them all. Hayley’s lyrics were something that we can all relate too in the record. The success of the first album took us all a little by surprise and so I guess this album is about dealing with being on the verge of something bigger.
How does the live performance of the new record compare to the recorded version?
The first album had a lot of problems when we were trying to play it live. The tracks were so complicated that it was impossible to replicate live. So with this new album that was one of our main aims, to keep it simple. I mean did I really need to play 8 guitar parts there? It is definitely much more easily translatable. (Having seen the gig I can vouch for this. The tracks sounded just like the recordings on the album!)
What is the best and worst gig that you’ve ever played?
Good question! The best gig is probably the Laneway Festival in Australia. It’s always great playing to a home crowd and with an audience of around 12,000 it was a great stage to play on. The worst gig was probably at the University of Vancouver. The fire alarm went off just as we were playing the last song so we had to walk offstage with the audience and just wait outside whilst they sorted things out. I think the fans were a little annoyed but at least it wasn’t during our first song!
Finally, having moved from Australia to London, is there anywhere you would like to live next?
I would really like to live in Italy for a while. We’ve been a few times and it’s always been lovely when we’ve been there. The people there are really cool and relaxed about things, like all the cars have dings in them, but nobody cares. It’s just a part of life. They seem to have a different culture too, like books and music are a much bigger part of society. The food is simple and good and the architecture is imperfect but that’s what makes it great!