The Jezabels is an Australian band from Sydney. They defined their music as intense indie what refers to the great emotions hidden in their songs. Though they are considered as alternative band it is hard to assign them to one specific genre. Their new album The Brink is gonna be released in Europe by the middle of February. We have talked about the album, touring with Depeche Mode and concert plans with The Jezabels’ drummer – Nik Kaloper.
musicis.pl: Your upcoming album is called The Brink. What does the title refer to?
Nik Kaloper: Basically The Brink is about standing on the edge. For me personally, I think it’s about facing an inner change and being scared or being excited for it. It’s a sort of transition someone is feeling and it sometimes can be frightening and sometimes can be really exciting. So I guess, standing on the edge or standing on the brink is about inner change and what does that mean for people.
musicis.pl: If we’re talking about The Brink, did you feel some kind of the second album pressure when you were in the studio?
Nik Kaloper: Yeah, we felt pressure but we felt it also with the first album and… we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, to be honest. We make music, we enjoy it and hopefully people think it’s good. But we feel a lot of pressure to be good.
musicis.pl: How much will The Brink differ from Prisoner?
Nik Kaloper: I think it sounds a lot different. It’s the sound we’ve only tried before. It has a more polished and commercial connection to it, which we’re aiming to. We want our music to sound like that. So we wrote songs with more experimentation and I think we sort of executed what we were looking to do.
musicis.pl: In your songs you touch the themes of mortality, isolation, sadness. Those are not very pleasant subjects. Where the ideas for such lyrics come from?
Nik Kaloper: They all come from Hayley’s head. I mean, she throws in a lot of life experience, personal experience to create scenarios or stories about the things she experiences. It is not one specific incident, I think. There’s an exploration of many ideas and different contexts. So I think she takes inspiration from many different areas to write the lyrics. And then we’re also trying to do our best for representing them musically.
musicis.pl: How do you write songs? What does the process look like?
Nik Kaloper: The process is a bit tangle and messy. It starts with one of us, an idea one of us has – the lyrics Hayley has, or the melody Heather has, the drum beat I have or the guitar Sam has. We always start from a very small singular idea and we just keep trying over the idea together as a band so we hopefully have a song out of it. Sometimes it takes a while to organize that stuff but it’s the collaborative effort and we all write together.
musicis.pl: What do you do when you feel like you can’t move on with the song?
Nik Kaloper: We walk away for a little bit usually when we don’t know what is happening. Sometimes you get too close to the idea and another perspective never ever hurts. With songwriting it’s like you keep trying but sometimes you feel like you can get nowhere at all. The biggest help is to walk away from it. And usually when we come back to it we can see it wider and see the solution to the problem. It becomes more clear. So we generally just take a break.
musicis.pl: Recently you were touring with Depeche Mode. How did it happen?
Nik Kaloper: Well, we basically took the opportunity. We wanted to tour with them and when the opportunity came up we wanted to see what would happen. They said they liked us as a band so we were able to do forces for about seven shows and they were the biggest shows we have ever played in our lives. It was really, really exciting.
musicis.pl: What is the best thing about being in the band?
Nik Kaloper: I guess it’s playing music, really. And that’s why we all started. We wanted to play music and see if we have anything to offer in the terms of our creativity. On top of that would be also that we can travel and visit different places in the world and play there our music. It’s the opportunity I’m pretty grateful for. The great part is just doing something you love.
musicis.pl: How do you feel about your success?
Nik Kaloper: I don’t know how big we are but every success comes as a surprise to us. I mean, we certainly have ambition and we look forward and look to see what we can do better, we look to see if we can play bigger shows. But what actually happens, I think we’re all totally surprised at the end of the day. It’s pretty rewarding putting music out there and know that people are actually listening to it. We don’t know what is going to happen. All we gonna do is make sure we don’t screw it up.
musicis.pl: When we can expect you in Poland? Do you have plans for this already?
Nik Kaloper: We want to play everywhere always. Poland’s been one of our priorities. But in the first run of shows we’re doing in European tour in March we haven’t been able to get Poland in there. And we felt disappointed at it, to be honest. One thing I will say is that by the end of 2014 if we haven’t played in Poland we would be pretty damned upset. It’s always the question of time and money and if we can make it work, we’re absolutely going to make it work. So all I can say is hold on cause we’re going to play there as soon as we can.