The Jezabels: On “The Brink” of So Many Things…

Sydney’s The Jezabels are an incredibly hard band to put into words. Their tastes would seem to be an amalgam of the headiest pop, classical, Americana, and a bit...

Sydney’s The Jezabels are an incredibly hard band to put into words. Their tastes would seem to be an amalgam of the headiest pop, classical, Americana, and a bit of hardcore… However, they come out sounding like the glossiest kind of post-punk act… as they transition into new wave… They, however, have dubbed their sound, “Intensindie.” Earlier this year they released their second full-length, The Brink, which would seem to be the quintessential example of this generation of musicians exploring and re-interpreting the most progressive pop music of the late ’70s and early ’80s. It also rings of the perpetual youthfulness required of all the best kinds of Rock’N’Roll. The album’s slightly dark, but from the perspective of a band who’s seen their Rock’N’Roll dreams realized and dying to continue.The Jezabels are currently touring the US and Canada and have a June 19th date at our very own Johnny Brenda’s, followed on the 20th, at the not-so-distant Firefly Festival in Dover, Delaware. Guitarist Sam Lockwood recently took some time to talk to me about what they’ve been up to between their debut and sophomore LP and just how much they get off on traversing the globe as a Rock’N’Roll band.

Izzy Cihak: Over a little more than half a decade, 2 LPs, and 3 EPs you’ve gained a lot of critical acclaim, won several awards, and toured a lot. What have been the highlights of The Jezabels’ career, thus far?
Sam Lockwood: All of it. It’s been an incredible few years and I certainly didn’t anticipate anything like this happening. I mean we’ve been all around the world many times and have met such great people. That’s the main thing.

Izzy: Since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I’m curious as to your thoughts on the city. You’ve played here a few times now.
Sam: Philadelphia is a beautiful place. We’ve been there I think three times now. I certainly can’t say that I’ve explored the city in depth, but I’ve seen a lot of it and it’s beautiful. American cities are all pretty magnificent. There is decay and there is beauty. The heritage is what I love. Philadelphia has a lot of that sort of thing.
Izzy: You recently released your sophomore LP, The Brink. How do you feel as though the album compares to your first full-length?
Sam: It’s a development I think. We moved to London and worked with a different producer, which were radical changes for us. It’s funny though because apart from that, the two albums were created quite similarly. You see what effect a different town can have on the recording process. I think that The Brink is more pop, but in a cool way. Dan, our producer, got such awesome sounds out of us. The drums particularly sound so cool.

Izzy: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?
Sam: I think that we had in mind to make coherent songs, so we were looking to bands that wrote clear and “perfect” songs. I don’t know an example of that though. We were looking everywhere. We listened to Talk Talk during the recording process. On a different note, walking around London helped as well. We had to take it all in.

Izzy: And do you have a particular favorite album track? I really dig “Time To Dance,” which, to me, sounds halfway between The Pretenders and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Sam: I love “Time To Dance” too! I love them all actually. But my favourite would have to be “All You Need.” I think that that song is just beautiful. Heather has a classical background and her chorus chord progression is both simple and complex. It’s hard to get that balance. But if you get it right, the song can take on a nice depth.

Izzy: You recently released a handful of really first-rate music videos, in addition to a number of webisodes of you in the studio. What is it that most inspires your visuals and how do you think they seem to add to your musical aesthetic?
Sam: Yeah videos and visuals in general are really difficult to get a grasp of. We were rushed into making our videos so we’re lucky that they turned out well. We are, at the moment, working out how to take more control of visuals though. It’s so important. It’s kind of everything.
Izzy: You’re currently on a pretty extensive US tour. What can be expected of the live experience this time around?
Sam: We’re travelling with more production and we’ve also become a better live band I think. We’ve got a lot of new songs in the mix too, which is really exciting. We’re just excited about being over here and showing people what we’ve got.

Izzy: And what’s planned for the second half of 2014, after you finish touring Australia and Europe?
Sam: More touring! We never really stop. It’s good that way. I suppose it’s what bands are supposed to do? We’ll be playing festivals around the world in summer, and then hopefully get to Asia for shows too. And then more touring? Who knows? I’m sure we’ll be busy for a while yet.


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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.