Interview with Sam Lockwood from The Jezabels
One of the more anticipated albums this year, both in their homeland of Australia and elsewhere for those in the know, is the sophomore album of The Jezabels. The band are readying the release of The Brink, out February 18 in North America (and January 31 (AUS), February 17 (Rest of World)). The Jezabels will also go on a tour with fellow PeteHatesMusic interviewees, Gold & Youth. Excited yet?
The band, comprised of lead singer Hayley Mary, keyboardist Heather Shannon, drummer Nik Kaloper, and guitarist Sam Lockwood, had their debut album landed at #2 on the Australian charts, and also won an ARIA Award for Best Independent Release. How do you follow that up? That’s exactly what we wanted to know. We caught up with Sam Lockwood from the band (making the Jezabels the first two-time interviewees on PeteHatesMusic) and asked about the follow up to Prisoner, road testing new songs, and their friendship with Canadian bands.
PeteHatesMusic (PHM): How did you approach The Brink differently than Prisoner?
Sam Lockwood (SL): We did a lot of things differently. Being in London was a difference. Musically we wanted to grow from some of the stumbling blocks we had with our last album. It was really hard for us to recreate our last album for the live arena. So this time, we tried to have the songs playable before going in to record. I think that that had a dramatic effect on the type of songs we recorded.
PHM: What song are you most proud of on the new album and why?
SL: I’m most proud of the song Psychotherapy. I think it’s a marvellously intense song that is also quite subtle. It really brings out the best in us and shows both our weirdness and our pop sides.
The Jezabels – Look of Love
PHM: You had an extensive tour for Prisoner, in which I actually saw you in London, England in early 2012 and again in Toronto towards the end of 2012. What were some of the more memorable moments of the worldwide tour?
SL: We have now seen so many beautiful places in the world. We’re so fortunate in that respect. Playing in Asia would have to be up there as the most memorable though. I was struck by the beauty of the cities there. Especially Jakarta. It’s an amazing place. The city in certain parts is so lush and green alongside street vendors and all walks of life. I think that Asia is where it’s at right now, and certainly will be the place to be in the coming century.
PHM: Do you like testing out new songs on the road and seeing how the crowd reacts, and adapting the songs based on their response? Did this happen much for The Brink?
SL: This feeds back into the first question. We have learnt how to write better now. You can’t write without having the live act in mind, at least for us. So we jammed the songs out more this time. We made sure we knew that the songs would work live.
PHM: You’ve toured with many Canadian bands, such as Hey Rosetta!, Tegan and Sara, and soon to be Gold & Youth. Do you feel a certain kinship with Canadian acts?
SL: Definitely. We’ve got great friends in Canada now. Especially the Hey Rosetta guys and the guys in Yukon Blonde. Both are incredible bands and show you the amazing talent in Canada. We always feel a bit chuffed to be playing in Canada. Music is so important culturally there. Hopefully we are contributing in some way.
PHM: Lyrics, music, and titles are often open to interpretation. To me, titles like Prisoner and now The Brink both have dark, brooding, and sad undertones to them. How much thought goes into an album title, knowing that it is often the first thing people hear before the actual music?
SL: With us a lot of thought goes into everything – I’d even venture to say that too much thought goes into everything. Hayley comes up with the lyrics and the album titles, and she definitely likes exploring the darker sides of life. However it’s more using negativity to use as a counterpoint to exploring the real positive sides of life. She is great at employing that difference and the album titles are using the same technique.
The Jezabels – The End
PHM: When you originally set out on your musical journey, you probably never envisioned sharing the stage with the likes of Depeche Mode. What other big, pleasant surprises have happened to the band to date?
SL: We won an ARIA award for Prisoner which was incredible. We’ve met our heroes, travelled everywhere and have a beautiful group of fans. From the start we were blown away by what we had achieved so now it’s just all a bonus.
PHM: What are some newer acts or songs on your stereo that readers of PeteHatesMusic should be sure to check out?
SL: Two songs right now: Wanderlust by Wild Beasts and Red Eyes by The War on Drugs. Two songs that have reinvigorated my love of indie pop music. B e a utiful.
B e a utiful indeed. Only a few weeks before you can get your hands (and more importantly, your ears) on The Brink. Not too long after that are some tour dates with Gold & Youth. Check out all the details below.
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The Jezabels North American Tour Dates w/Gold & Youth
03.26 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
03.29 – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA
03.31 – Doug Fir – Portland, OR
04.01 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
04.02 – Imperial – Vancouver, BC
04.04 – Starlite – Edmonton, AB
04.05 – Republik – Calgary, AB
04.07 – 7th St. Entry – Minneapolis, MN
04.08 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
04.10 – Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
04.11 – Sala Rossa – Montreal, QC
04.12 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
04.15 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
04.16 – Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
04.17 – Rock N Roll Hotel – Washington, DC