As though it never ends, Sydney band The Jezabels have enjoyed an almost unbroken chain of success over the past few years. Between international tours and support slots for the likes of Depeche Mode, the band, which comprises of Hayley Mary, Heather Shannon, Nik Kaloper and Samuel Lockwood, prepare for the release of their next album The Brink as well as the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival tour. We spoke to Heather Shannon as she lolled around Byron Bay during a Christmastime visit to her family.
The recording of The Brink saw The Jezabels work with producer Lachlan Mitchell for the first time. Recorded entirely in London over the course of about two months, Shannon says of working with a new producer “it was pretty scary actually – going into it with somebody that we didn’t know. It was kind of an intimate thing and so you really have to trust them.”
However, having “hit it off” with Mitchell, the band were able to complete recording the album in a short space of time. Satisfied with The Brink, Shannon comments “I feel pretty impatient about waiting for it to be released – I just want it to be released now.” The band spent six months writing the album in a London studio, which they soundproofed themselves, totaling the time it took to create the album to a year. Thus, Shannon’s impatience is justified. On the songwriting for the album she explains that “this time around we basically just jammed for six months and wrote; just all four of us so it was very collaborative.”
The Brink will be The Jezabel’s first release since their 2011 album Prisoner, which reached number 2 on the Australian ARIA charts and was certified gold. While the success of their previous album may be hard to follow, Shannon believes that their songwriting has improved since their last release and continues to do so as the band keep writing.
“I think we just get continually better at [songwriting] the more we do it… Especially with the new album where we’re getting better at coming to the point of what we’re trying to do – be more clear about it and editing out a lot of stuff that doesn’t need to be there.”
She also elaborates on the band’s rich tour history, which is set to continue following the release of The Brink on January 31st; “we’ve done a few tours around Europe. We’ve toured over there a fair bit actually… We’re going to go [to America] in March or April for about a month.” Intensive touring over the years has allowed Shannon to differentiate crowds in each country. She states her observation in terms of size and gender ratios.
“Our crowds are bigger in Australia, but I think everyone’s really welcoming everywhere. The age group we play to is pretty similar everywhere. I think possibly overseas there might be more of an equal amount of guys and girls, whereas in Australia it’s probably more girls. That’s something that I’ve noticed.”
Shannon indicates that The Jezabels are unlikely to record this year. However, stating that “we missed out on playing live together in the studio, so that was something we really wanted to do this time around, away from recording,” she looks forward to spending the year touring.
After Laneway Festival, their busy schedule will include both Europe and North America. The non-sold-out Australian dates of St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival are below.
Brisbane – January 31st – Fortitude Valley
Adelaide – February 7th – Harts Mill Port Adelaide
Fremantle – February 8th – Esplanade Park & West End