One of the more exciting bands appearing Saturday on the T Break Stage were The Jezabels: a four piece made up of Haley Mary on vocals, Heather Shannon on Keyboard, Sam Lockwood on Guitar, and Nik Kaloper on Drums. Hailing from Australia, they formed in 2007, and having two albums already out, both of which made it to No. 2 in Down Under. The Jezabels are now touring to promote their Second album, The Brink, but before they took to the stage, the band’s Guitarist and Drummer took 5 minutes of their time to be shoved into the back of a mini bus and talk to me about their past experiences at the festival and the struggles of getting over the dreaded second album.
DC: This is not your first time at T in the Park is it?
Nik: Oh yeah we were here in 2012 I’m quite sure. A lot of confused fans…
Sam: Yeah, funny old time we replaced a band that pulled on the Radio 1 stage, think we played just before Temper Trap. It was good; a lot of people said that they hadn’t heard of us before.
DC: Did you catch any other acts when you where their?
Sam: I remember walking back and seeing Example.
Nik: Yeah, that was very brief and very muddy.
DC: You’re off to Germany after this, what’s the crowd like over there?
Nik: Fantastic. Germany probably is one of my favourite places outside of Australia.
Sam: They’re there for a good time, and summer festivals are quite good in Germany. Just like here.
DC: Is a festival audience more intimidating than say an audience who have come specifically to see you guys perform?
Nik: Definitely. Just recently we had two festivals in Holland, and we were very convinced that many people had not heard of us. So, that prospect of having new converts, you know, is very exciting, but in the same breath your right it is quite nerve racking.
DC: Your new album Brink was out in January this year. It was recorded in London, whereas the last one was recorded back in Australia. Why the move to London?
Sam: Heaps of reasons. I mean: we have family and partners in London, and we wanted to do something different. I guess we could have gone to America, but London was an easier step and still be somewhere different.
DC: Are you guys now based in London?
Nik: No, we only really ever planned to go there for 2013 to write and record, but it wasn’t like a permanent relocation. It was more an opportunity to get a different sort of environment to what we’ve been used to for the last Seven years. New stimuli.
DC: What’s different about the new album The Brink compared to your first album Prisoner?
Sam: I think there’s so many differences its like… because we were in London and having had experience with our first album, we were able to do things differently. I think we just wrote songs rather than writing like a whole album, so everything just kind of flowed together, an album of just songs. We found that some of trickier songs on our first album were quite difficult to do live, so we just simplified everything.
Nik: Yeah, I think because of Dan (Grech-Marguerat) our producer is quite a pop producer that sort of shone through as well. That was a big difference.
DC: I was going to ask does being in a different environment have a direct effect on the song writing?
Nik: Funnily, I never found myself drawing anything from the London scene in the writing process, which you might expect it to have a bit more of a London sound; that didn’t happen. I mean, none of us were trying to avoid that at all, but I think what mainly affected us more than anything else was probably the big city. It’s so enormous, and the vibe isn’t like anything you’ve experienced in Australia I think that probably affected the psychology of the band in some way on certain songs. It was a little bit depressing at times like Hayley (Mary) says: it encourages us to write more brighter, happier more optimistic songs.
DC: Now that the difficult Second album is out the way, will the third album be a lot easier to write?
Sam: I definitely think so. I think that year was extremely difficult; in so many ways it was the difficult “Second album”. There is so many reasons why that’s true.
Nik: You don’t realise how difficult it is until you’re doing it, really.
Sam: The first album you feel very inspired, but on the second one you’re trying to be more original. But the same sort of process is going on, and so I think now that we’ve learned not to be so hard on yourself as its not conducive to making things work. I’m looking forward to writing our next one, because we now know if it works it works if it doesn’t it doesn’t.
Nik: It’s almost like you end up trying to hard or something, instead of just being yourself. It’s funny what you have to learn in this industry; all your learning experiences are very public.
DC: Some of the albums songs were influenced by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, which is quite heavy subject matter. Is it hard to balance that sort of subject matter with upbeat sound you were trying to create?
Nik: Well, Hayley is pretty heavy (laughs). To be perfectly honest the themes and lyrics come from Hayley entirely; she finds ways to make really depressing lyrics work and happy songs with happy lyrics work against the melancholy sound. So, I think she did a really good job basically of balancing that kind of stuff.
DC: So what’s coming up for the band in the rest of 2014?
Sam: We’ve got a few more shows in Germany and a festival in Australia. And then, it’s basically a bit of down time before getting back into writing again.
DC: What can we expect from your set today is it going to be mainly stuff from your new album?
Nik: It’s quite a short set, so its going to be… we have just taken our high energy songs and cram them into a half hour assault on the senses.