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The Jezabels: A chat with vocalist, Hayley Mary

Chris Daniel talks to The Jezabels vocalist, Hayley Mary, about their upcoming tour, newest album and their return to limelight after a matter of years.

When health scares involving keyboardist Heather Shannon were raised, The Jezabels decided to cancel their tour back in January, just weeks before the release of their third album Synthia. After intense preparation, both Shannon and her band mates are now ready to hit the road once more with their national tour this October.

Hayley Mary, known for her incredible lead vocals, has been living in London since the band went on hiatus. She recalls on the past, and thinks about the future of the band, and what we can expect to see from their performance at Bar On The Hill on Saturday, October 22.

Above: Pleasure Drive by The Jezabels via TheJezabelsVEVO.


CD: Excellent work on the new album. You definitely manage to pinpoint certain emotions, but what was the collective theme for the album?

HM: First of all, I want to know what emotions it pinpointed for you.

CD: I guess it comes down to individual opinion, but for me, it brought back all these nostalgic feelings.

HM: I think we are a bit of a nostalgic band, especially for this album. I think I just have a fascination for childhood, like childhood memories and childhood traumas; sometimes that gets a little bit morbid. I’m glad you get that vibe though.

CD: I’m not going to lie; I didn’t actually know you had new music coming out until it was released. So I had no expectations.

HM: Well, we weren’t actually going to bring out any new music. We were taking some time off, and I was away in the UK and America. I came back to do one show – a festival in Sydney. When we were rehearsing, we started accidentally writing songs. There was a long patch of time we took off and when we came back to it, we started naturally writing. Its funny, if we were forced to write music, then this would never be happening.

CD: If you don’t mind me asking, what happened between the release of The Brink and Synthia?

HM: We had Heathers diagnosis when we were writing The Brink, which at that point, we thought we would stop writing and the band would be over. But when she got out of hospital, she just wanted to keep on going. She just wanted to keep on going with life as normal as possible. On the surface, everything was fine, but deep down we were totally different people. It was definitely a reality check. Synthia was a healing process as well as focusing on other things in life like relationships.

CD: So all of you were feeling the pressures of the industry?

HM: For The Brink, totally, but not so much anymore. I don’t think it was a coincidence what happened. We were all so tired after writing that album. For me, writing music is like a compulsion, and I think the rest of the band they feel the same way. We aren’t feeling those pressures as much now though.

CD: Its good to have you all back again. How has the response been so far for the newest album?

HM: It was bloody great when it came out; we had five star reviews and all. In saying that though, we are primarily a live band, so having to cancel the tour earlier this year was difficult for us. This tour will be like reigniting the memory for people who heard the album earlier this year. It will be interesting to see what fans remember us, and to see if we have any new fans.

CD: Would you consider the shows on the upcoming tour to be more intimate?

HM: They’re definitely more intimate. Considering the album came out earlier in the year, and we haven’t toured in over two years, we wouldn’t go to the extremes of large venues. If I’m honest, I prefer the smaller venues because I feel so much more ‘in the moment’.

CD: I have been keeping up with the news over the past month and you have been involved in a couple of notable causes. There was the #ittakesone campaign and also the Anti Lockout Law pub-crawl you organised. How passionate are you about these issues?

Above: #ittakesone campaign – a stand against sexual abuse via Poison City Records.

HM: The Camp Cope guys approached Nick about that video because they wanted predominantly male voices, which I think was a really good tactic. That way, it was empowering men to feel responsible and connected with feminist movements. I thought that was absolutely genius, because you hear a lot more women talking about that kind of stuff. We are fairly lucky in respect that our crowds don’t do that sort of stuff, but I know that it is common. I know that as a teenager, the music scene was very male dominated, and Heather and I actually started playing music by accident because we felt alienated.

In terms of the dying nightlife in Sydney, that was really sad. I was overseas when most of it actually happened and, obviously, I saw the effects when I came back for the tour. All I can say is that a city like Sydney needs to value something more than just real estate, or else the place will become completely vacuous.

CD: Finally, what can we expect from your show in Newcastle? 

HM: I really don’t know. It’s been a while, so I guess just raw energy in an intimate environmen”.

The Jezabels will hit The University of Newcastle’s Bar on the Hill on Saturday, October 22.
Tickets can be found here.

Feature Image via Frontier Touring. No changes made

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