The Return of the Jezabels

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words by: tara wesson

Classic Aussie indie rock outfit The Jezabels have recently wrapped their nation-wide Corona Sunsets tour. COVERED. sat down with Heather Shannon to find out what she got up to, before the band’s long awaited return to the live music scene.

Can you tell me a bit about the work you did with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective? I wrote two pieces for that which was really cool, really awesome experience to hear my music being played by such incredible musicians.

How did your work with The Jezabels collude with the classical background you’ve had? I always feel like both of those musical worlds are connected in my brain somehow. I guess I’m always trying to see if I can be conscious of how they influence each other. I think it’s an interesting point of departure when I’m writing… sometimes I write stuff on synthesiser and then arrange it for some acoustic instruments, which sounds interesting, so it’s a very different world. But these days, people are trying to tear down those genre differences a little bit.

Having worked with the chamber orchestra now, do you think that will change the way you work with your band mates and the music you put out? Possibly. It’s very collaborative with the Jezabels. Everyone at the moment is doing a lot of different writing projects and other things, and I think for us to come together and write something that’s meaningful in a collaborative way, it’s really important to do that, to have an independent musical life as well.

I hope that as a musician I’m always developing and maybe that will feed through some of the Jezabels’ music as well.

Are you guys working on anything new at the moment? Not directly. [The Corona Sunsets] tour’s a really good opportunity for us to get back together after spending a bit of time apart, reconnecting and stuff. There’s a chance we might have a bit of a jam and write some new stuff but we’re pretty far off releasing new material.

And speaking of, how was the Corona Sunsets tour? Really good. A lot of the shows [were] in regional areas, and it’s really hard to do regional touring in Australia so to have that opportunity [was] really awesome… just a super relaxed vibe. The venues are not usually music venues so [it was] kind of a different feel. We’d never played at the Steyne, it’s kind of exciting. It’s mostly on the beach which is awesome.

You guys have been on the music scene for a good while - how has live music changed in the last few years?It’s definitely interesting times for the music industry… it sort of feels like the rug has been pulled out from the industry a bit. There’s been a lot of rebuilding I know, in terms of record labels and publishing and the way that people go about setting up their bands, it’s super different. I think people are able to be more independent, which is a good thing, but at the same time they can’t rely on sales of their music anymore. More and more it’s becoming important to have a touring life and to play live. I guess with this climate in Sydney it’s particularly hard because all of those opportunities, all of the venues have been closing down. You’ve got this festival stuff going on now. So I really fear for the future of Sydney music particularly.

How do you find that festivals differ? It’s always a different vibe at festivals because it’s lots of different bands all at once. It’s kind of more rushed I guess; you just get on and off and do your thing, but it’s an awesome vibe. I love playing at festivals.

So what’s next for you? I’m always writing. I’ve just started studying at uni. I’m studying a master’s in composition and just trying to learn more and more. •