Australian band, The Jezabels, have been through some ups and downs the past few years in their career. Well more downs than ups. Their keyboardist, Heather Shannon, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. As much as that drained the band, that did not stop them from finishing their third full-length album entitled Synthia.
Lead singer Hayley Marie candidly discusses Shannon’s condition and her own bouts of depression she encountered along the way to writing and recording their most cathartic album yet. It’s being praised across the board with amazing reviews, which only goes to show that this amazing little band from down under can prove to be everything and much more.
byteclay.com’s Robert Frezza recently sat down with Hayley Marie as she called in from London to discuss the new album and all of life’s challenges they had to overcome along the way.
Robert Frezza: Will you be coming to the U.S. to do promotion for Synthia or is this strictly an overseas thing right now?
Hayley Mary: Actually that is a high possibility. I probably am coming to do some promotional stuff in NYC and South By Southwest.
RF: What was the inspiration behind the video for the album’s first single, “Come Alive”?
HM: We actually just decided recently to take control of our videos instead of people giving us treatments. Sam found the artist who made the video. We gave him the lyrics and we wanted to see what he could with the video. We liked the idea of the witch burning because we played it in some of our live shows before—sort of Joan of Arc films that she gets burned at the stake. The persecuted woman gets burned at the stake and coming back to life because it’s about coming alive. It was perfect for the song and the band.
RF: Do you think that the new album Synthia is going back to the band’s roots?
HM: I do in some ways. I think it’s like we weren’t aware of our roots. Ideologically, and musically it is going back to our roots. It’s like the older stuff, chaotic, but with several new sounds to it. It sounds like it’s a bit more mature rather than naïve.
RF: How do you prep when you go into the studio?
HM: No, there is no rule. It’s not really conscious. Everyone really listens to a lot of different things. It’s always random. The thing about influences to me is that they are so much broader than you are even aware of. You take in so much that you consciously don’t even listen to it.
RF: The band’s last record and tour left the band exhausted. You also fell into depression. Did you think Synthia would ever see the light of day?
HM: Yes, that happened at the end of the tour. We worked so hard and so long. Heather was diagnosed with the cancer that she has and I was diagnosed with depression. That’s what really took the wind out of our sails but Heather wanted to keep going and live life like usual. It was a hard, strange time. It was a strange album because it came out of the need to make it instead of the desire. Synthia was the exact opposite. It was the light at the end of the tunnel for us. It came out more organic album for us.
RF: Are you back on social media?
HM: In my period of depression, I deleted all social media. I chose to listen to rock and roll and live a life of hedonism. I recently came back on board. I still don’t keep up a hundred percent of what’s going on.
RF: What is your favorite song off the album and why?
HM: “Pleasure Drive” is my favorite song off the album because the song represents a time in my life when I chose to enjoy life. It called me out of depths of mental illness. I learned to just enjoy every moment.