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Jebediah – We’re Not Radiohead, We’re Just Us!

Written by Jason Strange on 5th April, 2011

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It’s hard to believe Jebediah have been rocking crowds across the country for the best part of 18 years. While in recent years, the band have scaled down the tours and the albums, it hasn’t meant they’ve been lounging around living off past glories. Having left their label and working to their own schedule, the band took time to create their new studio album. Kosciuszko. Content to make sure they have a worthwhile collection of songs, the new album has all the signatures of a Jebediah record but with a more mature sound. Getting ready to hit the road in support, Brett had a chat to us about the new record while enjoying a well deserved beer after a day of constant promotions. Discussing topics of the new album, shooting the music video to the single She’s A Comet and the obligations of being in a band. Here’s the full conversation.

Music Feeds: How’s your day been?

Jebediah: Lots and lots of promos. [laughs] We flew in at like 1, got some sleep then breakfast radio, some acoustic versions of (She’s Like A) Comet and here we are at the hotel. You’re the last phoner actually so it’s special.

MF: Is it? Well I’ll keep it quick so you can go and relax and have a drink.

J: It’s all good man. I’m already having one!

MF: Good! Hey congrats on the new album man tell us a little bit about it?

J: The best thing for us was the freedom we had to make it. We had all the time we wanted on it. With Kevin being in Melbourne we’d take a week here and there and we could work and shape the songs more with that freedom and time. I don’t know to what effect that has on the final product. That’s going to be for people to decide. We’re all pretty happy with it. It’s a more unanimous feeling than it has been in the past.

MF: Because it did take a few years for this record to come together, did you ever think half way through “Shit, we’re never going to finish this?”

J: [laughs] Nah not really. because there wasn’t really a time in our minds that that decision would have to be made. I think regardless of what’s gone on in the last year or so I think we would’ve just kept going until we had something. We never set out for a release until we had a collection of material behind us to support a full length, and fingers crossed we have that.

MF: I think so. I got to listen to the album last night and I think it’s a better album than the last one. There’s some great songs on there. With the songwriting for this album, how did you guys approach it now with Kevin living Melbourne?

J: I wouldn’t think it was that much different really to the last album. The focus is obviously the four of us in the same place at the same time. Having said that, it did stray a little from that process because there were periods where, for example, Kevin was the only one in the studio with the rest of us all working or doing whatever.

MF: The single She’s Like A Comet has an awesome video, how did that one come together?

J: It’s fairly rare for us to go into a video with something idea wise. I guess we figure there’s people who do that for a living, but we were able to partner up ideas with the label for promos and bring it together. For me, it was just ten hours in a car park, then they did all this post and got the girl in and there you have it! It was kind of cool to get that self referential element into it as well.

MF: You’re about to hit the road for this album, how have the songs gone over live so far?

J: Pretty well. We’ve still got a lot of work to do in terms of how to play them [laughs]. That was another fundamental difference this time around, in the past we had budgets and time restraints where you end up with versions of the song already formed. That wasn’t the case this time around with the writing because a lot of the songs came together in the studio.

MF: Do you find that playing live now is different than what it was in the beginning some 15 odd years ago?

J: I think the live forum is one thing that remains pretty pure and constant. I think people go to see live music for the same reasons regardless of what era or passage of time. There’s some primal element to it that’s an undercurrent, so I think it’s one area where there hasn’t been a lot of change.

Everything else has changed. There were no mobile phones when we first started playing and obviously the online stuff is much bigger than it was. That’s probably been the biggest noticeable change – the importance of the online forum.

MF: On that same line, were you more conscience about the songs being leaked online?

J: Occasionally something will crop up that will bring that issue to mind. We’re not Radiohead, it’s just us. I suppose towards the end when it’s all coming together with the label and all the fine tuning takes place it starts to become a concern. But, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. What happens happens and you just deal with it I think.

MF: You guys are involved with National Youth Week and playing a free gig for Video Hits supporting it yeah?

J: Yes that is correct and that’s all I know about it! [laughs]

MF: Well I was going to ask how you got involved with National Youth Week?

J: Good question because none of us are youths but we all live in Australia [laughs] But really I guess it’s part of the whole promotional machine for the album. A lot of that stuff is engineered behind the scenes for us and all we have to do is try not to fuck up to much!

MF: When it comes to the label organising all this promo, do you have an option to say no?

J: In the early stages, if we’re opposed to something or if it’s just not right for us we can say something, but it’s a delicate line. We’ve entered into a legal contract for better terms and you’ve got both parties trying to achieve the same ends but in different ways. So it’s a compromise in a way. You can question some things but I suppose because we’ve been away from it for a while it’s a bit fresher than what it was and you go along with it more.

MF: Mate, one last question for you before I let you go back to your beer, if you were to make a mix tape what’s the first song you’d put on there?

J: Oh man is this a tape to someone I’m trying to impress?

MF: It can be anything you want it to be.

J: Maybe a song off one of the first two CD’s I bought. Onion Skin from Boom Crash Opera. I imagine the tape would be quite diverse.

MF: You said one of two, what was the other CD you bought?

J: A Beach Boys compilation [laughs] And there would be some Sex Pistols on there.

MF: There’s two bands you don’t often see side by side.

J: No, but I reckon if I made a mix tape it would be pretty eclectic!

MF: OK Brett, thanks for having a chat today man and all the best for the album and tour.

J: I appreciate man, thanks mate.

The album Kosciuszko drops on April 15 through Dew Process.

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