To celebrate the launch of the bands new album, SYNTHIA, Nik Kaloper from The Jezabels‘ (far right in the pic above) has shared his Savvy Seven tips with us.
We have a new bunch of questions for 2016 – hope you enjoy them!
• Who was your first musical inspiration? Why?
Before ever having played a drum kit, I was in my high school’s marching band and orchestra playing percussion. I was extremely interested in marching band and loved drumline – so in that sense, my first musical inspiration was the Blue Devils drum corps. I would spend hours every day studying their music and watching their videos of warms ups and routines (See Blue Devils 2014 Drumline Full Show “Felliniesque” In the Lot). I continue to find the mind boggling complexity of the music and its precise execution inspiring. I moved to Australia at the age of 15 and was sad to learn that marching band isn’t really part of the culture – so my musical interests somehow shifted to metal and emo. Bands like Converge, Botch, Sunny Day Real Estate and Cursive inspired me to want to drum in a band of my own.
• How did you get started in music and did you ever even think you’d get this far?
I never thought about how far I wanted to get in the music industry to be perfectly honest – actually, that’s a lie. My only goal was to play the Hopetoun Hotel, and share the stage with some of my favourite local acts – my thoughts never really went beyond that. While I’m ambitious in any endeavour, I never really approached music as a careerist in the beginning, so my start was much the same as any other persons’. I practiced as much as I could and started a few bands with friends. As The Jezabels started to become more popular, every show we played and song we recorded felt like something that was previously unimaginable. I never really thought any of this would happen and 8 years later we’re still going. Crazy.
• What has been one of your most defining moments in your career?
Every time we finish a record it feels like quite a defining moment. It’s usually at the end of an arduous and tiring 8 months, you finish the last day of tracking and the rest is pretty much out of your hands. Only then can you properly reflect on the experience and learn from it. It’s when you get to take a big step forward creatively and personally – hoping to use the things you’ve learnt and apply them to the next record.
• How has your music practice changed over time?
I think, 8 years ago, our band lived in the moment a lot more. We were all over the shop creatively and I think it sounded like it in our music, but I wouldn’t say that was a bad thing. Over the years we’ve become a lot more calculated and mature in our approach to song writing. We use the fact that our band has become a certain entity with a certain sound and we work within that to write our music.
• My top business tip for new artists is…
Stick to your guns. It’s better to succeed and fail by the side of your own decisions rather than someone else’s. That’s not to say don’t listen to advice, there’s a lot of great advice out there, from amazing and educated people who know more than you. Just make sure you can own your decisions at the end of the day.
• My biggest career mistake has been…
Forgetting to enjoy myself from time to time. Being in a touring band continually affords you with incredible experiences. I’ve missed them sometimes because I was busy worrying about a mistake I made in last night’s show or thinking about the overall quality of my drumming.
• In my opinion, the most important issue facing the music industry is…
I’m not entirely convinced there are any important issues facing the music industry today. People still want music in their lives as much as they ever have. So long as there is a demand there musicians can and will find a way to fulfil that demand. Whether or not musicians make a living wage from it is more capitalism’s problem than the music industry’s problem in my opinion.
The Jezabels’ new album, Synthia, is out now.