8 quick questions with The Jezabels' drummer Nik Kaloper
WORDS BY MARLEY BENZ
Hailing from California, drummer Nik Kaloper was studying a double degree in Science and Education at the University of Sydney when he joined forces with keyboardist Heather Shannon, guitarist Sam Lockwood and vocalist Hayley Mary to form the power group ‘The Jezabels’.
As the first ever show the band performed together was at the USU’s very own Sydney Uni Band Compin 2007, Pulp had a chat with Nik about the band’s latest album, their origins, and what’s next on the cards.
M: Hey Nik, congrats on releasing the third full length album! How are you feeling about it?
N: Thanks! Yeah good. People seem to like it; our fans seem to like it. Looking back on it we seem to like it as well, which is good. So yeah, it’s been a pretty positive experience getting this one out there.
M: Awesome. Was there an overall message you guys were trying to convey in this album?
N: It’s all quite broad really. Hayley’s lyrics are definitely centred around female empowerment and feminism. But it has also got fictitious and real life experiences sort of woven in there. We always say it’s about whatever - what anyone wants to get out of it, that’s sort of what our music is about.
M: One of the songs on 'Synthia' that really resonated with me was ‘Smile’. It got the feminist in me roaring. Can you tell me a little bit about that one?
N: Yeah! That’s definitely one of my favourite songs on the album too. My favourite moments on just about any piece of music is when they try and go big and loud with big choruses and that song seems to do it for me. Some of these songs are quite personal to Hayley, too. Basically it’s about cat calling and unsolicited attention from men that females have to deal with on a daily basis. So it’s pointing a finger at that and saying it’s not that cool at the end of the day. So I like it for it’s message as well.
M: So, you guys were finalists in the Sydney University Band Competition in 2007, is that right?
N: 2007, my god!That is such a weird thing to think about. Yeah we were! From memory we came second. That was a lot of fun.It was the very first show that the four of us played together.
M: Did the competition play a part in motivating you guys to stick together?
N: It did actually, yeah! One of the judges - turned out he liked us. His name is Dave Batty and he’s still now our manager. So you can definitely say that was the beginning of everything and we thought, well, we came second and we enjoyed doing it so let’s keep going and see what happens.
M: That so great! Have you got any advice for the competitors this year?
N: I do. The best thing about the Band Comp is the experience you get from actually being on that stage in Manning Bar, where you have really talented sound engineers and a great PA and great fold backs and stuff. I think you should listen to everything the engineers have to say and really use it as great practice experience because it’s not often that you get to play on a stage like that in general. I think the best advice i could give is to view it as a great practice opportunity because it’s a really great venue.
M: What would you say to someone who might be undecided about entering the Sydney Uni Band Comp?
N: Oh do it, do it! Because challenging yourself… I’ve come to realise that stepping outside your comfort zone is the best way to learn. Throw yourself in the deep end. Let's say you don’t have enough songs, but in a month you know you’ve got your first show…. You’re going to have to write some more songs. To give yourself that deadline and commit yourself will ultimately serve you for the better.
M: If you could choose anyone, famous, not famous, dead or alive, who would be the one person or group you’d love to have a jam with?
N: I’ve actually been asked this question before and the reason I find it so difficult to answer is because I know myself well enough to know that if I was jamming with a personal idol of mine, I’d probably play really horribly because I’d be so nervous [laughs]. Having said that, I really like the band ‘Talk Talk’. I drum to quite a few of their songs for practice, which is good fun so it would be fun to be a fill in for the drummer.
Want to follow the footsteps of The Jezabels? Well, then enter the biggest Band Comp in Australia where you get to play on the Manning Bar stage! You could WIN:
· $2000 CASH
· Entry into the NSW Finals of the National Campus Band Comp
· A 4 track recording session at a respected Sydney recording studio
· A support slot at an appropriate Manning gig
· A slot at Psyfari Festival 2017*!