Many concept albums have been released, but not as many artists are essentially concepts themselves. Sydney, Australia alt-rockers Lese Majesty most certainly eschew the latter, with a strong, empowering meaning behind their name and running themes in their music. Vocalist Jodie Lee Gibson, bassist Joel Henderson, and guitarists Jake Tuffin and Ben Moore have last year’s self-titled EP behind them, and are readying sophomore EP Cold Reason for Change. “Crown Land” is the first single off the Luke Palmer-produced effort, which is due out in February.
You used to live together in a 10-person share-house. Was that whole dynamic just bonkers?
It was. But strangely enough there weren’t any fights. We were too busy battling with spiders, snakes and a family of possums that refused to pay rent. Possums are cute, furry mammals with a mean streak. Kind of like my ex. We also had an old guy next door we called ‘old man winter’ who was the villain of the neighborhood. Picture the spooky leader of the ‘white-walkers’ from Game of Thrones
also being a serial killer accountant. Every party we threw, he would appear out of nowhere waving an icy finger, making cryptic threats. With such a hefty barrage of common enemies surrounding us it put the old “who left a dirty plate in the sink” into perspective.
Everyone played in different bands before coming together in Lese Majesty. Was the attraction to each other due to the old bands being a departure from this one?
We circled each other for years hoping that the timing would be right. Kind of like that person who you never got to date because either you had a partner or they did, but you were never both single at the same time. It was like that with our respective band commitments and awkward musical attractions. Our friendships were solid, and we knew there were common interests, so we hoped we could produce something fresh and exciting as a result.
“Crown Land” has a fuller, more driving sound than heard on your self-titled EP. How does Cold Reason for Change differ overall?
Our 2015 self-titled EP we produced ourselves with all of the guitars recorded at our share-house with our mediocre engineering skills. The new EP Cold Reason for Change is sonically bigger with darker imagery and themes than our previous release. We’re always looking to improve and progress, so having a producer at the helm this time around helped us achieve a more focused and mature sound.
“Self-sovereignty” is named as a theme of the band. Expand on that.
We loved the idea that although the term ‘Lese Majesty’ is predominately used in a legal context to mean ‘a violation against the dignity of a sovereign power’ we could also flip this concept around if we were to entertain the idea that each human being is powerful and sovereign in their own right. Perhaps we have all been brought up to not realise this, and therefore we have our own instances of ‘injured sovereignty’ that happen to us throughout our daily lives. As a band we’re drawn back to this theme often.
A few local shows have been played, but what else is shaping up tour-wise in support of Cold Reason for Change?
We’re hoping to take this EP on the road and tour it to as many people as possible. Although we’re currently on a great big dry island floating in the Pacific Ocean (Australia), most Aussie bands like us are reasonable swimmers, so we will eventually make our way through the sharks and across to the other side of the world where a lot of the action is.
There are a few themes (like the aforementioned self-sovereignty) that run through Lese Majesty. When someone listens to you, what’s the main thing you want them to take away from the experience?
We realised that growing up we were more likely to listen to the ideas and concepts of our favourite singers or bands rather than the points of view given to us from traditional forms of authority. Such charged, passionate and positive messages have resonated with us through artists such as Midnight Oil, Cog, Dead Letter Circus, Pink Floyd, Rage Against The Machine, U2, and Kendrick Lamar. If we can get close to delivering stories with some heart, connecting with people and even spark a positive idea, then that will be success for us.
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