Thirteen years. That’s how long it’s been since The Superjesus released new music. Their EP Love and Violence, out this month sounds like The Superjesus of old, with a touch of maturity and whole lotta rock.
Charismaticly fronted by Sarah McLeod, The Superjesus spent much of the late 90s and early noughties at the top of the charts. And while they haven’t released new music for a while, they never really stopped.
Sarah caught up with Blank editor and long-time Superjesus fan Samantha Morris and the conversation, started (not surprisingly) with the She Who Rocks tour of 2015.
“That was probably one of the funnest tours I’ve ever been on,” Sarah said. “I love those guys and we’ve been friends for years, yet we’ve never toured together.”
Sarah’s talking about Baby Animals. She says they had good crowds, great rooms and were constantly trying to outdo eachother on stage.
“Both bands were playing at their best. Both bands were literally at their peak trying to outdo eachother and having a ball on the way. It was totally awesome.”
She Who Rocks stood out in my mind because local Gold Coast powerhouse Katie Who was vying for a support slot for the local show. Baby Animals and The Superjesus opened up the support slot to promote local emerging femal artists at each of their shows. Whether consciously or not, Sarah McLeod and her Baby Animals counterpart Suze Demarchi are role models for women both inside and out of the music industry.
“I am woman. Therefore I am,” Sarah said.
“I’m finding now more than ever, that I have something to offer in helping other bands. There are different girls in the industry who come to me for advice, and I think I know what to say now. I’m like ‘I’ll tell you what you should do,’” she said.
It hasn’t always been that way though.
“I was struggling so hard in the last five to ten years prior to where I am now that I didn’t stop to look around to think of where I was,” Sarah told Blank GC.
“I was just scratching to stay alive. And then I stopped and was like ‘I’m fine.’”
“I’m really enjoying having TSJ back together. There’s a lot of comfort and clarity in my brain.”
I push for more on what was happening over those five to ten years where Sarah was struggling but she laughs.
“That’s a book in itself,” she said and goes immediately to talking about the new EP. I ask Sarah to describe it to an old Superjesus fan.
“Well, it sounds like the band,” she said. “The band has had different incarnations from album to album.”
“On Sumo we were more left, more indie, way heavier. That’s our heaviest record.”
“With Jet Age, we were more shiny, more commercial, more pop. On Rock Music, it was a blend of the two with a heavier, rock angle.”
This record is a combination of all the styles we have dabbled in over the years. We’ve still got that half-time heavy dirginess that we had on Sumo but the songs are more tight pop-songs.
Sarah interrupts the interview at this point for something none of us ignore at 40+. A call from mother. Which is a good segue to moving on to talking about lessons from 20 years in music. Sarah starts by talking about touring.
“I’m enjoying touring life more, at least as much as I did then. Possibly more now.”
She says that in the 90s, touring was easier. It was easier to get people to go to gigs, there was more money involved and there were more crew and tour support.
“I’d go a year without even turning the volume on my amp,” she laughed.
“But even though that aspect was easier, I’m finding it overall easier and fun now because the vibe in the band is really relaxed and comfortable and fun.”
Sarah refers to tension in the band in the past and says for the first four to six years she didn’t enjoy the experience AT ALL.
“I hated it. There were a lot of internal problems but those problems are now gone. I don’t care if I lift my own amp and everyone else’s on my head. I’m just happy to have a good time.”
It’s been 22 years since The Superjesus formed. Did Sarah ever think she’d be doing this for so long?
“I remember when first signed with a management company. I would have been 21, maybe 22.”
“I remember having a meeting with the manager and mum and him saying to her, ‘you’ve probably two or three good years in her career, this is how it rolls, get in there milk it for all it’s worth and then think about the money and what to do next.’”
“And I was like ‘ there is no next’.”
I never thought would still be doing it this long. And getting better and enjoying it more. I didn’t know what I was doing before. I feel way more on top of my game.
As the interview comes to a close I ask Sarah if she has a favourite song from the band’s entire back catalogue.
“The one that I’m really loving at the moment is Sea Song. It’s on the new Superjesus record.”
We’re doing our first rehearsal tomorrow.”
“I think it’s the best Superjesus song we’ve ever had. I love it. I can’t wait to do it live. It’s epic.”
If you’d like to hear Sea Song and the rest of The Superjesus’ awesome songs, you’re in luck. They’re on tour with shows in Brisbane and Byron Bay this month.
More at thesuperjesus.com
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Tour Dates, The Superjesus Love and Violence Tour 2016
28 October, The Northern, Byron Bay
29 October, Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane