Berlin has opened many doors for young creatives, including the power force behind the band Jealous. While most people might know Berlin for its thriving techno and club music scene, rising musicians are also drawn to the city’s underground rock and roll scene. When watching Jealous perform, the women remind you of legendary rock icons like Janis Joplin and Joan Jett with their infectious energy, fierce stage presence, and dynamic vocals. They’ve opened for brilliant bands such as Death Valley Girls and GURR to rave reviews and are continuing to take the world by storm.
Read our interview belong to learn more about how the band came together, where they would like to take Jealous, and how the music on their first EP came about.
Your sound is a mix of garage, country, and punk, a concoction that isn’t commonly heard in Berlin. Has it been tough to garner an audience here or have you felt support from your fellow outsiders?
Paz Bonfil: Our sound is a combination of everything we like and I guess it happens in a very organic way. I have no idea how one gets an audience or if we have a specific one, but we have been very lucky to get support from a lot of people that we appreciate and admire ourselves. We’ve gotten opportunities to play with bands that we really love, touring around, and meeting the nicest people. We’ve taken none of this for granted.
Alice Heut aka Big Al: The Berlin rock’n’roll scene is pretty small so it’s easy to find places to play and gather an audience if your band doesn’t sound like crap.
Adi Kum: I’ve been playing in bands for over a decade and this is the first project that is remotely “fun” to listen to in a live setting, and that you can actually kind of dance to or moshpit to or makeout to. So yeah, I feel like usually Berlin is pretty supportive.
What is it about Berlin that draws you to this city?
PB: It might sound strange but I enjoy not belonging to where I live. I love that most of the people I'm surrounded by are people that don’t belong. Some because they left their home countries, and some are just misfits I guess.
Big Al: I ended up here very randomly and I have been here for almost 7 years now! It’s a good city to live in during your twenties.
AK: Jerusalem (where I’m from) is an intense and loud place, and in Berlin the streets are much wider and you don’t have to walk into people. And about 50 other reasons but that’s a start.
You’ve just released your new EP, “What’s Your Damage?” on Baby Satan Records. What are some of the influences Jealous drew on for this devilish release?
PB: It might sound cheesy... but love and passion. The more I try to talk about music and inspirations for it, the more I find myself at a loss for words. It's just what it is, it's such a strange way to show passion, but when it works, - and it’s real good - it's so undeniable that it makes your blood cells vibrate. I think that this EP is an attempt to shed layers of skin and walls of self-judgment. To go back to a point of being raw, passionate, flawed, crazy and extremely honest. Which are all things that are becoming more and more difficult to be in this world.
AK: The name is from the Micheal Lehmann’s masterpiece “Heathers”. There are so many great moments in this film, and their language is genius. Everyone always gives credit to J. R. R. Tolkien for making up languages but no one ever talks about Heathers, you know? As for my part of the lyrics, it’s just what I had on my mind in the last year; being careless with your own feelings, being stuck in your own head, psychedelics, and mindfulness.
You’ve just come off of some heavy touring and the release of “What’s Your Damage?” What’s next for Jealous?
PB: Working on the next recordings, and more touring!
AK: We are working on songs for our first full-length album. We also have an October tour in Israel, the UK, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
You’ve got a couple of amazing cover songs in your back pockets. Any new ones Jealous has been working on?
PB: I think each one of us has a list of songs we would like to cover. We’ve done T. Rex, Brian Eno, The Runaways, Gene Vincent, Plastic Bertrand, Bruce Springsteen, and Black Sabbath
(poorly, but still, some people in Poland got to enjoy that mess). Next I’d be up for an Alan Vega or Hank Williams cover, or some 70s pop songs.
All three of the members of Jealous are female but I know y’all don’t want to be considered a chick band or be booked because you’re all women. What are you doing to combat that?
PB: I’ve been trying to find a way to explain this myself without going on for 5 pages. So I’ll try to make it short and informative... Gender inequality is alive and kicking, there’s no doubt about it. In the music industry and every other aspect of life, this is no secret. Gender is something people can identify with or not identify with at all. For me, when I broke the idea of binary gender in my brain, it freed me from a lot of boundaries that I thought were a part of who I was supposed to be but could never understand why I didn’t fit in that mold. I used to organize all-female events or all-female DJ sets because I thought that was the way of breaking those boundaries only to discover that not having gender as the main force or idea of what I do is what would free me from those boundaries. I feel that putting Jealous in a category according to our gender is forcing us into that mold again and its a double-edged sword, creating a mold by:
A) binding females to only a few options when males are offered endless opportunities. Our gender is always an issue, its always the first people notice about us. Not our music, not our lyrics, just the fact that we’re girls.
and B) because it’s not about gender. We’re not a girl band, we’re a band.
And lastly, but most important, gender equality is not a battle between male and female. If you want to fight this one, then it should be as broad and inclusive as possible and not this old-school approach of the battle-of-the-sexes bullshit. It’s not about being against anyone, it's about love and acceptance.
Big Al: I just avoid talking about it.
AK: People not talking as much about gender will be the first step towards equality.
Two of you are from Israel and one of you is from France. What does each person bring to the table? What first drew all of you together?
PB: I don't especially identify with Israel, there are an endless amount of problems with that place. What I can say about where I grew up, is that the scene in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem is amazing and is fueled by the outsider/misfit community of passionate and creative people there. I think our connection to each other doesn’t depend on where we’re from. There is this feeling you get when you go to a bar in a city you’ve never been to, and they still play The Gun Club or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and then you know that you're home. It's more like that. Also, I used to go to Adi’s solo shows in Isreal long before we were ever friends.
Big Al: I guess Berlin drew us together.
Sometimes it’s hard to be taken seriously in the punk and garage scenes. Where does Jealous see itself going and growing next?
PB: I like the punk and garage scene and I don't think about where is the band going. I think about what kind of music I wanna play, which countries I wanna tour, which bands I wanna play with. I like having very different experiences and trying whatever I can.
What are five words each of you would use to describe Berlin?
PB: Sorry, I don't speak German. Big Al: Rude, cold, dirty, dark and sticky. AK: U8, dirt, magic, kurzstrecke, Bahn-bao. (wow, it sounds like Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ next album title!)