Hello ladies, and congratulations on the release of your first full-length album. How is life treating you?
Hello Jori, first of all, thank you for giving us the opportunity to present our band Jenner to you and your fans from The Netherlands, and thank you on congratulations! This year, the band will have full hands of hard work, promoting the album, doing interviews, maybe shooting a video. We’re proud of many nice reviews we received, the album is doing great in the whole world, and everybody invites us to play in their country. But unfortunately, we’re not able, as we’re still small band, and until now, we’ve booked few gigs on the Balkans - on 10th of March, we're in Ljubljana, Slovenia with our good friends from the bands Nemesis and Hellcats, 25th of March, we're in Skopje, FYRM. Belgrade's promotional gig will be held on 15th of April with our famous Serbian bands Superhammer and Deadly Mosh.
Since this is your first interview with us, could you please tell us a bit more about the band and how you all came together?
Jenner is the speed/thrash metal band coming from Belgrade, Serbia. I’m not gonna say “all girl” or “all female” this time, cause we’re trying to prove that gender is not of main importance, and that the most important thing is our music. Our story has begun more than three years ago, when my younger sister Alexandra and me decided to form a heavy metal band influenced by Judas Priest, Warlock, Accept etc. Under my pressure, two girls are called to perform with us, Andjelina Mitic, as vocalist, and Jana Bacic as bass player. I must note that Alexandra played bass in a hard rock band with me and a few friends for two years, and after that we’ve disbanded and formed Jenner. After a year of covering songs from bands who influenced us, with the recommendation of our friends, we started to play a bit harder. First, we covered some Overkill, Anthrax, Exodus, Agent Steel songs, and then we realized that Jana could not fit in with our new sound, so she was replaced with our current bass player Mina Petrovic. Soon we’ve recorded our first two demo songs, ‘Hear The Thunder Roar’ and ‘On A Judgement Day’, which you can find on our official Youtube channel, in order to promote the band more, and participate in the Serbian iconic 49th guitar festival in Zajecar. We made it to the semi-finals and had a remarkable performance. Few months after that, our debut album was prepared for recording, but it was delayed during the member’s private stuff. I become pregnant so I had to leave the band for a year, and Selena Simic, our good friend and drummer in bands Nemesis, Vibrator u Rikverc and Goatmare and the Hellspades, helped us with the recording of the drum tracks, and did a few gigs, and both bands, Jenner and Nemesis, performed the opening acts for the Brazilian female thrash metal band Nervosa, here in Belgrade last summer. I came back in November 2016, did one gig, and after that, album was done at Citadela Sound Production from Belgrade, and ready for releasing. It’s released by Inferno Records on 20th of February 2017, as CD (1000 pieces) and tape (100 pieces) version.
The music on ‘To Live Is To Suffer’ is fast and sharp as a razor for the full 37 minutes. Who is in control during the songwriting process, or is this a group effort?
The album is recorded, mixed and mastered at Citadela Sound Production in Belgrade by Luka Matkovic. All songs and arrangements are done by Alexandra, and I wrote the most of lyrics with my husband Ivan and Alexandra, except two song lyrics ‘How Deep Is Your Greed’ and ‘Opened (On the table)’, written by our producer Luka Matkovic. Our former bassist Jana helped us with crowd vocals, and our good friend Selena Simic (Nemesis, Vibrator u Rikverc, Goatmare and the Hellspades) with the drum parts as I was pregnant. The album needed some time to be fully recorded due to many private things, but it all ended okay. The label we signed a contract with, Inferno Records from France, was patient. As we have already said, Selena helped us to finish the drum tracks, guitars and basses are quickly recorded by Alexandra and Mina, and the vocals needed some time but it’s also successfully recorded by Andjelina, and Alexadra did backing vocals on ‘The Heath Is Coming Again’. Alexandra is the main composer, did all the arrangements by herself, singing melodies, drum parts, solos etc. Motive of human sufferings and fears is stretched through the whole album, also, illnesses, jugdement day, greed, inner demons and death. Songs are based on melodic and catchy guitar riffs and solos, compact rhythm section and high pitched vocals combined with little rough parts.
On of the standout songs has to be ‘Demon’s Call’, due to its darker tone and longer play time. Please elaborate on some details about the lyrics of this one.
Yes, this song has its own story. It is about the inner demons in every human being. The lyrics are written in first person, the girl speaks with her inner demon, who begins to haunt her, and she persistently tries to resist but in the end of the song she says “Take me away to your dream”, she can’t take it anymore, it’s too difficult to cope with it and she’s leaving the world to go with him, rather commits suicide. The music is based on fast rhythm of drums, that represents the demon haunting her, and the break, slower part with melodic guitar solo – her resistance.
What is the current status of the metal scene in Serbia? Correct me if I’m wrong but I can’t think of any really big bands that hail from your country. Do you have a growing underground scene though?
Unfortunately, our rock and metal scene is small and underground, but we are really proud of all kind of subgenres of metal bands we have here, and some of them are really successful in Europe, for example Infest, Alitor, Nadimac etc, who plays all across the Europe, and they’re accepted very well. We’re all holding very tight, hang out together, support each other, help and assist. It isn’t easy for us to deal with the band, cause it can’t make us a living and it needs a years of work and sacrifices, metal is very expensive hobby. But we’re all making it, mostly because we do what we love, and that’s the only thing that keeps metal in Serbia alive. We usually cooperate with foreign labels, who are very interested in our scene and promotion of bands.
In many reviews I found of your album, the reviewers focus heavily on the fact of you being an all-girl band, mentioning your looks before beginning about the music on the album. This never happens with bands with only guys in them. Does this bother you?
To be a female metal band is not easy, not only in Serbia. Prejudices follow us on every step, it’s a kind of an etiquette all of us female musicians must carry with us. To be a part of a female metal band, that’s weird to most of people, but we learnt not to pay attention and do what we love, the best as we can. There were some stories we’ve heard, that we haven’t even recorded our own demo. Some people just tend to overlook the real musical skills. Sometimes it's correct, but usually they just follow some patterns and they don't want to give us a chance. We’re trying to give our best to prove that our work and effort is not just for nothing. Female metal bands are rare everywhere but now, when our album is released and half of the world has already heard of us and has nothing but praise and admiration for us and our work, but the etiquette is still here. In general, most of people here are surprised by our decision to deal with thrash metal. They say we have a lot of courage for we have ventured into it and they all maximally support and assist us. Stereotypes, of course they’re everywhere, but we’re not worried, we know very well what we are doing and there will always be someone who appreciates it.
’To Live Is To Suffer’ is getting many positive reviews and I heard booking agencies across Europe have awoken with an interest in Jenner. Does this mean we can expect some touring in the foreseeable future?
Unfortunately, we can’t claim that. I mean, we’re a small band from a poor country, with our jobs and families, I’m not sure if we can make it, but maybe next year we’ll be able to travel European countries.
Except for any live shows, what are the future plans for Jenner?
Well, our merch is doing very good, we shipped a lot of shirts and CDs to every part of the world, and the orders are still coming to our official Facebook page. We plan to shoot the video after the promotional gig in Belgrade, and also book as many gigs as we can.
That was all I had for you. So if there’s anything you would still like to mention, now is the time!
Thank you for the nice chat, we hope we’ll have an opportunity to play for your audience in The Netherlands!