Huntress Interview: Jill Janus
Huntress are set to release their third album, Static, later this month. Jill Janus speaks to Manchester Rocks to reveal the first three albums themes in detail and being a witch.
You are a self-proclaimed white witch. Does that entail any special rituals before the band take the stage?
When Huntress began touring in 2012, my pre-show rituals were very elaborate! But as touring became so fast paced, I didn't have the time to get extravagant and I modernized my pre-show spells. Now I have a simple, poignant chant right before I step on stage.
You’re releasing an album a year for the first three releases. I believe these follow the theme of the three aspects of the Triple Goddess. Can you elaborate on this?
When Huntress signed to Napalm Records, I had a very clear vision for a Trilogy. I wanted the first three albums to represent the Triple Goddess as Maiden (Spell Eater), Mother (Starbound Beast) and Crone (Static). I knew we’d musically evolve within those phases, each album represents the three personalities. Now that we’re in the Crone phase of death and wisdom, I reveal so much more about the journey on Static.
Does the theme of each release affect the overall musical content and style of each record?
Yes. Spell Eater in the Maiden phase is youthful, aggressive and sexual. Starbound Beast is nurturing and thoughtful in the Mother phase, the music has a cosmic-vibe. Static is Crone and the most advanced musically. You can hear the natural evolution, it’s melodic and heavy, with more elements of doom and hard rock. When writing your music, how much do those themes impact upon how you assemble the songs, is it a constant thought in your mind that the songs will have to conform to the album's theme or is it something you worry about after most of the song's foundation is complete?
All of our songwriting is organic, it develops naturally. The mood of the album impacts the sound.
How much of Huntress is Jill Janus’ vision or is it an equal input deal?
Huntress began with my vision, but it had to become a shared vision or we wouldn't have come this far. Unified purpose for the band is vital to our existence. Blake and I have the strongest bond together with the approach to our goals.
The great Lemmy wrote your track ‘I Want To Fuck You To Death’ for you. Does shit get any better than that?
Man, it’s so cool! Having Lemmy Kilmister write a song with me was a high-five from the Universe! He has integrity and is a dear friend. I’ll sing I Want To Fuck You To Death for him on the Motorhead Motorboat cruise (September 28th - October 2n). It’s a dream come true.
Alive or dead, are there any other artists you'd love to collaborate with, like you did with Lemmy, and why do you think this person(s) would be such an ideal person to make their own mark on Huntress history?
I love to duet with Rob Halford of Judas Priest. That would be ultimate.
Jill, you were in the World Trade Centre the morning it was hit by terrorist planes on 9/11. How does something like that affect your world view and determination to succeed?
There’s no other option for me but to be a warrior. I’ve had many personal struggles in my lifetime. I desire to live. There have been many times I didn’t want to keep on living. But you have to make a choice and I chose to keep going. I've always be determined to win. Regarding my world view, it is best that I don’t express my opinions. Let’s just say it ain't “politically correct.”
Spell Eater seems heavier and thrashier than the straight ahead heavy rock of latest release, Starbound Beast. As Huntress prepare to unleash new album Static, can you tell us anything about the style of this release?
The music of our three albums was absolutely intentional. As we prepare to release Static, it’s exactly how it should be. Huntress is evolving, the sound on the new album combines elements from Spell Eater and Starbound Beast, but we’re growing. Fans will have to accept that or not. It’s cool either way. Static is also the catchiest and most accessible record we've written, thanks to my band mates who shared the same vision, and the producers Paul Fig and Jim Rota who wanted a modern, vocally driven record.
Words & Interview: Paul Cooke