Huntress Talks "Spell Eater"
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 09:18:37
"We're always pleasantly surprised when people get it," smiles Huntress frontwoman Jill Janus. "We're a bunch of weirdos who love heavy metal, and it's pretty tight when anybody else understands where we're coming from."
There's a lot to "get" when it comes to Huntress. On Spell Eater, the Los Angeles quintet dispenses brutally deft heavy metal with impressive technicality and Janus's seismic scream. It's brutal alchemy of the highest order with a strangely sexy twist bolstered by the band's eerie visuals and unparalleled presence on stage. Once these spells are cast, you'll feel them for a lifetime, and that's what makes Huntress astoundingly awesome.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Huntress singer Jill Janus opens up about Spell Eater and so much more.
What's your take on Spell Eater as a whole?
With Huntress, there's always an overarching vision in mind. It's not a concept album. For us, it's an album that we saw flowing, and we wanted there to be unity. We wanted it to have this connected dynamic. Each of these songs is like a child, and they all create this little strange family. It works quite beautifully and brutally as well.
The moments of reprieve make the heavy parts hit even harder.
Thank you! At the core, for me personally, melody is what inspires my songwriting. That will always be the through-line. It'll always be melodic. It'll always be heavy, but melody is really our jam. The boys agree.
What's the story behind "The Tower"?
The final lyric is "Fall to your end", and the descending note is the final note. With "The Tower", Ian brought us these riffs. Usually when someone brings a part to the table, I'll get inspired with a theme or a vision. When Ian played this first riff, I saw two people falling out of a burning tower. I said, "Dang, the tarot got me again!" It is a tarot card. I had that strong vision of a king and queen falling out of a tower having been hit by lightning. The whole story is about the tarot card and the various elements of it, what occurs with that tower, how it's cursed, and the only way you can be freed is by the truth. We're a dark and heavy band, but I still very much walk the path of light. I'm what you'd call "A good witch". I want to send a somewhat positive message when I can and I'm not cutting somebody's throat [Laughs].
What's your favorite song on the album right now?
That's a tricky question! It's like asking, "What's your favorite child?" I love them all for different reasons. I'd have to say I do favor "Aradia". It's the story of the queen of the witches. She was birthed in Tuscany, Italy and she was brought here to teach the poor sorcery and witchcraft to protect themselves from the church. I imagine her running through the forest, hanging clergymen, and tearing hearts out of priests. To me, it's not vulgar. It's just good fun! She's the epitome of good terror [Laughs]. When I perform that song, it's the most difficult because of all the strange sounds I produce. It can be quite an experience to go through that night after night. I don't generally do "Aradia" in the set normally if we're going to be doing a long tour. Physically and mentally, it throws me into a trancelike state, and it's often tough to get out of it. "Aradia" is my favorite at the moment.
Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?
Absolutely! I've always been very visual. The key to my success is visualization, seeing what I want, seeing it come to fruition, and manifesting my desires. The band does it as well. For us, visualization is vital to our existence. With our songwriting, I bring the boys visions, themes, or ideas. I bring them these ideas and ask them to write me a song about the subject. We work in that way where there's vision before a song is written. It works for us!
What would be the cinematic equivalent of Spell Eater?
That's a good question! I adore cinema, but on my own terms. I get bored watching movies so it'd have to be something with blockbusters and terrible movie actors from the '80s who like to blow stuff up. I'm that kind of gal! There's one film that's my favorite. I love action movies, but my all-time favorite film is the silent movie The Passion of Joan of Arc. On the soundtrack is "Voices of Light" by Anonymous 4. It's breathtaking. I don't think Spell Eater is like that all, but I did look to that movie for inspiration in terms of some of the heartache. The actress could only do that film. She couldn't act again because it altered her being so thoroughly. One song is about a film. "Children" is about Night of the Hunter, a black-and-white film about a man with a knife who's chasing the children through the tall grass. He kills their mother and throws her in the lake. That's one of our favorites. It's eerie. I don't see the album in relation to a movie though.
Where is the new material headed?
We're recording in March and April, and it'll be out in 2013. I can tell you that it is the next phase in Huntress. Where we're going next is a very natural progression. We've grown up as writers and musicians, but we're not going to make it any slower [Laughs]. Regarding the themes, I have been receiving messages, and I'm really pleased with what we're receiving so far. Our goal as a band is to record one album as a year and so far we're on track!
Have you heard Huntress?