Wednesday, February 1, 2017

interview: Jenner

You form a band and there are obstacles, and you have to persevere. You have fight to be immortal and get your name into pages of the book of heavy metal. The Serbian thrashers Jenner know all about it. Their speed demon drummer Marija took some time to explain the life of her band in the city of Belgrade. Jenner came to the world to play fast heavy metal the way to bang your head all day long. Life is not easy, and it’s not any easier if you play metal music in Serbia. In fact, they have finished recording their debut album called To Live Is to Suffer and they want the whole world to know about it. The time for Jenner is here now. Let’s go!
Greetings! How is life for Jenner in Belgrade, Serbia in 2017?!
Hello, everyone, thank you for giving us the honour to present our band to you and your audience in the USA. 2017 has started very nice and productive for us, even on private life and with the band. Our debut album is about to be released, we're organizing promotions now, we need to record some video, so we're gonna be very busy this year.
Tell us about your band and your allegiance to metal.
Jenner is the only all-female speed/thrash metal band in Serbia. The band was formed in December 2013 by sisters Alexandra (guitar) and me, Marija (drums) with the goal of following our influences Judas Priest, Warlock, Grim Reaper. Our friends Andjelina (vocals) and Jana (bass) joined the band and we started covering our favourite songs of already mentioned bands. After spending more time together and matured as a band, we took Alexandras advice and went for a more ferocious and faster sound in the likes of Anthrax, Overkill, Exodus, Agent Steel and looked up to our fellow Serbain thrash friends Space Eater, Alitor, Deadly Mosh for further influence. Jana was replaced by our current bassist Mina after a year of work, and we immediately started working on our own songs. I was on a maternity leave for another year, so our good friend Selena Simic (drummer from the band Nemesis) helped us with some gigs and finishing the album.
I have been listening to your music online. What can you tell us about where you recorded it and what the listener can expect?
The demo you've listened to was recorded in 2015, at Citadela Sound Production, and it has been very well received by audience, not only in Serbia but also abroad. We released it for the bands promotion and entry to a quite famous and cult Serbian guitar festival in Zajecar, that lasts for 50 years already. We made it to the semifinals for demo bands, but unfortunately, we couldn't make it to the finals. But never mind, it's only important that our performance was very noticeable, and that helped us and enabled us to get many contacts for the further cooperations. Our official YouTube channel contains both songs uploaded, "Hear the thunder roar", and "On a judgement day", so, tell us what do you think about them!
You have new music ready?
Correct, our debut album "To Live Is to Suffer", which makes us very proud, will be released in a few weeks, with huge help from Inferno Records from France. We can't wait to present it to you! Follow our Facebook page and also Inferno Records page for further information!
What inspired you to make metal music in Belgrade?
Ever since I've started to play, I've listened to mostly '80s hard rock and focused on it. Alexandra and I had formed the band with that idea. However, turnaround occurred, we've started to play harder sound, and I stayed in the band as a drummer, mostly because of my sister, and then I started to like that music, which was too tough for me to play in the beginning. And now, we are here, where we are, and I'm very happy for that.
How can Jenner be successful in Europe? Are Serbian bands getting more recognition in Europe nowadays?
Well, many European countries have already called us to play, but I'm still not sure how it's gonna work, mostly because of finances and our free time, but we'll give our best! Serbia has an amount of successful bands, which already touring Europe, and they're accepted very well, for example Infest, Nadimac, Alitor. It wasn't easy for them, these are the years of work and sacrifices, but they're making it, mostly because they do what they love.
Is there a good economic environment for musicians, for shows in Belgrade, for buying equipment and recording music?
The situation has lately become drastically bad, not only for us but for all the underground bands here. Many of our iconic clubs are closed, the audience is getting smaller, but well, as long as we remain true to who we are, we won't give up. As for finances, unfortunately, none of the bands can make a living from their music, each has its primary business, or still studies, which is our case.
The equipment is expensive, and also the organization of gigs, so, often it is not worth it and then everything slowly collapses. However, bands associates, they share the expenses and borrow equipment to help us in any way they can. Recordings are expensive too, so very often happens that a band stops working on their music so they can raise money for the album.
How do you feel about the future of Serbia? There is tension between the governments of Ukraine and Russia, and also Poland and Russia. Also, of course, there was a war in your country in the 1990s. Do you feel a positive attitude about the future?
Future in Serbia is very uncertain. As we are a country in transition and the government is doing everything in order to join the EU, people are the one to suffer the most. Prices are higher, wages are either the same or even lower than before, employers are unrealistic, and often fire a growing number of people. I cannot say that it's nice to be living here, but certainly I think it can be worse. I have a 6 months old baby, and frankly I'm afraid what will her future and her growing up be in here, since more and more young people travel abroad in search of happiness and to make for a living. As for wars, not that I'm not surprised. Throughout history there was a plenty of wars, and I'm sure they'll start again, it's just a matter of time. I'd like not to mention, but the tension between us and certain neighboring countries is growing day by day.
Here in the U.S. we do not know much about Serbia and the metal scenes there. Is there anything that you would like us to know about Serbians and Serbia? Would you like to say anything to Americans?
Although small, Serbian metal scene is holding tight and trying to survive. There are always people who will help. Bands usually seek cooperation with foreign labels, but there are several of them working hard in our country. There's always some gig. We have all kinds of subgenres of metal bands, but they all hang out together, interact, support and assist. Well, maybe we are not able to travel to America, but we're so glad for your interest in our scene! I hope that one day things would be better and allow us to cross the ocean, haha!
facebook.com/jennerserbia/
youtube.com/channel/UCk4_Ro5aIHY6pAocGCh1WpQ
THE END

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