JENNER Hear the Thunder Roar

Jenner is yet another newcomer that comes from my home-tome Belgrade. What’s more interesting about the band is that the entire group consists of female members. Perhaps one could think that they’ll perform some female opera metal or more modern stuff, but yet Jenner is different since their music is based on more traditional stuff. So, Jenner’s style has employed some speed, thrash or even traditional heavy metal elements.  The final result is their debut record To Live is to Suffer. Meanwhile, I took some time and I’ve done one chat with Alexandra (mastermind and guitar-player in the band)…

Hello, Alexandra! Since this is the first interview for Metal Sound pages tell us something about Jenner in general and introduce our readers with your band?
Hello! The band was founded in December 2013 and so far, we have had small changes in composition, so the band is currently Anđelina Mitić (vocals), Marija Dragićević (drums), Nevena Ilić (bass guitar) and I (guitar). By 2015, we played songs of heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Grim Reaper, Warlock, etc. and later songs of speed / thrash bands like Anthrax, Overkill, Heathen, etc. so we eventually reoriented to write and play our own music.

As a matter of fact during last year Jenner has released debut full-length entitled To live is to Suffer so please present the record from your own point of view.
That’s right, on February 20th it was exactly one year since the release of the album. I’m extremely pleased that the audience accepted my music and I’m often not aware of what we managed to do with just one release. Of course, large part of our success is made by our publisher, Fabien Pinneteau from the French label INFERNO records, thanks to which people all over the world heard about us, as well as producer Luka Matković from Citadela Sound Production studio who made the album sound worldly and powerful.
The album is composed of 8 fast and energetic tracks that are encompassed with one name in “To live is to suffer”. As the composer, I have to admit that this was a huge experience for me and I often think that I will never be able to overcome myself and my creativity. Since no one in the band has plans to make a living from music and everything we’re doing is because of love, my first goal with the band was to do something that will leave a mark in the history of heavy metal music, to hold our creation in our hands, to build memories which we will always remember… My second goal, as the leader of the band, is to keep this as much as I can, because we and lots of people around us think that we have a lot of potential and that all this effort should not be thrown into the water. I’m currently working on new material and I hope that we will soon be able to surprise fans with new songs.

How would you like to describe the music that Jenner performs. In fact, Jenner has some thrash and heavy metal elements but also the music could be quite melodic in moments, too.
Jenner started as a cover band that played pure old-school heavy metal. Over time, as we improved our playing and started working on our songs, our sound was a bit mature and crystallized, so we decided to completely reorient to speed / thrash metal, and we are still there. The only “condition” is that music has an old-school vibe, because we’re trying to preserve that sound, although this is not the usual case in the current world metal scene. We achieve this by the melodic parts that the human ear actually remembers first, and the great part are vocal sections that are mostly melodic and sung with a clean vocal, which are dosed with screams and some growls. Basically, I don’t like to generalize genres, because I think that music is a reflection of feelings, which are primarily individual and can be very complex. But, if I have to say, I usually say it’s a thrash metal mixed with heavy and speed metal.

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How did you end up with the name Jenner? There’s one interesting story behind the name…
After the breakup of my first hard rock band in which I played bass guitar, I switched to an electric guitar and decided to set up a new, slightly stronger band, but I didn’t have a new name. At that time, at the age of 16, I was the 2nd year of secondary medical school and one night while I was studying microbiology, I read that Dr. Edward Jenner in the late XVIII century discovered the smallpox vaccine, which killed many people around the world, and also here, in the former Yugoslavia. For me, it turned out to be an interesting piece of information and at the same moment I drew a logo that we still use, so generally, the name is older than the band itself. I feel bad just because many people don’t have the right information about it, and therefore have prejudices about us, but I’m glad that I managed somehow to combine my love for music and medicine.

Before the debut studio full-length Jenner has also done at least few more songs so tell us something about these tracks. I have to say that I really like these two songs.
Yes, those two songs are “Hear the thunder roar” and “On the judgment day” which were recorded as a demo versions in 2015, so that the band could apply for participation in the 49th Guitar Festival in Zaječar as part of the demo bands competition. Although we didn’t win the prize and our performance lasted only 10 minutes, that has meant a lot to us, and we remember it as one of the first concerts we played on the big stage. The most important is that we’ve won the sympathy of the audience and that has opened the door to our further work. Shortly after that competition, we went to the studio to record an album, which contains these two songs, re-recorded, perfected and very little changed. The interesting fact is that even today, when I hear the beginning of “On the judgment day,” I think of Zaječar.

Jenner is very active as a live band which could be sometimes very hard. So, tell us about your live activities and some of the favorite shows.
It’s usually difficult to reconcile private obligations with the band, but I think that everything can be done with good organization and little effort. As I said, we do this because of love and I don’t see the point of forcing something that you don’t like. Unfortunately, due to heavy obligations around faculties, jobs and children, we are mostly unable to travel far or go on a tour, but every scheduled performance we do the best we can. I will always remember the performance in Skopje, because in that time, besides all the disasters, we managed to do everything and the audience was wild all the time and was singing every song with us. Also, one of my personal favorite performs is on the Arhangel Motofest in Grocka, because it was 15 minutes from my home, a big stage, a lot of people and motorcycles, the sound was excellent and we played better than ever.

What kind of music do you personally listen? Could we say that Jenner is a mixture of the music that you listen or you would like to go beyond standard genres with your style?
I’m trying to keep Jenner’s and my own recognizable style, but I listen to what I like. It depends on the mood, but I mostly listen to 80s, whether it’s pop, rock, heavy metal, thrash metal. In periods when I don’t think about composing, I mostly listen to pop and rock. But I must admit that sometimes when I have the need to compose and don’t have an inspiration, I listen to black and progressive metal.

Name your favorite guitarists and favorite bands 🙂
Favorite bands Testament, Sepultura, Megadeth, and I don’t have a favorite guitarist.

Do you think that it is easier to get some attention or popularity if you are all-girl band and could you imagine in the future that you could have some male members 🙂 not only as quest musicians 🙂
It is certainly easier, but I always emphasize that all-female bands are also ordinary bands . I also think that this fact is misused mostly by journalists and organizers to attract people rather than the bands themselves. And the audience is constantly looking for something innovative and unusual. Honestly, if I had to change my members again, I would’ve probably lost the enthusiasm to work with the same band, but who knows. On the other hand, I can certainly imagine myself playing with men, I even helped some bands and the atmosphere was great, and I play in another band with guys.

What are the future plans for the band right now? Are you already composing some new stuff for the upcoming record and do you have any plans for the future live shows?
We plan to promote the album a bit more in the region, and in the meantime we are making new music, so we will soon release a new single or EP. Also, our album “To live is to suffer” will be re-released on vinyl on June 30th as a limited edition of 300 copies, of course via INFERNO records. For now, we have scheduled the show on June 16th on Rock in Nis Festival, and after that we will probably dedicate ourselves to making music.

Alexandra, I would like to thank you for the interview and I wish you all the best with Jenner in the future! Hope to see you soon live! 🙂
Thanks a lot! I’m glad I had an opportunity to talk to you and introduce my band to your readers. See you!

  • Answers by Alexandra Lioness
  • Interview by Marko Miranovic
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