Monday, November 4, 2013

Huntress Lead Singer Jill Janus Is Former Coloratura Soprano

Jill Janus seems ready-made for
Lucia di Lammermoor, but prefers
the Heavy Metal scene instead.
"There's a lot to love about Huntress, and it's not just because frontwoman Jill Janus is gorgeous, bad-ass and intelligent. The band's debut album Spell Eater, recorded and produced by Chris Rakestraw, earned stellar reviews. The musicians--Janus, guitarists Blake Meahlt and Anthony Crocamo, bassist Ian Alden, and drummer Carl Wierzbicky--thrive on heavy riffs and spectral solos, occult science and bong rips, and a love for thrash and black metal. Influences like Judas Priest and King Diamond come into play, but with a modern sensibility about the heavy metal industry. And then of course, there's vocalist Jill Janus. Trained as a classical opera singer from childhood, she was drawn to metal from the first time she heard Suicidal Tendencies at the tender age of 13-years-old. That led to metal, punk rock and then thrash with her four-octave coloratura soprano range and a natural ability to growl and scream. She's been part of a witch coven since the age of 15, and hosted a night cabaret in the World Trade Center up until the night before 9/11." [Source] Think Jill Janus misses the fine art of opera? Find out after the jump.

Melissa Cross [your vocal coach] did The Zen of Screaming, right?
You got it! Coming from a classically trained background I always knew I wanted to be a metal singer. But my mother was very strict with my upbringing and vocal training as a child, so from the very start I've had very good training, classically. When I decided I wanted to pursue metal and make that my purpose I sought out Melissa Cross. I actually watched her DVD, and it frustrated me because I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to strip away a lot of my classical inflections and obtain that scream effortlessly. After about a year of trying I did it--so now it's effortless, but it does take a lot of maintaining the voice on the road, so I lead a strict lifestyle. So the classical training is a foundation of my screams.

So do you miss singing classical opera?
I've done it since I was a child, so it's almost like it was another lifetime for me. I still keep the operatic repertoire, and I do that as warm-ups. I find I'm really able to keep the clarity of my voice and vibrato if I continue my classical repertoire, [so] I try to do those as warm-ups sometimes. There's never any operatic inflections in Huntress; I make sure of that. I have a very large range, but that doesn't mean I'm going to incorporate it. We're a straight-up, true heavy metal band, with elements of thrash, death metal, black metal. I do miss opera in a way, but not enough, man.

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