HUNTRESS

If you like your metal heavy then please lend an ear or two to Huntress. Interview answered by Jill (vocals). Anders Ekdahl ©2011

I know very little about Huntress. The things I know are from your websites. What can you tell us about the history of Huntress?
-I began writing songs for Huntress in 2006. It took nearly four years to find my band. I met underground metal band Professor, we decided to merge and become Huntress. We released an EP called “Off With Her Head” in 2010, just released our single “Eight of Swords” and have an
entire album ready to record with our producer Chris Rakestraw.

Is there a significance to the band name being Huntress and not Hunter? What does a huntress represent to you?
-The name Huntress represents the Greek Goddess, Artemis. Artemis of the Wildland, Mistress of Animals, she is the Goddess of the hunt. I grew up in the mountains, my family owns a deer farm. The name is mystical and creates imagery that complements our witchy heavy metal.

To my ears you have more of a traditional European HM-sound. What influences do you draw from?
-My favorite genre is black metal, I’m hot for Dissection lately. King Diamond, Big Business and Death are favorites too.

I can only recall having seen a little news piece about Huntress, yet I feel like you’ve received massive media exposure. How do you view the reactions to the band?
-That’s the magic, Anders! You FEEL like we’ve already received massive media exposure. But we haven’t. We’ve been fortunate to get some decent publicity, the reactions so far have been exciting.

The one thing I’ve read about Huntress mainly focused on the looks of the bands vocalist (some about Jill’s voice). It’s 2011 and we as metalheads (male or female) should be more enlightened than that to
uphold those old views. How do you as a band react to some of the media’s portrayal of the band?
-I’m not trying to change the world or enlighten anyone. I’m here for one purpose only and that is to sing heavy metal. The media, our fans and foes will always have an opinion, and that’s fine with me.
Positive or negative, those reactions aren’t what I strive for. I am walking my Warrior Path.

Heavy metal is a marginalized genre in USA, not like in Europe where HM bands chart on the national sales lists. What is your theory as to why HM is so much bigger in Europe than the US?
-Vikings. War. Beer. Scandinavia. A few good reasons for you! Europe possesses a beautiful brutality, it seeps the blood of the Ancients. European metal fans want to worship deities — they become immersed in the music, the lyrics and legends woven into epic metal songs. I believe that there is something immortal, magical and timeless in all metal. Europeans feel this too and embrace it.

When I got into heavy metal in the 80s there were only two options, tape or vinyl. Today the kids look at you with a blank expression if you mention vinyl, or even CD. You released “Off With Her Head” as a free download. What advantages/disadvantages are there to this digital revolution?
-Releasing our EP digitally was the most practical choice for an unsigned band. We’re planning to offer digital, CD and vinyl for the new album. We’re probably most excited about pressing vinyl, the
aesthetic is important to us. The boys keep up with technology, I’m not interested. I don’t even own an iPod or watch TV. I do believe artists should strive to make their product authentic and interesting,
digital or physical.

I guess with little means and a great computer program you can create a professional and expensive looking video. How tough was it to film the “Eight Of Swords” video?
-The director is a wizard! Simon Chan of Artificial Army shared our vision immediately, it was effortless. We filmed for two days, on a sound stage and in the woods. The sound stage was a fun, new
experience for us, all green screen. Lots of lip syncing and rope! The forest scenes were incredible; it feels natural for me in that element. I really believed we were hunting down a witch. My favorite
part of the video shoot was the very last shot in the woods – it started raining without warning. In Los Angeles, in September, that’s very rare. Anyhow, we were climbing a hill to the witch’s cabin when a
majestic rainbow appeared right above that hill. It took my breath away, I knew right then we were making something very special, and that Huntress was being blessed by the Goddess.

How do you put picture to music in order for it to not become a long line of clichés?
-It’s about control. You need to control your concept, find unexpected ways to present a common idea. For example, when I created the plot for the video, I wanted the band to seek out an old witch. She would read my Tarot, and then cast a spell to capture me in the “Eight of Swords” card. Now, when you think of a witch or fortune teller, you would expect a crystal ball. I told the set designer that would be too cliché, so I suggested a bloodletting spell over a candle. The witch cuts my hand, and then drips the blood over the candle. Implementing those small choices during the creative process helps prevent clichés. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I wrote words in the Witches Alphabet that the set designer painted on trees. Every detail was important, I wanted this video to project the vision I held in my mind. The director achieved that. He’s truly talented.

What forums are there to get your video shown today? What is it that you want to achieve with a video?
-I’m a hustler when it comes to promotion. I knew the video was fucking epic and that it needed to be released on a reputable metal website. We approached NoiseCreep.com, the editor is rad and loved the idea of premiering it. Now “Eight of Swords” is bleeding all over the internet, the response has been overwhelming. AOL Music featured it, calling it “astounding”. AOL is about as mainstream as you can get in the US, and they don’t typically feature metal bands. For us, making a great music video is the ultimate calling card. I really wanted music fans, not just metal heads to see this video. It’s all part of our secret master plan.

As a band with no record label to back you how important are the different social Medias in spreading the word? How far can you get before you reach the end of those roads?
-It is imperative to get slutty with social media, but maintain mystery. It’s an art and very tough to pull off. It’s difficult to stay underground and achieve success. I’ll claw my way to the surface, bask in the sunshine of the mainstream for awhile, and then crawl back into the dirt. The darkness is where the magic happens; we don’t want to hang out in Facebookland for too long. We know it’s important, we want to promote our music, but it will always be on our own terms.

In these financially difficult times being signed to a label doesn’t necessary mean that you’ve made it. What is it that a label can give you that you can’t achieve on your own?
-Groupies and free drugs, we hope.

With no physical record to show for, how do you go about booking shows and tours when the promoters probably are swamped with mp3s and zip-files from other hopefuls, to create a total meltdown of their computers?
-Honestly, we’re lucky. We’ve always been offered cool shows with reputable underground metal bands. We have an intriguing stage show, I think of Huntress as theatre, like a Cabaret of the Occult. Word spreads like wild fire, we get more booking offers. Again, it’s a little game of promotion and mystery.

From what I understand an album is in the making. What else can we expect from Huntress in the future?
-I only have one response to this question: I am coming to claim my Crown and there will be blood.

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