Jill Janus, Huntress interview – 30th January 2015

Jill JanusI spoke to Huntress singer Jill Janus backstage at the Assembly in Leamington Spa shortly before they were due to play.

You’re currently on tour with Savage Messiah and Amon Amarth.  How has the tour gone so far?

It’s amazing, it’s been a great bill for us.  I really feel that the fans embrace Amon Amarth and Huntress together.  It’s been a really successfull tour for us so far.

You actually stood in for Johan Hegg at one show didn’t you?

I did.  It’s all about sticking together in the metal community and helping each other, and when we were presented with that problem, Johan and the band approached me and asked how we could save the night.  We decided that they’d do an instrumental set and I would MC the night and also sing “Guardians of Asgaard” which I hadn’t really known before so I was just winging it, but it turned out really well, so thank you fans for allowing me to perform that.  Then we also brought up some Amon Amarth fans at the end to perform a couple of tunes.  It was a very special night, it won’t happen again.  I was happy to help out Amon Amarth, but much happier to see Johan back on stage the next night.

That saved you from having to learn their entire set.

I just feel like I’d get murdered by a bunch of angry viking fans.

It’s the longest UK tour you’ve done isn’t it?

You’re right.  This is our longest run and it’s just been wild.

On this tour you’re playing smaller venues.  Do you prefer that or larger venues?

Coming from a theatre background I really love the intimacy of a crowd being able to really connect and even reach out my hand and touch them. It’s important for me to connect that way.  When we’re playing larger stages and festivals you feel more like a rock star, it’s a different eclipse, you really need to rethink the way you speak, move and perform.  I guess you can compare it to an actor who could be doing theatre or a film, so it’s interesting.  I love both, I can’t say which I love more, it’s timing.  If the timing is right I do what I do.

Have you had chance to watch the other bands on the tour or have you been too busy with stuff like interviews, loading in and out and so on?

I catch glimpses in the wings.  I’m not able to watch full sets because there is always something happening.  Right now it’s interviews, after the show I’m vocal resting or going back to the hotel to sleep.  I have a really hard time sleeping so any chance I get I take it.

You also come out after your set to meet fans at the merch stand.

For as long as we can, we will.  I feel it’s vital to our existence, realising that we’re on this journey together, the fans and Huntress, so if you’re here to see us, we want to meet you, so we always make an effort.

You do tour a hell of a lot, and get a lot of good tours too – the Mayhem tour, Arch Enemy/Kreator, Lamb of god, and this one. How do you manage it?

The big question is how do we manage to tour so relentlessly along with writing and recording one album a year.  It takes dedication, it takes a very severe vision, it takes abandonment of all other ambitions, and that’s exactly what I wanted when I started this band, I knew exactly what I wanted.  Knowing what you want and then wiping out anything else that can conflict with it is the key here.  We’ve been getting good tours because we’ve got a good reputation.  People know that we tour hard, they know that we give everything we have on tour.
I don’t have a home, I don’t have anything.  I just put everything into storage and live for Huntress.

We have many more years to go, and we have to prove ourselves to a lot of people in this industry.  You don’t take respect, you earn it, and every little victory adds up.  We’re not winnning the war here, we’re slowly working our way through the battles and it’s a constant fight, especially with money being so tight.  We’re not making money, every bit of money we make goes back into the band right now.

I believe you’re currently working on the third album?

That’s right, it’s virtually done.  We’re heading back after Amon Amarth and we’ll be in the studio tying off a few loose ends then handing it off to Napalm records and then it will be out this summer.

There aren’t many bands that take a break in the middle of recording to go out on tour.

Again, when you get such amazing tours, you can’t say no.  Huntress and Amon Amarth became friends on the Mayhem tour in 2013 and we’ve been trying to tour together for a while now, with their schedules and our schedules, finally it worked and we were deep into recording but decided to put things on hold, come out and tour and then we’re going to go right back.

Is there a name yet for the third album?

There is indeed, but I’m not going to tell you.

Being on the road so much, do you miss your dogs much?

You just said it.  The only downside to touring is missing our dogs.  When we’re on tour in the States, we tour with our dogs, they come with us.  In the UK it’s different, so our babies are with very close friends or family right now, but there’s not a moment goes by that I don’t miss them – they’re like children to us.

How many dogs do you have?

We have two right now, Blake and I share a couple of dogs.  It’s really the whole band, even Eli, and Tyler are part of it, we’re really all a family, a very tight unit, so anything that’s brought into the unit is shared, so we all kind of share dogs.  I foster dogs as much as I can.  There are always all sorts of critters finding me, birds, lizards, whatever,  take them all in.  I grew up on a farm so I love critters.

On tour, it’s harder to have a healthy routine than it is at home – the only places to get food after a gig tend to be unhealthy takeaways, so how do you look after yourselves on tour?

In England we live on Fish and Chips.  We’re actually very concious of our health, which is another reason why we can tour as relentlessly as we do.  We bring a juicer, so we have fresh juice and vegetables, and we’re very cognisant of our health and keeping helathy.  It’s really not challenging for us, we know how to find the right kind of food, but of course there are late night pig-outs with Dominos pizza, or Taco Bell, or whatever but you make up for it in other ways.  I inject myself sometimes with vitamins during the day.  On tour I lose weight rapidly, it’s my metabolism, it’s crazy, so one of my things to do is eat Doughnuts, I always have a stash of doughnuts around.  So yeah, we love junk food – if you’re on the road you’ve got to eat junk food, but you’ve got to supplement it and be aware of the need to keep healthy and eat fruit and vegetables.

I suppose it’s fine to eat junk food when youi’re burning off lots of calories as you obviously do

My calorie intake is a bit odd.  I’ not like the normal person, I’m literally eating every hour.

okay, thank you very much for your time.

You’re welcome.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
%d bloggers like this: