Ahead of Avatarium’s show in London (our review of which can be read here), we sat down with Avatarium’s lovely frontwoman Jennie-Ann Smith for a chat. See what happened below!
Good evening! You’re currently on tour with The Vintage Caravan and Honeymoon Disease – how’s it going so far?
You never quite know what to expect but it’s been very good so far. First we were in Denmark, then we went to Essen and last night we were in Eindhoven for Speedfest. It’s been quite an amazing start.
What’s been the best show so far?
Essen was wonderful.
Hopefully London will be even better, but what made the Essen show particularly good?
The venue was full and the response was amazing – everyone was so warm and loving, which was good!
Tonight is Avatarium’s first UK show. What can fans expect from it?
In all honesty it’s very very difficult to describe! (laughs) You have to be there and experience it for yourself! It’s very dynamic and emotional because our music is dynamic and emotional on both ends of the spectrum. I think that’s something that will attract most people – there’s something in it for everyone. Just like our music, our shows have both light and shadow.
I think that’s one of the things I like best about your music – I really like how it’s both melodic and heavy. You blend it so well.
Me too! (laughs) Well, if it’s possible for me to say that!
Speaking of your music, you recently put out your new album The Girl With The Raven Mask. What’s the response been like so far?
Overwhelming! We had such a warm welcome when we released our first album and everyone’s been so receptive with the new one as well. For me it’s still a little hard to grasp how dedicated the rock crowd is, and how much people care. I don’t know about the guys, but I’m quite overwhelmed – it’s just amazing.
Can you describe your writing and recording process for it?
Well I guess this time we knew more about what we wanted it to sound like. We didn’t quite know what to expect with the first album because we were finding our sound, but with this one we definitely feel more like a band. This time, I was a lot more involved in the production process. Generally Leif writes the melodies, lyrics and basic chords, and he brings it to Marcus’ studio where they both work on the songs further and record rough demos, with Leif’s vocals! After that, I come in and then me and Marcus work on the arrangements, such as the instrumentation and the whole sound.
We talked a lot about sound preferences this time, as we wanted it to take a new direction and we needed to find what our common references were, like, Neil Young and Mountain, and other bands we loved, so I’d say the album is influenced by them. I consider myself as a musician rather than just a singer, so it was very important for me to be a part of the musical process as I’m very interested in music production.
Were there any songs that were more of a challenge to perfect, or did everything all go to plan?
It went quite smoothly as a whole because of how hard we worked on all the musical scenery before we went into the studio to record. This time round, with the vocals at least, I was so much more comfortable with the general environment.
Which song is your favourite on the album?
I really like Girl With The Raven Mask!
To be honest, I think that one is my favourite too!
I also really like Pearls And Coffins. We’ve actually recently recorded a video for it – we’re holding it back for a bit and it will hopefully be out in a couple of weeks – it’s going to be special.
Moving on to some more random questions, if you could choose an animal to represent the band, what would it be?
(laughs) Well, this is such a difficult question! I’m thinking of how dynamic and versatile our music is, so it’s difficult to make up my mind. Perhaps one of the big cats…since they’re so fast and smooth, and can adjust to their environment – they can be fast or slow when needed, and they can be calm or aggressive when needed.
What would your dream lineup be, if you could play a show with any band?
Well, I have a number of bands and artists that I’m influenced by so it’s so difficult to pick just one. I guess I wouldn’t say no if Neil Young gave me a call!
And finally what’s Avatarium’s plans for 2016?
Well we’re hoping for a good festival season to start off with – basically we’d like to be as active as we possibly can. The main goal is to share our music with as many people as possible – we’re all very proud with the outcome of our hard labour on this album!