It cannot be denied that metal music has transformed and shifted into many sounds since Black Sabbath recorded their first ever riff, as time has passed the genre has taken on many forms and styles, uniting and dividing fans in the process but above all keeping the industry on it's toes for the next wave of music innovations.
One avenue that does not seem to have been explored until now, is the thought of having a metal vocal group backed by musicians, enter Venus 5. Imagine the Spice Girls taking on a metal form, and delivering a sound that is darker and dirtier than their looks and outfits suggest, yes Venus 5 may straddle themselves between pop and symphonic metal, but the force they present is so captivating and original, you would find it hard to name another band as unique as Venus 5; not even Babymetal makes it close.
If Vanilla Ninja, Amaranthe and Within Temptation had a child together, then Venus 5 would be the offspring, spewing out modern symphonic anthems that would set any stadium alight.
GMA spoke with Karmen Klinc, one of the five vocalists fronting Venus 5. Check out their music video "Because Of You" down below.
Venus 5 has very humble beginnings, could you explain how the group came to be and where the name originated from?
"The group was actually put together by Frontiers Music Srl.; Serafino Perugino (who is also the owner of the label) got the idea of doing something new and different, something that hasn’t been done yet in the European area. So him and Mr. Mario De Riso decided to find five girls, from five different countries and make a metal band in the form of a pop group. I’m not actually sure, how we got the name, but I think it’s quite obvious, they named us after Venus – the Roman goddess of beauty and love. There’s 5 of us, each one is different, so here comes the Venus 5."
How would you describe your personalities - who is the funniest, feistiest, etc? What was it like meeting for the first time?
"Oh, we definitely have totally different personalities. Herma is our Italian power-girl, who cooks for us if necessary, and takes care of our videos. She’s a very capable girl. Tezzi is the kindest pure-hearted woman. Jelena is very honest and will never hesitate to speak her mind. Erina, who’s the youngest is also the funniest towards me. There’s always some funny story she has to tell, and she speaks in such an adorable way, you just have to laugh. And then there’s me, it’s hard for me to speak about myself, but I do know that I always try to stay positive and that I can act a little goofy from time to time 😊"
Arguably 'pop metal' has become increasingly popular over the past few years, how would you describe your sound if not pop metal?
"It’s quite hard to describe, since there’s many different mixed genres on the album. But I could say it’s a mixture of melodic / symphonic / heavy metal. Sometimes a little bit of hard rock as well."
You released your single / music video "Tom And Ms. Amy Lee" back in February, does it have any relation to the vocalist of Evanescence?
"Well, the Lyric was actually written by Per Aldeheim (Def Leppard, H.E.A.T, Stanfour, etc.) He was once watching 'The Voice' talent show, and there was a guy, who worked as a crane operator. He used to sing soul covers up in his crane, and he didn’t dare to show his talent to anyone. So his brother was actually the one who got him to the show without even telling him. And Ms Amy Lee isn’t the famous Amy from Evanescence, even though a lot of people think so. It’s a made up story about a girl, who was picking up cans from the street and making sculptures out of them. She was hiding those sculptures in the attic. If she dared to show her piece of art, she would become very rich and famous. So, the song’s about taking risks in life, because you never know what might happen if you don’t try. It might surprise you."
As you all deliver various vocal styles, was it a challenging process in recording the debut album - knowing which vocals belong where?
"No, not really. Some of the vocal lines were already predetermined by the song writers, Aldo Lonobile, Jake E, Stefan Helleblad and Per Aldeheim. They knew how our voices sounded like and they chose which part is going to be sung by whom. But it is true, that in studio things often change. So If we saw, that some part would be better for one girl, and another one for other, we changed the positions a bit. The most important is the final result, and I think we really made it great."
Behind the sonic vocals you have a backline of 6 musicians, did this pose more challenges for your debut album?
"I think the sound is amazing, and the more musicians that cooperate on such an album, the better the result you can get, because everyone leaves a piece of themselves in it. I think having so many talented musicians playing and singing is also the reason why our album is really coloured with so many different sounds. All together we got an amazing result with the sound of Venus 5, and we’re very happy with it."
Your debut album clearly has something for everyone, with varying different song styles, how did you choose the songs for the album?
"It does have something for everyone. Not only because of the melodies, but the lyrics as well. I always say, anyone who loves metal, rock or even pop, can identify with at least few songs on the album. The songs were chosen by the label Frontiers Music Srl. I can remember there was one song, that I liked very much at the beginning, but it didn’t end up on the album. Today I’m not sorry that it didn’t, because I like the album just the way it is."
Would it be fair to say that Venus 5 is bringing a new dimension to metal music in the form of being a metal vocal group?
"It definitely brings a new dimension to the metal music. It’s something fresh and special in the European area. And that is why some metalheads have a problem accepting it. Just because the form of the band reminds them of pop groups. Even though the music is high quality in my opinion. We’ll see where it takes us, opinions are always on both sides. But I’d like to say, we have to stay open minded. In music and art everything should be allowed. With no changes, there can be no progress and we could only stay at one place for decades. Imagine nothing would change since the 80’s… we don’t want that. We want to bring metal also to people who don’t listen to it. And that’s why we’re pushing the boundaries. Sure, It would probably be fair to say that it’s a vocal group, but we should not forget, we always have our band with us."
What are your plans for the 2nd half of 2022 and do you have any greetings / thanks, that you wish to send out to people?
"Maybe we will get some more shows, the next half of the year. It would be amazing. And of course I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart in the name of all Venuses, to
everyone who supports us and our music. I hope people enjoy it and of course I hope to see everyone at one of our shows very soon."
"Venus 5" is out now via Frontiers Music srl.
Being a female metal musician poses it's challenges in what many would still call a male-dominated music genre, from the underlying threat of sexist commentary to the whole 'they play in a band therefore they're automatically hot' cliche. However bands like Jenner from Serbia certainly don't care about what people think about them, even if they're an all-female band.
Serbia in itself isn't generally a country that automatically springs to mind when it comes down to metal music as a whole, so GMA decided to investigate what is going down in the Serbian Metal scene and what makes Jenner tick along so finely... answers are by their drummer Marija Dragicevic.
"To be an all-female metal band is not easy, not even in Serbia. Prejudice follows us on every step, it’s a kind of etiquette us female musicians must carry."
Hi girls, how did Jenner form and how did you all become interested in metal music?
"Hello, it's nice that we have got an opportunity to chat a little about our band with you. Our story began 4 years ago when Alexandra Stamenkovic (guitars) and I, her older sister, Marija Stamenkovic, now Dragicevic (drums) formed the first incarnation of Jenner. We've already played in an all-female hard rock band, but Alexandra played bass, and since we've had many problems finding a good female guitarist, Alexandra decided to disband that band and learn to play guitar to form another band.
That was Jenner, but it was meant to be a hard rock band first, then she changed it to a old school heavy metal band with influences from Rock Goddess, Accept, Warlock, Judas Priest etc, whose songs we're covered at first. Jenner's first bassist, Jana Bacic was in from the very beginning as she was our friend before that. Andjelina Mitic (vocals) has joined the band shortly after that and over a years time, Alexandra and our friends realized that we should take a more faster and heavier sound, and we've started covering bands like Overkill, Anthrax, Exodus etc.
Unfortunately, Jana could not keep up with our new sound and the pace of work, so she was replaced with Mina Petrovic, our current bassist. Not so long after that, we recorded our first demo, two songs – 'Hear The Thunder Roar' and 'On A Judgement Day', (you can find it on our official YouTube channel) in order to promote the band and participate in the iconic 49th Serbian guitar festival at Zajecar. We made it to the semi-finals and had a remarkable performance which opened us the door towards further success.
Few months after that, our first album "To Live Is To Suffer" was prepared for recording. Since I have left the band during pregnancy, Selena Simic (Nemesis, Vibrator U Rikverc, Goatmare and the Helspades) helped the rest of the band to finish the drum tracks and do a few gigs, and both bands, Jenner and Nemesis, performed as opening acts for the Brazilian female thrash band Nervosa, here in Belgrade. A year had passed, and I have returned, the album is recorded, mixed and mastered at Citadela Sound Production in Belgrade and was released on February 20th via the French label Inferno Records. 1000 CD copies and 100 cassette copies are available for order, from the label and also from us directly.
The two of us (Alexandra and I) were intrigued by metal music thanks to our mum Aneta, who gave us her cassettes, vinyls, old magazines and posters when we were 15 and 12 years old, but we didn't start to play right away. Alexandra started when she was 15, firstly as a bassist and then she started to learn guitar and a little bit of keyboards. At the same time I was 18 and I had a passion for playing drums even though I had no drum-kit. Andjelina started to sing a little before joining the band, and Mina had her influences long before us, by her father Milutin who was a musician but had recently passed away."
What does the band name Jenner mean and who came up with it?
"The one who's "guilty" for the band having the name Jenner is, once again, Alexandra. She named the band after Dr Edward Jenner, who became famous by inventing the smallpox vaccine. She was studying microbiology at medical school, and found out about Dr Jenner, and immediately took a piece of paper and drew the first version of our logo, and we both liked it. When we presented it to the rest of the band, we decided to use that logo and we still use it."
Since you're all females, what are your thoughts on the terms 'all-female' and 'female-fronted' when describing a band? Do you receive any negative comments for being females playing metal?
"To be an all-female metal band is not easy, not even in Serbia. Prejudice follows us on every step, it’s a kind of etiquette us female musicians must carry. To be a part of a female metal band, that’s weird to most people. But we learnt not to pay attention and do what we love, the best as we can. There were some stories we’ve heard, that we haven’t even recorded our own demo. Some people just tend to overlook the real musical skills, not only because we're a female band.
Sometimes it's correct, but usually they just follow some trends and they don't wanna give us a chance. We’re trying to give our best to prove that our work and effort is not just for nothing. Female metal bands are rare everywhere but now, when our album is released and half of the world have already heard of us and have nothing but praise and admiration. In general, most of the people here are surprised by our decision to play Thrash Metal. They say we have a lot of courage for we have ventured into it and they all maximally support and assist us. Stereotypes, of course they’re everywhere, but we’re not worried, we know very well what we are doing and there will always be someone who appreciates it."
What is the state of the Serbian Metal scene at the moment? Popular or quiet?
"The Serbian metal scene is underground, as it's expected for one small country, but it's quite large because we have many bands with a lot of talent, quality and potential who give their best for their bands. Some of them are really successful and fond of touring Europe - Nadimac, Infest, Alitor etc... The thing is that we usually seek cooperation and help from foreign labels; even Serbia has few who are active. We're all making it, helping each other, assisting, supporting, and that's what is most important. It needs a lot of work and sacrifices to be noticeable. But with help of foreign labels and the internet, we're able to promote our music to the world, and it's accepted very well."
With Brexit are you worried about touring the UK and challenges you may face? Are there any problems in Serbia?
"Not exactly. Serbia is still not in the EU, so it doesn't seem to have problems. The only problem in touring the UK is a lack of money and free time. Serbia is a small, poor country, and we have many obstacles here regarding being metal musicians."
What hobbies do you have outside of music and your daily jobs?
"No time for hobbies! Unfortunately, our daily jobs and obligations are the ones we must deal with. I have a family, a 7 month old baby, Alexandra studies medicine, Andjelina is a hairdresser, make-up and tattoo artist, and Mina works with video editing and design. The band is our main hobby, and we always find time for rehearsals and gigs because we're doing it with love and passion. It’s only about the work and effort, as much as our free time allows us for it.
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
"The band will be quite active this year, we have to promote the album in Serbia and across the Balkans, shooting videos etc. We have a few gigs booked, including "Dan Rock Zena" on 11th of March in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with our friends Nemesis and Hellcats (also female metal bands), on 25th of March, we'll be in Skopje, Macedonia for the first time, with The Backdoor Band, and we'll promote the album in our home town, Belgrade, on 15th of April, with the help of famous Serbian bands and our good friends Deadly Mosh and Superhammer. The most important thing for us is that as many people from all around the world hear about us, and that's possible thanks to the many internet portals, webzines, and radios all across the world. We’d like to thank to everybody who supports and helps us!"
Catch Jenner at the following dates:-
11th March - Dan Rock Zena - Ljubljana, Slovenia
25th March - Skopje, F.Y.R.Macedonia
15th April - Elektropionir - Belgrade, Serbia