Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Interview with Lizzy Devine, Vains of Jenna

2005 saw the formation of Swedish Rock ‘n’ Roll band Vains of Jenna. When Jackass star Bam Margera saw them live he started up his own record label, Filthy Note, just to sign them to it. Following a move to LA and the release of their debut full length album Lit Up/Let Down in 2006, a second album is not too far away. We talked to lead singer Lizzy Devine:

How did you all meet and decide to start Vains of Jenna?

Me and JP used to play in a band many years ago. JP did one show with that band, then he decided to move to Norway to make some money. Some years went by and I met JP at a few festivals. We talked about starting a band again. Nothing really happened for a while. Fast forward another year. Me and JP got our shit together and started VAINS OF JENNA. We convinced JP's brother Jacki to play drums with us. Jacki was playing in another band at the time. The guitar player in that band was Nicki. So we asked him to come to a few rehearsals. Five minutes in to the first rehearsal we all knew this was the band for us.

Has the band changed at all since you started out?

Line up wise: Not really! We had a guitar player for two weeks before Nicki joined. But that never really worked out. Then we tried out a second guitar player after being a band for a year. For some reason we thought we would sound better if I just sang. That wasn't the case. I love playing guitar and singing at the same time. And without the guitar I almost felt naked. So that guy lasted 2 rehearsals.
Besides that, it's always been us four.

If we talk music wise: Yeah, we change all the time. First album is really raw and has a lo-fi punk feel to it. Then we released Enemy in Me, which was totally different. More modern and way better
produced. The new album is gonna be another change for the band

Do you prefer spending time in Sweden or LA?

I love LA. I don't need Sweden at all.

What can you tell us anything about the new VOJ album?

I think it's amazing. We recorded the album together with Brent Woods, who was the guy that produced Enemy In Me. The songs on the album sound awesome. We got some kick ass rock tunes,
some big sounding arena rock songs and some experimental shit on there.
It's COMPLETELY different from Lit Up/Let Down.

While other Swedish bands that used to be categorized as Sleaze bands aim for more of a metal sound these days. We decided to go for what we love. Rock ‘n’ Roll. Well written songs suited for big stages. It's still aggressive at times but also beautiful at the same time.

We have been so influenced by bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Muse, Chris Cornell, A7X, GnR etc. etc. The songs don’t sound like any of those band’s songs but you can just hear the influences. It's gonna be an awesome rock album. But we'll see what the fans think. Some might hate it because we don't sound 80's (which we never did), or that we don't tease our hair as much as we did anymore. I don't think people will be disappointed. Compared to Lit Up Let Down this is a masterpiece (which is not too hard to do, haha).

You’ve had a lot of support from Bam Margera, what’s it like working with him?

Bam has been amazing. He helped launch our career in a bigger/faster way than we could ever imagine. He loved the band after seeing us live, that's why we decided to work with him. We like taking chances, and he did by signing us. There's always something crazy going on when you hang with him. He's a really cool guy and a lot of fun. There's always a lot of beer flowing when he's around. Even though I don't drink that much its fun seeing other people wasted.

For people that haven’t heard of you how would you describe the sound of VOJ?

It used to be very punk. More attitude rather than pro-production. Like a fist in your face-kinda thing. Now, with the new album, it’s still in your face but well written songs at the same time.

We used to be better live than on record. Now, I think it's a match. I'm sorry if this comes across cocky. I just know we're a good band. Haha

If you like a good time, pick up Lit Up Let down. And don't start listening until you've had about
4 beers. Come to a show and let go of your sorrows. Just go crazy.

What music do you listen to?

We all listen to different things. But it ranges from Elton John to Slayer. Classical music to Grind Core. Country to Digital Music. Anything goes.

What did you think to the UK tour last year?

We all think the tour was great. We didn't have any expectations. We've been gone from Europe for a few years. So we didn't really think anyone would care. But the fans were awesome. And the band we toured with were the coolest dudes ever.
We’ll be back, for sure! I don't know when, but we'll be back!

Which band that you’ve been on tour with has been your favourite to hang out with?

VIKING SKULL!!! Those guys are awesome. Artimus Pyledriver is an American band that was fun to hang with as well... The guys from GWAR are also amazing people.

And which was the best to see?

The drummer from Artimus, Travis made their shows great. Fuckin' insane drummer. Then seeing RATT and Poison every night for 50+ shows wasn't too bad either. GWAR is fuckin' insane live, always fun.

Where’s your favourite place to play a gig?

Anywhere were people enjoy it. It's hard to pick one place. It could be a small dirty club or a big amphitheatre. It doesn't matter.

Hear Vains of Jenna on MySpace
Damon Fowler
Comfort in Sound

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