Alternative-Rock Singer-Songwriter JEN JANET Opens Up About Her Newest Singles, This Vital BLM Movement and More!
Get to know the alternative rock vocalist Jen Janet! Earlier this month on July 8th, she released her latest single, “Possession.” Her following track, “I Don’t Belong” will be coming out on July 31st.
Self-described as a ‘multimedia musical project,’ Jen Janet has long-term industry experience as both a solo artist and front-woman, as well as in fashion, makeup, photography, and videography. Built upon darker imagery, both of her upcoming single releases highlight a noticeable shift in genres – her last solo EP, released in 2017, was a focused pop record. A true jack of all trades, Jen is also the lead vocalist of metal/hard rock bands Mimesis and Novarium.
Connect With Jen Janet Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Jen Janet in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times?
That’s a tough question. I was unemployed for awhile because of COVID-19 and I had just moved to California. Therefore my days were spent mostly writing music and reading books. It was a bit unstable but I actually really enjoyed having tons of free time to pursue those things. I do have a day job now, as many people cannot make a full income from their music, even people who are in professionally touring bands.
But for me aside from that, a typical day usually involves writing a bit, answering emails, plotting my next move, and usually relaxing with a book or a sci-fi movie at night. I like to go for walks in nature as well, and there are a lot of great hiking trails in the hills where I live. I used to do yoga a lot, before everyone was sheltering-in-place. I think it’s important to try to stay relaxed. Right now I don’t think I have a very interesting life, haha.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now?
This is probably not a good thing to say, but I was actually enjoying being under the shelter-in-place, because I’ve been working since I was thirteen. This is the first time that I’ve really had a longer period of time to reflect and relax because I was unemployed for a few months. I ended up realizing a lot of things about my lifestyle that I didn’t see before. Of course, it’s also stressful to not have a steady income and that was a problem. I’ve always been the type of person that had to keep myself busy, but I discovered I actually love having more free time – I would just fill it with more enjoyable things that I love to do. I felt super productive with music, while keeping my head clear because I was less tired during the day.
I live in northern California and it is starting to open up a bit. I have a feeling many parts of the country will end up shutting down again though.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more to stay connected to fans and other musicians?
At the beginning of the shelter in place, I had just moved to a new state, so I was still trying to deal with settling in and adjusting. I actually didn’t use social media as much for about a month. I’m glad that a lot of people who previously followed me, have stuck with me and are looking forward to my solo project release.
I also didn’t want to post if I didn’t really have anything to say. I was taking a lot of time to reflect on the world and my place in it, and it was actually very healthy to be off social media for awhile.
I would definitely like to connect more with fans and other musicians in California now that I am here, but because live music probably won’t be an option for a while, I think we will all have to get creative about how we stay in touch with each other.
What has it been like having to reschedule so many of your spring, summer and most likely fall shows? What shows in 2021 are you are already excited for?
My band Mimesis was in the process of planning a spring tour, and that got canceled. We still want to do a tour, but it will have to wait. Instead, we are writing new music now. I didn’t have any plans to tour with my solo project yet, but maybe in the future that will be an option.
In 2021 I actually have no idea what the live music world will look like. I’m not sure if we will be having live shows in 2021. I really hope so, but at this point I think it’s fair to say it might not happen in certain areas.
I think until a vaccine is not only created, but able to be administered to large amounts of people, we will probably have a lot less live events. A few shows I was excited for, but were canceled, were Seven Spires, Lacuna Coil and Pvris. They were all coming to my area, but they got canceled. Till next time!
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you?
Two shows that I performed at and thoroughly enjoyed, were the last few Rock and Shock festivals in Worcester Massachusetts at the Worcester Palladium. It was an honor to be able to open that annual festival for two years and it recently was discontinued. The first time my band opened the headliner was Motionless in White, and they had a really interesting visual show. It was definitely entertaining and very fun to watch. The second time Amorphis headlined, and I met some of my favorite musicians in Ne Obliviscaris, as well as a bunch of other bands on tour from Europe. Everyone on that lineup was absolutely incredible.
For me, a good show involves not only good musicians and energy, but good people. If the room is packed, and everyone is really excited and friendly, that’s where I want to be. I really enjoy going to metal shows because (usually) I find the audiences are really fun to be around, and genuinely good people.
Let’s talk about your tracks, “Possession” and “I Don’t Belong.” How excited are you about sharing them? What was the inspiration for these songs? How do you think they compare to anything else that you have released?
I’m very excited! They were both written a few years ago, actually. It was only this year that I decided to release them publicly and get them professionally recorded and produced. I teamed up with Greg Almeida (Vista, Secret Gardens) and he did a fantastic job with production. Both songs were also mixed and mastered by Chris Piquette at No Boundaries studios in Rhode Island, and he’s actually one of the first people I ever worked with in a recording studio.
Both songs were inspired by different things going on in my life a few years ago. Possession is just kind of an angsty, angry song about wanting to be able to do what you want, and not wanting to feel controlled by anyone. I Don’t Belong was written because at that particular time in my life, I felt like I didn’t really fit in with anyone. I felt like I wasn’t really in the right place with the right people. But I didn’t know what to do about it, and I felt lost. Eventually I figured it out, but it was definitely a strange time. The lyrics in the song are quite dark, even though the song doesn’t necessarily give off a sad vibe.
I think these two songs are very different from anything I’ve released. I’ve always been involved with bands that were more in the progressive rock or metal world. I love that world, but I also needed to find my own voice as a songwriter and artist, and release something else. I want to be free to create what I want, whether that involves using guitars, electronic influences, random musical instruments, etc.
Do you have plans to release an EP or full-length album later this year?
This year I have plans to release many singles, and I’ve made the decision to do a music video for every one of them. As for an EP or full-length, I do have a few ideas. They will most likely be concept EPs or concept albums.
I understand that you are also involved with fashion, makeup, photography and videography so I am curious how you think all these worlds have influenced or truly changed the kind of artist that you are today?
That’s a great question. I think because of the way the internet has changed the music industry, it’s very important for an artist or band to have a visual presence. Music videos are a great way to do this. I got involved with photography and then videography by doing live music photography for bands a few years ago. Now it’s important to me as an independent artist that I’m able to edit my own videos, take my own photos, etc. I’ve done modeling in the past, and it’s part of the reason I wanted to learn about photography. For independent artists I think it’s important to be able to control your image too, and be able to make what you see in your mind, come to life in reality. If you always need to work with other people instead of having the ability to do a few things yourself, then things inevitably take longer to produce, and you’ll never have 100% control over what you are releasing. I have a handful of very talented people I work with too, but it’s important for me to retain the ability to do certain things myself.
How has being the lead singer for metal/hard rock bands Mimesis and Novarium affected your solo material? What genre is your absolute favorite to perform now? Is that constantly shifting?
Being in a band is very different from being an independent artist. There are many pros and cons to both.
I definitely gained a lot of experience not just singing in front of crowds, but learning how to really be a frontwoman and entertain the crowd by keeping them engaged. It takes a lot of energy to be good at that, and I’m naturally an introvert so it took a while before I felt like I understood how to do that. In a band writing with other people is also great for progressing as a songwriter. You can constantly get feedback from your peers that way which is super important. Eventually though, I saw how much material I had written over the past few years that didn’t really fit in with any bands I’m a part of, so I knew it was time to create my own project. When you make all the decisions yourself, things can happen faster, but it’s also your fault if something goes wrong. So that can be a challenge. But so far, I love being able to make my own decisions about musical direction and things like that. When you’re in a band, sometimes all members of the band will need to approve something like album art, or the final mix to a song. It’s important to have everyone’s input but it does inevitably slow some things down.
I don’t really have a favorite genre to perform – I enjoy anything in the rock genre, whether metal or prog.
I listen to a lot of different types of music though, from hip hop to alternative pop, to classical. So anything goes!
How do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US and even the world is going through now? Is it inspiring you and your music today at all?
Actually yes. I started writing a song that wasn’t directly about the movement, but definitely about the cultural and social climate of 2020. Personally as a white woman, I don’t feel that I should be creating a lot of art referencing the Black Lives Matter movement because I believe more space should be used to amplify voices of color at this time, and make sure they are heard. However, I do think it’s important to use your platform, however big or small, to comment on what is happening and hopefully get people to think about it. I’m not sure if the song I’m writing will be released, or if it is just for me. I write a lot of poems and things like that if I’m upset, so sometimes things just sit around and never get released, because they are very personal.
But overall, I did write a few things about how we spread information in 2020 and how social media has influenced how we view the news, in general. It’s a really scary time because we live in a culture now where you can read a click-bait style title and believe it to be true. People will share it without even reading the full article! That’s ridiculous. People tend to just believe what they want to believe, and don’t want to do the necessary research to actually fully educate themselves about an issue. I’ve seen this many times on both sides too – it’s not just democrats or just republicans doing this.
I do think the future of music will be forever changed, not just because of the Black Lives Matter movement but also because of COVID-19. There are a lot of very angry people in the United States right now (and rightfully so, because of everything that is happening). I think this anger and sadness will definitely translate into a lot of really intuitive art to be created this year. I think we are going to see a lot more independent films and new music from indie artists within the next year, also because a lot of people have more time on their hands due to COVID-19. A lot of people are less afraid to speak out, too.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. Maybe Poppy. I think she is incredibly smart, and has genuinely created her own brand as a multimedia artist. I think the way she is utilizing the internet, and the way she uses art to comment on it, is also really engaging. I find her to be a very interesting artist, and I’d like the chance to get to know the real person behind the music. Also, her music is just dope and blends lots of genres. I’d love to write with her.
Another artist I really like is Chelsea Wolfe. I think she’d probably have a lot of great advice for someone like me. She also seems like she genuinely just makes the art she wants to make, and doesn’t feel too pressured to be a certain way. Her fan base seems super supportive of everything she does too, and I think she’s very talented.
What would your dream music video look like right now?
Probably like a movie. If budget was not an issue, I’d want to do a film. I’d probably want to be heavily involved in the direction, costume, and set design, but I’d want to work with some amazing actors and filmmakers. Melanie Martinez is one artist who did this really well – she put all the songs on her new album into a concept, and made that concept into a legitimate musical film. I think it’s a brilliant way to get music out to other audiences and tell a cohesive story through music. I’d probably want to do some sort of action movie and write the script. I think that would be rad.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I just want everyone to have a good time. I think a lot of people are really unsure of the world right now. I hope that the videos I create now will at least give people something to look forward to and (hopefully) provide an escape for a few minutes. I am definitely planning on staying more in touch with people via social media for the duration of 2020 now.
So if you want to give me a follow, please do 🙂