INTERVIEW: Jennifer Haben – Beyond The Black

For most bands, a few big highlights over the years can be seems like a plus to a career. A decent home crowd, good chart rankings, maybe playing alongside some big bands. BEYOND THE BLACK, however, seem to have surpassed the category of “most bands” by some miles; infact they have taken to success like ducks to water. Before the UK release of their second album, we got hold of the bands vocalist, Jennifer Haben, to discuss just how much of a whirlwind couple of years these symphonic metallers have had.

Firstly, you had a pretty big year last year. Looking back to touring with THE SCORPIONS, can you describe what that tour was like?

Jennifer: I often tried to describe it, but I guess I will never find the right words to tell somebody how it feels like to share the stage with THE SCORPIONS. When I was a small child you found me singing and dancing on the table to Rock You Like A Hurricane sometimes. It’s crazy to think about something like this, while you are talking to them. They were very nice to us! I talked a lot with Klaus (Meine) and the last part with Mikkey Dee, too. We were at Mikkey Dee’s private after-show-party. Another surreal experience of that tour. Our drummer was bubbling over with joy! All in all it was an incredible tour!

Aside from this, what was the best touring experience for you?

Jennifer: That has to be our very first headline tour in Germany. It was after our first release and it was the first time we would see our fans. What age, more women or more men or if they are a crowd that wanna party with us or if they rather wanna relish and just listen to our music. That was very interesting for us!

Were there any challenges with having such a packed couple of years with so many big moments?

Jennifer: Yes, of course! For example releasing two albums within one year. We had much time for doing the first one, but the second was difficult because of touring that much. We’ve set us a high goal with this. So we were recording two weeks before a 3-week headline-tour and one after that. Some things even were recorded at the tour bus to handle the deadline. But that was not the big challenge. The big challenge was that I got a cold during the last days of the tour and I gave me just two days to rest before recording the final vocals for the album. That was a little psychical stress for me, because I always wanna give 100%. It worked, but I think we should give us a little bit more time for the next album.

You guys have accumulated a huge following in what feels like a short time. That is obviously what the media sees, but how has this journey been for you over the years? Do you feel it’s developed you as a band, and your sound?

Jennifer: I don’t know if I understand that right, but I’d say: Because of the fact, that we always go to our fans after the show (if it’s possible) we always talk to them and get their impressions of our music and our performance on stage. That’s really important for us! You just can refine when you listen to the people. But it’s not like: “one of the fans said, we have to play more hard songs. Let’s do some more of that”. No! I think, you listen to the many various thoughts and that influences you subconsciously and automatically [develop from that] a little bit.

We over in the UK haven’t heard the second album yet, but the reception to Lost In Forever in your home of Germany has been very, very good. What did that feel like for you?

Jennifer: Yeah! We were at #4 in the German album-charts, I guess. Top 5 is really incredible for a young metal band. We were very, very surprised about that! But I also have to say that I didn’t really know what that means to be in the Top 5. I just saw it at our show at Wacken this year. We were at the party stage. It was 1pm and the crowd was standing till the farthest end. That was the point we realised that Top 5 could be good.

We are very much looking forward to the album release – was there any part of the recording process you enjoyed the most?

Jennifer: I always love the part when we have chosen all songs for the album and I just can focus on internalising them and giving 200% to transfer the emotions of the lyrics. That’s one of the main reasons why I always wanted to be a singer. I love to lose myself in all the emotions while singing a song! That sounds a little bit contrary to the things I said about the recording challenge for this album, but after passing through the short time of psychical stress when I had the cold, it was like this again.

The second album can be seen as the hardest to write – is that true for you, or were you more prepared as a band?

Jennifer: I think we have to combine the third and the fourth question for this answer. Yes, it was hard because of the time challenge but the writing itself was like the first album including that tiny little things that influenced us subconsciously.

In terms of sound, there’s a great voice at the front of the songs. As a band, how do you balance the Symphonic music and the vocals?

Jennifer: I think the main point for that is the writing process of our songs. It’s mostly focused on a good and catchy melody for the vocals and later on it’s the time to bring all the orchestra and atmosphere to make the songs a little more powerful. If you want an example: Listen to Love’s A Burden. That’s the only very special song on the album we’ve left well enough alone, without orchestra, without atmosphere things. Just as naked as it was at the first time. And so are the vocals. You can hear a one-take at the album. A very familiar song for me.

Lyrically, your songs are beautiful. With this latest album, was there a theme or a combination of ideas you came up with or did it flow organically?

Jennifer: It flowed more organically, but I wanna chose one special lyric for me now. Nevermore. It’s based on Edgar Alan Poe’s poem The Raven. Such an awesome poem! It thrilled me with its very first lines! It was nice to work a little bit different than usual. To have a story and to create a dignified piece of music for that. That’s very invigorating!

What can we expect in the next year; what’s in store for Beyond The Black?

Jennifer: Apart from our European tour with EPICA and POWERWOLF the next four weeks, we are playing at Wacken again this year. Furthermore we’re planning festivals and shows in and outside Europe and a headline-tour in the end of the year! But unfortunately we can’t say anything more about it at the moment. Maybe at our next interview.

Thank you for your time, I hope you have a lovely rest of your day.

Jennifer: Thank you very much for your interest and best wishes from Germany!

Lost In Forever is set for release in the UK on Januray 13th via UDR Music.

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