The name Jennie Tebler probably won’t ring a bell to many readers. Jennie Tebler is a woman from Sweden who just released a very interesting EP called "Silverwing" which is actually her own tribute to the unfortunately way too soon deceased Quorthon, as we all know the mastermind behind the legend BATHORY. The titletrack of this EP is even the last studiorecording Quorthon ever did. Since I’m rather big BATHORY fan myself and since this EP really intrigued me, I decided to contact Jennie Tebler to hear all about it
How did you get involved in the Metal scene? And how did you end up with Black Mark?
"Music always has been a big part of my life. I more or less grew up in the business, always surrounded by musicians and people working at record labels. My Metal interest is just one part of my passion for music. I really love different kinds of Metal but I can in the same way enjoy classical music or pop. Growing up, my two favorite bands were KISS along with Swedish ABBA. I guess it’s there where you can find my personal combination between Rock / Metal and focus on vocals. In the middle of the nineties I ended up working for Black Mark. At that time they had their head-office in Berlin and I was stationed at the office in Stockholm. I took care of Black Mark’s distributors in Scandinavia and also handled the contact with artists signed to Black Mark. Eventually I stopped working there to take my degree of ‘Masters of Law’, but we always kept in contact. It was rather natural for me to sign with Black Mark."
What is your main task for Black Mark as apparently you’re also part of the organization of the Sweden Rock festival?
"Earlier when I worked for Black Mark, I also went touring as a tourmanager and head of the merchandise sales on tour. That was one of the must funny times of my life.I love the atmosphere and the kind of people coming to Rock / Metalfestivals. For me, going to the Sweden Rock Festival and working at Black Mark’s stand selling merchandise and talking to all kinds of rockers and Metalheads is like vacation. I really enjoy it. This year it was special since my release of "Silverwing", but I worked as everyone else. The only difference was that I signed records for those who actually recognized me and bought my EP."
The main thing I know about you is that you sang on a couple of tracks on some of the LAKE OF TEARS albums. ‘Lady Rosenred’ is probably the most known track sung by you. Besides the new "Silverwing" EP, is LAKE OF TEARS the only band you sang in so far?
"I actually had my debut as an 11 year old, laying down some backingvocals for a Swedish band named TRASH. At that time I worked with the producer Eddie Cramer who’s known for producing KISS. The title of the song was ‘Only One Road’, but I never got the release and haven’t heard it since. After that I didn’t record anything until my cooperation with LAKE OF TEARS."
How did it come to this cooperation?
"This is a quite funny story. I worked at the record label Black Mark at the time and they needed some girl to sing the track ‘Lady Rosenred’ on their album "A Crimson Cosmos". I said that I could give it a try. Never heard the song, I went to the studio, listened to the song with Mr Daniel Brennare and rehearsed it with his acoustic guitar twice and then recorded it. I think I was in the studio a total of maximum 2 hours from entering the door to leaving the studio, all together. But it went well. As I understand it, there are a lot of people loving this song for it’s special sound and its ‘complex simplicity’. I actually wasn’t sure that they liked my performance until Mr. Brennar asked me to join also on the next album, the "Neonai" record. On that album I sing lead vocals on the track ‘Sorcerers’ along with a lot of backing vocals. I liked working with Daniel. He is a very nice and deep person. He makes you feel comfortable and that means a lot to me."
Do you know the people in LAKE OF TEARS well?
"I could not say that I know them at all. On a personal level we never hung out but on a professional level I met them a couple of times. They are all nice guys. Of course I know Daniel more then the others since he was the one with me in the studio while working. It’s nice not to have so much people in the studio while laying down vocals. To make me comfortable, I worked alone with Daniel and the producer."
Do you like the idea that LAKE OF TEARS is back together again and do you think there might be more cooperations coming up in the future between you and them?
"Sure, as long as they enjoy what they are doing, why not? When it comes to more cooperations between us, I do not know at this time. We don’t have anything planned. But never say never."
If we come to talk a bit about the "Silverwing" EP: "Silverwing" consists of two tracks, ‘Silverwing’ and a cover of the BATHORY epic ‘Song To Hall Up High’, both tracks were written by Quorthon of BATHORY. This track, ‘Silverwing’, was this something the two of you had been working on just for your own pleasure or was it really from the start planned to be released?
"It was planned to be released from the beginning. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with, in my eyes, the greatest, most inspiring artist in the whole Metal scene. I was stunned and much honored that Quorthon wanted to do this with me, especially since he never wrote for anyone else before me. I also wrote lyrics that he composed music for, but we never had the time to record it, unfortunately."
Was it the original intention that "Silverwing" should become a whole album? In other words, were you and Quorthon working on other and more material as well that unfortunately never got finished because of Quorthon’s death?
"We were working on material for a whole album but we only had the time to record "Silverwing"."
‘Silverwing’ was written by Quorthon. I like the track very much but I find it difficult to describe or to ‘place’ it. It has some elements of BATHORY but not really much, it sounds surprisingly poppy (not meant in a negative way) which is also maybe because of your vocals. Did Quorthon and you want to try out something different here musically or what’s the main reason why it’s so different from Quorthon’s other music?
"Quorthon wrote this material especially for me. I like to think that he tried to combine our personalities and our musical views. It’s a special sound and I am glad that you hear the different elements in the song. That means we succeeded in what we intended."
The second and last song on the EP is ‘Song To Hall Up High’, a BATHORY track of the "Hammerheart" album. Did you actually use the original recordings of "Hammerheart" and did you put your vocals on top or was the song also musically completely new recorded?
"Here is the deal with ‘Song To Hall Up High’: ‘Song To Hall Up High’ is my way of honoring Quorthon. It is a statement of love, from me to him. I talked to Boss and the family of Quorthon and asked if it was OK for me to use the original recordings of "Hammerheart". I wanted to sing for him, but I didn’t want to let someone else record his stuff. This way, I could sing ‘together with him’. I went into the studio with the intention to record only new lead vocals and keep his backing vocals. But in order to do that, I had to have his backing vocals in my headphones to make it right. This was impossible for me. It got too emotional, I just cried the whole time. So I had to do all vocals myself, lead and backing vocals. But all the music and the effects are directly from the original recording of "Hammerheart", remixed. This was recorded in January of 2005 after his death."
Why did you choose exactly that song? Was it mainly because of the lyrical concept which kind of ‘fit’ your own tribute (Northern wind take my song up high, To the Hall of glory in the sky, So its gates shall greet me open wide, When my time has come to die)?
"I chose this song for many reasons. First of all, I always loved that song. I remember when I first heard it. I had the opportunity to hear it before "Hammerheart" got released. And I thought it was one of the most beautiful songs ever heard. Mainly because in that song you can really hear the voice of Quorthon. It was so different from what he had done before. I wasn’t that old and I even had my own title for it. I called the song "Fiskmåslåten", (which means ‘The Seagull Song’ in Swedish). Another reason is as you said; it really fit my personal tribute to him."
Do you have like a favorite BATHORY album? In case yes, which one and why?
"My favorite album by BATHORY is "Hammerheart". I love the heavy epic stuff. BATHORY’s way of using really heavy guitars together with acoustic guitars, soundeffects and layers of vocals, it kicks ass! But in the same way I can say that I love BATHORY’s album "The Return", it just mangles you up against the wall and keeps you there."
When you read the linernotes to the "Silverwing" EP, it’s very clear that you and Quorthon were very close. To be honest, I was really shocked when I heard that Quorthon died as I didn’t know that he was ill or suffered from heartproblems. In which way or which aspects about Quorthon will you remember the most? And did the listening to BATHORY albums change a lot for you after his death?
"He was the kindest person you ever could imagine. He lived his life for what he loved, his music. He took time to care for all of his fans. He never liked to be in the spotlight but he could sit down for hours and hours in front of his computer answering e-mails from his hordes. The BATHORY hordes meant so much for him as I’m sure they know. For me to answer what I will remember the most is impossible. The only thing I can say is that I loved him and that I will miss him every day for the rest of my life (until we meet again). Before Quorthon died, the music of BATHORY and QUORTHON were kick-ass records, some of them masterpieces that I enjoyed listening to depending on my mood. Nowadays, it’s my way of ‘bringing him back’. I listen to his music when I am alone, I close my eyes and feel his presence. I get comfort that way. It is a huge privilege to be able to do that."
As I really like your voice, I was wondering if we will get to hear more from you in the future as I think it would really be a shame if we wouldn’t get to hear from you in the future more often? Do you have more musical plans or any kind of releases coming up or planned?
"As I stand today, I am not sure what will happen. I’d like to continue and make a whole album. The thing is that I have to decide who to work with for the material that is already written. Maybe it won’t be a whole ‘Jennie Tebler’ album right now. But I love to sing and it would be really cool to work as a guest vocalist with other bands."
Anything else you’d like to add to this small interview?
"I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of you wonderful people honoring Quorthon after his death. It’s comforting that your feeling is shared by so many. As Quorthon wrote: ‘There will come a golden dawn at ends on nights for all yee on whom upon the north star always shines. The west gates to hall up high shall stand open wide and welcome you with all its within and Oden shall hail us bearers of a pounding hammerheart’."