Jennifer Borg – Divine Ascension

Interview by Miriam C.

“As The Truth Appears” marked, in 2011, the debut of this Melbourne-based progressive metal band, even if some time is passed (precisely 2 years) it was nice to know more about this band and the debut’s reaction from the press. Seems also that the band recently undergone into a line up change (Jason Meracis is now the new bass player) and they are prepping up for the album #2. In the meantime, enjoy this interview….
 
Today Femme Metal introduces you Divine Ascension from Australia. Let’s welcome Jennifer Borg, the lead singer of the band 🙂

Thanks, I appreciate the opportunity.

Welcome Jennifer. Let’s immediately break the ice, talking about Divine Ascension, a “small” Australian music reality that slowly is moving its first steps in the metal music scene. What could you tell us about this? We’re really curious to know the origin of this project…

The band now known as Divine Ascension was semi formed and looking for a lead vocalist, and I was looking for something interesting and challenging to keep me on my toes. As soon as I heard one of the instrumental demos “Garden on Evil”, I knew that this was the right project for me. A whole new world of ‘underground’ music known as melodic metal opened up to me, and Robb and Luke commenced my education feeding me with Metal music from all over the world. Once we established our line up, we did our first gig in Melbourne in November 2007 and have kept moving forward ever since.

Almost 2 years ago, you’ve released your debut album “As The Truth Appears”. This record got good feedbacks in Europe and surely it will drive crazy all the fans and lovers of the progressive metal music. Did you get good reviews also in Australia and all over the world?

We were happy with the reviews that we received on the album all around. I enjoyed putting the international reviews into ‘Google translator’ when they were in another language to try and understand what the reviewer was saying. I remember one of the reviews translating as Jennifer Borg and her 5 husbands’. While I have the opportunity, I would like to set the record straight – don’t believe everything Google translator has to say, ha ha.

Are you happy of this “newborn” creature?

We wanted our first album to be something that we were proud of, and that we are. With only one album out there we are definitely ‘newborn’, there is no doubt that we will grow and evolve as a band, and I am looking forward to what the future has to offer!

You’ve also recorded a videoclip for a song taken from the album. The chosen track is “Answers” that, with my biggest amazement, sees the attendance of Silvio Massaro (Vanishing Point). Would you like to tell us something about this nice collaboration? Were you already a fan of his band or was it an unexpected choice?

“Answers” was originally co-sung by a previous band member, and because we were set on including the song in “As the Truth Appears”, we had to find a male vocalist to help us out. We had been previously been lucky enough to play with Vanishing Point in our home town Melbourne, and contacted Silvio, who was gracious enough to lend us his services both for the album and for the film clip. Working with Silvio was a great experience and I believe our voices blend well together effortlessly.

Will we ever see some other duet in the future?

Well Album 2 is well underway, and there is one song that I had in mind for a duet, not sure if it will work yet though, so we will have to wait and see. When we wrote the track “Answers” we never purposely set out to make the piece a duet. It just fell into place that way. I’ll jump at any opportunities to work with other singers – I love to be challenged and there is so much to learn from collaborating with other musicians.

What could you say about the recording process and the writing process of this record?

Our writing process for “As the Truth Appears” generally consisted of an individual band member bringing in a song idea to the rehearsal studio, then the rest of the band would collaboratively develop the piece. Some pieces worked well straight away, and some grew into completely different pieces, but I think we realized the importance of allowing a piece to develop naturally. Recording an album was a learning process for all of us! Now that we have done it once we know how to better prepare ourselves for the recording process next time around. It was definitely a pleasure recording vocals at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne. I would live there if I could; recording 24 hours a day. I loved every moment.

What are the main difference between Divine Ascension and all the other symphonic/fronted female bands?

When we play gigs in Australia, our point of difference is that we are female fronted and we are playing metal music! It’s difficult to really compare yourself and label yourself. I prefer others to do that for me. We haven’t toured anywhere so apart from reviews and Google translator, it is difficult to know how the world sees us. It is possible though, that being so cut off from the rest of the female fronted metal world, may allow us to really develop a style that gives us a point of difference in this genre. I like to think we are better exposing a style of music to Australians that is considered to be part of the underground scene in Australia, and we hope that our fellow Aussies will one day open their arms and embrace this style of music at the forefront.

Fronted female metal world is rather various and always seen with special care, because many people pay more attention to the female singer and they don’t pay some attention to the band itself. What do you think about it? What is your thought about this world led by charming girls?

I have not really been exposed to this in the Australian scene, so it may be something that I am yet to experience. If that is the culture that we must meet, I am happy to take it in my stride. But it’s not a ‘one woman show’ there are six members in Divine Ascension, and each member is equally important. We all support each other, and I could not do it without them.

Is there any particular female band you like the most?

When pin pointing specific female fronted bands in this genre, I was firstly exposed to Nightwish and Within Temptation, and I have a great respect for their work and believe they deserve to be at the top of their class. I was bought up listening to all types of music, so even though I have a relatively new found love for Metal music, I particularly enjoy listening to well written pieces, discovering new bands and enjoy watching talented musicians perform live, no matter what the genre.

As I said earlier, you were born as a prog metal band. What were the bands and the artists that have influenced your sound?

All of the band members have been influenced by different artists and bands, and our different musical styles make our rehearsal room jams quite interesting. I’ll try and paint a picture of a typical Divine Ascension Jam session. While Luke is spinning his sticks smashing out Iron Maiden or Kamelot, Jason plays bass inspired by Dream Theatre or Symphony X. A little bit of Queensryche never goes astray when Robb (guitar) is around, and the dad jokes are plentiful. Karl will chuck in a complementing solo inspired by Mattias IA Eklundh in a completely different key, just to confuse Dave who often brings way too many keyboards to rehearsal, and almost needs his own separate mixing desk. Karl and Dave love a good solo off even though most of Dave’s solos sound strangely like “Final Countdown” by Europe, with complementing Nightwish style chords padding out underneath. By this stage, I am singing in all styles keeping up with the crazies. The rehearsal gets recorded, and so the writing process begins.

Now your debut album is out and in stores. What will you do in the future? What are your future goals?

Album 2 here we come…and 3, and 4….etc. Maybe we should take it one step at a time. We need to get out there and see the world. So the plan is to finish recording the second album, and then maybe if we are lucky enough to get the opportunity, we will be able to tour.

Have you ever thought of considering to go to Europe or America for a future tour? As you know, the metal music is well seen in Europe and in the US…

As I said above, it is definitely something we would like to do. A while back we went on a weekend away together to test the waters to see if we could all get along. I think we did pretty well with not annoying each other too much and we worked well as a team making the bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast. So with that in mind you could say preparations have already begun.

Thanks for your time, Jennifer. You have a free chance to say something to our readers and DA fans 🙂

Thanks for reading everyone; we appreciate your continued support, and we hope to see you at a DA gig in the future. Come up and say hi!

 

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