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  • Writer's pictureSparky

Jolene Tempest- ’I was drawn to extreme music from a young age'

Jolene tempest is a force of nature than just a vocalist . Evoking images of the banshee her vocal style is the physical definition of Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Being a stalwart of the Wellington ( NZ) underground for nearly 20 years and like all moments of genius her vocal style is natural ,intense and discovered by accident .

‘’Discovering my potential vocal style was purely primal, going out to dinner in celebration of our dojo winning our tournaments for the day, a group of us walking back to our rooms got randomly targeted in amongst the chaos I wanted to do more, that's when it came out! I will never forget the way if felt! It sounds overly dramatic now put out on paper for me but it was natural and instinctive. I've never had any vocal training of any kind, the incident above was in 1998, I'm not sure of many teachers in the early 2000s that would have regarded the style seriously and just a fast way of ruining your throat. I would say that they still have that regard today within professional vocal trainers.’’

’I was drawn to extreme music from a young age started off with classic "Gateway metal" bands Guns N Roses, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera, White Zombie and so forth.. growing up in a relatively small town in New Zealand we had one music store that would order and heavier music and by 97 I discovered black metal. I was drawn to it's occult anti-religious themes concepts and imagery, discovering bands 20 + years ago was a lot different to today, everything is so accessible at a click of a button to get any information in my teens you would devour magazines, cassettes and CD covers’’

‘’The first band I was in was Zirconium in 2001 black metal influenced and disbanded after a couple of years. There were three other bands in between and leading up to currently joining Dark Divinity, Over the years (and) also doing guess vocals for local and international recordings and gigs.’’

‘’Lyrical influences have come from personal experiences, history to topics I find intriguing and interesting mainly around the darker side of life that shouldn't be dismissed and forgotten as easily as they have been.’’

Jolene’s vocal style rose to prominence on ‘Rise of the Banshee” and “Nine Centuries” with Bullet Belt . Messianic is her latest release with Dark Divinity and continues her extreme music journey.

‘’After parting ways with Bullet Belt I recorded and wrote lyrics in one day to Conjure Invoke, six months later I was approached by Dark Divinity to try out as it current singer. I was living out of town and it was hard to commit to regular practices, within 3 months of joining we recorded and put out Set In Stone video, by our second show we were lucky enough to open for melodic death metal Legends At The Gates and The Haunted. Recently we have recorded and released our ep and currently on a Wee tour promoting the EP.’’

“With Dark Divinity we practice weekly, leading up to a show it's more focused on the set then introducing new material. this has varied a lot in past bands from twice a week to others being too casual about practicing. The way I perform my vocals stops me from practicing at home as the neighbours most likely would be concerned, as it is at full volume but leading up to shows to prepare mentally I will listen to the tracks at home’’

“With Dark divinity I have come into an already established band that had lyrics prior, I find this much harder as vocally some of the timing I would not have placed structurally or on a different count, lyrically it's fitting to what I currently sing about but does not hit on an emotional level when not coming from own experiences or story writing. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of writing all my own.’’

Being an individual and having a totally unique style also defines Jolene’s definition of extreme music and her ‘day ‘ job of being a sought after tattoo artist .

‘’Defining extreme music can take form in many genres, it’s not just in metal, what defines extreme music for me however is band that can push the boundaries not necessarily going as technical and brutal as you can, but the rawness of emotion and the power that comes from unifying people working together rather than competing. it's the primal urge and drive it manifest to The Listener.’’

‘’I've been tattooing as long as I've been in bands now which will be 20 years in the beginning of 2021 both the style of music and tattoo industry were and still are just some degree male-dominated. I was the only female in Wellington for about 3 years, now the tattoo industry is female vs male 60-40% at a rough guess compared to the 95 to 5% 20- 30 years ago, it was not easy getting my foot in the door I had to move cities to get a better chance, in the end my downfall weakness of being a female became my strength as it was seen as a novelty and I was hired within the week of moving down. I like to tattoo a lot of different styles but my passion lies in the macabre darker horror influenced realism.’’

Being so creative and busy and in demand musically and professionally has its own set of difficulties.

“The challenges of being in a band and being self-employed is that there is no holiday or sick pay and loss of income on tour. The reality is being in a band that's not radio mainstream does not pay the bills and it's quite the opposite, you front your travel and accommodation costs. you can't have the glory of grandeur of a Rockstar life when it comes to underground metal otherwise you will be sorely disappointed.’’

“The restraints I have personally are deadlines. Juggling everything as well as being a full-time tattooist in Dark Divinity, I'm a mother and if any one has children they know they come first. It is a full-on commitment by itself, especially as my family does not live close for the extra help or break. all the things I create are behind-the-scenes whether it's concept designs for clients or Art, lyrics for the band. Unfortunately to do so requires burning the midnight oil to be able to accomplish such tasks on time.”

“When I'm relaxing... not sure I get much of this! the music I prefer to listen to would be the likes of Wardruna or a movie on in the background while I draw so it seems I'm not just working all night. favourite genre of mine is horror comedy, as you can get away with over the top gore factor as well as having a laugh.’’

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