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Huntress’ Jill Janus Recalls Halloween Experience of Tripping on Judas Priest + Shrooms

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

With Mayhem Festival behind them and their current tour with Lamb of God under way, the road warriors of Huntress have had one busy year! Their sophomore record ‘Starbound Beast’ has captured fans with its perfect combination of melodies and brutality. It’s no surprise when you listen to the music of Huntress that it takes you into another realm.

When we spoke to songstress Jill Janus, she shared an interesting experience that would put our Halloween plans to shame. Not only did Judas Priest win her heart over on Halloween but it happened while she was tripping on shrooms in the woods. You may want to re-think that lame Halloween party you’re going to after you check out our interview with Jill Janus of Huntress below:

You seem like you have a fondness for Halloween. Please share a memorable Halloween experience.

[Laughs] Everyday is Halloween for me. I can tell you the moment when I decided Judas Priest won over Iron Maiden. It was on Halloween probably four years ago. My journey on finding musicians was interesting, I wanted to find musicians for Huntress and I was having trouble doing that so it took me about a decade to find these boys.

I recorded some demos and I was really obsessed with Iron Maiden at the time so those demos, which maybe I’ll release one day, one of them is called ‘Back From the Dead’ and the other one is called ‘Call From the Wild’ and they’re heavily influenced by Iron Maiden. So I brought them to the boys and they said, “You know it sounds a lot like Iron Maiden but sure we’ll give you a shot.” They kept trying to convince me that Judas Priest won over Maiden and I was like, “I don’t know.”

One night I went out to the woods into a van. It was a dark canyon and it was up in Idlewild, Calif., spooky. I took shrooms and listened to the entire ‘Unleashed in the East’ and I was forever changed. Now I understand the magic and the power of Judas Priest. Yes they do win, over Iron Maiden for me. I came around. Of course Iron Maiden is mighty and a huge influence on the band, as well. With Priest, there’s something dark and magical and sexual and much dirtier that draws me to them. So that’s my Halloween story, I tripped on shrooms in the woods, on Halloween, and it changed my life.

Now does the shroom tripping usually influence your thoughts, writing and music? Just curious as to when was your first shroom experience?

Well I’ve always been a little white witch that loves eating shrooms and playing with fairies in the woods. Growing up on a farm in the Catskill Mountains, we did a lot of that, from the time I was about 13 and I joined my first coven. It was kind of an initiation into it. Rituals and the use of earth-based hallucinogenics have always been part of my life. I started trippin’ when I was about 13 years old and I haven’t stopped since. I don’t have time to eat shrooms, I have to write songs and I have to tour. Every now and then, we plan on getting back into the woods one of these days and trippin’ our t-ts off again.

That sounds blissful. Well with the theme of Halloween I have to ask, if you could dress up as any metal musician for Halloween who would it be and why?

King Diamond! That would be a good one and I haven’t done that one yet, maybe next Halloween.

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