My name is Jennifer Christensen and I am the only member of Møllehøj! Møllehøj is the name of the highest point in Denmark, the country my family emigrated from. I do a lot of mountaineering and I had compiled a list of the highest peaks in many countries that I wanted to climb. During my search, I saw that the highest point in Denmark (but hardly a peak- at 170.86m) was called Møllehøj and for some reason, it became an imaginary place of inspiration for me. While I was writing music, the rolling hills in winter kept coming up and so I named the music after the muse.
2. Møllehøj is a fairly new band starting in 2012. can you give us some insight into and how and when the idea of starting the band came about?
I have been writing music for a long time but I hadn't before taken the time to put music out myself. In 2011 when I became really driven to make this music, everything came very easily. I was very lucky to have found Anthony McCargar to play drums during live performances and once I put the wheels in motion, it was clear that Møllehøj wanted to be alive even when we didn't have proper songs! This was also the birth of the improvisational black metal that I played so much live in Colorado.
3. Briefly give us some history behind the concept of the band and what topics do the lyrics cover within the music?
Møllehøj is just everything that has been wanting to burst out of me from years of listening to black metal. The bands that always made me want to make my own music were the ones that felt the most “true” in the sense that they were able to effectively communicate something that was honest to their experience. I feel that when people are bearing themselves in this way, it is difficult, as a listener, not to empathize and really feel something through that music. This is what I hoped to do with Møllehøj and it's true that on the live recordings, a lot of the lyrics are improvised too. The music and the lyrics on the recordings are themed though (one song is about a group of crows protecting a sacred forest, another is about anguish) and then the music is a meditation on that theme. A lot of these older recordings are in Danish also. The new recordings are a little different because they are not improvised but they are still just a really honest meditation on an aspect of my existence. I will say that the upcoming album's concept is cohesive but I'm not saying what the concept is yet!
4. You play a multitude of instruments within the band, were you trained professionally or are you a self taught kinda of person, also at what age did you discover you enjoyed making music?
I have always had an ear for music and a great love for it but it was not nurtured in me. As a child, I sang constantly and left to my own devises, I found broken instruments or made my own make-shift instruments (from wires, wood, etc) and used them to re-create the melodies in my head. Eventually I wanted to play something more, so when I was in the 6th grade, I saved up money by secretly foregoing lunch and pocketing the change until I had enough to purchase a bass guitar that I had been eying for a year prior. I didn't have an amplifier but I propped the instrument between the two sides of my closet door frame and when I played it, it resonated and was (with imagination) kind-of like having an amp and I learned to play music this way. I listed to a lot of my favorite bands and learned how to play each album, song by song. Then I wanted a cello, which took much more lunch money. In the meantime, I used an old violin bow to teach myself on the bass how to play the cello. I remember the bowing made an exceptionally rich tone and vibration in my door frame! When I finally ordered a cello online, I had a good idea of how to play it the first time I touched it. From there I picked up the piano and then the guitar while at university.
5.Can you tell us what Black Metal bands you were first exposed to and what are some of the genres of music and bands you grew up listening to?
Once I was in the 8th grade, I was already really involved with the hardcore music scene where I lived. I wasn't allowed to go to these shows but by becoming friends with the bands I liked, I was able to manage getting in to the venues, etc. I didn't get along very well with people much at my school but at these local shows, I fit right in and was exposed to a lot of new music this way. I remember first hearing At the Gates' The Red in the Sky is Ours, which isn't considered black metal but there was something in the sound that I really liked which wasn't explicitly death metal so I sought out other similar music and was led to Mayhem, Darkthrone, Burzum.
I live in Washington but I do play with some bands in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to move out to t his region for two main reasons: First, I move every couple of years to a different area to climb different peaks, etc. I had been on several mountaineering trips in the Cascades and they all became my favorite climbs. I thought this would be a really inspirational area for me musically and otherwise. Second, I wanted to play live more and I felt there was more opportunity to do so when I was surrounded by bigger towns and cities----Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, etc. I'm not sure that it was the best decision for the project but I like having a lot of change in my life so on that level, it has been good.
- 6. Møllehøj originally started out in Colorado relocated to Oregon and now based in Washington, can you tell us what promoted the move and has the change of scenery been beneficial for the band?
- I live in Washington but I do play with some bands in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to move out to this region for two main reasons:
First, I move every couple of years to a different area to climb different peaks, etc.
I had been on several mountaineering trips in the Cascades and they all became my favorite climbs.
I thought this would be a really inspirational area for me musically and otherwise.
Second, I wanted to play live more and I felt there was more opportunity to do so when I was surrounded by bigger towns and cities----Seattle, Vancouver, Portland, etc.
I'm not sure that it was the best decision for the project but I like having a lot of change in my life so on that level, it has been good.
7. You have been involved in a couple different project in past few years, how have you enjoyed working with these other bands and how does it differ from your work with Møllehøj.
I have really, really enjoyed playing with other bands over the past few years. I love playing many kinds of music and the diversity has been really great for honing in what I would like to create in Møllehøj . I especially like playing different instruments in the other groups! There are more projects going on now also that haven't yet gone public---stay tuned!
8. Can you tell us how you got involved in joining Sadhaka, and how did the tour with them in Europe go? give us a highlight of your most memorable time there?
I played a solo, candle-lit cello concert of Møllehøj songs in Olympia, Washington last winter and the members of Sadhaka were in the audience. They asked me if I wanted to be involved in Sadhaka and after discussing their vision for the group, I knew that I'd like playing with them. The European tour was great---I met so many unforgettable people and it was wonderful establishing contacts for the Møllehøj tour! I think my favorite part was playing to the enormously passionate crowd in Athens. They nearly flipped our van!
9. Take us into your musical creative process, where do you record at and are lyrics written before the music is created or vise-versa?
My question is how do you feel about being a women in Black Metal which is a mostly male dominated music genre and do you have an opinion on stereo types people might have about female fronted metal bands or women in metal for that matter?