Ventenner are an alternative rock/electronic band from London, back in the studio creating some new material. We caught up with them to find out the plans for this year.
Can you tell us a brief history on how the band came to be?
Charlie: Ventenner started as a solo project around 2009. The early material was very loop based and industrial sounding, basically an easy canvas for me to put my first lyrical ideas on to. The whole concept of writing a song was completely new to me, so it was half experimental and half just doing the best I could with limited resources and experience. It was weirdly liberating looking back at it, the early songs sound dated and amateur now but it was a whole new world of artistic expression that was opening up to me. I went from not being a musician in any way to suddenly going “Hey, I can actually do this!”. That all changed again when I played my first couple of shows and realised I was completely out of my depth and had no idea what I was doing. But it all starts somewhere right?
When writing any record what is most important to you?
Charlie: For me it’s the bigger picture. The theme that runs through it all, from lyrical concepts to artwork to the album title and the general cohesive sound. There’s been a lot of songs in the past where we’ve had to just say “it’s great, but not for this album”.
Jonno: That each song is both as good as it can possibly be and as different as possible from the other tracks around it. We need to make sure that the song keeps the feel and the emotion intended for it but first and foremost it has to feel like something special musically. That means a lot of analysis and taking things apart a few times, but it’s worth it when you look back on something you’re proud of.
For those who haven’t heard you, what top 5 tracks would you say sum up the band?
Charlie: We’re all going to disagree on this I think. For me it’s Attack, Six Blood, Wave, Skin Ritual and Urge.
Jonno: I’d say ‘1’ is a good example of early Ventenner and a bit of a live favorite, ‘Six Blood’ is pretty representative of the last album and what we set out to achieve with it, and for the rest I’d say wait for the new album as it’s the best thing we’ve done so far.
How would you describe the sound of the band?
Jonno: Dark, electronic alt-rock?
Charlie: I tend to always come back to the word atmospheric. Which is borderline pretentious, and doesn’t fit with how heavy we are sometimes, but we clearly don’t sit in a genre whatsoever. We definitely sound like us though, we’ve already got a very recognisable trademark sound.
Which album has been your favourite to write so far and why?
Charlie: This one, definitely. To have all four of us throwing in ideas is great. I never got to do that with the early demos and the first album.
Jonno: This new album we’re working on right now is the one where everything just clicked, writing it was an easier process and we all got to bring our own influences into the tracks. Having four outspoken musicians pulling a track in different directions can make things a bit chaotic sometimes, but it keeps you from falling into a pattern and allows for a lot of pleasant surprises, that’s why this album’s been the best for me.
Ventenner has gone from being a mainly solo outfit and grown into the band it is now- how do you feel this has changed Ventenner?
Charlie: Well I always saw it as becoming this big thing, a full production on stage and on record. It was just tricky to get it off the blocks in that way as there was no one around me in my hometown who even vaguely understood what I was trying to do. So to me it hasn’t changed as such, this was the evolution I wanted from the beginning. Having other people’s influences has been great though. The rest of the band are all very talented and have written stuff I couldn’t have done by myself, so it’s been great to relax my control freak grip on things and let the other guys jump in.
As a lot of the band have other bands/projects is there a chance one day for a larger collaboration or gig together?
Charlie: I pretty much 100% doubt it. Mostly just because this dynamic works, trying to transpose it to something like Living Dead Girl or Exquisite Ending would be a mess. Plus it’s important to have other interests outside your main project, just for you. I have Snake Blood Seance, it’s just me doing my thing. It’s nice to switch off and do something just for the love it, especially stuff that wouldn’t fit with Ventenner.
I hear there might be some vinyl coming out as well as re-issues. Can you tell us a bit more information about that?
Charlie: I always wanted to see Ventenner on a variety of formats. People still love it despite the obvious ease of downloading. It was a mixture of the right time and having the right funding for everything, it all came together this year so I will finally get to see the music on vinyl and cd. I’m hugely excited about it.
You recently joined the Blackstar amps family- how did that come about?
Charlie: I was struggling to find a good amp sound, the sound I wanted to get but often fell short of, especially live. Blackstar just ticked all the boxes for me, way above everyone else. So I dropped them a line and went to Blackstar HQ and played with all the amps. They’re a great team and now I get to have my massive sounding HT Metal 100 on stage and in the studio.
Who has been your favourite band to have shared a stage with?
Charlie: We’ve played with a lot of bands who are now dear friends and make music we love, especially Cold In Berlin and Little Death Machine. The one I felt the most honoured to open for though was The Young Gods. They really are legends. I got to chat with them afterwards and it was a real privilege.
Jonno: Little Death Machine, in fact I got a chance to play guitar with them for a song at one of their shows sometime last year and they’ve since returned the favour on a couple of our stages. They’re local favorites of ours and each release they put out is better than the last. Such an exciting band to keep an eye on and a pleasure to share a stage with them.
Is there a new album in the works? Very keen to hear it!
How did getting a gig with Mortiis come about? Which is kick-ass news by the way!
Charlie: I saw he was touring again and I’d already listened to the new single, and musically we’re a pretty good fit. A phone call later and we were on the bill.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Charlie: Recording the new album is the biggest thing on the horizon. The average person has no idea just how long the timeline is to putting an album out. So that’s what will be occupying my time for the next 6 months. We’ve also got a show coming up with 3TEETH in August.
Thanks for speaking to us again