Today I speak to post punk duo Venus Fly Trap who tells us about four decades of making and performing music, their favourite places to perform and the release of ther best of album.
Band Name: Venus Fly Trap
Members: Alex Novak (Vocals) & Andy Denton (Guitar/Programming)
Genre: Post punk/Electronica/Alternative
Originated From: Northampton, UK
Discography: Icon (Album) & Mercurial (Best of album)
How would you describe your music?
We have been described as “laderunner rock n roll with dark acidic shades” and “dark sonics for films in your mind.” We are situated in the post punk genre melded with electronica. Think Joy Division, Thee Doors, Chemical Brothers and DNA intertwined with ours.
Live its pounding electronics overlaid with a pincer movement of dark vocals and needle point guitar, all filled in with wax crayon colours to mesmerise the audience into submission.
What is your musical creative process like?
We write as a duo and start with a riff, which would suggest a lyric and with a bit of jamming there would be an embryonic version of a song. Not all these ideas would come to anything but kept for possible future use.
Andy would take these ideas away and come up with a basic backing track to then add more lyrics to and work out a structure.
A lot of the time, we end up going back and forwards from rehearsal to studio until we get a song that we’re happy with.
The most recent album Icon drew on the Warhol quote; ”in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes” The idea of being famous for being famous, celebrity, idols, the new religion, science fiction in the widest sense, film noir, Tarantino movies, all supplied lyrical inspiration.
How did the band form?
Venus Fly Trap came together after Alex left Attrition, a band who were based in London at the time. Alex had done an album and toured Holland with them, which was my first trip abroad with a band.
Alex decided to move back to his native Northampton and hooked up with his brother John and Tony Brooker, who Alex met at art school.
The line-up has changed many times. Andy Denton began as the drummer and later ended up playing guitar and he has done for many years.
How did you come up with the band name?
It was hard to pick a name that has not been used before. We liked the idea of a plant that eats insects rather than the other way around. The connections with the planets venus and mars, mythology and sci-fi. So, we used plenty of images and ideas to play around with both visually and lyrically.
What inspired you to get into music?
What got us involved in music in the first place was the punk/new wave explosion. It changed our perception on being able to be in a band. It was a just get up and give it a go attitude and see where it leads. Minimal experience but it didn’t matter. It was the ideas that counted. This DIY approach got people involved in music who would not have thought of it before.
Have you performed live much and what was your favourite gig to play?
Until recently yes! We have done many tours in the UK, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Finland.
Memorable venues would be Locomotive in Paris, Wuk in Vienna, Futurum and Bunkr in Prague, Duncker in Berlin, Castle Party Festival in Poland, Vampira Festival in Warsaw, Lumous Festival in Finland and many more.
What is the best thing about being in a band?
Touring abroad, seeing places you would not have thought of going to, meeting people, interacting and exchanging thoughts and ideas. Travel does broaden the mind.
What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far as a musician?
The current coronavirus pandemic as we are all in uncharted waters.
What plans have you got coming up this year?
We’re promoting a best of Venus Fly Trap album called Mercurial 1978-2018, which includes other band’s projects that Alex has been involved with including Isaws, Tempest, Attrition, Religious Overdose, Nova State Conspiracy, The Den and Spore.
A career spanning retrospective for people to delve into and explore further if they wish. It’s about eighty minutes of music packed into this release. So, we’re busy promoting this release via interviews, features and reviews via internet, radio and magazines – but miss doing gigs as that gets you an immediate reaction.
What is your ultimate dream as a band?
To keep making music and perform live once touring can reume.
Alex also runs a record shop called Spiral Archive, which just recently re-opened following lockdown.
You can find out more about Venus Fly Trap by following them on Facebook.
If you’re in a band or a musician and would like to appear on this blog, please contact me and I’ll forward you an interview template.
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