Interview with Mike V. about his band Vennart and the new album The Demon Joke (English Version)

Artist: Vennart

Orgin: Manchester, England

Genre: Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Label: Superball Music

Link: www.facebook.com/vennartvennart

Bandmember:

Vocals and Guitar – Mike Vennart
Guitar and Vocals – Steve Durose
Keyboard – Richard „Gambler“ Ingram
Drums – Denzel

Vennart - The Demon Joke

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Hi Mike,

Before we start, I’d like to congratulate you on writing such a versatile and self­conscious album despite all the (possibly even pressuring) expectations from fans and people with other interests in your music. It is definitely one of my favourites of this year.

Vennart / Mike V.:

Cheers!

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

To begin with, let’s talk about the album: How would you describe the process of songwriting to someone who hasn’t heard or read anything about you before?

Vennart / Mike V.:

The process of songwriting is a dark, mysterious and chameleonic beast. It changes every single time you approach it. It has the ability to make you euphoric or chronically depressed, depending on your success rate. I love songwriting, but sometimes it doesn’t love me back. The Demon Joke is the sound of a love affair turning into full-blown marriage between songwriting, myself and my first love, the electric guitar. That’s about as profound as i’ve ever been. Total bullshit, i know.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

What are the pros and cons of being a solo songwriter to you? How do you think about the tendency of solo­albums being usually more “all over the place” then rather “on point”, stylistically?

Vennart / Mike V.:

It’s a tough call. All i’d ever known was the process of composition in an ensemble – Oceansize was my band for 13 years or thereabouts. We did everything together and so it was easier to rely on each other’s skills or opinions to drive a song to the standard it deserved. The Demon Joke was created, initially, in total isolation. When i’d created loads of music – but completed none of it at all – i called upon the assistance of my old friend Steve Durose. He brought melody to a bunch of the songs, which then inspired my to write the lyrics, thereby completing the songs. It was a slow and arduous process, with numerous obstacles. I thought i’d never, ever finish it. I don’t know about other people’s solo albums being stylistically scattered, but the fact these songs were written over a 5 year period means that my head was in a lot of different places in that time. There’s quite a few different vibes on there, but i think Oceansize was a very eclectic band. The second album in particular was very ambitious and schizophrenic.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

The title The Demon Joke references your idea of humour being an integral part of life, that also has the capability to represent an element of danger. Can you please explain this idea and how you worked it into your songs?

Vennart / Mike V.:

Nothing finds it’s way into my songs deliberately. I’ve established a trust in my subconscious, and so when i write lyrics the brakes are off and i just write whatever sounds good. It’s only afterwards – day, months, years even – i can look back and see exactly what I’m trying to express. Specifically Don’t Forget The Joker, i remember putting pen to paper and not knowing what i was talking about, and then realising at the end i was talking not only about Rik Mayall, the recently-deceased British comic hero, but also my own, often pathetic, attempts at humour. I often try a little too hard to be funny and will then proceed to beat myself up for years and years about some throwaway comment that either pissed someone off or made them think i was a callous prick. I try never to be mean, but comedy is invariably at someone’s expense.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

What influenced you musically in the process of writing this album?

Vennart / Mike V.:

I’ve been married to the guitar for nearly 30 years. Some days the guitar doesn’t offer up much in the way of inspiration, so i’ll look to starting with drums, bass or keyboards. But the guitar still excites me greatly.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Apparently you’ve created thousands of little memos and ideas for songs in the process of writing The Demon Joke. When can we be expecting to hear more from Vennart? Are there plans for the future of this project?

Vennart / Mike V.:

At present i’m working on the British Theatre album. I’ll do another Vennart album when i get a fucking minute, ok?

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Now let’s talk about you a little bit: You’ve been very active in the world of music for at least twelve years now, but possibly even more since the split of Oceansize in 2011. Would you go as far to describe the death of the band as a rebirth for you as an artist?

Vennart / Mike V.:

I would, but it certainly didn’t feel like that when Oceansize broke up. I tried to look on the bright side, and tried to imagine what i could achieve now i was free to do whatever i wanted. Trouble is, i had no focus. It took a while to remember what my strengths were, rather than what i thought i could change into.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

You’ve toured with Biffy Clyro, released two EP’s with British Theatre and now a solo­record, all in the last four years. Considering this amount of creative output, what would it mean to you, if you couldn’t make music any more? Could you imagine turning to another field of art?

Vennart / Mike V.:

I could not. Imagining life without making music would be unbearable.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Is there a specific musical project that you’ve always dreamed of, but could never realise?

Vennart / Mike V.:

Yes. Can’t say what it is though.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Is there an artist you would like collaborating with, but never had the chance?

Vennart / Mike V.:

Can’t think of anyone… I certainly have my heroes and idols, but i’d find the idea of collaborating far too intimidating. I look forward to completing the Empire State Bastard record with Simon Neil.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Can you tell us your favourite joke and describe a situation in which it poses an element of danger?

Vennart / Mike V.:

I was gonna tell you my favourite joke, which is from Neil Hamburger. But the truth is, i can’t control who reads this interview and i wouldn’t wanna offend anyone. See? I’m learning.

Time For Metal / Sören R.:

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck and all the best for your future!

Vennart / Mike V.:

Thank You Mr. Sören R. .

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