Artist Spotlight – Venus Fly Trap

Band nameVenus Fly Trap
LocationNorthampton, Midlands (England, UK)
Similar ArtistsProbably like us if you like Bauhaus, Joy Division, Chemical Brothers, The Doors….alternative/post punk/electronica.
First releaseThe album ‘Mars’ which came out originally in 1988 on Danceteria, and re-issued in 2019 on Glass Records Modern.
LinksFacebook | Spotify
The Music Addict’s VerdictVenus Fly Trap recalls 80’s alternative, filtered through a cinematic approach.

How was the band formed?  

I just finished being in Attrition who were based in London at the time. I had done an album called “Smiling At The Hypogonder Club” and toured
Holland (my first sojourn abroad with a band).

Decided to move back to my native Northampton (famous for Bauhaus and writer Alan Moore) and hooked up with my brother John Novak (ISAWS/Wheres Lisse) and Tony Booker, an ex-art school student (I also had studied at art school).

This was my own project as opposed to being in someone else’s band. My idea was to get back to basics; garage/rock ‘n roll mixed with thumping
drum machine beats, with dark vox and gothy atmospherics.

For any new band you want to get out and play asap, but we recorded demo tracks quickly as the plan was to get a record deal. These things happened very quickly for us, we had a release out within a year of forming.

What’s your songwriting process like?   

When we were writing ‘Icon’, myself and Andy Denton (guitar/programming) would start with a riff/idea, just guitar and vocal. The riff would suggest a lyric and a bit of jamming would become an embryonic version of a song. Not all these ideas would come to anything, but are kept for possible use in the future.

Andy Denton would take these ideas away and come up with a basic backing track to then add more lyrics to and to work out a structure. After a lot of going back and forth from rehearsal to studio, we would end up with a song structure that we were happy with.

This is just the start of the process for recording as a track gets mixed many times before it gets to the tweaking phase where we brought in Martin Bowes (Attrition) to do the final mixes and add the fairy dust.

With electronics it is a blessing/downside as you can have any sound you wish, which can make you faff around playing with different sounds. Discipline is needed to get the final mix done otherwise you can tamper with it forever.

What are your influences?

Everybody is influenced by somebody else. Who would you consider some of your biggest musical influences and how are they influential?

Art/music is not made in a vacuum, we are all influenced by others.The trick is to take these elements and arrange them into something original. I never wanted to sound exactly like another band, always strived to do something unique.

How would you describe your music?  

We have been described as “Blade Runner rock ‘n roll with dark acidic shades”. We create dark sonic cinema for the mind, film noir/sci fi soundscapes inspired by 2001/Clockwork Orange/TwinPeaks/Pulp Fiction/Alien….Myths and mythology which has fed cinema…idols/screen godesses/warhol – “Everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. I would like to have a track on a TARANTINO movie soundtrack.

‘Icon’ as an example is an album to be listened to from beginning to end. All the tracks interconnect, characters are introduced as the celluloid travels through the projector.

What’s the one thing that makes you/your band stand out from the rest?  

Well for a start we have a long history (this band and others I have been involved with)so there is a good back catalog to delve into.

The line-up has changed over the years bringing in new people with their own perspective or ideas,which influences how the band sounds.

We have ended up with something fairly unique, pounding electronics overlaid with a pincer movement of dark vox and needle point guitar,all filled in with wax crayon colours.

What’s your latest release?  

To be released in may is ‘Venus Fly Trap/Alex Novak – Mercurial (Best Of)’ (Glass Records Modern) It’s an overview of all my bands/projects i have been involved with including ISAWS/Religious Overdose/Tempest/Attrition/Venus Fly Trap/Nova State Conspiracy….a taster for you to dip into and then go and explore more…

(Editor’s note: check out our review of the album)

What are your plans for the next few months?

Obviously everything’s been cancelled…did plan to play when the CD was out, but we are re-scheduling shows for September onwards – hope its all ok by then. Be safe!

Jean-Frederic Vachon
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