VENOM is undoubtedly one of the most influential bands to come out. Being one of the most important figures in the Heavy Metal world, the band has left no stone unturned. The band has yet managed to add another album to their discography, with ‘From the very Depths‘. I speak to the frontman, Conrad ‘Cronos’ Lant.
MJM. 36 years and still going! Wow, what does heavy metal mean to you? What keeps you going?
Cronos: Metal is everything, it’s a way of life. Lay Down Your Souls to the Gods Rock n’ Roll. Hell Yeah !!! I’ve been into music all my life, I remember listening to band like the Rolling Stones and The Who when I was very young in the 1960’s, I just really like music that has an attitude.
MJM. Sounds great!! So ,how is the new album, ‘From the very depths’ different from your earlier albums?
Cronos: It has a bigger set of balls !!! The album fells more like a ‘band’ album to me, and that is because most of the songs on the past Venom albums were all composed by myself, so it’s great to finally work with two other musicians who want to contribute to the song writing process.
MJM. What are your influences in this album?
Cronos: Venom. I only draw influences from my life and my surroundings. This way I can write the heaviest raw album possible. I don’t think about writing a Venom song when I write, I just write a song from ideas I have, and if they turn into heavy tracks, then great, they can become a Venom song, but I do have many song ideas that are not Venomous, and which don’t get recorded for Venom also. Maybe they can be put on a separate project in the future.
MJM. What was your thought process behind the progression of music behind all your albums?
Cronos: Originality. Making unique music that no one else can make. I like the raw power of Rock music, the pounding drums, screaming guitars, earth shattering bass and of course the insane vocals, but although I like my albums to progress both musically and professionally, most of the creative pattern behind the music is in the lap of the gods, so its natural and new.
MJM. How did you feel when your album title ‘Black Metal’ later went on to be the title of a whole sub-genre of metal?
Cronos: It was very difficult for Venom to get shows and record deals when we first started, as not many people could understand the band, because we were so different and too heavy for most people, but then after the Black Metal album started to gain in popularity, and more and more bands started playing in the styles of the music we had created like; Power Metal, Speed Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal and of course Black Metal, then more doors opened and we now have a huge culture of metal with thousands of bands and hundreds of festivals all over the world, great.
MJM. On your official website, the last line of your biography says ‘Be true to yourself’. What did you mean to convey through that line to bands out there?
Cronos: Too many musicians try to copy of other musicians, and although its good to be influenced by someone else, and be inspired, it should be your own style and technique you should be developing, not some other person.
MJM. What is the idea behind the new album artwork? It looks out of the world!
Cronos: The artwork is created by a guy called Nikos Outsikas and his illustration was perfect for the album titles. With the last album, ‘Fallen Angels’ I used the illustration of the hordes of archangels descending from the heaven’s into hell, so I needed a masterpiece to show hell’s demon spawns emerging from hell and rising up [from the very depths], and Nikos provided the perfect image.
MJM. How did the addition of the new member’s come about? Do you think it happened at the right time?
Cronos: Yes perfect timing. People are already calling this line up the second classic line up, and I agree. We have now been together for six solid years, and still going strong, so with many festivals to play his year, I hope this line up lasts another twenty years.
MJM. Where was the new album ‘From The Very Depths’ recorded? Do you record albums as a band or individual tracking?
Cronos: I have my own studios, and we rehearse and record in my main studio every week. We get together for rehearsals as often as possible, sometimes six or seven days per week. We like to just hang out and even jam so new fresh ideas can be created, as we like to challenge ourselves as musicians.
MJM. Since you’ve been around since 1979, how has heavy metal changed/evolved over time?
Cronos: It changes / evolves all the time, and that is what the new song ‘The Death Of Rock n’ Roll’ is all about. We [rock bands] wouldn’t be around today if it wasn’t for the likes of; Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Jerry Lee Lewis etc, they started it all, but it has evolved over the years to what you have today, as we use the same chord progressions and drum beats as those guys back in the day.
MJM. A lot of bands of this generation have gravitated towards technicality and complexity of songs, do you think this hampers bands from making good enjoyable music?
Cronos: It is Music for Musicians I call it, as the general population can’t relate to it when it becomes too complex. I was the same when the likes of Steve Vai & Joe Satriani etc came out. A lot of people were amazed at their technical skills, but then got bored very quickly, [which is why they don’t tour much anymore or release many albums] as most people want solid rock / metal songs to feel good. But that doesn’t mean the music has to be simple, it just doesn’t need to be over- played, music needs room to breathe so you get the intensity and atmosphere.
MJM. Sounds fair enough! Lastly, when are you coming to play for your fans in India?
Cronos: Venom would be honoured to come over and play in India, hell yeah!! We have received letters and emails from many fans in India for many years, asking Venom to come and play. If any of the promoters of any Indian festivals wish to book Venom, they just need to go to our website and look on our contacts webpage, then get in touch with our management and work out the details.
MJM. Looking forward to it! Thanks for your time!
Cronos: Hell Yeah, I’m glad you like the new album, let’s hope Venom can come over to visit India for a show or two in the near future. Stay Wild to all our Indian Legions !!!