Venues – Modern Evolution

Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Quickly becoming a modern force within the heavy music scene, Venues’ second album Solace was a hit in how it delivered fun, catchy choruses as well as incredibly heavy moments, and wrapped them both together. The band has taken the next step in their sound for the recently released Transience, their third album. Building on that particular dynamic, the band sounds even more hook-y and heavy, and it makes for an engrossing listen. We spoke with vocalists Robin Baumann and Lela Gruber to get their insights on how the band has changed things up once again, the dual vocal dynamics, putting personal stories into lyrics, and much more.

Dead Rhetoric: If my memory is correct, You kept the same line up between Solace and Transience?

Robin Baumann: Actually no. We parted ways with one of our oldest members and main songwriters at the beginning of last year. When it comes to songwriting, a lot of stuff has changed!

Dead Rhetoric: So you had a shift in members from Solace to Transience. How do you feel it affected the album?

Lela Gruber: It’s basically the same way we wrote for Solace, but with different people. We still have our guitarist, Valentin, writing songs and we also have Dennis, who is our live bass player and he also was involved in the process. There’s always something new coming out with new people, of course. It’s different but in a good way. I think it gave us the chance to grow even more and to develop new styles and ways of writing. When it comes to lyrics and meanings of the songs, with Transience, we became even more personal. We used these songs to cope with our own problems, to make art, and for personal reason also. That’s something that maybe listeners hear and maybe understand and make the music even closer to them and their hearts.

Dead Rhetoric: You both have songs on the album that are pretty personal to you. Do you feel that as you continue to write and sing more, it’s easier to share more of yourself through the music?

Baumann: I would say yes, I think we get more used to putting personal stuff into our songs. It’s definitely something you have to learn and get comfortable with. It also depends on the experiences you make. Especially for me, a lot of stuff has happened since Solace, so there was definitely more to put into this record. It’s one of the factors that affects us.

Dead Rhetoric: There was a sonic shift from Aspire to Solace. There was a deliberate effort to be heavier then. How do you describe the change from Solace to Transience?

Gruber: I feel like we didn’t force anything with Transience. We did not want to be in a particular way, like sounding heavier or more modern. It just happened. Transience sounds more modern due to the electric beats and synths, but we did that because it was fun and felt good. It made us feel like we were making a small party like with “Godspeed, Goodbye,” so I feel like it just happened in a natural way.

Baumann: I also think that we became more modern too for this record. For me, I think we are closer than ever before to a sound that we have wanted for Venues. This record is something that is getting closer to how we want to sound as a band.

Dead Rhetoric: You put forth quite a few singles ahead of the album release. Do you feel it’s led to more attention for the release?

Baumann: Yeah, and I would say that would be the way that you have to release stuff nowadays. You have to keep releasing singles so that you aren’t totally forgotten [laughs]. We started releasing singles pretty early, I think the first one “Reflections” came out in July 2022, so almost two years ago. A lot of time passed to get all of the singles out for the record, but it felt cool, for us, to know that they would all be on our third album.

Dead Rhetoric: So was everything all recorded at that point and you had to wait for it all to be released or no?

Gruber: No, I think we went to the studio three times. The first and second time we recorded three songs and released them as singles. It was a whole process starting in 2022 and finishing at the end of 2023. We even went to the studio last November to finish the recordings for the album. I think it’s pretty cool, because it was always something current that was released, and we didn’t have to hold the good stuff back for so long [laughs]. We created and released it, and that felt good for us.

Dead Rhetoric: Knowing that is pretty amazing, it’s pretty amazing. Everything on the album sounds consistent and there’s a flow to it. You’d never know that you wrote/recorded it in three separate sessions.

Baumann: Happy to hear that. That was our fear, of course, since it was such a big time range in writing and recording the songs. This process also took off some pressure from us. You have like 2 weeks in the studio where you have to be performing on point and there is no time for failure in anyway. Everything has to be recorded, and if you have a bad day, especially vocally, there’s no second chance for you. It was cool that we had three sessions and good time management to record these songs.

Gruber: It let us really focus on the songs themselves.

Baumann: Yeah, if you have to just record three songs, you can 100% focus on each of the songs, as opposed to doing 10 at once and just knocking them all out.

Dead Rhetoric: So do you feel like this is the way forward for Venues? To do these smaller recordings and make it into something larger over time?

Baumann: For me, definitely. In an ideal world, I’d love to be in the studio just for one song every two months or something like that. But the budget would play a big role. We aren’t that big yet [laughs]. But I think we found a pretty good middle road here.

Gruber: The same. As much as I enjoy the time with the whole band in the studio, with Solace we were there for two weeks for the whole album, it was a great time but at some point your brain doesn’t function anymore [laughs]. You have so many different styles and songs, and you try new things out, so at some point you go crazy. You just want to get it done and finished. This time it felt more focused and we had more time to talk about the songs and where we wanted to go with them. It was a big difference and I liked it more.

Dead Rhetoric: Along those lines, many of your videos aren’t the typical ‘metal band in the abandoned building’ type affair. What do you look for when you design a music video in terms of expanding the message of the song?

Baumann: We are working pretty close with Marius Milinski, who is a good friend of mine. We actually played together in our first band. He became a very well-known videographer in Germany and he does stuff for German TV. We have a special work relationship together. He usually doesn’t do music videos anymore. But he does them for us. The deal is that he can do whatever he wants – he can live out his creative dreams and goals based on what’s in the song.

We send him the lyrics and then he comes back to us with some crazy ideas. 99% of the time we love it and we just do it. That’s usually where the ideas come from for the music videos. Sometimes we also bring in ideas for the videos, especially when the songs are more personal to us and have a special message, but he does the overall concept and message. That’s why we have some crazy videos!

Dead Rhetoric: I think it helps to distinguish you as a band, if you have someone who can go as crazy as they want with a video.

Baumann: Totally! That was also our approach – the market is full of good bands and there are so many performance videos out there, like the generic metalcore videos of the band performing. The song is cool, but I don’t know if I would watch a video more than once. It’s another chance for us to spread the word about our songs.

Dead Rhetoric: Robin, you said with Transience it was closer to being your idealized version of Venues. What do you both feel is the sweet spot for Venues – what part of your sound grabs people the most, or you at least hope does?

Gruber: I think one of the important things is the chorus. That’s what we listen to first and decide which ones have the strongest chorus to see which songs we take to the studio. So when I hear other songs, that’s what catches me. Hopefully that will happen to our listeners too. But people often say that people really like how we play with my clean vocals and Robin’s harsh vocals. That’s a difference, and it’s super cool in the relationship between our vocals. It’s something that not too many bands have nowadays. We try to keep them as cool as possible.

Baumann: And hopefully, also the lyrics. We get a lot of messages on social media and YouTube comments that a song helped someone when they had a hard time. That’s pretty cool. Sometimes they underestimate the power of the lyrics, and it’s really nice to hear messages like that.

Dead Rhetoric: So what do you feel is the advantage of having two different vocalists in the band, who sing different parts, in the live setting, since you just mentioned the studio impact?

Gruber: You get the chance to have more small breaks during songs. When it comes to touring and playing live every night for longer sets, like an hour or so, it really helps. Those small moments make it easier. It’s not all on you, on a personal level, it’s good to know that someone is beside you and you support each other on stage. That makes it a bit, I don’t want to say easier, but more comfortable.

Baumann: There’s always one of us having time to hype up the crowd while the other is singing too.

Dead Rhetoric: What are you most proud of accomplishing with Venues so far, and what’s something from your bucket list?

Baumann: The things I’m most proud of is putting out these three records. Each of them is telling a private story of where I have been at this point of my life. That’s pretty cool, and I think about my kids someday checking out Spotify and hearing these records. Also that we played Wacken in Germany, which is a special festival for a lot of people, so it was an honor for us to play there last year.

Gruber: That’s what I wanted to say. You tell someone that you play in a band and they are like, “yeah, that’s nice.” But then you say that you played Wacken and they are like, “Oh yeah! You are in a band!” So that’s really nice! I would never have imagined that I would play that festival one day. It makes me really proud.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your plans for the rest of this year?

Gruber: First of all, we have our second release show in our home town so we are looking forward to that. We will play a great headline show, hopefully. Then there will be summer festivals, and we are currently planning our first headline tour but that won’t be until 2025.

Baumann: We will start some writing again too. It never ends [laughs].

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