Bassist/vocalist Conrad “Cronos” Lant of British black metal pioneers VENOM was interviewed on the January 23-25 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
On what made the process of making VENOM‘s latest album, “From The Very Depths”, most fulfilling:
Cronos: “After we did the last album, the guys in the band just had so much confidence in the ‘Fallen Angels’ album, because it was really well accepted by the fans. We went out on the road, and we were asking the fans, ‘What songs do you wanna hear?’ expecting to hear a lot of the earlier classic VENOM tunes. And the guys in the front row were shouting for ‘Pedal To The Metal’ or ‘Hammerhead’ or ‘Nemesis’, they were shouting for songs off the new album. This obviously gave Rage [Stuart Dixon, guitar] and Danté [Danny Needham, drums] a massive boost of confidence. There’s been many years in this band where everybody says, ‘Oh, the only way this band will work is with the original lineup… blah blah blah.’ And it’s absolute bollocks now, because nobody even wants to even talk about that lineup. People are calling this the second classic VENOM. I mean, we don’t put these words into people’s mouths; this is what they’re saying. So to go into the studio and be able to create an album that you know the creative process is there, we have as much time as we want — we haven’t got the record company breathing down our necks: ‘Hurry, hurry, hurry’ — ideas were just flowing so fast and furious. I mean, it’s been one of the most enjoyable albums I’ve ever made. I mean, crazy situations, like I came to the studio one day, and I was a bit late — Rage and Danté were already there — and Danté said, ‘Dude, I’ve got this crazy new drum beat. Check it out.’ I said, ‘Wait a minute! I’ve got an idea for that.’ I put the bass on, and started putting some ideas together. The next thing you know, we came up with the song ‘Evil Law’. It maybe took ten minutes. And that’s the kind of thing that I really like about this band — that the ideas are not forced. Nobody’s sitting there with the big stick sort of saying, ‘You must do this. You must do that.’ I remember watching the ‘Some Kind Of Monster’ [documentary from] METALLICA, and they were sitting, trying to come up with ideas for the new album, and Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] popped up and said, ‘Oh, man. That’s really stock, man.’ Like, ‘You’ve got no ideas left.’ I must admit if I ever ended up in that situation, I would get a different job. So it’s great to be able to have a band that we’ve got too many ideas.”
On what caused the delay in the release of “From The Very Depths”:
Cronos: “The thing is, for many, many years, I’ve always had 100 percent control over everything that gets released by VENOM, as far as the songs and the music. And, you know, that’s not down to being a control freak, that’s down to the fact that nobody else contributes. It’s always been the pain in my butt about this band. It’s, like, this is not a solo band. If it was, it’d be called CRONOS. This is VENOM, and it’s got a fucking guitarist and a drummer in it, and I don’t think that they should be lazy and just sit and play drums when, if they’re a musician, they should have ideas, they should wanna better themselves as musicians, they should challenge themselves, do things that scare them. I mean, that’s what this is all about; you want those butterflies in your gut. You wanna keep this real, like a fighter. You wanna be anxious about your next fight, you wanna be anxious about your next show. You know? And when I started to put the ideas together for ‘Fallen Angels’ and I asked the other guys to contribute, I said to them also, ‘Now you have to also get involved in the production side. Yes, I’m the producer and I’m gonna oversee the entire project, but I wanna make sure that you guys are happy with what you’re doing. It’s not now just my decision.’ Okay, I can be sitting there, at the end of the day, as sort of the executive producer and give the yay or nay, but the delay was, really, where a song would be constructed, all the parts would be recorded, and then I would sit there and say, ‘That’s a go. Send it for mixing. Get it out to be mastered.’ Whereas now, the delay was, I had to go see Rage, check all his parts with him, check he was happy with it, but also that he was happy with what I was doing, happy with the vocal, happy with the bassline, happy with the drums. And I had to do exactly the same with Danté. Not just check that he nailed his shit and he was happy with his drums, but, ‘Are you also happy with the way the song is? Are you happy with the whole band? Are you happy with the song?’ And that all takes time. So, really, it took three times longer than it normally would. But, I think, at the end of the day, you get a better product, because you get a better album that you know everybody loves. I’ve always said, we make VENOM albums for VENOM. At the end of the day, I have to stand there and get behind that album and say, ‘I believe in this album. I trust this album. This album is what I fucking believe to be black metal.’ When we do concerts, that’s for the legions. If the legions wanna tell me what songs to play, I’m happy to play the songs they wanna hear. But when it comes to the album, that’s up to us. If you like it, great. If you don’t, go and fucking take a hike, because we don’t really care. But it is great when people dig your shit.”