Venus Fly Trap have been around since the late 70s but have a new “best of” album out. Delve into their dark world…
Myself, Alex Novak (vocals, Yugoslav parents) from Northampton, and Andy Denton (guitar/programming) – originally from Rushden,but who now lives in Northampton.
How did you meet?
Not a straightforward answer as the line up has changed many times, but to summarise… I had just finished being in a band called Attrition who were based in London at the time. I had done an album, Smiling at the Hypogonder Club, and toured Holland with them (my first time abroad with a band).
I decided to move back to my native Northampton (famous for Bauhaus, Alan Moore and the Kinky Boots film), hooked up with my brother John Novak (Isaws, Where’s Lisse) and Tony Booker, an ex-art school student.
The lineup pretty much changed within six months. We originally used a drum machine but then decided to add a drummer. Andy was drumming for a local band called Crowman at the time. He joined the band and, as these things happen, he ended up playing guitar and has done for a number of years.
How long have you been playing as a band?
This particular band was formed in 1986, but as mentioned before the line up has been re-shuffled many times. We have re-generated to produce a new version of Venus Fly Trap (a bit like Doctor Who).
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
It is hard to pick a name that has not been used before. I liked the idea of a plant that eats insects rather than the other way round, the connections with the planets Venus and Mars, mythology… so there were plenty of ideas and images to play around with.
What are your influences?
Everybody is influenced by somebody else. The trick is to take these elements and arrange them into something original. We never wanted to sound exactly like another band always striving to do something unique.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We have been described as “Bladerunner rock n’ roll with dark acidic shades”. We create dark sonic cinema for the mind, film noir/sci fi inspired musical celluloid to be projected into the dark recesses of your psyche.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
The most recent studio album, Icon, drew a lot on the Warhol quote “everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes”. The idea of being famous for being famous, celebrity, idols, the new religion.
Did we create God/gods with our fertile imaginations, trying to describe the world around us trying to make sense of the world around us like the sun,moon etc. Science fiction in the widest meaning of the genre, Tarantino movies. I would like to have a track on one of his soundtracks.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Pounding electronics overlaid with a pincer movement of dark vox and needlepoint guitar, all filled in with wax crayon colours to mesmerise the audience into submission.
A lot of shows. We have toured mostly in Europe taking in the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Czech-Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Italy and Finland.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Doing an early show with a exotically dressed female snake charmer/dancer. I think it was a python, it was big! Every tour has events, there’s a book of them!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
To be honest I am not really into all that. To me it’s the sound that you get out of it is more important and fifty percent of that is down to person playing.
What are your plans for 2020?
We have a new release in May – Venus Fly Trap / Alex Novak Mercurial. It’s a best-of VFT and my other bands/projects, including Isaws, Religious Overdose, Tempest, Attrition, Nova State Conspiracy, etc. Dates were planned to coincide with the release but have had to be put back till September. I hope it’s all OK by then – best of luck to everyone! See you on the other side…
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
At the moment Nick Cave and Bauhaus. We have done quite a few slots recently with Chameleona, Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny and PWEI, but bands who have played with us, worthy of a mention include Gestalt, Family of Noise, Thee Telepaths and Skybeard.
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