Fear Into Art: An Interview With VENONLEFAIR
Alberto Lawant AKA VENON is in Orlando, Florida working on his four-song EP at a friend’s recording studio. “I like to come here because it’s more relaxed. It’s just me and nobody else. I don’t know if I’m the only one but I can’t write music if there are people around me. I have to be in the zone to get creative,” VENON explains. “It’s hard when you have people talking loudly around you and making noise.” VENON’s sound is EDM meets heavy metal. Whimsically dark and dense, the music of this introverted artist attracts head bangers all over the United States.
MR: When did you start making music?
VENON: I started making music when I was ten years old. My parents love music. My dad is very into rock and my mom loves blues and jazz so they got me a guitar when I was ten. I started learning and writing. I took some lessons but I’m about fifty percent self-taught. I grew up listening to a lot of music so I understood the flow. I wrote my own songs. Of course, they weren’t good. You probably write one hundred terrible songs before you finally write something good.
MR: What is the name “VENON” derived from?
VENON: I’ve experienced nightmares about snakes since I was a kid. When coming up with my artist name, I wanted to reference snakes as a way of turning my fear into art. The name “Venom” sounded cheesy to me so I changed it to Venon.
MR: Where did you grow up?
VENON: I grew up in Brazil. My mom is Greek and my dad is Syrian. They both met in Brazil. That’s where I was born. I moved to the US Freshman year of high school and I’ve been here ever since. When I was in high school, I didn’t like Brazil. I just wanted to get out of there. It’s hard to make money as a musician there. It’s easier here. People in Brazil don’t really understand electronic music. They’re into Bossanova, Brazillian jazz, and this kind of Brazillian version of country music… so I needed to get out. I love jazz but I really like heavier, more energetic music.
MR: Do you have any musical inspirations that people might be surprised by given your genre?
VENON: This is embarrassing but I first picked up a guitar because of the movie, School of Rock. If it wasn’t for that movie, I wouldn’t be talking about music right now.
MR: Who are your greatest influences/inspirations?
VENON: Skrillex, Knife Party… When it comes to making electronic music, I am pretty much self-taught. I am very inspired by the flow of Skrillex and Knife Party and their sound design. How they approach the sound structure is impressive to me, especially Skrillex. Everything he puts out is a banger.
MR: How would you describe your sound?
VENON: My sound is dark but fun and energetic.
MR: Do you ever play around with other genres?
VENON: Yeah, I love making hip-hop and rock. On hip-hop tracks, I usually work with a rapper. If he wants to buy the beat from me or put it out with my name on it, we collaborate.
MR: What track are you most proud of right now?
VENON: My Skrillex remix that just came out. People love it. I’m getting nothing but good feedback.
MR: Where are you touring and performing as of now?
VENON: I was just in Ohio playing Lost Lands in Legend Valley. It’s a Dubstep only festival.
MR: What makes a timeless artist?
VENON: They have to be unique. When Skrillex came out, he was the biggest guy doing Dubstep and there was nobody else who really reached that level. He created a new sound that people to this day rip off, including me! Of course, good marketing, knowing how to market yourself helps too. Adapting to the times is also something that sets artists apart. Skrillex adapted. He has made some pop and worked with hip-hop artists. You have to versatile. Versatility is key and that is what I strive for. I want to make a little bit of everything.
MR: If you weren’t able to make music, what would you do?
VENON: I was thinking about being a chef because I look to cook. Maybe I’d be a filmmaker. I love movies and I love film. I like recording videos and editing them.
MR: What do your listeners like about your sound?
VENON: The heaviness… I tend to attract head-bangers! I keep making heavy music. I don’t know why it comes out of me exactly. It’s heavy but it’s still energetic and fun. It just makes people want to move