“There’s too much f***in’ negativity. The way I look at it, life can be a lot worst for us. We’re fortunate to put out our music, our own way. We all work part-time to play in a band, but it could be a lot worst. There are a lot of people who are less fortunate. I mean, Kurt Cobain had a song that said, ‘I hate myself and I want to die.’ To me, that’s the wrong philosophy,” says frontman Davis Fetter, referencing In Utero.
“Even though I love Nirvana and I love Kurt, once he got to that negative level, I thought, ‘F*** man, you’re selling millions of records. You’re one of the biggest rock stars of all time. You hate yourself? You want to die?’ There are people in poverty, on welfare, working 80 hours a week and single mothers trying to raise their children.”
Quite the loaded statement, but if anyone’s gonna bring positive muse and swagger back into rock n’ roll, leave it to Orange County’s Venus Infers.
Since gaining tremendous buzz at The OC Music Awards (Best Alternative, Best Indie, Best Album), the band, featuring Fetter, drummer Steve Wilmot, guitarist Elliot Richardson and bassist Rich Marion are one step closer to musical domination with their critically acclaimed sophomore release The Truth About Venus Infers.
Influenced by legends such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Stooges, as well as their band name originating from a Velvet Underground song, Fanbolt recently caught up with Venus Infers at La Cave in Costa Mesa, Calif…
FanBolt’s Jeanette Nguyen was able to sit down with Davis, Steve, and Richard from Venus Infers for an interview recently. Here’s what the guys had to say:
What’s the story behind Venus Infers? How did you come together?
STEVE: We were born in the same hospital room, and we split ways for 23 years. Then we sort of got back together. No, that’s not how it happened. [Laughs.]
DAVIS: The line-up as it is now is about a year and a half old. When I started Venus Infers, originally I wanted to start a band like this – with good players who can play rock n’ roll right, the way I thought it should be played. We’ve all been in bands before, and there were always factors like not everyone was willing to commit.
Lyrically, what are some of your songs about?
STEVE: [Laughs.] The lyrics for Some Things Are Better–I asked Davis is it was as deep as I thought it was, and he confided in me that it was actually just a batch of bad tacos he had the night before he decided to write.
DAVIS: I think if anything our music is supposed to be hopeful. We’re not a mournful band. We’re not sad; we want people to enjoy the music and be hopeful about rock n’ roll. It’s kind of a dying art in the mainstream.
Hopeful in a sense like Beatles songs or Dylan and Oasis songs are hopeful. In general, they’re positive and uplifting.
Let’s talk about your album “The Truth About Venus Infers.”
STEVE: That was our first legitimate effort to come up with something we were all really excited about and thought other people would be excited about. The first one is like, “This is who we are.” The second one is like, “This is who we really are.”
DAVIS: We spend hours, months, rehearsing just for the record. It’s saying there’s more substance underneath. Here’s the next level – dig a little deeper. The first is just a nice preview, but The Truth is the real us.
RICH: Recording The Truth – at the time, it was just the three of us, really good friends sitting in the studio. It’s really personal, especially for me because at the time my brother was in the hospital fighting for his life. He was in an accident, hit by a drunk driver. The three months that we were recording coincided with the three months my brother was in that struggle. Regardless of what happens, that’s something that I will never forget. Just hearing some of the songs or playing them live; there’s been times at shows when my brother was there. He’s well now, but I’ve just been crying during Some Things.
Obviously the lyrics weren’t written for that. It was written well before, but just the fact that there was the word “brother” in that song and “Let’s turn this thing around.” It’s made me bawl onstage during sets before. Those are the things I will never forget.
STEVE: Rich was basically living at the hospital and commuting to the studio when he felt like it was appropriate to get his mind in a musical place for a second.
RICH: We had a lot of good times even when we’re not practicing. We sit around and joke for way too long, probably. [Laughs.]
DAVIS: We’re really proud because The Truth was actually done on a modest budget, and I think it’s one of the best sounding records on the budget we had. It sounds amazing, and we’re really excited.
What separates Venus Infers from the legion of other bands?
DAVIS: We have more ambition than any other signed band. We wanna be huge.
RICH: We won’t stop. We won’t be happy with a couple Orange County Music Awards. We’ll be a happy with a couple Grammys and a few million fans, couple million records sold, selling out huge venues.
DAVIS: Our music also shows the ambition we have. We’re playing songs that can sound great in a stadium or places with thousands of people. We’re not making “artsy” music. Our songs are for everybody. We’re not discriminating. It’s not for a select group of people who happen to know The Velvet Underground, you know? Our music’s for people who might like Blink-182 or MGMT or whoever – and we get fans like that. We get people of all different ages, sizes, shapes and colors. It’s great!
RICH: Everything that I said is not from a greed standpoint. From what Davis was saying, our songs are tailored for that.
Your honestly is appreciated. I’ve interviewed many bands who say they are cool with being underground.
DAVIS: If you’re starting a band, why don’t you wanna be the biggest f***ing band in the world? Otherwise, why are you f***ing doing it? I don’t understand that.
It just means they’re no good. It’s like if you’re going to be a teacher. Don’t you wanna be the best f***ing teacher you could be? Same for a journalist. [You want] to inspire people.
Ideally, where do you see the band in two years? Are you looking to get signed?
DAVIS: That’s a good question because we talked about that a lot. Ideally, yes. Ideally, on the road and putting out records we don’t have to pay for ourselves.
We’re not shy about our ambitions. I don’t think our music’s shy about what it wants to do or is doing. Bands that say they wanna be underground forever – I mean, really? You wanna be playing La Cave for the next 30 years?
RICH: La Cave is literally underground! [Laughs.]
DAVIS: There’s another misconception between local bands and people want to pin us as being a local band. We just happen to be from here. But we’re not a local band. Our ambitions, our sound and everything we do are meant for being international or no limits. We’re not a local or underground or independent band. We’re just a band that makes good music and wants as many people to hear it and like it as possible.
Interview By: Jeanette Nguyen