VENUES // Open Heart And Open Mind

Emerging from the vibrant Stuttgart underground Venues are a post-hardcore band that has exploded onto the international scene in the build up to their debut full-length album Aspire.

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Venues have become distinctive for their fresh approach to the post-hardcore genre, bringing together stylistic influences from several other genres including metalcore, pop, rock, jazz, and 1980s metal. Vocalists Nyves Krithinidou and Robin Baumann combine a powerful melodic sound with the expressiveness of hardcore style vocals to weave together a truly unique sound that has fans worldwide excited for the release of Aspire.

Venues’ debut full length album Aspire follows the release of their highly successful 2015 EP Break Down A Venue, and represents the maturity of Venues’ unique sound, as Krithinidou reflects, “I feel very good about the album, for me Aspire is an improvement or a development for us as musicians and of course you can see not only our musical development but also our personal development, because we grew older, we had more experiences in our lives but also in our songwriting, and so I am really happy about it, about this kind of change in our music. This album is now what Venues really is, or at least, this is the direction we will go in from now on.”

With each track on Aspire, Venues have put together a united front, reflecting the contribution of each member of the band. “We are doing it pretty much the same every time,” Krithinidou starts as she outlines their writing process. “Our main composer Constantin [Ranis, guitar] writes the instrumental parts. His influences are a mix of everything; his influences are more from 80s metal and hard rock because he grew up with this kind of music, so his playing style and his influences are more from this genre. After he writes all the instrumental ideas and arrangements he passes the song on to me …  and I put on all the melodies and try to figure out what kind of feeling the song is giving me, and what emotions can I put into words and everything like that, and after I am finished with my part I give it over to Robin [Baumann, vocals] … and he writes his own lyrics, his part, and after that normally we rehearse with the whole band and everyone can put their touch on the songs and so we finally after that went to the studio.”

Bringing a wider range of stylistic influences into post-hardcore has made Venues a truly exceptional emerging band. For Krithinidou, a broad range of musical tastes is the key to bringing together a new approach for Aspire. “It was my personal experiences”, she reflects, “that last year I grew older, and had new thoughts and I listened to new kinds of music not just metal or post-hardcore or just in these kind of genres, I was really listening to different kinds of styles like jazz from the 20s and 30s, I really like this stuff, the 60s, R ‘n’ B stuff … so I got more open and I think that this helped me a lot in the songwriting process.”

“We have had a lot of new experiences,” Krithindou continues, “new perceptions, so we really wanted to put all this into the album, and try to make a message to the new generations, to learn from … I wouldn’t say ‘our mistakes’… But like we can give you some advice, we really want to, how can I say, help people with our lyrics, most of the themes in the album are lyrically positive.”

I just wanted to say its really important to meet others with an open heart and an open mind, it doesn’t matter what kind of religion you are, where you are from, be open, smile, and I think there would be less misunderstandings in relationships in the world.
[ Nyves Krithinidou ]

A positive message for the next generation! That is a genuinely inspiring ambition. What is this message? Krithinidou begins to explain, “We decided to go with the first track, We Are One, because the music was kind of yeah, it’s the starting song, but it was also the lyrics and the message behind ‘we are one’, I think it’s the most representative song for the album, in the lyrics, and we really want to show the people that everyone has their own problems and everyone can feel angry, feel sad, feel their own things, and its like we are connected somehow, I can’t explain how I mean this connection to everyone, I just wanted to say its really important to meet others with an open heart and an open mind, it doesn’t matter what kind of religion you are, where you are from, be open, smile, and I think there would be less misunderstandings in relationships in the world.”

When one listens through the Aspire, however, it is not just one-dimensional positivity that you experience. Rather, there is a wide range of emotions covered throughout the album. “I think the album is kind of like life itself,” Krithinidou ponders,  “life is not only about positive messages and feelings, like life our album all combines a lot of emotions. We are angry sometimes, we are sad often, all these kinds of emotions. With all this kind of negativity, I want to hold hope to the positive things. If we didn’t have the sad things and negative emotions we couldn’t really appreciate the good stuff.  So I think it’s like a yin yang, you need both to really know the other exists. So I think Aspire is kind of like this, you need the sad feeling to really feel the light. Light is a really happy song, so when you hear Dilemma, in my opinion, the kind of opposite of Light, you need everything, all the emotions. It wasn’t like we really wanted to put in the album a lot of emotions, it came naturally in the writing process.”

Venues have released a number of singles from Aspire in the lead up to the album release, including an exciting music video for Fading Away that features Chris Wieczolek of German metalcore titans Anniskoay, who is also the producer for Aspire. “When we started working with him, everything was awesome,” vocalist Robin Baumann recounts, “so we decided it would be great to have him do a feature on one of our songs and we gave him the decision to choose one of our songs, and he said he would like to do the feature on Fading Away, and yeah, we asked him if he’d like to be in the music video too and he said yes. That’s how it ended up.”

The German metalcore and post-hardcore scene is thriving, with bands collaborating and supporting each other, with many travelling inter-city and internationally. “In my opinion we have a pretty cool underground scene,” Baumann states. “For music there are a lot of supporters, and a lot of up and coming bands in our city, so yeah, when we play a hometown show we realise that there is a really big scene that wants to support its bands, and we are really grateful for this … we are happy that we are from Stuttgart.”

Aspire is out now Arising Empire.

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