Interview with Cronos (VENOM): part IIBANDS : Venom
Metalfan : Let’s talk a bit about « Fallen Angels », due to be released in Europe on the 28th of November, if we are correct. What can you tell us about this record. And more specifically, is it harder to make music nowadays than it was back in ’82?
Cronos: It is always a challenge. I mean, this is what keeps Venom hungry. Because if it was ever easy, then it would have no passion. It was one of the things – when we saw the new Metallica album [...] and we have seen this Lou Reed thing – I mean, this is just boring and there is no passion. We always try out something dangerous, something new and something with passion, something that is a challenge. But it’s not easy, because if you had never had a great album, then you can make songs and then someday people would say « Oh, there’s a good song ». But when you already have albums that make people say : « Wow, Black Metal, that’s a great album ! », and some would say «No, that’s not a great album; Welcome To Hell, that’s a great album !», you always have to try and make another great album. And that’s always a challenge. And I love that, I think it’s great. And you have to learn from your mistakes. Now, Venom always says : « Venom makes albums for Venom ; but Venom makes concerts for the fans ». So, if somebody says : « I think this is a s**t Venom album », we say « Oh, well, f**k you ! », but if someone says : « That was a s**t concert ! « , we get really uptight, because we say « Oh, s**t, what went wrong, what did you want to see ?? ». And we’ve always listened to the fans and let the fans tell us what they think a great Venom show would be, you know... And this is one of the things that we’ve had from people for years. It’s people telling us : « We want to hear these songs in the Venom show » or « It would be great to hear songs from all Venom albums » and that’s what we now do with the live set. But because we are playing 30 years of Venom in the live concerts, that means this line-up of the band can play all of the Venom songs ; and when we now write a new album, like « Fallen Angles », it’s gonna very much like a great Venom album, because everybody is already playing the old Venom songs anyway – so the influence, the feel, the atmosphere, the hunger, the intention – everything’s there. And I really think it comes across with the new album, because we didn’t go and use ProTools and all the clever studios. We recorded the album like it’s a live concert. We just set up the drum kit, set up the big Marshalls back, plugged all the microphones and we recorded the album like that, so what you hear on the « Fallen Angels » album is what you feel live. A great f**ing heavy band, which is what Venom has always been.
Metalfan: On the new album you have a song called “Punk’s Not Dead”. Could you explain to our younger readers what is the link between punk rock and black metal – what are their common grounds?
Cronos: In “Punk’s Not Dead” we are talking about “punk” as in you as a person, not the music. It’s not a Sex Pistols song, it’s not a Clash song, it’s a black metal song. It’s punk as a person, punk as how you feel.
Metalfan: So it’s punk as a person, not referring to the musical genre.
Cronos: No, it’s not the music, no. I mean, punk has always been a way of thinking, a way of acting. Now, the punk in the ‘70s, when people ripped their clothes off and put razorblades in, that stopped very quickly, that didn’t last very long, and that was just fashion. It was the music, the intensity of the music and the attitude of the people [that lasted – ed.n.]... And the punk bands... you know, there were so many of them, but it was the attitude; you know, I always felt like, you know, when Venom first came out, before we used to say “black metal” we used to say “long haired punks”. Because we stand up for what we believe in, we do what we want, we don’t take any s**t, and that’s what we mean by “Punk’s Not Dead”. It is people – punks – who know how to live their lives respectfully. We don’t go around killing people and causing trouble; we have respect for people, we have love for people who deserve love and we have all these things in our life – which is to great a great life; but we also know to tell people who are d**ks to f**k us. This is what a punk is – a person who has a great life and has respect for people. There’s too many people today, what we call “yes-men”, you know, and they’re all scared. And they don’t know how to make a decision. They have to wait for everybody else to make a decision before they say “Oh, yeah, ok”. Whereas punks are people who stand up for themselves.
Metalfan: Moving on to another subject: there are quite a few bands who released DVD’s about their history. Rush, Anvil, even Lemmy have done documentaries about their career. Don’t you think it’s the right time for a Venom movie?
Cronos: There’s been lots of mentions about that sort of thing... maybe one day. We’re too busy working on today to worry about that s**t, you know. There’s already stuff like that out there, anyway.
Metalfan: If memory serves, in several articles you mentioned you have a crush on Kate Bush? Is that still valid?
Cronos: Yeah, I mean you don’t just stop liking somebody, of course. Kate Bush released some great music, but she hasn’t released any music for a long time now.
Metalfan: What made her so special to you?
Cronos: She writes real songs, she doesn’t write just pop songs, you know. She might have had some singles in the charts, but she released a lot of music that wasn’t just commercial s**t, it was just good music.
Metalfan: But would you ever consider doing a project with her if the opportunity appeared?
Cronos: I think she’s not in the music business anymore. But it wouldn’t work, you know... You can be a fan of somebody, but you don’t have to work with him; I think that’t where Metallica have made a mistake with Lou Reed. Lou Reed might be fantastic on his own, but it doesn’t work. Just because they are fans of Lou Reed, it doesn’t mean that they have to make an album with him. That was a f***ing stupid decision.
Metalfan: Yes, we have just posted a review of the album on the site last week. Our editors gave it a 5 out of 10 points available.
Cronos: I would have given it NONE out of 10, hahahaha.
Metalfan: We may want to contact the programmer to make a special vote option for you hahaha...
Cronos: But people have now called Metallica „Metallic-end”. Because their career is finished. Their career is now over because people can se it’s just money, money, money... And it’s greedy. When we did the touring in South America and Metallica did the tour behind us – like maybe two or three weeks behind us – they were trying to charge the fans nearly four times more expensive than the Venom show, you know... Greedy, greedy money, money bastards.
Metalfan: By the way, I think you had at some point, if I’m not mistaken, something in common with Metallica. The rejection of peer-to-peer illegal music downloads. You didn’t go as far as to sue Napster, hahaha, but I think I remember an interview about peer-to-peer not being the right thing. Illegal downloading al all that thing. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Cronos: I think you are talking about is a fan of Metallica downloading some stuff and Metallica going to sue the fan, is that rigth?
Cronos: Well, that just shows, doesn’t it? That just shows how greedy it all becomes. I’ve just always said: if some fan can afford to buy music – and music is not very expensive, you know. You can get a band’s album now very cheaply. But if you have a place like Africa or India or somewhere like that, where some people don’t have any money, and the only money that they have is to go and buy food, I would give those people the music for free. If they had to have a choice of not having food or to have the music, I would say „Buy the food and have the free music”. Probably Metallica would say „No, no, no, stop, I want your money”, hahaha.
Metalfan: Hahaha, probably they would. So we are about to close the interview. I would like to stay here as long as my phone battery lasts, but there are lots of other guys who want to do the same, hahaha. One last question: what do you love most about metal fans and what do you hate most about metal fans?
Cronos: I don’t hate anything about metal fans, I hate the music industry. I hate the people in the record companies, those are the bad people. The actual people in the bands are usually fine. The people who are in the actual groups – they are fantastic people. They’re usually kind, and happy, and generous. But what I hate about music is the industry. I hate the way that the industry... even if you look at the X-Factor and things like that, it’s very very bad, the way the industry treats musicians. So, it’s not the musicians, you know, I think the musicians are great, it’s just the f***ing industry, that’s s**t.
Metalfan: Ok, that was great, thank you, Cronos. In the end, some words for the Metalfan readers and for all the people who are going to attend the show?
Cronos: Thank you Metalfan for this great interview. It was a great opportunity to speak to Romania for the first time. Venom are really excited to come and play for you guys next week. We are going to throw out a fantastic show and we are really happy to come to Bucharest and it’s going to be a 1000% f***ing Venom. So loud, so crazy, so f***ing heavy and it’s going to be a pleasure for Venom to come to Romania, so we can’t wait to come and see you guys. Hell f***ing yeaah!!!!
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