The Band :

Venus was created in February 1997 in Brussels (Belgium), by five artists already experienced in the fields of pop, classical music and drama, all of them sharing the desire to design an unidentified flying object crossing the borders of rock.

Venus was founded with two precise ideas in mind : to use acoustic instruments (ac. guitar, violin, percussions, double bass) in order to create a strongly emotional music, and to aim the musical and visual impacts of their concerts in a unified direction (thanks to the fifth member, Patric Carpentier, involved in the scenography).

In 1998 they started touring in the Benelux, and soon a first record deal was signed with BMG/RCA, getting the Royalsucker EP to be released. Late this same year Kiss from the Ghost, a theatrical performance entirely conceived and realized by Venus was played for fifteen sold-out representations in Belgium.

At the beginning of 1999, the relation with BMG/RCA is interrupted and a second contract is signed with the independent Italian record company Sonica in March. The goal is now to record a whole album. During the recording sessions, the band gets an morale boost in the shape of the Best Rock Act award at the French festival Le Printemps de Bourges, in April.

Welcome To The Modern Dancehall, their first full-length record, was released in late 1999, and received a lot of praise in the music press across Europe for his intense and organic instrumentation. But the real Venus appears on stage, as proved by the everlasting tour that took place in Belgium, France, Italy and neighbouring countries until mid-2000. From the small and intimate free gigs in order to support the release of the record, to the eventual sold-out concerts, the band showed to his growing amount of fans all their ability to invoke beauty and a large range of human emotions with as simple tools as voice and music.

As their name was mostly chosen in reference to the Velvet Underground song Venus in Furs (which they often cover in their live acts), they truly deserve the comparisons sometimes made between them and the band of Lou Reed and John Cale. But they are hopefully much more than a Velvet rip-off, as demonstrated by the successful single She's so disco, probably the only example of an acoustic disco-folk crossover ever made, whose catchy tune conquered the rock radios of the Old Continent, and by a few EPs containing stuningly wonderful new tracks.

In the fall of 2000, Venus gave composer Renaud Lhoest the full control to re-orchestrate their songs, and they played the new versions, even further away from rock than before, between John Barry and the jewish folkore, accompanied by the full Ensemble Musiques Nouvelles for a sold-out show in Brussels that has hopefully been recorded and released as the album The Man Who Was Already Dead, an heartbreakingly beautiful piece.

The first half of 2001 has been set as the first holidays for the band for four years, but they may gather again very soon to work on new material. We're eager to hear that.

-- emmanuel

The Members :
Marc - picture (c) L. Lorseau
picture (c) L. Orseau

Marc A. Huyghens
guitar & vocals

This charismatic singer has often been compared (physically) to the David Bowie of the late 70s. Moreover, he's responsible for the dark side of Venus (pun intended), and he's by far the most "rock'n'roll-attitude" member of the band.
He writes most of the lyrics by himself, and co-writes the rest. He's friend with Georgia Poli, female bass-player of the Italian group Scisma, who wrote the music for the song I am the Ocean.

And... he sings damn well.

«But the strongest charisma comes without any doubts from Marc Huyghens. (...) He's got a deep and intense look, like an eagle, and at the opposite of most singers who stare blankly towards imaginary horizons above the crowd, he gazes at the audience, looking carefully at people. He also captivates everyone by his voice, deep but not hollow, coming from the deepest places of his soul.»
-- IndyRock

Check Marc's interviews at :
Fréquence Rock
Ne pas a.v.a.l.e.r.

Update 07.05.2004 : Before Venus, Marc was a member of the band "So". Some details on "So".


Christian Schreurs

Some will disagree, but his violin is what make the music of Venus unique. Christian knows perfectly how to convey the strongest emotions with his instrument.
He's the most accomplished musician of the band (see the quote), and, like Thomas, he's a very nice guy, so don't hesitate to chat a bit if you meet him backstage.
Before Venus, he started the band Laconic with his high-school friend Nicolas Haas, but had to give up as Venus began to be successful and time-consuming. An album called Pensées en Escalier has eventually been released by Nicolas alone, but some parts of guitar and many ideas scattered in it are from Christian.

Update 16.10.2002 : The songs in Pensées en Escalier are credited to Nicolas Haas and Christian Schreurs for nine of them. Christian is credited to play violon and all guitar parts (acoustic and electric).
Although it is supposed to be an album of songs, it's actually quite "conceptual", and far from being mainstream.
Reference : LACD1, distributed by Tripsichord, (p) & (c) Nicolas Haas.
There are few of them available at cheap price in second-hand record shop Jussieu Music in Paris, 19 rue Linné, 5th arrondissement (for now at least).

«Although most of us have gone to music academy and our violonist even has all the awards you are supposed to have in that world, it certainly wasn't our goal to be technically as good as possible.»
-- Walter Janssens, De Morgen


Jean-Marc Butty

Jean-Marc is a French drummer who has played with many interesting artists during the nineties : a good friend of P.J. Harvey, he was in her band for the To bring you my love album and tour, but also played for Calexico, Hector Zazou or Marc Moreland from Wall of Voodoo. He made a critically acclaimed album with his own band, White Hotel, in 1999 (released in France in 2001).

«Once the rythmic pattern is found, I'm gonna look for the best sounds to match the mood or the emotion we want to convey. From that point, there are no limits anymore. It can as well be a specific drum that something like a sauce pan, if it's the sound I like...»
-- Jean-Marc, Interview with PurJus.


Pierre - picture (c) Aline V.
picture (c) Aline V.

Pierre Jacqmin
double bass

Since late 1999, Pierre plays the double bass with Venus. It means he'd played with Venus for a large part of the tour following the release of Welcome... and that he's playing on the recording of The man who was already dead. Already a friend of Thomas when he joined the band, he quickly took his full place inside Venus. He didn't take part to the writing of any song yet, but will be a key member in the next album(s).
Pierre is also active in the theater field, since he played in some shows, wrote a play and is secretary to a drama company. His collaboration with Venus is everything but an act of chance.

Update 16.10.2002 :
As stated on this french-speaking site, Pierre has been a member of the bands Mec Yec (gypsy music) and One One One, who released an LP called Trublions ("troublemakers" in French) on BMG-Ariola/Les Enfants Terribles in 2000.
Ms. Huijers "Evita" Wesdijk, who's pointed out all of this to me, adds: « I also found in the Muziekkrant Oor Popencyclopedia (this book is much read by people who are interested in popular music) that One-one-one had been discovered on the street by some members of Zita Swoon. »

On this other page about the band, singer and accordionist Mathieu Ha is credited to have joined Venus too, which is a mistake.

«It was clear from the start : the point was not to hire any bass player to replace Walter only for the tour. It's a long-term plan and a real commitment for me. I play more or less the same bass lines Walter created because there's an orchestration that works, but I'm not trying to copy his playing skills or sound. I keep my own personality and play his work my way. It was a bit difficult in the beginning 'cause the material wasn't mine, but now I've managed to make it my own.»
-- Pierre, webzine Fluctuat

Check Pierre's interview at :

Past Members  

Walter Janssens, double-bass (1997-1999)
Patric Carpentier, scenography (1997-2001)
Thomas van Cottom, drums & percussion (1997-2001)

You won't tell me, I know it's hard
To keep your dream alive
contact out of breath : webmaster@outofbreath.net | this site 2001-2003