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
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
Printemps de Bourges, in April.
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
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.
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picture (c) L.
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.»
Check Marc's interviews at :
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".
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
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
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 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,
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
picture (c) Aline
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. »
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 :
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Members || |
Walter Janssens, double-bass (1997-1999)
Patric Carpentier, scenography (1997-2001)
Thomas van Cottom, drums & percussion
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