Theatrical and acoustic rockband with a powerful live-act.
The band Vénus came about from a pool of actors and musicians
in Brussels. Mark Huygens (guitar/vocals) en Christian Schreurs
(violin) made music for a theater production and went looking
for other people to form a group that "is a little bit theatrical,
yet acoustic, that gets the inspiration for the expression
that music for theater has to have, but that would do that
in the form of a rock-band. The goal was simply to have
a band to rehearse and make nice music together", explained
Walter Janssens (the actor that was recruited as bass-player,
he would leave the band in 1999). Other members were actor
Patric Carpentier (who doesn't play an instrument, but does
the live-setup) and Thomas van Cottem (ex-Juniper Boots)
on drums. The name that was chosen was Venus, the godess
of love and the planet (that was visited by the sattelite
Cassini/Huygens) "because we wanted to reference the
planet and we create a planet of our own with our music,
a particular atmosphere, bot scenic and musical. We have
certain punk-emotions, live, but also very melancholic,
The intention of the group was "to create a sound of
our own : although most of us have gone to music academy
and our violinist even has all the award you are supposed
to have in that world, it certainly wasn't our goal to be
technically as good as possible. During our gigs, we leave
that technical background behind us : in some parts, the
bass and the violin play melodies that are supported by
the vocals, at other times we torture the instruments and
use them in a percussive way. Our drummer plays without
a hi-hat, which probably makes him a one-of-a-kind worldwide",
as said Walter Janssens again (in De Morgen, August 1998).
In 1998 the band got the chance to record a mini-cd Royalsucker
for the BMG-label, in a production of Mike Butcher
(known from his work with the likes of Arno
Desmet), which opened them quite a few doors and allowed
the band to perform a number of gigs in France with the
organisation Court Circuit.
During that tour, singer Marc Huygens met Georgia Poli,
female bass-player for the italian group Cisma, and from
their relationship came the idea to do a tour in Italy.
This tour went very well and earned the band a record deal
with the alternative Italian label Sonica Factory
from Florence. In the mean time, Venus also came in the
press by doing fifteen performances in the "Halles de Schaerbeek"
with the programme "Kiss from the Ghost", in which
dance, theater and music were mixed in a play about "the
hour of the dogs", the changing of day into night.
In 1999 Venus got the opportunity of recording their debut
album in the Florentine studio's of their new label. "Welcome
to the Modern Dance Hall" was waited for with quite
some expectations, as word about the succesful tour in Italy
had reached their home-turf. Moreover, the band had won
a prize as the best debut at the French festival "Printemps
de Bourges". But, contrary to their live show and despite
their original approach to music, the album didn't receive
all positive reviews or the attention it deserved.
Preceded by the somewhat untypical single "She's so Disco",
the cd first conquered France ("Vénus, c'est the Velvet
Underground qui rencontre The Waterboys") and Italy
("L'arte dei Venus si contrappone con straordinaria efficacia
allo strapotere del rock anglosassone, eludendone i cliché
ed i luoghi comuni. Raramente accade di confrontarsi con
musicisti così creativi e talentuosi"), which earned
the group something of a cult following in those countries.
In Belgium (and especially in Flanders) the recognizition
wasn't there yet, but in the summer of 2000 the band certainly
will get the chance of proving their worth with a number
of good placings in the summer festivals (Werchter, Dour,
Lokerse Feesten and Dranouter).
- Marc Huyghens (vocals / guitar)
- Christian Schreurs (violin)
- Walter Janssens / Pierre Jacqmin (bass)
- Thomas Van Cottom (drums)
- Patric Carpentier (scenography)