An Interview With Members Of Ventflow, Craig Daws And Lee Brennan
Ventflow is a metal band from the south of England who released their debut album, "Terrorsiah" last August. They have gained a large fan base in their time of touring and have performed with the likes of Carcass, Saxon and Arch Enemy. Recently, I spoke with vocalist Lee Brennan and bass player Craig Daws to discuss their achievements, their goals and their past.
Diamond Oz: First of all, you've just released your first album, "Terrorsiah". Can you tell us about the writing and recording of the album?
Lee Brennan: Well the album was the culmination of tracks from original EP's that we thought deserved to be part of a full release, and new tracks we wrote specifically for the album. Our influences were a lot different as the older tracks had more of a groove feel to them, and we mixed more technical influences from death metal to that mix in the newer tracks.
Craig Daws: We also went back and rewrote some of the older stuff and threw in new riffs/messed around with the existing ones to bring them up to par with the new tracks.
Diamond Oz: You performed at the Bloodstock Open Air event last August, how exciting was that?
Lee: Bloodstock was an amazing show. The audience, for 11.30 in the morning was bright, attentive and very supportive towards us. The festival was a joy to play and we had a great time seeing some amazing bands as well. The bands that played, and the fans, were all really good to chat to, polite and up for a good drink with us over the weekend.
Craig: There were also a lot of bands that we have gigged with before playing the same stage as us. We made a lot of new friends, and have done a number of gigs with some of them since the festival.
Diamond Oz: Going back to the beginning, when was the band formed? Are you four the original members and where does the name, Ventflow come from?
Craig: The band was originally formed in 1999 under the name ‘Kimera’ with Steve Clarke (guitarist) and Neil Freemantle (original singer) and was mainly a Pantera cover band. It became Ventflow when myself and Wayne (Barrett, drums) joined in 2003. After the original singer left Lee joined in 2004 and that line-up remains today.
Lee: The name ‘Ventflow’ was really about the idea of a mosh pit/heavy music in general, its purpose is to vent your anger. So we came up with a name to describe the releasing of anger. The term was conceived by the original vocalist, and just kind of stuck.
Diamond Oz: How did you go about deciding on what musical direction to go in? Was it a relatively easy choice to make?
Lee: Time played a major factor in the evolution of Ventflow and the music we play today. When it originally started it had a lot of groove based influences like Pissing Razors and Pantera and when I joined the chemistry between the four of us changed. We added Gothenburg influences, Death metal, and added more thought provoking lyrics. The lyrical content consists of real world issues, "Terrorsiah" obviously being about the Terrorist threats the country was going through at the time of writing.
Craig: The music itself has definitely evolved since our early days. We have got more technical in our arrangements and riff writing. This is down to us getting better as players individually, and our tastes in metal changing over time. We have got a much harder edge to our music now than we used to, I think Lee joining the band helped bring that on as his vocal style is far more visceral than before.
Diamond Oz: How far do you see the band going with "Terrorsiah" under your belts?
Craig: I think we have quite a strong debut with "Terrorsiah." Obviously we aren’t following any current trends in music today, so we won’t know how well we are going to go down in the mainstream. We have had some good reviews so far, so maybe the fact that we aren’t playing Deathcore/Metalcore, or any other core might not hold us back.
Diamond Oz: You've played with some well known names in the metal world such as Carcass, Arch Enemy and Saxon; do you have any stories about any of the big names you've played with? How did it feel to be performing on the same bill as these bands?
Lee: It is amazing to think that we have played alongside such killer bands, and we can only hope that we will continue to play alongside our idols at future gigs and festivals.
Craig: We don’t have any stories about bands we have gigged with like that, as we haven’t had the opportunity to tour with one. However we were lucky enough to meet Dimebag and Vinnie at Download ’04 backstage. That was a serious case of meeting our idols! Steve had his arm signed by Dime, then didn’t wash for the whole weekend! He got the signature tattooed over when he got home.
Diamond Oz: Which bands would you most like to tour with and which do you feel would be a great fit with Ventflow?
Lee: Lamb of God would be the largest one we would all agree on and it’s because we have a lot of the same influences and we both like a good beverage now and again so would be very interesting on tour!
Diamond Oz: What was your favourite venue to play in while you've been on the road?
Lee: Bloodstock so far because it had such an amazing atmosphere.
Craig: We’ve played loads of awesome shows over the years. Bloodstock is obviously the biggest we’ve done, but I love playing the smaller shows, in a pub in towns where they don’t get many metal bands playing. The crowd is always way more intense.
Diamond Oz: I know its early days yet, but have you given any thought about the next album?
Lee: I am already inking up new titles for tracks and we have been in discussion about the direction of the new album.
Craig: Me and Steve have been working on new riffs and ideas. The new stuff is going to be more technical, more angry, and with more groove.
Diamond Oz: How do you guys feel about the state of metal today?
Lee: The metal scene at the moment is thriving. The amount of metal bands now more than ever has increased which is good. The problem is the tendency to follow trends and sound like the newest bands out there. Thinking more what’s popular and get rich quick schemes as opposed to playing the music you like and pushing more of a passion element in to what you do. The latter of the two is the way most bands sustain longevity in what they do and it’s what keeps us playing.
Diamond Oz: To give a broader question, how do you feel about the music industry today in general?
Lee: Image is God if you want to do the quick path to fame and misfortune. The major magazines and music TV stations will print/play you if you are marketable. Marketable means that in this instance you have the right tattoos, the right haircut, and you are willing to sell your soul for that almighty dollar. A lot of independent labels are on the rise now but it’s learning how to fish around and avoid sharks.
Diamond Oz: Thank you very much for your time. Do you have any final words for our readers?
Lee: We want to thank all the people who have believed in us, meaning the families, friends and fans we know and love.
Craig: Thanks to Metalunderground.com for always being there to help us, and has since the original EP's.
Lee: Keep the underground alive!
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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