Interview with Steven Berez from Venrez
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Venrez recently released their debut CD “Sell the Lie” and are currently finishing up their follow-up, which will be out in March of next year. They’ve toured Western Europe twice, and embarked on the early 2012 Alice Cooper tour throughout the U.S. with Fuel. Once their follow-up CD is out, they’ll be back on the road again, touring Europe and the U.S. for most of the year.
Metal Babe: Let’s start off by talking about how Venrez initially formed. I read in your bio that you ended up together because you needed some help with some housework. Were you actively looking to put a band together, or was it really just being in the right place at the right time that made it happen?
Steven Berez: It was truly being in the right place at the right time. My roommate wanted to build a Tiki Bar on this large outdoor deck we had in the Hollywood Hills. I told him to go ahead. It turns out that the crew he enlisted were all accomplished world tour tested musicians. That is how I met Jason Womack, who became my writing partner. He writes the music for Venrez, and I write the lyrics. He also sings backing vocals in the band. Next thing I knew the building sessions turned into jam sessions and the Venrez rock band was born
Metal Babe: Your line-up includes a few seasoned musicians. Tell me about who is in the band and where they came from.
Steven: Jason Womack was the bassist in Juliette Lewis and the Licks for 3 ½ years, but plays guitar in Venrez, Eddie Davis was the drummer in Juliette’s band for 3 years. Alex Kane, who is on second guitar, was in LSD, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg and the front man in AntiProduct. Michael Bradford on bass, is the childhood friend of Jason Womack. They grew up together in Jackson, Mississippi and have been jamming together since they were 14 years old.
Metal Babe: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?
Steven: Very current big rock, which I believe is an entirely new genre.
Metal Babe: You recently released your debut CD “Sell the Lie,” which you actually recorded live in order to get a raw feel to it. What was the recording process like?
Steven: Yes, that’s true. We did record “Sell The Lie” live. We wanted to have that old school live feel to the album. The band went into the studio from noon to midnight and banged out the 10 tracks in 3 days live. I sang the vocals over 8 days. We are using the same process on our new album, but we own our own recording gear now so it’s much more convenient and less stressful on the band because we can record at our own leisure.
Metal Babe: What is the overall feel of the CD, lyrically speaking?
Steven: It’s a combination of lessons, stories and current political statements.
Metal Babe: Your video for “Sell the Lie” is quite controversial, especially with the recent election. What is the message that you’re trying to get across?
Steven: I originally wrote the song 1 ½ years ago because of my disgust for the loss of life to our men and women in the armed forces who were sent to the Middle East to die and kill for what I felt was blood for oil or high level corporate greed. After the first Presidential debate with Romney and Obama, I felt the song applied to election as well. So, Eddie re edited the video and we re released it with the debate footage and other sound bites. But selling lies is something we can all relate to. Whether it’s blood for oil war, or a lover, to an unhealthy food being sold as healthy.
Metal Babe: Very true. What are your favorite songs on the CD and why?
Steven: Well that is a tough question as I love all the songs. I would say that “My Only Light” is one of my favorites because I wrote it about the Civil War and it kind of opens up our eyes to what a horrible war that was but takes your senses on this musical journey with the lyrics, and “Karma” which I wrote when I had to put my life back together after really being screwed over by the person I wrote the song about.
Metal Babe: Where has Venrez played/toured so far?
Steven: We toured Western Europe in the winter of 2010 and again in the summer of 2011. We also played a festival in the Eastern European country of Slovenia on the summer 2011 tour. We toured the USA for this first time in January and February this year with Fuel and this summer with Alice Cooper.
Metal Babe: Oh wow. You’ve definitely covered a lot of ground. What was it like to tour with Alice Cooper?
Steven: It was a dream to tour with he legend!!! He is an amazing artist & human being. We got to play to thousands and in turn made a lot of new fans.
Metal Babe: Do you have any ‘road stories’ that you would like to share?
Steven: What happens on the road stays on the road!
Metal Babe: What are your future plans as far as playing out/touring is concerned?
Steven: We are well into recording the follow up album and will release the new album in early March 2013. We plan to tour Europe and the USA for most of the year.
Metal Babe: What can you tell us about your upcoming release? How does it compare to your debut?
Steven: The new LP will be a natural progression of the band. With the signature sound and meaningful lyrics. I feel it will be a bit more dynamic than the debut LP.
Metal Babe: Are you recording the album live again?
Steven: Yes we are. The band is adamant about giving our fans real Rock music, not copy/pasted perfection.
Metal Babe: Anything you would like to add or say to our readers?
Steven: I would like to thank all the fans for keeping rock music alive. Without you there is no rock and roll.
Check out Venrez at the links below, pick up a copy of their debut CD “Sell the Lie,” and keep a lookout for them out on the road!