Rising Artists: D.C’s Venn Debuts Its Sublime Shoegaze Offerings on New EP
At its best, Facebook can be a great resource to reconnect with old friends and classmates. On rare occasions, those connections can lead into something more.
This is what happened to Jon Fetahaj when he reached out his old high school classmate, Julian Earle. While in school, Fetahaj was a big fan of Earle’s music, and wanted to work with him on some new material. After sending him a message on Facebook and exchanging music back and forth, the two decided to form D.C. band Venn, bringing on board Earle’s brother, Gabe, and mutual friend, Holden Cihelka. It took two years for the quartet to release its eponymous debut EP, but the extensive recording process resulted in a sublime shoegaze record.
Shortly after putting out the record, Venn spoke with DCMD via email about its EP and what they’ve got in store for the rest of the year.
D.C. Music Download: Where did the name Venn come from?
Venn: We originally wanted to be called Collider, as in the Haydron Supercollider. That’s what we thought would go well with our sound. About a month into practicing and writing, it was taken by a band from here who had already developed a following and were releasing music, so we let that name go and decided on Venn.
What inspirations, if any, did you draw from to refine your sound?
Venn: We’re huge fans of shoegaze and dreampop. That’s probably the most obvious influence in Venn. We also love a lot of different kinds of other music like electronic and hip hop. We believe strongly that anything that sounds good is good. Beyond being influenced sonically by other music, our attitude, style and the way we carry and promote Venn is also informed by other music and art we are interested in. We draw from all aspects of our lives to create this music.
Collectively, what does your creative process look like?
Venn: Our creative process has changed a lot over the past two years. We used to lock ourselves in our practice room for hours to write songs. Now, we do a lot of songwriting over the phone, recording little ideas to send to each other. While we have changed our creative process, we generally will outline demos in a DAW and then go back into them to make progress or record more parts.
Jon, you mentioned in a previous interview that Venn came about by your desire to work with Julian on music. What was his reaction when you got in touch with him? What was your musical background prior to Venn?
Jon Fetahaj: His reaction was positive. We began going back and forth sending each other music that we liked or thought we should borrow elements from. We talked about the theory of art and things that we were inspired by.
Prior to Venn, all four of us were fortunate enough to have musically rich upbringings. I was in a few bands throughout high school that never really did too much. Julian and Gabe were in a bands together as well, all of which we are embarrassed by now.
How did the rest of the band members come together?
Venn: Gabe and Julian are brothers, and they both met Holden at summer camp a couple years before Venn started. When we were looking for a bassist, he was who we asked.
What was the process of creating a band like? Was there anything that popped up that you did not think about in the beginning?
Venn: Difficult. We all lead very different lives and scheduling around that can be tedious. We also live farther apart than most bands do. However, these circumstances have made us more meticulous and decisive in our approach to everything we do.
What is the most difficult part of being a new band? How is Venn overcoming that?
Venn: We’ve invested two years into making this record a good one and creating a value to provide listeners with. The hardest part by far is now trying to generate traction.
Many people’s successes in any art field are contributed not only by their skill, but in a large part by hard work. Anyone who makes art needs to be on top of their shit and constantly pushing themselves to do better and better, but nobody got to where they are out of skill alone.
You also need to have opportunities present themselves to make progress, and the way you do this is by working your hardest along the way so when these opportunities come up you’re in the right place. Every once in a while the stars align and some kind of influencer likes your music, be it someone connected to artists in your local scene, or a music journalist with a large audience, and it snowballs from there. We’re overcoming these challenges by encouraging amongst us a dedicated work ethic and creating our own luck.
Venn will play the BDU House on Saturday, April 1