Venom Inc - Abaddon

Venom Inc - Abaddon

If you love VENOM, then you have absolutely no reason for not liking VENOM INC. These two bands represent the two different eras of the genre-shaping band from Newcastle, UK which musically has a lot to offer. On top of this, VENOM INC are killing it onstage and, in fact, are ready to release their debut under the ‘INC’ prefix. METAL KAOZ got the chance to talk a bit with Abaddon and get a hearty taste of how excited this band is, a couple of hour before storming the ‘Blackest Of The Black’ festival stage.

Venom Inc - Abaddon

Hello Abaddon, it's really nice talking you again.
Yeah, I remember you, we met at Reggies in Chicago, cool!

How do you think acts of terrorism, like the one that happened at Manchester, have affected our daily lives and you, as a touring musician?
Whoa, that's an excellent question. It is very easy to say that we have to carry on and get on with the things that we do but when you attack people at a concert like that, it's a very soft and easy target and you never going to win any friends or any sympathizers; I mean, people are not going to get behind whatever you are trying to do. People are making analogies with this and with what the IRA used to do. Because the IRA attacked Manchester as well but the truth is that the Irish people of the IRA were prepared to sit around the table and talk about it; they had grievances, expectations, they wanted things to change but this is not like that anymore. It is kind of an eye for an eye thing; we are attacking Syria - which is obviously not right to be doing this on any level - but when you attack young girls which is what that gig was, there is no way to defend that. I mean, if they (I don't know who they are and if you want to call the ISIS) want to get something across, then by doing such horrible things is not going to happen. People are still going to get together and go to gigs; you cannot attack music fans.

What about you, I mean you are a touring musician, so how such acts have affected you? Do you feel at any level scared?
No, I don't. I found out today after talking to my wife that the Heathrow and Chadwick airports are closed because of a cyber-attack. In a couple of days I have to fly back to the UK but honestly I am not frightened and it cannot stop me from wanting to play. I don't think any musician would say 'I am not going to do my job' even because of gross acts of terror.

Still, there are those people who are leaving behind at home when you are traveling.
Yeah, it is very stressful for them.

Ok, let's change the tone of this discussion and talk about music.

This is the first edition of 'Blackest Of The Black' festival, so what is your experience so far?
So far, it is absolutely brilliant. I have been at festivals all over the world for maybe 30 years from both sides; with a band and also at the 'Dynamo' festival where we used to be the camera crew and I was the director for BIOHAZARD, MACHINE HEAD and for other bands that they played there. Here, it feels like a big family, you know, and everybody is relaxed, everyone is having fun and just look around you it is a beautiful setting and the sun is out. I'm English, you know, so I'll take it (laughs).

Absolutely, and I think it feels more like a European festival...
Yeah, I know what you're saying.

VENOM INC signed with Nuclear Blast, so did you do that after having written some music? I mean, did you give them any demos?
Jeff had done a lot of riffs that he sent to them and got some feedback from them. Then, he went away and changed them a little bit, sent them to me and I worked on them. This is a collaborative effort and everybody had an opinion. And the record company had a good hand on them, you know.

Were you searching for a record label prior to signing with Nuclear Blast? Was this your first and only pick?
No, we had 3-4 on the table and we were speaking to Jon Zazula and he said ‘don’t sign anything, let me see what I can find and then we can put everything on the table’. And that’s exactly what we did; we had two definite offers, a lot of smaller ones and some labels that wanted different things; for example, there was a label which wanted to get involved into freeing up some of the old albums like “Prime Evil”, “Temples Of Ices” but it did not come up about. But we are still working on that because we want to free some of these albums where this lineup with Tony was playing. And that was a big part of VENOM’s career, and whether you like it or not, it is perfectly fine. If you like what Cronos is doing now with VENOM and you don’t like Tony so much, you still have to understand that was ten years of this band’s career and we don’t have thousands of hundreds of fans; we have fans that we speak to via the social media very directly and we count them as friends now and they all say that they’d love to have these VENOM albums on vinyl again. So, for me, this is quite an important thing, you know.

So, your intention is to release these albums under the new record deal?
We’d like to, if we can free them up.

From a fan’s perspective, I don’t care; if there are two version of VENOM, then it is better for us (laughs).
Exactly, how can you lose? You’ve got all the albums that Cronos did and the new ones he is doing and then you have these guys who are great musicians in a band.

And speaking of new albums, how the new VENOM INC album is going? Is it finished?
Yes, it is finished and, in fact, Nuclear Blast has it. We are going to play a new song tonight at ‘Blackest Of The Black’ fest.

What’s the title of it?
Tony will tell you when he gets onstage (laughs)... It is called “Ave Satanas”.

So, everything is set up, right? The album title, tracklist and so on?
Everything is set up.

How many songs have you put in the album?

Do you have any bonus tracks?
We do have some but we haven’t thought about that; we’ve being very much concentrated on the old school approach of making the album. But VENOM was always a band to release songs that would not be in the albums, so we may do this. Like a live version of “Ave Satanas” or maybe not; there will be new songs every time.

Awesome! How long did you work on the new album considering that VENOM INC have been touring almost non-stop?
Since back in late January / early February. I think it took the right length of time, you know - being with Johnny Z and with Chuck Billy is a great management company to be with, there is a good and old fashion type of structure which suits us. The record deal is also old school with vinyl and merchandise like this [pointing at Dimitris' “Welcome To Hell” t-shirt]. And this is what this band is all about, like MOTÖRHEAD would have been.

What I am hearing from you is like you took all the lessons that you learned from your career and created a new environment for the band.
Yeah, we took all the things that we did wrong in the past and we did them again... (laughs)

That makes sense (laughs). What about the touring plans? You have some live dates ahead, so when will you start promoting the new material?
We are doing a lot of like these kind of one-of festival dates leading up to a full American tour which will start in September and will be like 30 or 40 dates long. The plan is to play 3-4 songs out of the new album with lots of old songs, obviously. For the festival dates, we’ll probably do 1-2 new songs but the real promotion of the album will start with the US tour.

Are you talking about a headlining tour for the US?

What about the rest of the bands that you’ll take with you?

We don’t know yet but we have a lot of interest from bands but we have not yet decided. Maybe the management has made a choice but I am not aware of it. The only thing I heard yesterday is that we start and finish in New York in two different venues.

Cool! So, this is my last question; what is the first thing that you have learned and you keep it as a golden rule for your career?
Whoa, that’s a good one... I would say to be open to suggestions, to people, to criticism and generally have an open mind. In the early days with VENOM, we went from rehearsing in a little shitty place, where three friends were drinking and making a noise, until someone heard us and offered to make a demo for us, and at the same time, Geoff Barton heard it also and he said ‘this is not going to be a demo but an album and it is going to be called “Welcome To Hell”and everybody got excited. So, we went from being three guys doing nothing to this band that was suddenly important. And we closed all the doors believing that we knew exactly what we were doing.

Everybody does that in the beginning, right?
Yes, whatever we’re doing was the right thing to do... We did not play for five years in little places but we went on and headlined a festival. And that was the first real gig we did. So, I learned not to keep the doors closed, and be open again, accept suggestions and criticism. And this, for me, is really important; if you want to be in a band, then you have to be able to laugh at yourself a little bit.

And this is the best way to close this short interview, Anthony; thank you very much for your time and we’ll see you onstage in a couple of hours.
Thank you very much, guys!