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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Cronos Venom – Interview
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"From The Very Depths" is the latest album from the original black metal band that is Venom. While the album is fantastic, it was not the focus of our conversation as we caught up with the one and only Cronos to discuss history and heavy metal.



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Andrew: Hey it's Andrew from The Rockpit!

Cronos: Hey how's it going?

Andrew: Yeah good thanks, how are you?

Cronos: Good!

Andrew: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, it's an absolute pleasure! How are things with the band at the moment?

Cronos: Very good.

Andrew: Just wanted to talk about your latest album "From The Very Depths" and we've been cranking this one out since it came out. Great album, very old school Venom kind of stuff. Can you tell me a little about how this album came together?

Cronos: Yeah went into the recording studio, started playing some instruments and recorded the album. I don't know how to answer those types of questions really, people know how albums are recorded don't they?

Andrew: Haha I mean the writing process, take me into how you wanted to write this album and what was the idea behind it?

Cronos: Nothing different from what we had done in the past. The process remains the same, you bounce ideas back and forth off each other until you come up with a good format until you're happy with the songs and and away you go.

Andrew: What have you been receiving as far as reception and critics and that kind of stuff?

Cronos: Really good yeah! Reviews have been fantastic, really happy with them.

Andrew: When you write material is that something that you ever think about? Like what fans would think or do you not worry about that kind of stuff at all?

Cronos: No not worried about that, that's why we did things differently. It's always amazed me why other bands want to sound like another band. You don't get artists who say I want to paint like Picasso, it's find in themsevles their own ideas, their own styles, how they want to use the brush, what types of paint they want to use. I think music is the same, I think you should really dig deep and spit out what comes out of you really. The style you play can be similar to another but I don't think...I mean it's something that I'm conscious of really. If I come up with say a chord progression or something where it sounds like I've heard that before, it goes in the bin because that's the last thing I want to do is produce a song that somebody says 'Hey that sounds like such and such'. So it is about coming up with something new and I've always liked being a bit controversial and coming up with stuff that people didn't expect and to me that's the whole point of it. Fucking people didn't expect Venom so I'm gonna keep doing things that people don't expect. To me it would be boring that people could predict what I was going to do next, it's kinda like the end of your career. It's the death knell. 'Oh yeah we can tell what the new Venom album is gonna be like'. In a way that kinda leads me onto things that have been going on around the country and in Europe where big names, big concerts, big festivals with lower attendances, it's down to a lot of the bigger bands who have lost their hunger and have made their millions or they think they don't have to bother anymore. And they're coming over to Europe and playing the same fucking set year after year, same stage clothes, same backdrop, same songs and fans are sick of it. Why would you pay money to go see the same shit every year? It's as if these bands don't have to try anymore, they've made it whereas the end of your career could be tomorrow so if you don't keep trying, if you don't stay hungry then get out the way and let somebody in who is hungry. And I think that's one of the great things about rock n roll is it's been around since the 1940's or something. There's even a song on the new album "The Death Of Rock N Roll" which tells about how this thing we call rock n roll progresses in such a way that it becomes unrecognisable from how it started out. All of the so called metal bands of today all play rock n roll and it's so different to what Bill Haley and Elvis and Chuck Berry and all the guys did back in the day, but it's all just rock n roll. It's a progression and it goes on and on and on and the fans stay with it forever. Once you become a rock fan it never leaves you, it stays a part of you. People have asked me do you ever see a day when you are not going to be doing this and I say fuck that, I'll probably die on stage! It's in your soul, it's in your bones. Another point I would make is I've been to Australia a few times and you guys have got some amazing talent over there. It blows my mind how you can't export them to the rest of the world. The acts that have come out of there like INXS, AC/DC and things like that are fucking absolutely unique, completely and utterly brilliant. I was going out on a Sunday afternoon there for a drink with my family and watching these incredible bands playing and saying 'Wow who are these?' and my Uncle would say they have been playing here for years, they do this every week and I'm thinking wow what a shame. These guys need to go to Europe, they need to go to America, these guys need to tour. So that is a bit of a strange one I thought because you guys have some talent over there, I think you're greedy and you're keeping it all for yourself!

Andrew: Haha! I wish that were true! But I mean you're right, there are a lot of great bands out there in the underground scene and you of all people would know this as you guys started out as a very underground kind of band. Aside from the dark, sinister side of the band in the early days, what do you think was the main aspect of why you guys became successful whereas some bands who were doing some things along the same lines did not make it?

Cronos: When we first started doing what we were doing, we were voted least likely to succeed simply because all the bands that were emerging fitted everybody's comfort zone. It sounded like something they had heard before like (Led) Zeppelin, (Deep) Purple, (Black) Sabbath, Judas Priest, even AC/DC. And people were like 'yeah we know what this is, this is great!' but at the end of the day the audience cannot be manipulated, you cannot tell people what to like. And deep down we all want something different, we don't want another Kylie, we don't want another Robbie Williams, we don't want another Whitney. We want something fucking new! I think the crossover between rock and punk which is what Venom created was exactly what this music needed because the death metal was chiming. The bands had become really lame and really stale thanks to punk coming out and giving it a good old kick up the butt which it did. Once upon a time when rock n roll came out, even the bands of the 70's like Cream, Bad Company and the Zeppelin's and Purples, it was "bad" music. It was like fucking riding on a motorbike and getting drunk but then when punk came out rock was so lame, it was all guys crying about how their girlfriend left them and found a lonely freeway and all this shit. So I just thought rock needed a bit of growl back, it needed a bit of energy and for me I basically took all of the things that I thought other bands would provide and I put that into Venom. It was like more pyro than Kiss, more leather and studs than Priest, heavier than Motorhead, more satanic than Black Sabbath. It was all of those elements that I came to thought were lacking in other bands and I put together in Venom and at first people didn't like it. They didn't get it, they didn't understands the vocal style, can't hear what you're saying and blah blah blah. I've always been a big fan of people like Lemmy, I like that growly style of voice, that gutteral growl. And I've always been a big Motorhead fan, I love those guys, they are awesome. It was great to see out of England other bands emerging in the States, in Europe...The Metallica's, the Slayers, The Hell Hammer's. It was fantastic to see that happening because it just showed that there was pockets of admirers around the world who was starting to poke their finger out and say 'yeah Venom can do it, we'll give it a try!' And that was always our message, you don't have to have a rich father and live in the city to be able to create music. If you create great music and it's honest and you get out there and do the hard work, some fucker will see you. And if you get the right person that will take you down the right path, you at least stand a chance.

Andrew: What do you think of today's music especially in the extreme metal world where black metal has gone on from where you guys had started? And do you think rock needs a kick in the butt now? Cronos: Yeah there is a lot of bands now that kind of went down that of, 90% of the songs are pretty lame and then you get this 10% of a heavy riff and then they try to call themselves death metal/thrash metal/black metal and it's not. It's rock, it's pop, it's FM. It's like U.S. FM, easy listening. But I think music goes through phases and it's a bit like the calm before the storm in a way, music has to kinda lose it a bit before it can come back on top...rock music of course. It has to kinda sometimes get to that stage where people are scratching their head and looking at each other saying 'what the fuck are we going to do?' and then boom! Something will happen. I mean even after Venom started I thought the black metal scene as it stood had kinda lost it a bit, bands like Exodus had stopped touring and were falling to bits and there was always arguments with all the U.S. bands and nothing new coming out of the U.K.. Europe didn't seem to be providing much of any integrity and talent and great and then all of a sudden from Scandinavia was this explosion of bands who had this real venomous attitude like let's just plug it in, go crazy, smash the shit up. Those guys were much more extreme than (what) we did, they fucking burn churches and murder people! I mean fucking hell! So I think that's what happens, there's always a low and then something will happen and I think we are sitting on that sort of precedence at the minute where hopefully something will happen. I was telling some press guy recently, where the fucking hell are all the frontmen? Where have they gone? It seems like that's one of the biggest things that's missing at the minute, is where's the new people like...and I'm not saying copy cat...but I'm saying the next charismatic figure. Where's the next Ozzy Osbourne, where's the next fucking Alice Cooper. It's just girls at the fucking minute ├žause when you see the stage show for artists like Pink and even these fucking Aguilera's and all the rest of these fucking Katy Perry's, they are putting on incredible shows and they're fucking kick ass bitches with a fucking attitude! And it's like wow frontwomen, I'm up for that haha!

Andrew: Haha! Well with all these bands that came in the wake of Venom over the years, how does it make you feel to have had such a big influence on the metal genre? I mean it must be hugely gratifying to see all that kind of stuff.

Cronos: Oh yeah I'm humbled by that of course and meeting all these people who are doing really well with their career and telling us how they were influenced by Venom and bought the album when they were 13. Yeah it's awesome! I was speaking to Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and he was telling me when he was a kid how he used to have to listen to Venom albums in secret because his parents didn't really approve of them, it's awesome! I gotta say is rather than try to come across like some guy who was rubbing his hands with a master plan like I know how to change the industry and take over the world, it was more happy accident really if I have to be honest. We created the music that we enjoyed, that we wanted to create. We didn't want to be like other artists, we wanted to create something different and it just happened to be at the right place at the right time that the rest of the world thought 'hey that's cool, let's be like Venom'. So I'm not gonna sit here and say I had a master plan because I had an idea to be individual, I had an idea to be different but it could of quite easily have been a shit idea and it could of quite not worked so I'm fortunate. To me I'm in a position now where I can play the music I want when I want to an audience that wants to see it and who wants to hear the albums and to me that's success. My career is at a point where I'm happy so now the hard work begins, now I have to challenge myself. I have to do things that scare me so that I can create more as a musician. I have a responsibility now to all the fans who supported Venom for fucking 35 plus years because those guys expect us to deliver the goods so now I'm kinda like, my arse is on the line because now I have to deliver the goods. I have to do what I promised I would do haha! Which to me is great, that's exactly the way I want it. I'm not one of these guys who sit back and say 'Oh cool I've made it now, I don't have to try'. Fucking hell I gotta work 10 times harder now! With respect to the fans doing the meet and greets and everything, some of the fans turn up with every album like 3 times every single version that was ever released plus bootlegs and I'll fucking sit there all day and sign them motherfuckers. If they have the time to buy them and carry them with them to the gig, I'll fucking sign the fuckers no problem!

Andrew: Awesome that's just great! And it's great that you guys are still around because Venom is a great band. Well it's been an absolute pleasure chatting to you today!

Cronos: My pleasure! Hopefully we will go to Australia one day! Not just to visit my family haha! To come over and play!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on March 5th 2015