A new band, trying to find a unique sound in the densely populated Australian music scene can be a heavy task. Experimentation is the driving force behind creating new sounds, but it’s difficult to determine what music-lovers will be interested in or whether you should give a shit and just go with your instincts. Blending genres could possibly have some weighty consequences but when executed carefully it can produce something out of this world. Enter The Venusians.
Sydney seven piece The Venusians create an electrifying mix of soul, funk, dub, world music and pop, which they wield with hypnotic effect.
The Venusians effortlessly blend together the rich sounds of soul, funk and dub with pop generating a sonic mash-up that is extremely pleasing to the ears. A brainchild of Ben Pannuci, the vocalist’s warm harmonies power over prickly guitar riffs and dirty synths, and singer Meklit Kebrit’s razor sharp vibrato.
The Sydney seven piece is filled with some of the Inner West’s finest musicians. Pannuci has played with Kebrit and keyboardist Harry Sutherland for years, and the thought of forming a band always lingered. It wasn’t until the beginning of 2013 that more members joined and the project was launched. Named after inhabitants of Venus, the band captures a futuristic and gritty sound that can only be described as progressive neo-soul. The music is built around Kebrit’s powerful vocals, accompanied by a plethora of instruments including dub-influenced guitar and bass, synths and whacked-out electronics, and heavy percussion.
Their debut single Finding was released back in late 2013. It electrifies the soul with laser beam synths and sultry harmonies. Building from dub-inspred soul into luscious layers of percussion, guitars and synths, the infectious vocal melodies match perfectly with harmonies harkening back to Graceland-era Paul Simon. Keep Running, their new single, lures you in with hypnotic harmonies before the opening line “causing shit will get you nowhere” snaps you back to reality. The song is mercurial in some aspects but constructs a thick sound of layered vocals and percussion that works really well. Both tracks have been picked up by triple J, with Richard Kingsmill spinning Keep Running on his 2015 program over the weekend.
The seven piece have been performing hypnotic shows around the Sydney area, producing a thick and soulful live set, filled out by all seven members fusing masterfully on stage. For the past year the band has been kept busy collaborating with Sydney-based production duo, Sleepers Awake for their upcoming EP release, supported by a crowd funding campaign they launched in early 2014. Apart from being inspired by the psychedelic planes of Venus, the band have a variety of contemporary musical influences like FKA Twigs, Little Dragon and Son Lux. Fans of Hiatus Kyaiote will lap their stuff up.
The Venusians have already built a strong fan base in Sydney from their live shows, and will continue to do so if the new single Keep Running is anything to go by. The song is a teaser for their debut EP due out in late 2015. Keep an eye out as the band intend to take their show on the road over the year, reimagining soul one synth at a time.