Jim Atherton, Music Editor, spoke to Laurent Barnard, co-owner of Venn Records and guitarist in Gallows, Moones & Krododil, about Gallows’ fourth album, why videos are important to music, and how things are going with his record label.
Gallows’ fourth album Desolation Sounds came out in April, where did the inspiration for such dark, heavy songs come from?
For us, inspiration comes from everything; music, art, TV and films. In a way, I try to avoid being inspired by music because I don’t want the band to sound like a copy of something else, but obviously that’s a really hard thing for us to do. I think that Desolation Sounds really shows a lot of the older bands that influence us, such as The Cure and Killing Joke. At the same time though, you can hear the influence of bands like Converge and Neurosis. There’s a lot going on throughout the record. We try to let the music create itself.
Music videos seem really important to Gallows. What part do you think the videos play in your music?
Videos are really important to us because they’re a visual representation of the music. There’s a real thing in punk and hardcore music where, for their videos, bands just play in a dirty bar and get loads of guys covered in tattoos with plugs in their ears to go crazy. I think that idea’s been a bit done. So when it came to ‘Chains’, the first music video from our new album, we made a conscious effort to step away from that kind of thing. I remember we decided that we didn’t want anyone in the video to look like a punk; we wanted to separate ourselves from that completely. To be honest, I think that the music video for ‘Chains’ looks like a high-end aftershave advert mixed with a horror film! It completely sums up ‘Desolation Sounds’. It’s a very dark album, but there’s a lot of beauty in there too. There’s a real sense of melody and craft in the music. I think it’s really important to get videos right, and I reckon we’ve really nailed it on this album.
“I think that the music video for ‘Chains’ looks like a high-end aftershave advert mixed with a horror film”
What is it like playing in three bands that are all so different stylistically?
It’s good; it keeps your creative juices flowing. It’s really important to me to have outlets for different projects and music. There can be problems when you spread yourself too thin because you can’t devote enough time to one project, which is something that I’m trying to work out at the moment. I feel though that if I was stuck doing one band then that would be really hard because I love doing a variety of projects and get creative satisfaction from each for different reasons. It’s like a big melting pot of ideas because each project can feed into other projects.
Your label Venn Records released the first releases of Marmozets, Moose Blood and Milk Teeth, who are all now making waves both in the UK, and worldwide. Who from your roster do you think will be the next band to blow up on an international scale and why?
If Baby Godzilla keep going the way that they’re going then they’re gonna be pretty big.
I’m also expecting big things from a band that we recently released called Muskets. Basically I listen to everything that gets sent to the Venn Records email address, and a few months ago Muskets sent me an email. I’d never heard of them before and I played their tracks and just straight away thought “this is fucking cool!” I was kinda nervous because I was worried that someone else might’ve heard it and I wanted us to jump on it straight away! Their EP is rad. I’m really expecting them to do well.
Another band that I’m expecting big things from is Richa. They are one of the most intense bands live that I’ve ever seen and their EP that we’re releasing is absolutely incredible. They’re super young kids but the music is really mature and intelligent. They’ve got a real knack for creating a huge menacing sound that still retains its beauty. They really are the whole package.
How do you go about discovering bands for Venn Records?
There’s always an undercurrent of people talking about new bands and music. Years ago I was dismissive of new bands and I kind of shunned out new music. But since starting Venn I’ve become very much in touch with new music that’s going on. I even put on free gigs so that new bands can get heard and showcase their music.
What music have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to the new Jack Ü record a lot, which is the collaboration between Diplo and Skrillex. I really like the track they’ve done with Justin Bieber… I never thought I’d say that! All of the members of Gallows have got a real varied taste in music, which makes tour a lot more interesting because listening to guitar music all day can get boring. When we’re on tour we mainly listen to heavy hip-hop music!
“I really like the track they’ve done with Justin Bieber…”
Have Gallows got much planned following the May tour and Slam Dunk?
We’ve got nothing planned at the moment. Everyone’s so busy with work and so it’s really hard getting people together. Wade lives in Toronto and recently became a full-time radio DJ, and Stu lives out in LA and manages bands. Once the dates are finished we’ll reconvene and see what’s going on.
Jim Atherton, Music Editor