After leaving school, Conrad Lant (aka Cronos) started working at Impulse Studios as the assistant engineer. He came up with a plan to create a band heavier and more over the top than anything anyone had ever seen or heard before. A band more Satanic than Black Sabbath, louder than Motörhead, with a pyrotechnic show to rival Kiss and with even more leather and studs than Judas Priest, the ultimate ingredients for the ultimate Metal band. He gave birth to Venom.
Venom are an English heavy metal band formed in 1979 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Venom’s first two albums, Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982) are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal. Venom’s second album proved so influential that its title has been adopted by the extreme metal sub-genre: Black Metal.
1.) WHICH RECORD HAS HAD THE MOST PROFOUND INFLUENCE ON YOU?
Hmmm profound influence? Too many records really. But I guess to pick one record that springs to mind is Rush’s 2112 Album. I’ve listened to rock music since I was very young and I took the standard format for granted. But when I got into the Rush albums I was catapulted into a different universe, with the perceptible un-formatted sections not following standard patterns. I’d say it opened a whole new way of thinking for me, and released the binding chains of possibilities, allowing me to write music with more depth and freedom, and seek other music with similar rule breaking creativeness.
2.) HOW MANY HOURS DO YOU SPEND A WEEK RECORDING / PLAYING / CREATING?
25/8… I started writing lyrics/poetry/stories etc when I was at school, and I can’t stop new tunes entering my brain or thinking of a new lyric or song title. I’ve always carried small recorders for new ideas, even writing lyrics on my cigarette packets [or toilet paper]. Although these days I have the ease of recording ideas straight to my phone. If I wake up in the small hours with an idea I can’t go back to sleep until I’ve recorded it or wrote the words, it’s a pain in the arse, especially on cold winter nights.
3.) WHICH OF YOUR OWN CREATIONS IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
The one I’m working on now, every artiste will say this I’m sure. Once I’ve finished recording a new song I usually like to take time away from it for a while to help put it into perspective. But my new material is fresh and urgent and occupies my time like an obsession.
4.) WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST REGRET?
I remember back in the early 1980’s my good friend Lemmy told me I should find better musicians to work with, rather than flogging a dead horse carrying free loading fakers who were never going to improve, and I often think how better some of my early albums would have turned out if I’d taken his advice sooner.
5.) WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I create a lot of artwork in my spare time, I find working on ideas and textures etc very relaxing. I made all of the Venom logos and album sleeves designs, including the merchandise emblems and other illustrations. I’ve been fortunate to also work with other artistes in recent years, giving them illustration ideas and working with their designs to create new styles.
6.) OTHER THAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHAT IS YOUR MOST CHERISHED POSSESSION?
At the moment it’s this year’s crop of my chilli plants, I’ve managed to grow some fantastic varieties this year, (thanks to a good friend in Canada who sent me the seeds) from Fatalii to Jolokia to Maruga etc, and I’m currently waiting for the buds to appear.
7.) TELL ME THREE OF YOUR HEROES / HEROINES?
Vlad Tepes, King Leonidas and Queen Boudica.
8.) WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD?
In between two warm thighs ☺
9.) IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE YOUR ART WHAT OCCUPATION DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE DOING?
I applied for an occupation with the Forestry Commission when I left school, but then was accepted for employment in a recording studio.
10.) IF THERE IS ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT YOU THAT YOU HAVE NEVER CONVEYED IN AN INTERVIEW BEFORE WHAT WOULD THAT BE?
I’m an Ornithologist.