I wrote some questions to VENOM PRISON and Ash Gray, the Guitarist of VP, took the time to answer to it. Enjoy our talk about the new album and how VP evolved the last years!
D: You just released your brand new album "Samsara". How was the feedback so far from press and fans?
Ash: The feedback has been overwhelming, such a good response and not expected in the slightest. So thank you to everyone that has checked Samsara or Venom Prison in general.
D: I also rated it 10 / 10 in my review. It is a really great piece of art. Was it your goal from the beginning to bring such a diverse album?
Ash: As band we like to push ourselves musically and as people so after the attention Animus attracted we didn’t want to be that one trick, one album band so we put ourselves to work to improve our writing and playing abilities. Samsara we approached it to be a consistent record with dynamics and diversity to show we are capable and not just another metal band.
D: Your last album Animus came out back in 2016. What do you think changed since then for the band musically and also in writing your songs?
Ash: We’ve grown as people in such a short space of time, we toured alot with Animus and the bands we toured with taught us alot so we took that knowledge and applied it to Samsara. Like previously mentioned we took the time to look at our formulas and playing abilities to ensure we could push this record in the right direction.
D: Was the writing/recording process much different between Animus and Samsara?
Ash: Exactly the same, I have a little home studio set up at my place which we get together at and do pre productions of every song we ever write including vocals so we can sit back and reflect on these songs and make sure they’re exactly what we want them to be and to be honest if we sit there and we get bored we scrap the song and start again.
D: For me back then Venom Prison came out of nowhere with an explotion and is on the rise to grab the crown of british Death Metal. Did you ever thought that VP will be that successfull in this short period of time?
Ash: I never expected it nor set out for it, we as a band wrote and done every single thing for ourselves and I mean if people appriecate that and like this band then thank you and it means alot.
D: What are your plans for 2019. Extended touring around the globe?
Ash: We have a lot of festivals and tours in the works which I can’t really mention right now but if you keep an eye on social media you will see plans come to light very soon.
D: What were your inspirations for Samsara? Did the songs came naturally to you by just jamming or was it a hard evolution to delevope your actual sound?
Ash: This question I always struggle with because we as a band are influnced by so many artists and bands. We all come from a hardcore, punk or metal background so everyones influences general gel together. For the song writing we get to the home studio jam out a couple of riffs and start building the foundation for a song, once that is done we will sit on these ideas and listen to them highlighing sections that can be improved or ideas that we can hear that needs to be in the song.
D: What are your favorite tracks from the new album?
Ash: For me Sadistic Ritual, this song almost didn’t make it to the album we wrote something silly like 19 songs for this album and only 10 made it. I felt for a long time this song didn’t fit on Samsara but when I revisited it I just fell in love with it. The mood it creates, the desperation the song screams and probably the most diverse song on the record for me.
D: I also think your stage presence from the first time I saw you guys live in 2016 to newer live videos really evolved. Do you think you became just much more confident in presenting your music to the audience?
Ash: We started in 2015 and released Animus a year later so we’ve had time playing together constantly and growing as musicians. I feel we’ve become ourselves alot more lately and generally putting our touch on this band as a whole, including the confidence so express our music more openly.
D: Let's go a little bit back to the founding of VP. How did you guys came together? I just know that Larissa was singing in Wolf Down before.
Ash: We all knew each other and all played in bands previously to Venom Prison so we met through touring or shows. When Larissa left WD, I spoke to her and said I’ve always wanted to do a metal band, lets give it a try, I have a cool band name ready and wrote a demo so I showed Larissa and she passed it onto other members then we got together in a practice room and started playing shows.
D: Larissa also has a very wide range of different vocals she can do compared to Wolf Down. Was it hard for her to bring much more extreme noise then just Hardcore vocals?
Ash: Once I started putting vocals on the first VP demo we knew how Larissa would have to sound to make this work in the context we needed, from the demo to the EP onto the albums it’s impressive how much Larissa has practiced to develop her vocals into something powerful for Venom Prison.
D: Would you say the UK Death Metal scene is on the rise again? Because I have the feeling that so many great bands are comming out lately? How do you experience that?
Ash: Most UK bands seem to be doing pretty good right now from many genres which is cool to see people digging it. UK has always had a large number of good bands so now is the time for UK bands to started pushing their way forward and hopefully we can see alot more UK bands on a higher platform (shows, tours and festivals). Keep grinding.
D: Do you already have new songs in your mind for an upcomming album and what do you think when can we expect a follow up to Samsara?
Ash: Always! We have already been discussing ideas and sounds we want to explore whilst keeping our roots and Venom Prison sound. Maybe you’ll see something sooner than later, who knows!