Hot off the Press

Steven Berez of Venrez

by Deb Rao
Staff Writer —

California-based rock band Venrez is currently making waves in the music industry opening for Fuel this month. Hardrock Haven caught up with lead singer Steven Berez, who is currently known just as Venrez these days.

Venrez has distinctive ’70s influenced sound that can be compared to Alice In Chains. Venrez recently performed to over 35,000 fans at the Super bowl Village in Indiana. Their infectious sound is garnering new fans from Coast to Coast. Venrez has also toured Europe twice, and lead singer Venrez admits that there isn’t much difference from U.S. fans to European. The response has been overwhelming. Venrez debut album Sell The Lie will be released on February 28th.

In this exclusive interview for Hardrock Haven. Venrez discusses the birth of the band, Sell The Lie debut, and touring with Fuel.

Hardrock Haven: Steven, Thank you for checking in with Hardrock Haven. Venrez is currently in tour opening for Fuel. How are all the Fuelie fans enjoying your show? I know you have had some great gigs so far.

Venrez: Yes, It has been really positive. We have been playing to packed houses. Fuel is drawing tremendously well. When we go on stage, the venue is pretty packed. The response has been overwhelming. I think it is clear that they like us. Lot of photo opportunities. The crowd seems to be really into the show. We are something a little different. But I think us going on then Fuel is a pretty good rock show for the fans. They seem to be digging it.

HRH: Tell us a little but about your set. I know you have a new album coming out February 28 entitled Sell The Lie. Are you performing a lot of songs off of it?

Venrez: Yes, it just depends. Each show is different. Sometimes we are doing 30-minute sets. Sometimes we are doing 40-minute sets. At the Super bowl Village show we did Tuesday night, there were over 35,000 people. We played for an hour. Most of the songs we are doing are off the Sell The Lie album. There are actually two songs that we are doing that will be on the next album that we are doing at the shows. Depending on the set length it is how much we can deliver.

HRH: Are you rooting for the Patriots or The Giants or neither?

Venrez: I am a Raiders fan. So ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I just love the Manning family. I am rooting for the Giants.

HRH: Tell us a little bit about the upcoming release of Sell The Lie on February 28th. What does the title denote to you?

Venrez: Sell The Lie is one song on the album. We were talking what to name the album. Davis our drummer came up with the idea of using that name so we all decided to go with that. The album is not all about the song. There are ten tracks on the album. We did a cover of Stevie Winwood’s,”Can’t Find My Way Home from Blind Faith 1969. It is going to be on a soundtrack of a film that comes out in August. I kind of feel responsibility to kind of write about personal experiences and to send messages. I try to write lyrics that have meaning to them. There are different messages and stories on the album. Sell The Lie is pretty much directed towards oil for blood and money. I am opposed to violence. I support all law enforcement. I support all the boys and girls in the armed forces. I am not happy about collateral damage and the loss of our troops.

HRH: I saw a picture of you on face book at the Super bowl Village with police enforcement.

Venrez: Yes, that was at the Press center. I had some interviews. I wanted to get my picture taken with the Indiana State Troopers but they said they couldn’t do it. They had some pretty cool hats and uniforms. Those were actually Indiana police officers in the picture.

HRH: What inspired you to get the band together?

Venrez: It is kind of like the movie The Natural with Robert Redford. At 18 or 19 he is this huge prospect. His life turns and he walks away from it. Then he comes back much later on. That is pretty much what happened with me. At 18 years old, we put a band together that lasted 90 days. It just kind of fell apart. I walked away from it thinking it was a waste of time. Many years later one of my friends who is singer songwriter had an idea to build a Tiki Bar on this big patio I had. He enlisted on of his musician friends. One of the guys was Jason Womack who writes all the music for Venrez. I write the lyrics. These building sessions turned into jam sessions. Before we knew it we put a band together. That was November of 2009. We already did two tours of Europe. We were there November and December of 2010. We went back and toured Europe again June and July of 2011. This is our first U.S. Tour.

HRH: How would you compare European audiences to the U.S.?

Venrez: You know what? That was something I was really curious about. I am going to tell you there is absolutely no difference. The Europeans love Rock and Roll. My fellow USA people seem to love us too. I am not noticing any difference at all. If anybody said there is a difference. I am going to have to disagree doing this tour. The fans in this country are great. The fans in Europe. Are great. They all appreciate Rock and Roll. The only difference might be that in Europe they will go out any night. You could go on at midnight on a Sunday and it would be packed. Where as in The States you would probably have to go on earlier. Other than that I notice no difference.

HRH: How would you describe the sound of Venrez? I know the band has a distinctive ’70s vibe.

Venrez: It is kind of an interesting thing. Jason Womack writes the music. He grew up in the ’70s listening to the rock of that time period. His parents were playing it. He was influenced a lot by Jesus and Mary Chain and bands influences by them. A very kind of dark and in your face bigger rock kind of sound combined with serious lyrics. It wasn’t a sound we tried to come up with on purpose. That is what Jason is writing. It appears to be this kind of big ’70s rock beat that is 2012 fresh. People appear to really like it. It seems like there is an appetite for that kind of music. Lot of fans are telling me a lot of what they are hearing these days sounds the same. There is variation if you listen to the album. There are stops involved where. Just as someone is turning their head to talk to their friend, it pulls you right back in. People seem to like it. Lucky for us. People even compare us to Alice In Chains. I don’t think we sound like them but the two part harmonies between Jason and I people are digging it. Obviously, Alice and Chains have that.

HRH: What are your future touring plans after the Fuel tour?

Venrez: I would love to play Vegas. The plans that our management has for us are our last show is at the Hard Rock in Biloxi, MS on February 18th. All the members will be back in LA by February 24th. We will probably go into the studio and start recording songs that will be on the next album after Sell The Lie. Our plans to go back out again in mid-April. We are talking to several really big bands about going on tour with them. We are definitely going back out again on another USA tour. Probably a lot of festivals this summer.

HRH: That is awesome. Thank you for discussing Sell The Lie with us. I hope you make it to Vegas soon!