From his slick jazz-inspired productions to his smooth collaborations, the producer let us in on his evolving sound and his upcoming EP “Venology”.
It goes without saying, but putting your music on shuffle and discovering a new hidden gem is top-tier satisfaction. Whether it be a warming throwback that suddenly leaves you basking in nostalgia or a thumping new banger that instantly speeds up your heart rate, the sudden overwhelming feeling of euphoria is unmatched and that is how we felt when we first heard producer Venna. Between the honeyed sax-led melodies and the hazy heady basslines, the south Londoner easily navigates jazz-flecked soundscapes and shapes them into his own razor-sharp productions that ooze a laid back charm.
Having made an appearance on Knucks’ “Standout” last year, the northwest rapper returns the favour for Venna’s single “Standard”, exchanging hip-hop-driven beats for a soothing sunset-ready vibe. And while the producer invites us into his intimate and carefree world for the single, his latest release “Avenue B” is where we clearly see the artist’s skills roam wild. Effortlessly chopping smooth piano chords with oscillating harmonies, the skilled saxophonist perfectly captures those final hazy summer days, where the thick air is dispelled by cool breezes and the beating sun continues late into the evening. Weaving glistening chimes with a soulful bass, the artist breaks free sonically from all genre norms and creates his own signature lane.
“I feel like I’m an old man in a young man’s body,” Venna laughs through our mid-morning Zoom call. “I’m an old soul. The music I make is very mature, it’s not necessarily what my generation would go for if that makes sense.”
Due to release his upcoming project “Venology” later this year, the artist revealed that EP is an ideal snapshot of who is his and how jazz isn’t just for a mature audience.
Check out the interview below now…
What have you been up to today? I know it’s like 12 pm, but have you been up to anything fun?
No, not really. I woke up went and got some breakfast. Average day, Nothing crazy to be fair! I’ve got studio later, and I’m planning a short film at the moment as well.
A short film, what’s that about?
It’s for a project. We’re trying to do something, because I can’t do visuals for all the tunes, but I want to try and do something for all of them if that makes sense.
You’ve finished your EP now is that correct? When did you finish it? Was it this year or last year?
The music got made last year, but it got mixed and mastered this year.
And with everything that kinda happened last year with the pandemic and lockdown, do you feel like your creativity was affected when creating the EP?
I think it helped it you know, I think it enhanced it!
And you’re going to release it at the end of August, which is so exciting! How would you describe your growth and journey?
My mum put me in loads of music lessons from when I was six. She wouldn’t let me go play football on the weekends, so it was just music every Saturday. I learned to play classical piano and I did all the grades and exams, but I didn’t really like it, it was too regimental and too to the book. I think music should be more experimental. I did that until I was 12. I told my mom I wanted to try something else and she asked me what and I said saxophone and from then it’s been cool.
What made you realise this is what you wanted to do as a career path?
It sounds cliche, but it’s the thing that I’m good at. I’ve done music longer than I haven’t done music but it wasn’t a thing where one day I realised it’s what I want to do it, it just happened to be that.
You’ve kind of had quite a progressive journey, you gone from that to working on Grammy-winning albums, how does that make you feel?
I feel like I’m not very good at talking about accomplishments! I was happy in the moment, I shed a tear. I remember my friend called me and said ‘bro you won a Grammy’ and I was like ‘Ah swear!’ and then it dawned on me a few minutes later.
Going back to your EP and creating it, what was your mindset going into the project?
I feel like I’ve been doing this project for years. I’ve been doing projects before this one and they’ve been cool, but I knew how I wanted this one to come out. I knew what songs I wanted where. Things just all came together quite naturally, but all I want is to bring a different light of music to my generation.
Knucks is on there as well as a few others, how to you decide your features, or did it happen naturally?
They’re all my friends. I had other tunes with other people but it didn’t feel right in conjunction with everything else. I’ve known Knucks since I was 16, and we work together a lot. With everyone else like James and Emil, they were with me the entire time, so it was inevitable for them to be on the project.
Like you said before your sound is super unique to the UK, no one in the UK is doing it like you so how would you describe it?
I feel like I’m an old man in a young man’s body, that’s what everyone says about me, I’m an old soul. The music I make is very mature, it’s not necessarily what my generation would go for if that makes sense? I’d say it’s mature but also youthful, I think it’s blissful. But I’m biased, people don’t see jazz as cool.
I feel like in the UK, the scene is focused on such a certain sound. Did you feel pressured to go in a certain direction?
I feel like the music I make, at least I like it. It’s the music you’re going to be hearing for days. If you’re not enjoying it it’s a waste of time to be fair.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I want more people to see it in another light. It’s not just for older people who are mature, I feel like this kind of music is for everyone and makes you feel good. I want to make the type of music that makes everyone feel good. It’s been a hard year, so I just want to make music like that. I feel like it’s refreshing as well and everyone’s hearing the same stuff on the radio, and this is something you can enjoy.
You’ve collaborated with Burna, Wiz and Snoh. Who would you say is top of your list to do one with next?
I think I would say, Terrance Martin. He’s the reason I started producing, everyone who knows me is probably tired of me saying Terrance Martin, but once I link with him I’ll be content with life. It’s not my pinnacle, I’ll keep moving but that’s definitely on my bucket list.
Aside from the EP, what else are you looking forward to?
I executively produced Knuck’s next project. It’s in mixing now, so I did that and I’m excited for that to come out. There are some other bits that I shouldn’t probably say yet. Knucks is definitely coming soon, it’s good to see.
Do you think you guys would ever do a joint project?
You know what, maybe you know, I wouldn’t be surprised. It would be some mean jiggy stuff. Knucks is cold you know. That’s a good idea…I’m seeing him on Friday and I’ll propose it to him.