By Chelsea Ness
Indie Rockers, Venus Demilo move towards a different direction in their style with their latest EP, ‘Northern Lights’. The EP which was released on the 10th April is a blistering collection of uplifting and radiant tracks that each have their own individual spark. This is more than just a review, this is where we not only analyse and evaluate the tracks but we also speak to Tom Anderson, the frontman of the Alt-pop four piece to really dig behind the music of ‘Northern Lights‘ in more detail…
‘Northern Lights‘ the opening track is filled with powerful synths, twinkling percussion and captivating lyrics. There’s a clear emphasis on the music throughout the song that has the power to take you on a journey. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but there’s something so special about the track that leaves you feeling inspired. It’s not just the music that has a hold on me but also the lyrics. ‘I love this city because it helped me find you, now I want to see the world you’ve opened my eyes to’. The words are just truly precious and fit so perfectly with the rest of the song’s empowering style. When asked what his favourite song from the EP, Tom replied: ‘Personally mine is Northern Lights because it’s a reminder of all the things I’m grateful for‘. The song is full of positivity and hopefulness throughout the track that would leave anyone wanting more… the perfect introduction.
‘Purpose‘, the second track oozes listeners in at first instance with it’s peaceful melodic synths and chilled vocals. That empowerment aura that flows so well throughout the first track is also seen within ‘Purpose’. The lyrics suggest the song is about a break-up:‘You want to go find your purpose, I hope I see a smile on your face, I hope you find yourself out of the rat race.’ The meaning behind ‘Purpose’ creates a Juxtaposition: although the song is about a couple breaking up which is always a devastating experience, it’s clear the reason for this is to allow the ex partner to be happy and letting them go find their ‘purpose‘ is the only way to make that happen. The raw emotion within the track creates a mix of happiness and sadness for me all at the same time… if that’s even possible?
The genre behind Purpose and the rest of the EP for that matter is difficult to categorise but that’s what I love about Venus Demilo … they don’t have one set genre. When speaking to Tom about the band’s sound he stated that: ‘As for genres we’ve started to describe ourselves as ‘Alt-Pop’ because it’s so vague that it gives you license to do what you want. A lot of people disagree and say you should “stay in your lane” and maybe they’re right, but that seems very dull.’ If anything ‘Northern Lights’ have proved that you don’t need to ‘stay in your lane’ in order for a release to be a success!
This leads us into my favourite track of the EP, ‘Deja Vu‘. Right from the get-go, the quirky melody pulls the listener in with it’s rhythmic and catchy hooks. This song relates to the aftermath of a break-up: ‘You said goodbye just like you know, you knew that night is the last time I’d speak to you’. The lyrics are very intriguing and when asked about the inspiration behind the track, Tom explained that, ‘I’m sure a lot of people have experienced relationships where they’ve known that they’re a mismatch for the other person. You fight all the time and don’t make each other happy but for some reason you both keep coming back for more. There’s something addictive in the intensity. The reality is that the other person probably isn’t evil like you might lead yourself to believe, it’s just that it’s easier to throw mud than admit you’re just not the right for each other.‘ I just love the realness of the track. It’s a song I’m sure we can all relate to which just makes it that more meaningful. The eccentric melody is a lot faster than we’ve heard from the previous two tracks again showing the range of variety the band have in their music.
Next up is Penniless that creates an addictive feel with the punchy synths colliding perfectly with Tom’s powerful vocals and the electric guitar hooks. Again, the track highlights the variety of different instruments that fuse together effortlessly to create a mesmerising effect. It’s a song that would create such an incredible, real experience if you were to see it in a live setting! Again, not just Tom’s vocal talents that wow the listener but it’s also the creativeness behind the production of the track. When asked about the production process of the EP as a whole Tom stated that, ‘It was quite frantic. We did some of the recording ourselves and we would deliver Alex a backing vocal here and a guitar part there which must have made his life a nightmare.’
The final track of the EP is ‘Bones’ in which Tom admits was the hardest song to write out of the five: ‘Bones was tricky because I was at a low point trying to describe what was in my head with words on a page. It was uncomfortable self-inflicted therapy but then as the night went on and the song progressed it started to flow until I wrote the chorus which was in short was saying “it’s going to be alright”. The acoustic guitar creates a stripped-back effect, highlighting the raw emotion within Tom’s voice. Unlike the rest of the EP, Bones was written in a hotel room: ‘this song was written when I was completely on my own in a hotel room and all I had was my guitar. The mood that situation created was more sombre and self-reflective while also from a practical point of view it had to be quiet so that I didn’t wake up the neighbours.’ I think the gentle style of Bones produces a mix of emotion and passion throughout making it the perfect track to conclude the EP on.
Venus Demilo create a blend of empowerment, lust, heartbreak and love throughout the five individual tracks within Northern Lights making the listener experience just about every emotion possible really demonstrating the band’s ability in songwriting. When asked about their songwriting process, Tom explained that he tries to, ‘write songs under different circumstances because the place that you write can have an influence over the identity and the character that is created. The title track ‘Northern Lights’ was written in the studio and you can hear that in the layers of synths, guitar parts and percussion.’ Bones’ on the other hand is almost the exact opposite, which is why we bookmarked the EP with these two tracks.’
It’s clear after listening to the EP in full that there’s a variety of different musical influences throughout and when asked about them, Tom explained that ‘Our producers had a huge influence on the sound of this EP. Alex Quinn, Rado Lozanski and Rich Bond all worked with us on various different tracks and if you’re familiar with their other work, you can hear them all over it. The title track itself was also co-written with Anthony Lee and Paul Alan Edwards who sent me an early version of Northern Lights which had the piano and guitar lines already written for me to just play with basically. I think if you’ve got talented people around you and there’s an opportunity to harness some of what they can do within your own music then you have to take it. I don’t see the point in working solo just for the sake of saying you did everything if you can create something much better by working collaboratively.’
It’s evident that a lot of effort, talent and professionalism has went into producing Northern Lights and after listening to it in great detail, it’s quickly became one of my favourite EPs of the year. There’s just something to unique and special about the tracks that really pull you in. Each song has it’s own unique twist that not only excites the listener but makes us want more…. Luckily for us when I asked Tom plans they had for the future, he teased, ‘We’re working on a project at the moment which I’m really excited about. We don’t want to give too much away but it’s going to involve a lot of new music. As for touring we’re waiting to see what happens with this pandemic and then making plans from there. Hopefully it won’t be too long!’
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