Andrea Venerus, Milanese singer-songwriter, began to make his way in 2018 and, since his first singles, it became clear that something strange was about to become part of the Italian music scene. A unique style resulting from a journey started when he was 18 years-old and decided to move to London, where he stayed for five years, to study music. A decisive period for his artistic training and which instills in him an imagination and a style free from stylistic figures and prejudices.
Upon his return to Italy Venerus met the DJ and producer Mace finding his artistic soul mate, they have been inseparable ever since. Today Venerus releases his first album, Magica Musica, a dreamy, ethereal, warm album full of enveloping melodies, perhaps more pop than the Venerus we are accustomed to, but an unpredictable pop that suddenly changes structure like a dream. It is like a journey into his colorful and abstract subconscious, that has never been more in focus. The single Ogni Pensiero Vola was just the preamble of the 16 tracks co-produced with Mace, his brother from a different mother. We caught up with him on the phone to learn something more about his intricate visionary and dreamy world.
Hi Venerus where are you now?
Venerus: «Hi, I’m in Rome!»
For work or for pleasure?
Venerus: «I don’t work, don’t you know!?! (Ahahah) for pleasure, come on».
Well the artists don’t actually work… Let’s start from the beginning: you have published the teaser Magica Musica – La Profezia on your social channels to intrigue us about the release of the album. The first image that appears is the lettering: “10 years ago…”, why?
Venerus: «It’s actually more of a narrative device than something significant, but ten years ago I moved from Italy to England to study music. I was 18 years-old and it symbolically represents the beginning of my journey, when I decided that I wanted to make music for a living».
The cinematographic references are the first thing that came to my mind when looking at the teaser: Fellini, Jodorowsky, Almodovàr, all mixed together. But what surprised me was the consistency of the result…
Venerus: «This is how I work: millions of references from completely different worlds, performed with different media. The fact that the core element is me, who am not invented but am real, is the meeting point of everything. When you have all these interests you don’t necessarily have to find a narrative that explains the context, I am fascinated by these things and therefore I propose them in my own way, giving them the sense I want or need».
As a kid I used to listen to records holding the covers in my hand, studying them the whole time. The cover of Magica Musica is a daydream journey full of references. The first time I saw it it reminded me of The Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears…
Venerus: «Wow! I love that cover too, but in actually the artwork of my record is a direct reference to an illustration by the philosopher Giordano Bruno: a medieval work in which Bruno himself is bent on all fours looking for something in a meadow, in the world we live in, but with his head in a parallel universe. For me, the figure of Giordano Bruno is very important and I thought it appropriate to take back what he left us, like this image in which he escapes the world we all know with his curiosity».
I interpreted this image in my own way for the cover, it was set in a theater, because everything you see on the cover was real, as if it were a scenography of a show. My dream is to be able to adapt this concept and this scenography for my live shows in theatres, hopefully after the summer.Venerus
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Your close connection with dreams is well known, and it clearly comes out in a lot the songs of Magica Musica. Their structures sometimes change suddenly, throwing you off. Can you tell me about it?
Venerus: «This thing you said makes me very happy because emulating dreams, both in the atmosphere and in the structure of the pieces, is something I have always tried to do. My dreams have always been vivid, I would like to be able to extract them as you do with a file in order to compose my music. I believe that in the long run this feature has become my method of creating everything I do. I have a very visual way of composing music, absurdly I create it with my eyes».
How can you define your creative process? Do you work out of instinct or do you need time to develop your ideas?
Venerus: «My songs are all born in different ways, there is no common method, sometimes I realize finishing a record only after it has been done. A bit like those who are kidnapped by aliens and cannot explain what happened to them once they come back at home, even if something did happen».
I can tell you that I work on music 90% of my time, while the lyrics sometimes comes out of my instinct and other times I have to fight with it like in war. I try to write but it doesn’t come out much, I drink and get drunk, I wake up in the night, I mess up, I go out, then I go home and in two minutes I write a text, it’s a tiring process.Venerus
Do you travel exclusively with your imagination or also for real, looking for new stimuli?
Venerus: «For me it is essential to go away, leave, when I have to do something I rent an Airbnb for a few weeks and go to live there to stay away from everyone, think and do my own thing».
Do you have any favorite destination?
Venerus: «Morocco because it’s not expensive and is the furthest country from a conceptual point of view, without being too far in terms of distance. Otherwise, one thing I love to do is looking for likable random places on Airbnb that can be reached with the bike I finally bought».
Four of the sixteen pieces that make up the album are featuring, this for me means that you put yourself at the forefront, unlike many of your colleagues today. How did you choose them?
Venerus: «I chose them by instinct, I didn’t think ‘now I’ll make the record and I’ll put him, him and them in it‘. While writing certain songs, some people who could have sung them with me came to my mind. The only premeditated featuring is the one with Gemitaiz because meeting him has been fundamental in my path in the last two years. We are very friends and together we have done a lot of things and so he’s on my record also to show him how much I respect him.
Frah Quintale and Rkomi, on the other hand, arrived spontaneously. It’s hard for me to work with someone with whom I don’t have a human connection. But the most important and interesting collaboration for me is the one with Calibro35 because I already had in mind what I wanted to do with them, then obviously the result was the opposite of what I had thought… We recorded all live in a studio in Puglia, which is pretty much how I intend to record from now on. It was wonderful».
I can’t help but ask you a question about Mace: you define yourselves brothers, he is co-producer of your record… At this moment his album, in which you are very present, and also his single are at the top of the charts in Italy. What binds you so much?
Venerus: «Mace and I met in April 2018 when I was in Rome».
So you haven’t known each other for a long time?
Venerus: «No, but I’m full-on, I have few friends but I have to live them constantly. We found ourselves immediately on a mental level, I had been living abroad for several years, in England people experience music in a slightly different way. When I find someone with whom I have so many things in common, I give everything, it’s my nature. The Italian people with whom I have this understanding and share a musical path are a few.
He literally opened the doors of his studio to me. He told me: “If you come back to Milan, my studio is yours too” so I came back and lived there with him for two years. The best thing is that our albums have been released two weeks apart, I sing in some of Mace’s record tracks, this means that in two weeks 27 tracks we worked on together came out. After years of making singles and collaborating with other artists, it’s absurd. It’s our revenge!»
Let’s take a step back and go back to talking about dreams. I learned that you’ve just made one come true: you virtually interviewed Franco Malerba, a former astronaut, in a theater. You seemed excited… how did this idea come about?
Venerus: «Actually, I am very easy going… But I had to face the generation gap that existed between us, not only in terms of age, but in the cultural sphere. I imagined it like: “we’ll see each other and we tell each other things” and instead there was a long preparation. He wanted to talk to me on the phone at least five times to get to know us. When we finished he almost felt like I had created a show.
This record is very related to communication and this interview was the first of a series of things that would reveal the world behind it. I let my ideas flow freely, because I believe it is the best way to make things happen.Venerus
So I transported the idea to the different temporal dimensions that form Magica Musica on earth by asking myself: “Who really made a journey by distancing himself from his world and managed to look at it from the outside, as if he were in another dimension?” An astronaut. A figure that has fascinated me since I was a child, thus the idea of an interview with Franco Malerba came about this way».
Since the cinema has inspired this work a lot, let’s say goodbye with the last film you saw and which amazed you(?)
Venerus: «Orpheus by Jean Cocteau. An incredible movie! Watch it».