Just before the sold out Coal Chamber/Slipknot/Dope show, I met with Ben Einziger (guitar), Jason Boyd (vocals), and Paul Fried (bass), of VENT outside of the Palace in Hollywood. We all shivered a bit from the cold and Paul endured a nagging cough, but they were still great sports, and as always, very energetic and fun to talk with. They gave me a few details about what to expect from their new debut CD, “Papa’s Dojo” and talked about wanting to be popuuuuular…
How would you describe your sound for anyone who hasn’t heard you yet?
Jason: Rock n’ Roll.
Ben: We write rock songs that just rock the hell out of you.
Paul: It’s about entertaining ourselves as well as others. We want to have fun while we’re playing. It’s not like we’re going out for something like, “Okay, we wanna write a jump song, so let’s write a jump song”. We write songs that are going to be fun and exciting to us as well as the crowd.
Ben: We just write songs that with a lot of emotion involved. Our music can be depressing but it can also be very uplifting. It’s very energetic.
Jason: It’s got to have substance.
Ben: Yeah, you gotta have substance. We’re a rock n’ roll band with substance.
How many actual studio hours did it take to record your new release?
Jason. Good question. Uhh..
Ben: Well if you consider maybe about 10 hours a day, about 4 days to do the entire thing and about 5 days with mixing.
Day time or night time?
Paul: We’re kind of nocturnal though, so.. we’re always up at about 3 or 4. At least. Working. It’s just better at night.
Jason: It’s just the way it works out.
Paul: Must be our dark side.
What kind of tour plans do you have?
Ben: It would be nice to go on tour with some really good rock bands. If it ever happened that we could go on tour with the Foo Fighters. Stone Temple Pilots, maybe.
Jason: We could go back in time and tour with Nirvana.
Ben: We could also go on tour with some heavy bands.
Paul: Energy. Wherever there was a lot of energy.
When did the band form?
Ben: 5 or 6 years ago, about 1993.
Always the same line-up?
Paul: Yeah, same.
Did any of you know each other before you got into the band together?
Ben: We didn’t really.
Jason: Paul and I knew each other first. He tried to lie to me and tell me he was my friend but all he wanted was to come to my birthday party. (laughter)
Paul: I got him a Body Count tape, so…
Jason: Oh, I remember that!
Paul: We were at the beach, we were surfing in Malibu and I thought Jason was really cool ’cause like, he could surf and I couldn’t. And I heard he was having a birthday party so I went to the Wherehouse and bought him a Body Count tape. It was pretty awesome.
Jason: I felt that was worthy so I invited him.
Paul: Yeah, he invited me. I knew what I had to do. (laughter)
Price of admission, right? Body Count (gets you) in the house.
Jason: (laughs) That’s right. Then we all started practicing.
What have been the biggest changes within the band over the past year or so?
Ben: Biggest changes? We’ve matured.
Jason: Yeah, probably that. Our maturing process has been just drastic, basically.
Ben: We took off 4 months of playing and sat down and fixed songs that we had and just wrote new ones that we’re really proud of. When you hear the CD you’ll hear a big change from our first demo to our CD now. It’s not even comparable..
Paul: We’re older now. We’re writing songs that are more familiar with us. Whereas, before I think we were writing songs that were captured out by like, other bands. Now we’re writing real VENT songs.
Why did you decide to go with remixes of the songs from the demo instead of just using them “straight” on the CD?
Ben: Well, we liked the songs we had on there, but we just, we changed a lot of the verse melodies and guitar parts and music wise it just sounds a lot better now.
Jason: Be ready for change. Everything is pretty much different. Completely different.
Ben: We went through and we realized which songs were good and which songs had a lot of uh..
Paul: We needed something that grabs you. Any song that’s coming out that we’re going to write is going to be something that grabs you. You know, you hear a lot of albums and a lot of them have one or two really good songs on there and you listen to the rest of them and they just kind of balance it. We just want every song on our album to be the one that grabs you.
To make it harder to choose a favorite?
Jason: Every song has to leave the listener wanting more. I think we do that pretty good. It does that to me, and it does that to everyone else in the band so..
Ben: Everything sounds a lot different. Jason, as far as vocally, sounds a lot different. My guitar parts are a lot different. I’ve been listening to a lot of bands. I’ve been listening to the Beatles, to Radiohead, to Soundgarden and you’ll hear a lot of that influence. A big addition to our band was that we got a keyboard. Not a keyboard player but a keyboard.
Who’s playing then?
Ben: Jamin (Jamin Wilcox, drummer) and I actually sequenced the parts. So they’re already pre-programmed and we programmed the parts as a backbone to the band.
Jason: It’s like the icing on the cake.
Do you have personal favorites off the new CD already?
Ben: I like them all.
Paul: They’re all really good. There are certain songs that stick out a little bit more for certain people but I think they’re all really consistent. Every song is just as good as the next.
Ben or Jason; did you get any help in this recording from either of your brothers? (Mike Einzinger, Brandon Boyd of Incubus)
Ben: Actually, yeah. On a couple of the songs we went in and my brother Mike recorded us in my house and took them and mixed them somewhere else. But that’s it.
Since we’re going to see a few bands tonight, who are you looking forward to seeing the most?
Ben: I want to see Slipknot. I’ve heard a lot about their show so I want to see the rock n’ roll performance.
Paul: I’m also looking forward to Coal Chamber. I’ve never seen Slipknot or Coal Chamber but I know that the drummer of Coal Chamber is really good at basketball. (laughter) He slamdunked me like, three times. We played basketball together and he was on my team and he still slamdunked me.
How do you combat nervousness before going on stage?
Ben: I think, well, we breathe and we stretch, but I think it’s better to be nervous when you come out. That way your adrenaline is going and that’s what makes you go off.
Jason: You just use that nervousness to your advantage. And what I try to do is just redirect the nervousness to a different place and it makes me all that much more excited to play.
Paul: Put it in a place where you feel comfortable with it and then you just release it where it should be.
Ben: It’s all about doing silly rock moves. (laughter) That’s what brings it out.
All those things you did in the mirror when you were a little kid?
Jason: Things Ben still does in the mirror now.(laughter)
Ben: Hey, I watched Van Halen!
Did you guys always want to do this?
Ben: Yeah. This has always been our first priority, but we always went to school as our back up plan.
Jason: That was our alter-life.
Paul: School’s not as fun.
Ben: But things are going very well. It doesn’t look like school’s going to be very necessary.
Jason: Yeah, I’m real sorry about that, too. (laughter)
Ben: Things are going well, so…
If you were all in a high school yearbook, (and you’re going to have to answer for Jamin), which one of you would be voted the following:
Most Likely to Succeed
Most Disruptive in Class
Ben: We can answer this because we were actually in our high school yearbook. I won “Cutest”. Paul won “Life of the Party”.
Jason: I was up for like, 5 thing but I lost them all.
Ben: Jason was up for like, “Finest” or something.
Paul: I was up for a bunch, but I won a bunch.
Ben: Can you repeat the question? (laughter)
Jason: Jamin would be up for “Most Disruptive in Class”. He did that in high school. He made fun of the teachers and got kicked out of class tons of times.
Ben: I think I’m … hmm.. I drink more than anyone in the band so I’d most likely be “Biggest Partier”.
“Most Likely to Succeed” and “Most Popular” are left.
Paul: I’ll just take both of them. (laughter)
Ben: I think we’re all “Most Likely to Succeed”.
I think you’re very likely to succeed.
Paul: I think we all kind of take on all those roles. All four of us are going to succeed. And we’ve all been kinda popular.. heh.
Jason: But what am I???
Paul: You’re just a nerd.
I know you are but what am I…?!
Jason: But .. but what am I??
Ben: I think we’re all just totally determined and dedicated to what we’re writing and hopefully one of our rock songs will be put into some sort of 80’s Karate Kid remake in a fight scene.(laughter)
Is that your greatest ambition?
Ben: Yeah! If your rock song can be put into an 80’s movie fighting scene, you’ve got a good rock song!
Jason: I’m still wondering what I am though!
Ben: What do you mean?
What do you want to be, Jason?
Jason: I want to be most popular.(Everyone agrees..)
All right, then. All right. You’re the most popular. High five.(high fives all around)
Ben: No , J doesn’t get a high five.. (laughter)
Vent’s new CD, “Papa’s Dojo” is available now. Visit their website at www.ventmusic.com