Tuesday, September 13, 2016

9/14/16 Just Reflecting with VEnT

Written by Anwar Curtis

Ego, a three letter word that most musicians let interfere in their greatness. Understanding, a word that most family members do not apply to their everyday life until time runs out. Most indie bands experience more hardships than happy hours, but for indie band VeNT, longevity for them is created by understanding ego’s, appreciating arrangements, and valuing individuality. Saturday, September 10th, the band shared what it takes to remain who after a great reunion show. This is VeNT and as a band, they are just reflecting. 

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Taylor as we all know VeNT the band has been around for some time now. It was beautiful to see so many members, and for me, a lot of them I never knew existed come back and participate in this reunion show. Let's go back and visit the started point of VeNT.

Taylor (lead vocalist) VeNT was started August 2008. We were a bunch of church musicians that got together, wanting to just create a different type of music than you hear every Sunday inside the church walls. We just wanted to express ourselves in a different way.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Now I’ve had the opportunity to hear you all play several times. You are a very diverse group with your music. You all have songs like Beautifully Broken, Join Me or Watch Me When, which are two of my favorites. Is VeNT a band that can be put in a box genre wise?

Taylor: When we go to book gigs, we classify ourselves under alternative rock and soul. That allows us to perform anywhere honestly, and it allows venues and listeners to accept us in general. For real for real, we play a large gambit, Jazz, R&B, Rock, Gospel, really anything inspirational that grooves. We have the grooves of life so anything you can think of we play. Like you said it’s kind of hard putting us in a box which goes back to our first cd, with some amazing musicians that cd was called Out The Box. That is something we really are.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Chris, you were actually apart of that first cd. What was that experience like and what memories took place tonight playing some of that music?

Chris (bass player) With that first cd for me was my first experience actually with a real gig booking ten-hour sessions. Grinding, learning the material doing what you have to do. Sleeping in the stu. Taylor wigging and cursing us out about waking up lol. For me, it was definitely a cool experience. It was an eye opener for me, especially as a musician. Tonight just being able to hear where we came from, from then until now its kind of ridiculous, it’s a big situation.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Lael what were some of your thoughts about the whole process and are you an original member?

Lael (drummer): An original late member lol.

Taylor: First gig Lael sang background lol yeah.

Lael: I use to sing background and once the drummer left I started playing drums. Like Chris was saying just to hear how our music sounds it just pierces you. It’s also crazy to be apart of something you are already a fan of. I’m a fan of Taylor’s writing. Everybody doesn’t play for people they actually believe in. So to be able to play and then sit and watch I’m constantly saying to myself “like yo this b**** can write lol.

Quadi: Did you get that? She said “this b**** can write lol. Soundbite!!!!!

Anwar Curtis: Aaahhh, Quadi I was waiting for the moment to hear from you lol. I know you are not only a pianist/keyboard player in the band. You also sing background and your style is dope. How important balances to you as a musician?

Quadi (Pianist/Keyboard) Awww man I am still learning balance. I don’t even like to sing and play at the same time.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): For real? That’s hard to believe because you are so nice at it.

Quadi: It is hard if you ever notice I’m more basic. I keep it real basic because I am singing and it is easier for me to just play chords and sing at the same time, opposed to me doing all of the extra stuff like singing on the rhythm of the song. It’s just really difficult but I found a way to do both so yeah I went from singing to playing and that was a hard transition. Taylor had shows booked already which made me learn strictly on the fly.

Taylor: Let me say something real quick. Everybody does what ever is needed and I think that is the key to VeNT. We needed a keyboardist and Quadi jumped in and because the love is so strong the prior keyboard player taught her some of the material so she could step in and fit the shoes right. Even Lael sings, Sunny Dee too. It was good to have the balance or even to have both. I guess that’s the church in us, you have to get in where you fit in church and us as band members have to get in where we fit in as well. 

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Tawana, this is our first time meeting and the first thing that keeps coming to my memory is the energy level you brought to each song. I could tell you really enjoy playing. I appreciate what you bring to the band and musicians all around being a conga and bongo player. How long have you a percussion player?

Tawana (percussion) A very long time. I started playing drums during my senior year in high school. I would say the past ten years I have been playing congas. I enjoy both. When I play in a church I play drums but when I play in bands I play congas.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): I also noticed you incorporated a pad machine. How is that experience combining live percussion with the pad machine? 

Tawana: It actually gives it an extra sound. With those extra sounds, it enhances everything, especially the clap lol.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Sunny Dee, this is also my first time seeing you in action with VeNT. You are definitely a monster on the drums. How was this reunion experience for you?

Sunny Dee: This reunion was everything. It took me back to when I first started with VeNT. The emotion, how much fun we had and have together. Took me back to songs like Beautifully Broken. Everything about this experience allows us to come together and vent. Tay (Taylor) that’s my heart and every time we get together the music is amazing.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Do you have a favorite VeNT song?

Sunny Dee: I’m going to say my favorite song is Beautifully Broken. That song spoke directly to me to the point where I got it tatted on my arm. I was the first musician to ever have a VeNT tat. I have the first verse of Beautifully Broken tatted on my arm. The words are “with every shed tear and shatter in my heart/I know that God is making beauty/I’m beautifully broken.

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): I am ecstatic that you shared that moment Sunny D for real. Music is supposed to have meaning and you broke that down perfect. Now tonight was special because everything you performed was original music. I remember one time I seen you all perform at an Heirwave concert at the legendary dobbs on South Street. On this night I really listened to Sam Smith’s song entitled Stay that you covered. Quadi your voice grabbed me that night and made me appreciate that song so much more. Do you all have a favorite cover that you love to perform?

Taylor: I think we do a lot of covers, and sometimes we throw them at the end because again our music pulls from so many different genres. If I must say one of my favorites has to be Perfect from Pink. Some of her lyrics are real deep and it's not that she tries to be deep but the song Perfect smh. Or take John Mayer, a lot of his material like Waiting For The World To Change along with some other songs we started doing. It's that type of music that takes you beyond where you are right now and connects you immediately.

Nasir (guitar/bass player) VeNT has by far been the most talented band I have played with for a while. Even with the waves of the band and me being the newest member it has definitely been a great experience. 

Anwar Curtis (A.C. the MaYoR): Now Taylor made a special announcement about a reunion album about to be in the making. Dev you are going to be one of the creative directors behind this project if I’m not mistaken. It was also mentioned that you were behind VeNT’s first project Just Leftovers. What can your fans expect?

Dev (drummer/creative director) Well, for one thing, we have all gotten better as musicians and creatively. I don’t want to say it's going to be ten times better but it will be ten times better. For real for real the first project really was rushed, a lot of material that made the album wasn’t even supposed to. Matter of fact, a lot of that project was only supposed to be reference material. Fortunately while recording the music actually came out pretty good. So this album really will show our growth from 2009 until now, a lot of maturity with this reunion album. There was so much going on during that time period.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Ok so now that we have finally sat down and discussed VeNT and I had the opportunity to meet members that I never met in the past, I see why VeNT is so unique as a group more now than ever before. With that being said what one unique characteristic would you all contribute to the world as a band so that a listener could apply it to their everyday life. Music is life and life is music and music gets people through a lot of scenarios.

Dev: I feel like a lot of us wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for music.

Chris: I totally agree with him right now. Music definitely had something for me to do. I was able to concentrate on the music and not deal with a lot of other things. I would not be here if it wasn’t for music.

Quadi: Humility! Most of us are humble musicians period. We are always looking at how to get better, searching for the next thing to take us to the next level. However, we remain humble during the process. Once you get cocky or bigheaded, that is when things begin to fall apart and that I think keeps us going since we started in 2008.

Tawana: Diversity! I think that is what makes everyone here unique. We all come from different musical and individual backgrounds. Most of us played in church, some of us have played at clubs, so when we come together it is a collaborative effort. We bring our own uniqueness and creativity and once we bring it all together it's like a big melting pot of awesomeness lol.

Anwar Curtis 
(A.C. the MaYoR): Well I want to thank you all for this precious opportunity, letting us into the makeup of VeNT and you all as individuals. It is extremely hard to keep bands together but you all have done an awesome job keeping it a family environment. God speed and don’t stop. Peace/Love

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