a look back and looking forward….

Happy 12/12/12! As I have just finished up the final mixdown on “Empty Stretch of Road with Sky” – kind of Nights on Venus meets The Doors meets The Cure (all instrumentally of course) – and it’s almost the end of the year, this seems like a good time to reflect on ground that’s been covered and gained and what lies ahead. I won’t be posting “Empty Stretch…”  online at this time. For the remaining 5 songs (or 6), I will be posting these at a later date when I have a known release date for “Another Day in Paradox” in 2013.

I would love to post it, and maybe I still will soon ’cause it’s a great ‘driving’ song, but there have to be some ‘surprises’ on the album. I’ve already posted 9 songs from the new album and the record company (me) has advised…

Currently working on the final mixdown on “Between Two Worlds” which closes out “Side 1″… for this album, the way it began shaping up, I started thinking in terms of vinyl, its golden age, when you had to flip the record over to get to the other side…

Things in the Rear-View Mirror:

It could easily have been called Nights on Neptune…
This is true. When I was considering names for what I was doing, it came down to these two. I went with Nights on Venus ultimately because Venus is way closer to us here on Earth, more relate-able; Neptune much more remote although the music was more ‘watery’ only a couple of years ago.

The original idea for the sound of NoV was probably ‘born’ about 16-17 years ago. I wanted to do a hybrid of the ethereal electronic keyboards I was already doing with surf music – I remember being heavily into surf guitar around that time. Maybe now I’m starting to approach that.

Since then (Oct., 2010), 2 albums released – “Nights on Venus” and “In 4 the Evening” – in a little over 2 years, a few solo gigs, and inclusion on the “This Ain’t No Cowtown, Vol. 4” compilation here in Denver (excellent album! btw, for a worthy cause).

My Roots…
That there is a lot more organ on the forthcoming album is totally reflective of my roots. My dad was a church organist/choir director – for many years, 37 to be exact – at St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church (I prefer the term ‘Anglican’) in Dallas, Texas. And to say I grew up in the church is not exaggerating – long-time friends from elementary school (housed at the same church – hi John, hi Claire!) know this is the case.  Doug Ingle, keyboardist and vocalist for the group Iron Butterfly,  also had a church organist dad, so I know something of his experience growing up and he would know something of mine.

The Church, “Priest=Aura” from 1992…

[That The Church, from Australia, has been my favorite current band for a number of years (and please, if all you know of them is the song “Under the Milky Way,” go out and get a copy of their album “Priest = Auranow!) is both fitting, apropos and somehow ironic.]

The two biggest influences on my keyboard playing when I was growing up were my dad and Ray Manzarek of The Doors. The Doors were the first group I’d heard where the keyboards were an integral part of every song, not just a novelty sound to be used only occasionally (to understand the difference, listen to the Beatles’ “Mr. Moonlight,” then any song off The Doors’ first album).

Things on the Horizon:

For starters, there is the 3rd Nights on Venus album coming out in the first half of 2013.

And Nights on Venus will begin expanding next year into a ‘real’ band (y’know, like with other musicians!) as my girlfriend, Erin Foley, will be joining officially – although she’s been there from the beginning – on saxophone, flute, guitar. I’m currently teaching her all the esoteric ‘stuff’ I do on keyboards (and how she escaped the seemingly obligatory piano lessons I have no idea). I look forward to her coming onboard, bringing her awesome musical talents to the mix, and adding saxophone to the overall sound of NoV.  Always looking for a great drummer and bass player… for 2014.  

Craig and Erin at the Golden Chili Cookoff… and one very tall perplexed-looking dude in the background…

Also slated for 2014, probably the summer, a mini-tour of the UK. Both Erin and I want to travel a bit – she wants to go visit the land of her ancestry (Ireland, Northern Ireland); I want to go back to visit mine (Scotland, England) – as budget and suitable venues will allow. But I’m getting ahead of myself here… For now…

Rejoining the Flock…
A Flock of Beagles, that is –  Denver’s premiere 80’s cover band. This week, I rejoined the band on keyboards and a number of gigs are already booked for the coming year. If you’re in and around Denver during August, come out and see us at the annual Art & Ale Festival in Littleton.

I plan to produce a few in 2013 to coincide with ADiP’s release and preferably in something other than a Flash movie ’cause putting those together is kind of a primitive way to work. Much of the 3rd album lends itself to video, more so than the first 2 albums, so it’s something to explore.

To Sing or Not to Sing…
That is the question. This has been on my mind since the release of the 1st album in 2011… and I still haven’t answered it yet. ADiP will be all instrumental again, like its predecessors, but beyond that, I don’t know. I have continued to write lyrics over the last few years and yes, I do sing (I’m a baritone), but it has been enormously liberating to not have to write narrative songs as before. I figured if I did have vocals on an album, it would just be a spinoff band under a different name (and I do have one picked out already)… and keep NoV intact as instrumental only… But we’ll see. File this under TBD (to be determined)… and finally…

A Return to Painting in 2013…

That’s a lot on the plate ahead; we’ll see how it all shakes out. Thank you all for tuning in and listening these last couple of years and reading this blog as well – there’s plenty more to come. Next time, a special Christmas edition when we’re on the road and in Dallas for the holidays…

In 4 the Evening” is the second and current album from Nights on Venus and is available as a digital download on CDBabyiTunesAmazon.mp3Bandcamp and other fine online retailers. On CD through the NoV website.

Follow Craig and NoV on Twitter (@xlntsky) and Facebook.


Author: nightsonvenus

Musician and producer with the band Nights on Venus.

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