Last month, 100 Bands You Need To Know artist The Venetia Fair streamed their new album, Every Sick Disgusting Thought We've Got In Our Brain here on AltPress. Today, vocalist Benny Santoro is back to explain himself. Listen to and read the slightly abridged story behind band's latest release, below.
“Too Late To Dream”
This song was written to be the opener. It used to be called “Master Blaster” 'cause it blasts off. It's a fast, kinda mariachi sounding song about starting adulthood and being absolutely terrified. Chris Nolan, who played trumpet and French horn on the record for us, showed up with a bunch of Post-it notes with ideas on them, and the little horn line in the verses was on one of those notes.
“The Day I Set Them Free”
This was one of the last songs we wrote for the album, and I'm really glad we were able to get it in there last minute because it quickly became one of my favorites. The horns in the verses, once again, are what really makes it pop for me; it adds a taste of that New Orleans flair to an already very fun, wacky song. It also feels great to sing and has some biting lyrics I really enjoyed writing, dedicated to anyone who tried to stand in our way while we got this record together.
“We Used To Worship The Moon”
This song is the beginning of a six-song story woven into the album. It's about a scientist's struggle with his faith. Steve Sopchak (our beloved producer) had a tough job ahead of him mixing this beast because we just kept layering more and more stuff into that chorus. We really needed it to be massive. It was probably our seventh or eighth attempt at a chorus, too, so there was a lot of cutting room floor shit before we even showed up to record.
“Pride Alone Won't Put This Fire Out”
The real key to making this track was a combination of huge drums and a secret weapon that Sopchak had access to which we named the Spooks Deluxe. It's basically a guitar pedal that had been intentionally, irreparably damaged. It's very spooky sounding, and that's the guitar tone you hear in the verses. The song is about me feeling like/being an old failure, which is a pretty common theme throughout the album. The titular line “Pride alone won't put this fire out” connects two common sayings: having a “fire in your belly” but needing to “swallow your pride.”
“The Dirt Won't Keep Your Secrets”
This is the second part of the story. The intro to the song was made by playing around in an echo-laden stairwell with a chain, a bunch of bottles, a few handfuls of gravel and our feet and hands. Kinda has a chain gang sound to it, Cool Hand Luke style. People often mistakenly think that the name of this song is very dark and has to do with burying a body in dirt or something. It's not. The line is related to a metaphor about a dog burying his bones in the backyard.
“Only In The Morning”
I think this is my favorite song on the album. When the drums kick in, the guitar line is real wacky sounding, and it's over these huge hits that we made by plugging a bass into a broken guitar head because, fuck it. Heavy. It's also my favorite to sing live because the audience thinks they're getting a slower song in the beginning and then it just gets so loud and weird. The lyrics are about trying to forget any bullshit that might have happened to you in the past and learning to trust somebody.
“Bleeding A Stone”
The story of the “shit tracks:” When we showed up to the Square Studio and told Steve we needed to make the loudest album of all time, he immediately knew we needed some really loud, really distorted, really terrible sounding guitars beneath any of the nice sounds we made. So Mike [Abiuso] plugged his guitar into one of Steve's rigs that would make the most terrible squeaky sounds every time he wasn't playing. It wasn't much better when he was playing; it was basically a wall of distortion and just overall sounded very broken overall. After we left, Steve sent the amplifier to a repair shop to get checked out and literally got an email back that said, “This thing is such a mess, I'm honestly surprised it didn't catch on fire.” That's the sound of our album. We used it on every single song.
“The Sky Came Down”
Chris [Constantino, drums] hates this song. If you listen to the whole album, you'll hear that Chris does nothing but hit the drums as hard as he possibly can—which is what we like. In this song, we reluctantly asked him to use the cross stick technique and he is fundamentally opposed to any technique that makes the drums quieter. Actually, he is fundamentally opposed to any technique at all. The lyrics are about how you can never plan which moments are going to mean anything at all in any sort of grand scheme. Things that feel like the end of the world never really are, and moments you take for granted are often huge factors in shaping who you are.
“Go On, Paint Me A Picture”
This was probably written in ‘07-‘08. It sounded very different back then, but most of the structure, lyrics and melodic ideas are intact. There is a recording from its first arrangement but don't listen to it. It's bad. The biggest change we made was changing the key from major to minor. Originally we changed the whole thing, but at the last minute we decided to switch the intro back to a major key and let it transition throughout the song getting darker as it goes. It was originally about one bad night I had on my 18th birthday but adapted to become the third part of the story.
“The Saints Of Gomorrah”
The fourth part of the story and probably the craziest song on the album shows the main character justifying some horrible actions by claiming they're all for the greater good. Mike likes this song because there is a spoken lyric that says, “Sometimes you gotta crack a couple eggs” (referencing the saying “you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs”) and Mike is the Egg Man. This song also has one of the only “guitar solos” we've ever written, but it's not really a solo; I just happen to keep my mouth shut for a bridge and let the guitar do its thing. I think it also has some sleigh bells in it, which is nice.
“You Never Looked Like This”
This is the fifth and second-to-last part of the story and is about how the memory of something or someone you love is usually a lot better than the reality. The bridge is really fun because I think the guitar and the trumpet are both improvising over each other—which is a really stupid thing to do, but somehow Steve mixed it so it worked.
This song is about the time the band almost broke up in the middle of a really tough tour. It was a very emotional time for me, probably the most emotional I got during the writing of this record since I'm an old man now and emotional things hurt less to make up for the fact that physical things hurt more. This song is very fast; we were listening to the Beetlejuice soundtrack a lot while we wrote the music.
“I Could End My Search Tonight”
The final song on the album and the final song in the story was the first song we wrote for this album. The beginning with the slide guitar and the harpsichord combo is still one of my favorite sounds on the record; it's just so bizarre. It's a very dark song musically and lyrically, and concludes with the band just slamming their instruments to make these big ugly hits. The outro of the final song is definitely a contrast to the pretty intro of the album opener, “Too Late To Dream.”