Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Interview with THE VON

South Florida Duo The Von Have ‘Nothing To Fear’
South Florida-based hard rock duo The Von have an unlikely band bio. One member Luis hails from Venezuela. The other member Marek comes all the way from Czech Republic. Together, they play glorious metal music that fuses their diverse cultural backgrounds. For a cheat sheet on their sound, think Muse, HIM, Queens Of The Stone Age– all smashed together.

The band is just about ready to launch their latest single ‘Nothing to Fear’ from their upcoming album Ei8ht. In anticipation of the new track, we asked The Von a handful of hard-hitting, super intense,brain-stumping interview questions. These were their answers…

How did you guys meet?
We met though a mutual friend at a Slayer show down in Miami about 5 years ago. Our friend was part of the local crew, and a few beers later we were discussing each other’s musical tastes. Eventually, we ended up agreeing on getting together to jam sometime.

What are you main musical influences?
Luis: I grew up in a tropical country listening to my parents’ music– flamenco , easy listening, and Latin artists like Roberto Carlos and Julio Iglesias. At the age of 6, my brother brought home Queen’s Play The Game. That was it. I discovered rock n’ roll. My early influences definetly are the bands I listened to as a kid. Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Sepultura. Later I developed a taste for electronica , and started appreciating salsa and Cuban music more.

Marek: Since my childhood I have been listening to The Beatles, Queen and many local artists in the Czech Republic including some folk music writers. I also developed a deep passion for classical music and opera at an early age. I grew up in a time of Cold War fears. The Communist Political Party oppressed the country and tried to block its citizens from western music influences. As I became a teenager, I developed a strong resistance against the regime, which brought me to bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, and Jimmy Hendrix. Later on I discovered the metal genre, and I dove into music of bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest and Dream Theater. In my late teenage years, I fell deeply in love with instrumental music of Joe Satriani and Steve Wai.

How have your different backgrounds effected your sound?
It created a magnificent sonic synergy of two different cultures.

What were some of your previous bands?
Marek: I’ve played in many bands since the age of 15. My most successful band was Nemesis, which had released its first album “Temptation” in 1994. I also worked on the production of a few metal bands and electronic acts. By the late 1990s, I stared my own independent recording label in the Czech Republic.

Luis: I have had only one other band, Diestra, that my brother Ricardo and I formed. Diestra was Latin rock/pop band. We put out 2 albums and 2 EPs. Diestra started out in Atlanta in 98 , by 2001 we had won an award made by Univision, went to the 2nd edition of the Latin Grammys and things evolved making us move to south Florida in 2002. We even shot a McDonalds commercial. All was going very well. By 2006, we had recorded our 2nd album. Shortly after that, my brother died in a car crash and things just obviously could not go on. I tried to bring back Diestra as a 3-piece– me as the singer for a few shows– but it just wasn’t the same. Diestra albums are still being distrubuted in Spain I believe.

Luis, what would you say are the top 3 places to visit in Venezuela?
Luis: Venezuela is a country of immense natural diversity. From snow to dessert to jungle. I would strongly suggest the Amazon and Angel Falls, the amazing beaches, Los Toques National Park, and the Andes Mountains.

Marek, your turn. What are the top 3 places in the Czech Republic?
Prague has its historical charm and beauty. Karlštějn was built by Charles IV as a magnificent building for storing and protecting Crown Jewels and relics. Moravian Karst is a geologic phenomenon that is in a naturally protected region of the Czech Republic.

What do you do when you’re not making music?
Luis: I’m an accomplished beer snob, graphic designer / web creative, and father of a 3 year old daughter

Marek: Yoga, scuba diving, flying airplanes, and meditation.

What’s the plan after the single release?
Touring and album release.

For some audio from the band, listen to the band’s music on Soundcloud or their website. Stay tuned for the full version of ‘Nothing To Fear’ in mid-April. 

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