Interview with Ventruss
With an intense and high energy live show, Ventruss has made a name for themselves in the southern Hard Rock/Metal scene. Hailing from Baton Rouge, LA, Hard Rock/Metal outfit Ventruss are on a mission to spread their infectious sound to the entire world. Formed in 2012, the line up consists of Ben Jewell on vocals, Shawn Saizan & Jesse Newman on guitar, Jake Chenevert. on bass and BJ Davidson on drums.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Ben: I’ve been listening to music as far back as I can remember. Why did I got into it? It just felt right. It felt like me. I remember watching music videos of Linkin Park and Hoobastank and just imagining myself in their shoes. I would always imagine myself singing those songs and being in a music video. Plus it was way different than what any of my peers were getting into. If I weren’t doing it today, I would have probably gone after my dream of being a pro baseball player, an actor (which I kinda do on the side) or anything to do with geography. Idk. I have several interests *laughs*
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Ben: I am currently trying to write a series but am having trouble getting steady actors to play the parts *laughs*. I get inspiration from anything. I'm weird all in a way. I’ll have an inside joke with a friend and I’ll end up turning it into a song, with the music I write for that song sometimes turns into another. I watch a lot of documentaries music and non music and that gets my brain thinking. I also love to travel. Seeing different parts of the country I’m not accustomed to definitely strikes the creative nerve.
How long has music been your career?
Jake: We all have been playing music for 10 plus years whether it's been as part of the ventruss unit or before joining.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Jake: We are based just outside of Baton Rouge, LA in a town called Erwinville. I feel like for us where we're based out of had less of an influence on our music. I feel like we draw more influence from the found just living our lives.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Shawn: Best show was Rockville 2021, it was crazy to be on a bill with so many great bands and to walk right over to see Metallica play at the end of the night. Priceless! Worst was a show at warehouse 502 in Lafayette. We were set to headline and didn't even get to play due to noise ordinance and improper planning. Bummer.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Jake: One of my favorite venues to play is the varsity theater in baton rouge, the stage is great and they were one of the first venues to treat us like we were a legit band. I would love to play at red rock park up in Colorado, just to say I've gotten to step foot where people like Joe Bonamassa, and foo fighters, and the Beatles have played.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Jesse: "This is always the hard one haha!! If I were to sum it down to just 4 bands at any venue, I'd choose: Ventruss Trivium Lamb of God Metallica And we would play Madison Square Garden (Sold Out Show)
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
BJ: My advice for someone getting into music now would be, first and foremost have your identity as a musician figured out. Have a vision and know what you want to create. Build your team around your vision. The music business has changed a lot. Don't be afraid to use social media for exposure. Don't put yourself into a box creatively! Always look for new inspiration even outside your niche. And lastly, make sure your music is GOOD. From the meaning, the musicianship, the mixing and the marketing! Good music resonates with everyone who hears it, so be authentic and genuine in your craft
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Jesse: I'd probably tell myself to not worry about what anybody else is doing and to just focus a little bit more on my own musical journey. Which also includes practicing a bit more and really focusing on my craft. Time is precious and you never know what you could've learned if you just dove right into it when the time was right.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
BJ: I would say Talladega and Relinquished off our Serpent EP. These 2 songs are the most technical I've ever written. And the fastest. So I had to really push myself beyond my previous limits within my playing for these songs. So that determination kept me driven and gave me a new goal. And I live challenging myself, and the result of pushing myself is in the songs. The drum parts in those songs are thunderous and powerful.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Jesse: My personal favorite songs to play are probably:
Weightless Spirit of the Chosen Serpent The songs that get requested the most: Talladega Psychosis Sentiment
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
BJ: My creative process really comes in different ways. But usually I get inspired by other people. Friends who play different music or other drummers who I look up to, I see what they're doing and get inspired to try new things. Also when we write as a band we always share all our ideas with the group. So we feed off each other's ideas while we create our music together. And that opens up a lot because we all Individually have different influences. Our favorite bands always play a big role in our writing. We have major influences from bands like Lamb Of God, Gojira, Trivium, and Killswitch Engage. So you can hear that in our style.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Jake: The messages that ring the most true and that I want to convey most in our music is that you're never alone out there in the world, that there's always someone out there with the same feelings as you or at the very least someone that understands what you're feeling.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
BJ: We have had some spats in the bandroom while creating. We share ideas so everyone has a say. But sometimes what they are trying doesn't work or isn't conveying the way they want. So we may not vibe or use that idea. Sometimes it can be discouraging, but we always get past it by being open minded and keep trying things until we find a resolution. Things will always work out, we just keep trying creative things.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Shawn: We plan to keep growing and evolving into a heavy metal force of nature!
Apocalypse in the Desert metal fest held in Las Vegas March 24th and 25th 2023. We will be playing shows on the way up there and on the way back. Come and check it out.