INTERVIEW

Fed up of shiny happy people? Drop Out Venus are

DropOutVenus

They call it Junk Jazz. A bric-à-brac sound. A rock’n’roll collage. From the wild horse’s mouth, three junked and jazzed kids from Deptford doing only they know how. “Someone once said ‘good artists borrow but great artists steal’. Well, it’s true, I rip off Elliot Smith all the time.” First Picasso, now Iva Moskovich, as she explains the ethos behind Drop Out Venus.

Chris Moskovich continues: “Junk Jazz is about recycling. It’s trying to show a certain side to it all so people can look at it and say, ‘yeah there’s some kind of sense in life, even if it is nonsense’.”

Iva’s vocals, Chris’s guitar and Ursula’s drums make perfect sense. A matter of months has seen their raw, improvised musical beat poetry loosen at the hips and roar to life. A collection of myths building in scope and sound, their reputation already precedes them – to see them live is to see them alive, and the band have only just awakened.

They’ve only been playing together since January, but you can trace the mythology back to childhood. “Chris and I have been doing this since we were kids really,” says Iva. “We grew up in the same town, then eventually the same house. Our relationship has always been musical, Chris played me Aphex Twin next to the vending machine at school and then on the benches he introduced me to Bjork. We’d stay behind in the music room and play this out of tune piano; Chris was really into Thelonious Monk at the time.”

Iva’s memory produces a glad smile, and Ursula continues: “I saw them at an open mic night in London, you in your fucking dungarees and Chris just standing there. I remember edging closer to the stage. I needed to be giving you a rhythm; I needed to be doing this now. I felt everything and nothing at the same time.”

Ursula’s wild enthusiasm elicits a cacophony of laughter from the band.

“Ursula was the first drummer I’ve ever played with to look me in the eye,” notes Iva. “All of a sudden there was this girl who was playing my songs that I’m really insecure about and she was singing them right back to me.”

Iva’s balancing act between fragility and force binds the trio together. Drop Out Venus slow dance on stage, their instruments at once combative and seductive as Iva pushes and pulls left and right with seething emotion. Her beguiling stage presence dazzles alongside the bands’ equally impressive musicianship, but it’s Iva’s vulnerability that’s spellbinding. Junk Jazz has a mantra and –  Be Brave.

“I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but since I was a child I’ve had obsessive compulsive disorder and I’ve been prone to depression,” Iva continues, “without meaning to play the smallest violin in the world. As a child it manifested itself as supernatural monsters that my mind created, all kinds of hideous creatures that my brain couldn’t understand. I found it really difficult to talk about until Chris sat me down and said, ‘listen you don’t have to be embarrassed about it’. So I developed this mantra every time I felt oppressed, I would just say to myself, ‘be brave, be brave, be brave’, and I would repeat it on a loop walking down the street. It means a lot and Chris said if we ever do anything one day we should live by this statement.”

Their uncompromising stance and desire to keep things improvised and unrestrained means that Drop Out Venus never plan a set list, and they’re electric live shows have already garnered a fair amount of rubber-knecking. “Everyone says we are unpredictable,” says Chris, “but I’m not sure what that means really. I guess it’s nice as people pay more attention – if you know what to expect from a gig then you tune out.”

Iva has a more rash viewpoint of their creative brutality. “We’re never going to be a band that’s on the cover of a magazine. I don’t think anyone gives a shit but it’s the only thing we love doing, it’s the only thing we can do. I think the time for inaccessible bands is almost over and I consider us an inaccessible band, breaking out like the White Stripes did for example.”

A much sought after tape of early material allowed the public a snippet of rare recorded music and now Drop Out Venus are ready to release more. “I think for the most part people who like music like to look for music as well,” offers Iva. “It’s strange though, I know lots of people who don’t really enjoy music but have it anyway. They listen to music on their little iPod’s with their crap headphones. Everyone’s listening but it’s just to block stuff out, not let stuff in.”

Called what else but ‘Be Brave’, the band’s first collection of songs are definitely coming – a time capsule for the band marking the end of one chapter and the beginning of another before they record an album and release their first proper single. “I have to force these songs out, they need to be heard,” begins a proud Chris, but Iva interrupts. “I’ve started thinking why do I write songs about these things. Why aren’t they uplifting and upbeat? A friend of mine once entered a poetry competition with a really dark poem called ‘Autumn Leaves’; the poem that won was called ‘Angels and Bubbles’.”

Chris’s look gives away everything. This is why Drop Out Venus must endure. “People need to hear pain. OK, everyone’s distracted by dance records, ‘yay let’s all be happy’, but no, it’s really alright to think I just want to fucking die and not to masturbate along to chart music,” says Ursula, putting her arm around Iva who replies with another radiant smile. “I did once receive a letter from someone saying they masturbated along to one of our songs. Twice he came to it. It’s only four minute’s long dude.”

« Previous Interview
Next Interview »