JOSEPH ‘VENTS’ LARNDER IS STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOW OF HIS ADELAIDE BRETHREN WITH SECOND ALBUM MARKED FOR DEATH. HE DISCUSSES HIS UNBREAKABLE TIES WITH PRODUCER TRIALS, HIS FIGHT AGAINST WORK AND ALIGNING THE NAMES OF HIS ALBUMS WITH STEVEN SEAGAL FLICKS WITH RIP NICHOLSON.
VENTS interviewed @ 19:30 AEST – Thursday 5th May, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
“I was coming to the end of the first album and we didn’t have a title for it and you spent so long on this thing that anything you call it, won’t be good enough,” Joseph Larnder – better known as Vents – recalls. “I remember having Foxtel on and I was watching a Seagal film and I thought, cool name. And same with this one, I thought I’ll call it Marked For Death after his next one. So the next one could be Out For Justice.”
The second album from the Adelaide-based MC has been on the cards for several years. His first exposure on Funkoars’ 2003 LP eventually led to Obese Records releasing his debut LPHard To Kill in 2007, placing Larnder in high regards for his lyrical waxing of social politics over the certified beats of Funkoars’ Trials. Four years later and Marked For Death has rolled out, but Larnder believes his relevance across the scene has lapsed.
“Well I’m starting to realise that I’m starting again with a blank slate. You’re only as good as your last album. I really should have had it out in ‘09 but due to whatever reasons it didn’t happen,” Larnder admits. “I just stay doing what I’m good at doing. How do you stay relevant? Marketing departments I guess, I just make tunes man.”
Since the drop of Hard To Kill, Larnder had said in an interview that he didn’t even know if he’d still be a recording artist in five years time and it wasn’t a full-time aspiration for the on-off MC.
“At the time I probably wasn’t gonna make another album you know? It just wasn’t a priority at all, for years, so I wasn’t lying. But I’ve come to realise, when you look around there are a lot of dudes that have been given the shot and are making a living, or at least not working and doing what I do but – forgive my arrogance – don’t have the talent that I do. I’ve got a really good deal on the table, and all I can think is, ‘What are you doing dude, what are you fucking around for? Just do it, you’re probably going to regret it one day if you don’t do it.’”
Larnder has a home for his recordings on the Golden Era roster and successfully avoided the 360 Deal that record labels are pushing on artists, meaning he won’t forfeit a cut on live shows and merchandise. And for Larnder every cent counts when you’re staving off finding a 9-5 job.
“I don’t mind working per se, I just don’t like work,” stresses Larnder. “So if the option is there, I’d much rather be doing work I enjoy doing for me, working with friends. There is nothing to say that any kind of creative or productive work can’t be fulfilling, it can come down to your relationship with the boss and those you work with. What makes us think that what we do is any more special than the bloke who cleans the toilet, makes a table or restores furniture, you know? We’re in a privileged position in that we are able to produce creatively and have some ownership or connection to that. That’s why the artist is held in such a cherished position.”
Under the mentorship of Trials and both of the biggest alpha acts to come out of Australian hip hop Vents made the jump from Obese to Golden Era, simply by keeping in step with his benefactors from hometown Adelaide. Except for the change of letterheads on the paperwork, the Hilltop Hoods’ new record label keeps business local and hands-on from the raw ingredients to the finished product.
“We’ve got an office which is just around the corner form the recording studio and Debris lives two minutes away from me, I did my washing at his house last night. It’s more than just a change of letterheads. With the Obese [signing] I really went there because the Hoods and Funkoars were there.”
“When I met these guys there was no opportunity to have a real crack at this, so I’m really happy that they took me under their wing and now I’ve got my opportunity again through Golden Era [records]. I’m happy that we’ve finally got a base in hometown Adelaide. It just feels like a family you know. We’ve known each other for ten years so it’s only natural that we make music and we’re friends,” confides Larnder.
But without the dynamo of Trials suiting up the sounds of a Vents record, he admits that his tenure as an MC would come to a stop. “I credit [Trials] with getting me into writing. I don’t think I’d be doing it if I hadn’t met him. So it was more of a hang-out-have-fun and a laugh, Trials is hilarious to be around and his beats are so prolific – he doesn’t make a wack beat. I think if he bailed out tomorrow from this whole thing I think I’d probably do the same. I don’t really know how to make music with anyone else.”
The Hoods have blown up to international scale and Funkoars’ Trials’ last production saw Drapht’s 2011 LP Life Of Riley go digitally platinum. So if you’re only as good as your last album, as Larnder believes, then badging his product with Golden Era and keeping Trials and Adfu baking the beats, his Marked For Death LP will surely put the right foot forward andkick even Casey Ryback’s arse.
“I’m really proud of it and I think it’s a better record than the last one. By far the best stuff I’ve ever written.”