A CHALLENGING AND CONFRONTING SECOND COMING FINDS MC JOSEPH LARNDER, AKA VENTS, SUFFERING A CASE OF THE FALLING-DOWN SYNDROME. BY RIP NICHOLSON.
VENTS interviewed @ 10:45 AEST – Tuesday 5th July, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
Vents’ second album is indeed a follow-up to Hard To Kill. The aptly titled result is more kick-arse than the last; the production has a more ardent approach from the Funkoars’ own and Golden Era stable beatsmith Mr. Trials, and the address of political and social awareness is more pressing on the more cynical big brother LP. Not to make change, Vents’ hip hop, like most, carries with it an agenda to challenge the way we think.
“The idea of trying to make a change through lyrics in a song is ridiculous, especially now,” he says. Discussions of Middle East stirrings and the demise of Osama Bin Laden are fobbed off by Adelaide’s Larnder, a rapper who has enough to get off his chest without adding weight of recent turmoil. “I’ve got enough material to perform a critique on society without even bothering to mention the death of Osama Bin Laden or whatever. But the point is not really to change things, more so to start looking at issues critically.”
“My ideas are very important to me and I believe in my music. I try not to bullshit people, or myself.”
Marked For Death has become a slow release for the social philosopher struggling to find his place within it. Words sprung from Larnder’s pen tend to constrain the scribbled balls of frustration that builds up when we lose faith in society, and he admits to sometimes suffering the Falling Down syndrome and laying his aggression to rest on wax.
“The songs are meant to express that frustration. I spend a great deal of time thinking and trying to understand the world and my place in it – far too much for my liking. I don’t know why I am this way, but it means I end up taking a very critical approach towards things and it’s hard to not get overwhelmed by it all or start living entirely in your own head. I try to just really live and breathe through my music now and give myself to that entirely, which is far healthier than some of the other ways I’ve tried to cope with these feelings in the past, like aggression and drugs.”
He is an artist who does not separate Vents’ public persona from Larnder’s daily grind. With ideas untainted and character real, his lyrics can become quite stark and confronting in the reality of his one life to lead, write and rap about.
“As unlikely as it sounds, I see Vents ‘the artist’ and Joe ‘the regular dude’ as pretty close if not the same thing, which has been a problem in me not getting my record heard as much as it should, probably. You need to have a separate public persona that is cultivated and contrived carefully in order to not offend anyone if you want to your music to have a chance out there. But my ideas are very important to me and I believe in my music. I try not to bullshit people, or myself,” says Larnder.
“Some of these ideas that I touched on in Hard To Kill have changed and grown over time. I can’t listen to my first album anymore, to be honest. It’s painful or something. The same thing will probably happen with Marked For Death.”
Larnder finds it tougher to critique his own self awareness than beat his stick through the harsh realities of overwhelming geo-political bullshit. “I think trying to recognise what things I can change and to take responsibility for my actions and not blame other people, or society, or whoever, for my own fuckups and shortcomings is harder,” admits Larnder. “Once you start really getting into the ins and outs of capitalism not just as a pretty unfair economic relationship, but a sometimes very brutal social relationship between people that really oversees every aspect of human life, it becomes a convenient scapegoat for all your woes and for your inability to change them. And an excuse not to try anymore. You can become a sort of ‘walking dead’ person. But this is just narcissism and laziness. There are a lot of people out there who are still really dedicated to organising themselves as a force for good and this number is increasing rapidly across the world. After thirty odd years of very little in terms of real, legitimate resistance to get excited about, people are rapidly losing faith in capitalism due to its inability to live up to its promises to us.”
It’s this passion that is punched out through every syllable of Marked For Death, work that has brought this MC back to headlining tours nationally again, the life he was willing to walk away from had he not had the support of Trials and Golden Era Records. But as Larnder expresses, it’s worth it to get shit off his chest.
“That one hour we get on stage is the fun part. A lot of time and energy goes into making that happen. Many hours of preparation and travelling and no sleep pattern to speak of. I put everything I have into that and usually collapse afterwards. This lifestyle I’ve chosen can get pretty exhausting – it’s not at all like people perceive it once you are thrown into it and it seems like you’re never in one place for long, but it’s worthwhile doing, especially after I’ve given so much of myself to this for so long. All of my friends are involved in this in some way. I like staying in contact with fans and the scene – that massive network of people who are loosely connected by their love of what they do. It keeps me in contact with the world outside and allows me to get some of my ideas and creativity out there.
“Every show is always a big thing for me. If I start out performing to an empty floor, I won’t stop until we have people front of stage and jumping around. We’re really trying to put a lot more energy into making our live performances better and not just going on tour to make a little money and get fucked up and meet girls or something. We wanna be great live performers.”