Interview: Daniela ‘Lela’ Gruber (Vocals) & Robin Baumann (Vocals) of Venues (Written)

Two of Germany’s brightest alternative metal bands are in the UK for a brief run around the country (London, Sheffield, and Glasgow) as part of a bigger European tour. An incredibly important run of shows in the UK, with London being the first, it marks the first time Venues have played here.

They made sure to make the moment count too, as support to the headline act, Future Palace, they delivered an unforgettable show. A show we summed up as:

So impressive are Venues, that it’s easy to momentarily forget that Future Palace are up next. They’ve not quite blown them off the stage, but they’ve come mighty close and there’s no doubt that they will back in the future headlining this venue.

You can read our full review of the show here.

Shortly before they took to the stage, we spoke to co-vocalists Daniela ‘Lela’ Gruber and Robin Baumann about this tour, playing the UK for the first time, the challenges they face with getting eyes on ears on them, the future, and so much more.

You can read a transcript of the interview below.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. It is massive pleasure to speak to you on such an important night. So, let’s just start this off simply, how are you feeling and how has London treated you so far?

Lela: Well, how has London treated us? Maybe not that good, but it’s super awesome to be here.

(Editor’s note – before we started the interview properly, Venues told us that they had a small road accident on arrival to the city and also got a parking ticket – hence, the initial ‘not good’ comment)

Lela: I think both of us have been to London several times before and it’s always so great to come back, especially Camden. I love Camden Town. I love how colourful it is. It’s so cool, so artsy, and I really, really like it. to play here in the middle of Camden, this is a real big honour for me.

Robin: People are super nice and super chill, so everything cool.

It is one of the fastest moving cities in the world, but it can also, as you said, be super chilled. So far, the tour with Future Palace, how have you been finding it up to this point? Have you had any highlights? The Netherlands looked incredible.

Lela: Well, the tour is absolutely awesome. It’s a very cool team on the road with Future Palace, and their whole crew is super nice humans, and we really like each other. Yeah, the Netherlands, the people there are so nice. They’re so polite. It was our first time in the Netherlands. It’s our first time in the UK, too.

Robin: I think one of the highlights, actually, was the first show because it was the biggest one. We played in Frankfurt in front of thousand people, which is crazy. It was like, we start, like, okay, let’s do this tour and it was a big explosion for the start.

Mentally, are you settling into the tour?

Lela: I would say yes, since for us, it’s the first tour with a night liner, we have a very small caravan with nine beds on it. So from the beginning, it felt like a road trip with your family and friends. That’s why I think we had the right mindset from the beginning. From the first night in the caravan, it was, okay, all right, we’re on tour. That’s awesome. Where can we get a shower next?

What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve faced so far, and you think you’re going to face on this UK leg being the support of Future Palace?

Lela: I would say there is a bit of a pressure playing before such a great band like Future Palace, but also it’s something that makes us confident, because I think they wouldn’t have invited us if they didn’t think that we’re good enough to do that. And so it’s a big honour and it’s great to prepare the crowd for Future Palace. And so far it has worked out pretty well.

Robin: Feedback has gone very well.

I spoke to them earlier on today and they had many, many great things to say about your partnership. Three dates in the UK, London tonight, Sheffield tomorrow, Glasgow on Thursday, a flying visit to these shores. Do you have any expectations for any one to be particularly raucous?

Lela: Well, Sheffield could be, but I’m not sure. I was looking forward to Camden the most or to London the most, because I love the city, of course. I think all people that I know from London or that I have met here are metal people, rock people. So, I would expect London to be the most ‘metally’ crowd.

I promise you, Glasgow will give you hell as well. For you to go away happy tonight or satisfied, what does London need to bring?

Lela: A good vibe, a good party?

Robin: Energy.

Lela: Yes. A high energy level would be awesome.

I have a lot of trust. It’s my city, we always bring it, and it is Camden. Talk a bit about the setlist. What does yours look like tonight? Is it all about high energy?

Lela: Absolutely. And there’s even a little surprise on it. I don’t know, can I say it?

Yes, because this will come out after the show, so you totally can.

Lela: Okay, so maybe you’re lucky and you already know our new song, which hasn’t got a name yet. We only have a working title called ‘In Your Face’, and we’re shooting a live music video on this tour. That’s why we have our camera guy with us. So we’re going to play that tonight and each night.

Have you played it already, then?

Lela: Yeah, on the past shows.

Okay. And how has the reaction been to it? Have you had that initial thing of people going ‘oh, what’s this’? And then just getting into it?

Lela: Yeah, kind of, but we told them that we’re going to shoot a music video and that it’s their chance to show themselves in a complete crazy way and so they go crazy. I think they would have done that if the song was shit.

Robin: Hopefully we’re really animating them too. All right, guys, you will be in the music video, so give your best.

The latest single release is Oblivion and it’s done pretty well. I checked earlier on today and on YouTube it has 52,000 views. Not bad for what is about five days. How have you found the response to this?

Lela: Yeah, the feedback so far is pretty great. I’ve heard from a lot of people in the industry that they really can hear that something has changed with our song writing and that it sounds more modern and that we’ve found our sound. So, yeah, only good stuff about it so far.

Well, you’re obviously evolving as a band. It’s been over two years since the release of Solace, two years is a long time of music. You’re changing and evolving all the time. So, talk to me about what’s next for Venues? The expectation and presumption is that 2024 is going to be a big year, right?

Lela: Yes. There’s for sure some big things coming. For example, a new single release. I just talked about it and it’s not going to be last thing. There are many things in the pipeline.

Robin: Yeah, I think we can talk about it. I mean, we will keep dropping singles, but for now it’s planned to release new record hopefully by the end of March in early 2024. That’s the plan right now.

You did a lot of festivals this year, so are you looking at festival season next year as a maybe?

Robin: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I have to say that our booking agency, they are doing a great job and they are really sending us on the road, constantly playing.

Would you agree with my opinion that you could fit on any festival bill and be comfortable?

Robin: I think so, yeah. I mean, especially this year we played stuff like Masters of Rock, which is kind of more old school traditional metal, which is hopefully a good sign for us. I think we work as kind of a hybrid for the old school festivals and also for the modern metal stuff. We even did Wacken!

When you reflect on 2023 as a whole, are you satisfied with what you have accomplished?

Lela: Absolutely. I think we made a big shift in song writing, as you can tell from the next singles that are coming and also about the festivals, I think we’re totally satisfied. We had a great summer. We had some very spontaneous invites to festivals and this has made us, I would say, a bit stronger as a band internally and also made us crave for more. This is perfect. I think it’s the best way to end the season or end the year. And now the tour, of course. The tour is the best end of the summer season.

I would say there is a ton of momentum behind you guys. You are killing it at the moment and that is clear to see. Not just in the live department, but on record, via streaming numbers and so on. But momentum, of course, needs to be kept up. So what do you think you need to do? What are you going to have to do to keep that momentum going?

Lela: Well, continue to write new music and release it.

Robin: New music, keep dropping good singles with live music videos, new merchandise.

Lela: Yes, just keep it going. Simply don’t stop.

You know how important it is to keep the attention on Venues?

Lela: Exactly.

Doing it is the challenge, from a personal perspective, this requirement that you must always be online, you must always be available and doing something. How do you balance your personal life with that aspect?

Robin: Not very well.

Lela: Well, the band is a very high priority for each of us, so it’s clear that, well, it doesn’t depend on anything. The band is the highest priority in all of our lives, so it’s pretty easy to keep that up and to meet and to stay in contact and to keep working on it, which is very good. I don’t think that every band is like that. As I said, it’s like a family and we’re working on this together. It’s also a job, of course, but aside of that, it’s really like meeting friends and partying with friends, having fun. It doesn’t feel like work.

You are still having fun. It requires so many different things that you need to be good at, so forgetting and losing the fun aspect or the family thing would be a sad day, ultimately.

Robin: Yeah. I think every one of us built their lives around this. And yeah, as she said, it is a high priority. Everyone’s pushing and doing the work, beside the music.

Well, on that front then, aside from making music within Venues, what other aspects of the work that goes into the band do you find quite creatively satisfying?

Lela: Creatively satisfying, I would say, the music video stuff. When it comes to merch design, we don’t do that ourselves. We always work with different designers for that. But to choose them, it’s satisfying.

Creative process, finding something that works and fits with your vibe and how you’re feeling. I mean, how do you decide?

Lela: Yes. Well, we look at the art of the artist or the designer, and then usually we send them the new song so they can listen to it. Then we just let the artist do their art and not tell them too much and then hopefully it will fit for us. Most of the time, it’s perfect.

Robin: I think this is definitely something that defines Venus, that if we are working together with other artists for, like, music videos, we just send them the song and the lyrics and the vibe of all of this and then see what’s their idea for it. In the past, it has always worked out really well.

The sense of collaboration exists beyond just the members of Venues.

Robin: Cover artwork also.

Yeah. And it works because not only is there a vibe, but there is a theme. You look at what you’re doing, you can watch your music videos and look at your album cover, read your song titles and lyrical content, and get connections to everything. Has that been an exciting part of your process, to see people connecting with Venues as an entity?

Lela: Yeah, absolutely. I think this is what I know from listening to music when I was younger. So, what kept me listening was not the song itself, but the feeling it gave me and the imagination that comes up in my head when I listen to that song. And that’s what we want to do to others.

The best art makes you feel you connected.

Lela: Absolutely, yeah. Seeing what people create while listening to our music, like our designs for the artwork, it’s great.

Do you spend much time in the comment section of, say, your social media, YouTube videos and all that, to hear what people are saying about you?

Lela: Yes, absolutely. We stay in contact with our fans. We try to answer every message that we get and just read through all the comments every time.

Is there a balance for you where you can speak to people live and still understand what others are saying online?

Lela: Well, I prefer talking to them live, of course, because I think you have another connection than just writing. Face to face, it’s always the better way, I guess, but yeah, we’re grateful for having that way of communication nowadays with social media.

Robin: We have had a few people from Australia, the US or Japan and they’re writing to us that our songs helped them to get through situations, and it’s like, wow, it’s kind of crazy. We are like a small German band from the south of Germany and receiving messages like this, it’s like, wow. We also ship merch to these places.

Being a band from the south of Germany, was your initial thought to spread throughout Germany, then throughout Europe, and see what happens there, and do you think that has happened quicker than you expected?

Lela: It was never the plan to stick to Germany.

Robin: Germany is an important music market, so we’re kind of grateful that we’re coming from there. It’s very easy to play shows and move around. Actually earn a little bit of money to keep things going, like fuel. But, we’re so hungry for playing all the European countries, the UK and even the USA. Maybe someday, we never know.

What’s it going to take? What do you need to do?

Lela: Maybe a bit of luck.

Robin: Okay, yes, a little bit of luck, a little bit more of growth, gathering more fans on the socials and all that stuff. More listeners from these areas.

Next time you’re back and you’re headlining your own tour, where are you playing? Where’s the dream place to play in London?

Lela: I’ve not been to that many venues.

Robin: Yeah, me neither. I mean, the Underworld is actually a very famous place, so I’m happy that this is our first show ever in the UK. Yes, let’s see how the evening will turn out.

Are You A Londoner?

Guys, we’re not quite finished, we love to do this with bands who come from elsewhere. You’re welcome to the UK and to London. We are Londoners, but we’re not. For example, I am not English, I am Irish, but I am a Londoner, because London is a state of mind, not where you’re from.
Where are you if you hear the words ‘mind the gap?’

Lela: The underground!

What famous building is next to St. James Park?

Robin: What?

Lela: St. James Park. It’s where you can feed the squirrels, but I have no idea.

Someone lives there some of the time. Quite a big deal.

I have no idea.

Buckingham Palace. Ok, where are the Houses of Parliament?

(confused looks)

They’re in Westminster. What colour is the circle line on the Tube map?

Lela: I would say red.

Robin: I go with blue.

Yellow. Red is the Central line. Blue is Victoria. What is the London Eye?

Lela: What is the English word for that? I know it. I’ve been there. Busking in front of it.

Robin: The German word is the ‘chime’ wheel.

I’ll take that. wheel. There it is. Ok, what does the DLR stand for?

Lela: DLR? DLR in Germany. It’s the lifesavers in swimming.

Oh, it’s something quite different here.

Lela: Train service.

It’s a train.

Lela: DLR. Direct line.

I think this one’s too hard. It’s the Dockland’s Light Railway. What was the O2 arena in North Greenwich previously known as?

Lela: You could know that. I don’t.

I’ll give you a clue. Think around the year 2000.

Robin: The Millennial Arena.

I’m going to take that.

Lela: Hall or arena?

It’s the Millennium Dome. Who lives at Ten Downing Street?

Lela: Oh, I have no idea, but I know that I knew this once.

Important address in terms of politics.

Lela: I knew that years ago.

Robin: We have no idea.

The Prime Minister. Ok, what side on the escalator do you stand? This is a rule of London. You’re on an escalator, you walk at one side, and you stand on the other. Which one do you stand on?

Lela: Well, I guess in Germany you stand on the right side, so I guess exactly the same.

I think it might be universal. One more for you. The 5th November, we have a holiday called Bonfire Night, all because of a plot to blow up the House of Lords. What other name is this night known as? And I can give you a clue, if you want it.

Lela: Yes, we want it.

It’s named after one of the members of the plot. It’s probably the hardest one we’ve got on this list.

(blank stares)

Guy Fawkes night. Have you heard of that?

Robin: No.

What is your favourite personal thing about London?

Lela: The city outside, because they’re so polite here. They’re so nice. I love it. I love it. You can go. It doesn’t matter where you go. Everybody’s like, welcoming to you with open arms. It’s so heart-warming.

Robin: There’s a lot of vegan restaurants and stuff like that. That’s pretty awesome.


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!