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Venao [Interview]

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Vinicius Augusto's musical journey began at the age of nine, immersed in the world of electronic music and deeply influenced by the immersive sound of Deep House, he discovered his passion in 2012 while listening to artists such as Solomun, Adriatique, Adana Twins and Doctor Dru.

In 2017, at just 17 years old, VENAO decided to dedicate himself entirely to electronic music. He enrolled at the renowned International Academy of Electronic Music (AIMEC), where he improved his skills as a DJ and music producer and where it was a crucial moment in his career. In 2019 Vinicius had his first contact with progressive music, a genre that deeply resonated with his creative soul. Inspired by talents like Guy J, EANP, GMJ & Matter, Hernan Cattaneo and Ricky Ryan, he found his sonic identity and embraced the Progressive House style.

Since then, he has sought to elevate the dancefloor experience, masterfully guiding you through his carefully in-depth research, uniting minimalist melodies and creating an enchanting atmosphere. With performances in prestigious venues such as: Chalé Waves, Lake Club, Living, LUF Festival, Mescla SC, Nature in Groove and Taj Bar, leaving his trademark on the scene. Furthermore, his participation in the UNNIT Progressive House group solidifies his place as one of the promising talents of the genre in Brazil.

His productions have received play and support across the global progressive house, with Ezequiel Arias, GMJ, Hernan Cattaneo and Mariano Mellino, amongst others all praising his work, while progressive minded imprints such as Comet Records, Deep Down Music, LuPS Records and SLC-6 Music have been landing spots for his transcendent sound.

This week finds Venao returning to Mark MacLeod's Deep Down Music for a second EP project entitled 'Nebular', alongside a remix from Serbian progressive star Hobin Rude. Progressive Astronaut caught up with Venao to learn more about the release of 'Nebular', his background, nightlife in Brazil, DJing and much more. Enjoy.

Hi Vinicius, thanks for talking to us today. How has your start to the year been so far and please tell us something interesting about your day today?

Hello Release Promo Team, it's a great pleasure to be able to chat with you! This beginning of the year was very decisive in my career, taking some more directed and focused directions for music production and time in the studio. Something interesting, perhaps, is that I stayed up all night, went to sleep at 8 am and finished pending projects, which is what I love most!

Let’s look back on the first half of the year, what gig of yours has stood out the most and why?

The work that stood out the most this year was perhaps the remix for the track '' OM '' by Sri Lankan producer Dr Green, which was released on the SLC-6 record label, I received feedback from artists outside the progressive world such as, from other aspects! This made me happy and really motivated me to continue stronger in my creations.

Now let’s look at tracks (not your own), what is a track which has come out this year that has impressed you the most and why?

Of course, it was the track Crackdown! the EP by producer Tonaco, here in Brazil, which he released through Meanwhile, is a crazy track, with a sophisticated aesthetic and psychedelic elements, I really like it.

Your first inspiration in electronic music came from Solomun, Adriatique and Adana Twins but you eventually found your place in progressive house once you discovered artists like Guy J, GMJ & Matter, Hernan Cattaneo and Ricky Ryan, where your inspiration for the genre originated. Tell us about your first contact with progressive house and how that shift in sound came about.

My first contact with progressive music was in 2019 to 2020, at small parties that took place in the city where I live, in a club that is a chalet, listening to regional DJS playing a deeper and more progressive sound, for an acidic and receptive to good music, until then I had never heard it and didn't know what progressive house was. During this time my mind changed completely, coming from the deep house sound of 2012, I found remnants and a totally different, psychedelic world within progressive house.

When you were first getting started in production did you have someone help you or are you completely self-taught? And what would you recommend new producers do to help with the learning curve of production?

I started taking courses, but directly into progressive house, it didn't help me. When I started in music production I still didn't know the genre, it was a struggle until I found myself and managed to make something sound progressive at first, nowadays I would definitely recommend seeking knowledge from producers/mentors who really work in the progressive house market, and who take style as a priority, to absorb and understand all the necessary knowledge.

What was the music genre you discovered first before you turned to electronic music, and what made you continue with the latter?

So, from an early age, thanks to an uncle of mine who showed me Dance Music, I've always been passionate about electronic music, since I was little, I loved beats, different and danceable music. I listened to a lot of flashbacks, music from the 80s and 90s before moving on to another side of electronic music.

How did growing up in Brazil influence your music taste and direction? Or did it all?

I believe that the biggest influence here in Brazil was being able to ''witness'' great warm-ups, that for me is priceless, it was where I really understood that the night can be great right away at a party, or it may leave something to be desired right away.

Being able to see regional DJs, in a city in the interior, was fundamental in the beginning to form my identity and become even more interested in Underground culture in electronic music, having respect for the DJ profession and also for good music, as it should be.

What are some of your best memories from first going to clubs? Were there specific nights or sets that really made you feel you wanted to pursue electronic music?

Some nights were certainly very special, small parties in the city years ago, showed me that good music can go much further than we think.
A memorable date for sure, it was in 2022 seeing Guy J for the first time, a Carnival at Warung Beach Club here in Brazil, he started his set at 1 am and played until around 7 am. It was something simply out of the ordinary, an absurd energy and control over the dance floor as only he can do, on that day I changed my view on what good music really is, and how in recent years people have been less and less appreciative -a in fact, in general.

Now that you are DJing quite regularly in Brazil, what have been some of your favourite venues to perform at or attend events there, and why?

One of my favorite places is definitely at the Lake Club, the club where I live and which is also one of the references in the progressive house genre here in Brazil!
It's simply something different, a Club with a loyal audience that loves good music, located in a wonderful place amidst nature, and with a strong energy coming from the Club's regulars.

You have a new EP ‘Nebular’ which is available now via Mark MacLeod’s Deep Down Music. Tell us a bit about the tracks and what sort of vibe you were going for on them. And please tell us which of the two originals have gotten more play in your sets?

In the track ''Nebular'', I thought of something danceable and dark at the same time, an introspective track with melodies that captivate you on the dance floor, something mysterious, Nebular! In the track '' Pharaoh '' I liked exploring a happier side to the track's vibe, as if I felt like I was in Egypt, listening to the track and thinking like a Pharaoh perhaps, it sounds crazy, but it's the feeling I had when creating it. The Original track is certainly a track that received good feedback from people close to me before I even released it, and it really tells a lot about my identity in electronic music.

Let our readers inside your studio for a moment, what is your current setup and what studio tools are featured heavily in your recent productions and more specifically on your ‘Nebular’ EP?

My production setup is basically a good computer, headphones and my monitors, and the simplest audio card possible.

- Intel Core i5-10400 F processor
- SENNHEISER HD 25 Light headphones
- Arcano IT-2 Audio Card

I use textures and sample cuts a lot in my productions, including this EP, to form a sound layer that carries the entire vibe of the sound and it's something I really like to explore in my work for sure.

There is also a great remix from Hobin Rude, how involved were you in the selection process and why was Hobin a good fit for this track?

I believe that due to the characteristics of the track ''Nebular'' Hobin Rude was a great choice for this remix! Mainly due to the groove of the original track, it ended up strengthening Hobin's choice to make a beautiful remix and also adding strongly to the EP.

You’ve released on Deep Down Music once before with your ‘Chronology’ single which was co-produced by Cezar Nica, you’ve obviously built a good bond with the label in making your solo return, so i’m curious, what is it about Deep Down which makes it such a good spot to release your music?

It's a great pleasure to be back with the Deep Down family, I'm very happy about it! I believe it is one of the record labels that has great prominence in the genre, I also see that the label does a firm and strong job with the artists that release there. boosting the launch and giving due attention to the works.

Now let’s talk about DJing for a moment. You have been a regular in Brazil’s nightlife for some time now, performing at Chalé Waves, Hostel Dragão da Mole, Lake Club, Living and LUF Festival, amongst others. How would you describe your approach to DJing?

I like to explore a beginning, middle and end in my presentations. As I came from deep house, for me the beginning of a story often starts with something more sophisticated and light for the public, of course this is on occasions! but it's part of my identity, an emotional story, with strong grooves and mainly minimalist melodies and atmospheric sounds, that's what I love to present!!

Can you tell me a bit about how your work as a DJ and performing for larger crowds has influenced your view of music, your way of listening to tracks and perhaps also, your work as a producer?

This certainly influenced me to understand more deeply the market and public in which we operate, people nowadays want to dance, just enjoy the moment, and learning this on the dancefloors out there, helped me a lot to apply these factors in my works, to be able to tell stories that are noticed and do not go unnoticed in my songs.

How much prep do you put into the sets you play, or are they spontaneous for the most part?

lately I focus a lot on thinking about what to play, for a certain type of audience, I've been more spontaneous in my presentations, but currently I like to think about a sound line and some tracks that I can show in a certain place, for that audience who consumes such music.

Current Top five tracks in your sets?

01 - George Alhabel - Solace
02 - Subandrio - Nights In Twilo
03 - Lonya, Mattia Pompeo - Gravity (The Wash Remix)
04 - Rick Pier O'Neil - Crystallized (Matter Remix)
05 - The Wash - Clusterfuck (Analog Jungs Remix)

If you are not DJing, producing or socializing at clubs, where do we find you? And doing what?

Currently you will only find me being a producer, at home in the studio hahaha, I am completely focused on creation, including taking time to DJ.

If you could set up an event with a line-up of five artists of your choice, who would you book and what set times would you ascribe to the artists?

Ricky Ryan 9 p.m - 00 p.m
GMJ & Matter 00 p.m. - 02 a.m.
Hernan Cattaneo 02 a.m. - 05 a.m.
Guy J 05 a.m. - 09 a.m.
John Digweed 09 am - 12 am

Looking back on your career thus far, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

I would say to just focus on making good music, regardless of how long it takes, but to do it with all the love and dedication in the world, without other external concerns.

If you were not a DJ/Producer what do you think you’d be doing with your life? (Something not music related)

Maybe I would be working in the IT area, or managing online advertisements.

What’s something people do not know about you?

What I want most is to produce my music, with a beautiful studio, somewhere in the world!

What TV series have you been enjoying recently and what are some of your all time favourites?

As incredible as it may seem, I don't watch any series or TV programs, I just consume music, yes that's true hahaha.

What can we look forward to from you for the rest of 2024? Any releases or gigs you are looking forward to?

For 2024 there are some collaborations that I'm waiting for a while to show the world, partnerships with incredible producers around the world, lots of music to come!

'Nebular' is available now via Deep Down Music: https://tinyurl.com/4myem6mn

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