Interview / Ronan Harris of VNV Nation by Abigail Hamann
What is your favorite song off your newest album 'NOIRE'?
I can’t say that I have a favorite. Every song is different and I love all of them for different reasons. I see the album as a single entity, self-contained, comprising many sides and emotions. It’s a journey, from start to finish. Some have described it as a musical book in a series of acts, others as a soundtrack from a film that hasn’t been made. It’s wonderful to know that the idea behind the writing and arranging of this album came across to so many.
What is favorite venue in Europe and in the US?
I think each have their own great venues. The second last show on the European tour was at a venue in Hamburg called the Mehr Theater. It has to be one of the finest venues in Europe. From the quality of the sound to the atmosphere at shows, it’s ideal. As for North America, I can’t wait to play the Wiltern in Los Angeles. It’s a stunning art-deco palace that was almost torn down and miraculously survived. America has a beautiful collection of 30s Theaters that are architectural jewels. As a performer, I love getting to see them and hope they remain preserved.
What is your favorite thing to do on your off days?
Depending on where we are, and what’s there to see, I like to explore a town I haven’t been to before, go browsing in the older areas where all the eclectic shops are, with some of the crew. You find the weird and wonderful in the most unlikely of locations. We all seem to spend our time hanging out with each other and not isolating ourselves. Sometimes, you don’t get to stop in a town and have to stop somewhere where there’s just a hotel and not much else. Then it’s BBQ time :D
What was one of the best moments when you were recording your newest album?
Thinking back, the whole experience was better than any I’d experienced making an album. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great experiences but this was particularly unique. I always tell people, when making an album, that the best track hasn’t been written and will happen late in the production. This is what happened with “When is the future?”. It just came out of nowhere and had to be the song we made a video for.
What is one of the best fan moments you have an encountered in all your years of touring either randomly in the cities you've been to or at a meet and greet?
If you’re familiar with VNV’s Music and what it means to our fans, you know that it’s very personal to them. It inspires them and helps them through difficult times. It’s not self-sympathy, more a case of overcoming adversity with the help of a rallying call, and being a better and wiser person for it. At meet and greets, people share the most heartbreaking or smile inducing personal experiences. I’ve met people who told me that listening to an album over and over, while recovering from a major setback or injury, got them up and moved them forward. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to be a part of someone’s life in being able to inadvertently do that. I meet people who’ve named their children “Ronan” because of VNV, which is a very humbling thing to hear. People tell you how they met at their shows and got married to your music. Some just need to talk and feel alright or better about themselves. Everyone has a story and an experience to share and I’m more than happy to take the time to listen and talk with them. I feel it’s my responsibility and duty to them, for their support and dedication, but it’s a sincere pleasure, not a task. I wouldn’t swap what I do with anyone else’s job, for the world.
What is your most cherished song to play live on your current album?
The first song of the show, “A million” gives me chills, whenever I hear it. I love the slow burn, sinister build. You see the effect on people, who are either only hearing it for the first time, or experiencing it for the first time live. It’s hard to pick one. The finale of the night, “All our sins” has an incredible impact too.
What is the most beloved moment you've had being a musician?
All of it. It has grown me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, and afforded opportunities I’d never even contemplated. It has enriched me. Meeting people and talking with them is easily my favorite thing. I get to do that all the time. Making music that moves me is right up there. Playing shows and seeing people lifted up and get out of their shells or who’re just purely enjoying the moment is bliss. There’s a lot of hard work involved but the rewards, some of which I’ve listed in earlier questions, make every effort and any stress worthwhile.
If you could make a collaboration with any artist who would it be and why?
A vocal duet and electronic team-up with Imogen Heap because she’s an incredible creative force. An ambient track with A winged victory for the sullen because their music moves and inspires me in ways most artists don’t. A techno infused track with Vitalic because he’s the best. An orchestral track with the LA Symphony Orchestra because it would be epic. A lounge jazz track with some artists who are no longer with us because some moving outside of your genre and bridging your music with a completely different style of music promises incredible results. Some electronic fun with Jon Hopkins because he paints soundscapes like few ever have.