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29 October 2014

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Somerset Sounds - Artists

Venus Bogardus
Venus Bogardus

Venus Bogardus

Venus Bogardus from Bath play art-rock, and made it through to the finals of the Glastonbury Festival 2007 Emerging Talent Competition. Find out more about them.

Who are Venus Bogardus?

James Reich on guitars and vocals; Hannah Levbarg on bass and vocals; Obaro Evuarherhe on drums.

Where in Somerset are you from?


When did you form?

In 2005

How did you get together?

James Reich and Hannah Levbarg are both writers and poets who met as fans of Richard Hell on his web forum.

Hannah eventually moved from Texas to Bath, where the two married and opened a nationally acclaimed, but now closed, bookshop. She is now Richard Hell's forum moderator.

Obaro Evuarherhe moved from Coventry to Bristol to attend university in 2001.

When not drumming, Obaro is a PhD student in neuropsychology, and also likes to make films when he can find the time.

We met Obaro when he came to one of our gigs, and leapt onto the stage to play drums for our last song.

How would you describe your music?

Art-rock, or to quote from a review of our first single: "suffocatingly intense... bloody brilliant!" (Drowned in Sound).

How did the band gets its name?

Venus Bogardus is from a character in a seminal work of 1950s lesbian pulp-fiction by Ann Bannon, and the band is as influenced by experimental writers and poets as it is by other bands.

Who are your musical influences?

Venus Bogardus cite among their musical influences the music of X, The Only Ones, The Psychedelic Furs, Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, David Bowie, Roxy Music, The Minutemen, Fugazi, The Velvet Underground, The Pixies and many more.

"We strive for and admire intensity, authenticity and catharsis in music - rather than irony," says James Reich (guitar, vocals).

"Our music is very direct. We use several de-tuned guitars and a set of internal poetic references for the band, but we're very physical. We're not obscure, unless you think that punk rock is a simple language."

What is your most memorable gig so far?

Our show at the finals of the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent competition, where we were in the last six to maybe play the John Peel Stage.

We did not win, but had the most fantastic time playing, and made a lot of new friends.

Where would you most like to play?

Wherever people would like us to.

Finally, tell us some interesting facts about yourself

Our single Jacques Rigaut, released on DIY label Patchogue Records in November 2006, was an homage to the Dada author. The release included a montage of spoken word by Jean-Luc Bitton, Rigaut's biographer.

Our forthcoming EP, to be called The Motorman EP, shall include a spoken-word track contributed by David Ohle, author of the books Motorman and The Age of Sinatra (both of which the band have written songs about), who is rumoured to have worked as the transcriber of William Burroughs' dreams every morning in Kansas, several decades ago.

James and Hannah are fictionalised in the bestselling book Julie and Julia by Julie Powell.

Venus Bogardus have had a track selected to appear on The Wire Tapper 17 CD, with the May 2007 issue of The Wire magazine.

last updated: 29/08/08
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