Ven Perp is a self proclaimed “post-goth rap n roll” artist from Greenville, South Carolina. Jason, AKA Ven Perp stopped by for some DIY QnA.
1. Tell us about yourself and the music you make
I grew up in a small town on a girl scout camp. My dad looked after it when no one used it, which was most of the year. I spent a lot of time to myself, but I had a lot of room to roam. Introspection just kind of became second nature, so I guess it makes sense that I study psychology, and mental health in my spare time now.
I started playing guitar at 11, and soon started making simple beats on a keyboard. My first recordings were around 15, I’d record drum beats on a cassette then play that through a stereo. I’d then record myself playing guitar over the drums, then vocals over the top of that tape. 3 cassettes to make one song!
Thankfully technology progressed, and so did my engineering skills. I produce my own tracks for the rap rock hybrid I make; to be specific, I call it “post-goth rap n roll”. Hard bass mixed with rock guitars, and synths with rap or sung vocals. I talk about my life, and the way I see things. Growing, learning, loving who you are, and appreciating it all. My artist name, Ven Perp is short for “venture in perpetuity”, it’s like my own version of “seize the day”.
2. What are you working on at the moment? Tell us about your latest project
My latest project is an album called “Blacklist Beautiful” about feeling like an outcast, but learning to love, and appreciate yourself no matter what. A lot of it has been inspired by the last really bad depression I went into; the one that made me go get help. Depression was telling me that everyone I knew had abandoned me, and I didn’t really belong anywhere.
After working up the courage to talk to someone about how I felt, I got treatment, and started figuring out who I really am. I’ve learned, and grown so much in the past year that I barely even recognize myself in older photos. This is the most revealing, and autobiographical collection of songs I’ve ever created.
3. What’s your process for making music (songwriting, gear etc)
I usually start with a beat I made in Linux Multimedia Studio, a program I started using after a computer crash wiped out my old desktop. I do use some free samples or sounds friends have given me occasionally, but I mostly create my own melodies, and basslines. Sometimes I have a hook, and melody already in mind before I start, sometimes it comes to me later. Even a week later.
I don’t write on guitar a lot at the moment because I’ve been getting more interested in sound design. My focus on beat making at the moment is capturing a feeling so I’ve been coming up with more hooks on the spot lately, and writing the verses later after I finish arranging the music.
My physical gear is pretty simple, and cheap, I’ve never bought a guitar over 300 bucks. All the money is in my plugins to give me a professional sound once all my tracks are in my DAW. Guitar Rig 5 for amp simulation, Nectar 3 for vocals, Izotope 9 to polish it all up. I actually record my vocals, and live instruments with condenser mics on a handheld recorder, and import the files into Reaper.
I have a decently sound treated room to record in now so I don’t even bother with an interface anymore because it’s faster using the handheld. I can also take advantage of ambient noise that way. Going back to my interest in sound design, you can hear things like fire crackling, and crickets in my music if you listen really close.
4. What or who inspires you musically?
Just about anything, and everything truthfully. I draw inspiration for live looks from pro wrestlers, IG models, drag queens, and rock stars from the past. Inspiration for music from Three 6 Mafia; Darkthrone; Lamb of God; James Brown; RiFF RAFF; Thundercat; Wu-tang Clan; Tyler, the Creator; Mac Miller; I even started listening to some Billie Eilish recently. Other stuff that’s influenced me is Sacha Baron Cohen; Hedwig, and the Angry Inch; Monty Python; the movie “Gummo”. All kinds of stuff.
5. If you could be stuck in a lift with any musician dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Kendrick Lamar – Surely he’s got a million stories before I even get a chance to nerd out about his music. He talked to Obama in the white house, worked on the Black Panther movie, hung out with Rick Rubin, and worked with just about all of my favorite rappers. I’d like to talk to him about the 2Pac conversation at the end of “To Pimp A Butterfly” because it was brilliant. Seems like a decent guy as well.
6. What advice would you give to other DIY musicians, especially those just starting out?
Save your money, and learn as much about the business as possible from independent study. Online courses go on sale for cheap or free often, and knowledge truly is power; especially in the entertainment industry. Build a resume of skills like graphic design, marketing, branding, and anything else you think might help you because it’s better to have it, and not need it than need it, and not have it. Stay positive, and work hard, but don’t forget to take breaks. Burnout is real, and it’s not pleasant. Oh, and stop posting your reverbnation link!
Consider yourself a DIY artist and would like to answer these questions? Get in touch!