Venus Furs releases psychedelic music video to accompany debut album
Montreal solo artist self-produces self-titled alt-rock album
Venus Furs’ self-titled debut album was released July 10, 2020, after 12 years of intense writing, recording, and re-recording.
It is unsurprising then that it received glowing reviews by Under the Radar and Louder Than War. The terms “majestic,” “bold,” “ambitious,” and “a synaesthesia dream” were used by music critics to describe this Velvet Underground-inspired album.
Montreal solo artist and Concordia graduate Paul Kasner is the artist behind the project. Not only did he produce the album himself and play every instrument besides the drums and the bass on the track New Inspiration, but he also self-released it by launching an independent record company, Silk Screaming Records.
The purpose of creating his own record label was initially to self-release his album, but he hopes to expand in the future. “I would definitely love to be able to release other artists,” he said.
Kanser explained how he went about creating his own record label. “Step one was getting rejected by every other label and step two was just doing my own thing. I’m just figuring it out as I go.”
He elaborated that being his own record label gives him a lot more freedom concerning the direction of his work. For example, he released the music video for New Inspiration six months after the release of his album, which isn’t something he would have likely been able to do with another label. The New Inspiration video was released on Jan. 19, 2021.
Kasner chose to release songs under Venus Furs instead of his own name to better “fit the vibe of the music.”
He has joked that his music is “the alternative to psychedelic surf punk,” but those are just some of his favourite styles. Since he listens to so many genres, his influences come from a bit everywhere.
“I would say [my music] is alternative rock, I guess, or psychedelic-influenced. There’s some shoegaze influence and some post-punk influences as well.”
“I would say [my music] is alternative rock, I guess, or psychedelic-influenced. There’s some shoegaze influence and some post-punk influences as well.” — Paul Kasner a.k.a. Venus Furs
Kasner played at Pop Montreal a few times over the years with previous projects, but, in 2018, he played as Venus Furs when he opened for Michael Rault. He has also opened for The Horrors in Montreal at l’Astral and at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern as well as opened for The Twilight Sad in Montreal.
The semi-colourful, semi-monochromatic music video for the partly gothic-influenced track Fire in Her Eyes, released a month before the album, was made in collaboration with another local artist, Patchouli’s light show, the architect behind the light show visuals.
“I’m really into those liquid light show psychedelic visuals,” Kasner said. “I’d love to do it myself but I don’t really know how. Maybe one day!” For now, he collaborates with other artists to produce his music videos, giving them artistic liberty to do whatever his songs inspire them to do.
In contrast, the newly released music video for New Inspiration, directed by Justis Krar, is a blend between psychedelic visuals and live takes.
Another major source of inspiration for Kasner is classical literature, which he fell in love with in CEGEP. He pursued this interest in his studies at Concordia University, where he minored in English literature. Thanks to professors like Jonathan Sachs—who still teaches English at Concordia—he became inspired by the Restoration and Victorian periods as well as by American poetry, which still influences his music today.
“Most of my influences aren’t necessarily overt, [they’re] mostly subconscious,” Kasner clarified, adding that the only time an influence was overt, was in New Inspiration, where there was a line in particular, “the wild son of love and death,” that references The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
When Kasner writes lyrics, he tries to let the words come naturally. He explained that when he thinks too much about what he is going to write, the lyrics sound contrived and unoriginal.
“I try to let myself absorb as many influences as I can,” he said. “If I like [what I end up writing], I’ll keep going with it, and if I don’t like it, it’ll just sit in my pile of terrible songs.”
So when is the next album? Kanser mentioned having to work on being less of a perfectionist, but since he has writen about enough songs for two more albums during the past 12 years, the writing part of the next one should be finished in about half a year. Of course, he isn’t sure yet how many of these songs will ever see the light of day. For him, writing music comes much more naturally than writing lyrics, so he has song ideas for both instrumental tracks as well as songs with lyrics.
He stated that the songs he is most proud of lyric-wise are probably Guards in the Garden and Chaos and Confusion; however, even though he is very self-conscious about his lyrics, he is “comfortable enough” with all the lyrics he wrote for the album.