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Guitarist Ben Kocinski of Venia took some time to answer some questions from Indie Vision Music.

What is the difference between Frozen Hands and this EP?
Frozen Hands was recorded in January of 2009, so it had been a very long time since we had been in the studio, and we had many new influences and a very different approach to this record. Frozen Hands was recorded very well, but in our opinions, almost too well. We spent so much time tracking the guitar parts so that they were spot on, that I think a lot of our emotion and aggression was lost in that. We wanted to approach this record in a way that was going to capture the way we perform on stage and the feeling behind the songs. So I think the production is a huge difference. The new EP has a much more raw vibe to it, and sounds much more like our live performance. Aside from that, I think new influences, and the addition of new members really changed who we were, and what we wanted from this EP.

Why a 7” and not a full-length?
I think we all felt like we needed to put out new music as soon as possible, and we wanted to make sure we spent time working on these songs, instead of rushing through tracks to make a full length record. It is a lot easier with a tour schedule to put together a solid five songs versus a solid twelve songs. We are going to begin working on a full length soon, but for now, I hope the EP holds people over for a bit. We are truly happy with how it came out.

What does the addition of Chanse add to Venia?
We were out on tour with Donnybrook and Grave Maker when our bass player at the time had to leave the band for personal reasons. There are no hard feelings behind that departure, but it left us in a bit of a tight situation with the second half of that tour coming up quickly. I met Chanse when he was selling merch for For Today when we hit the road with them a while back, and we thought he would be a perfect fit for our band. I called him up and he immediately left his job, moved out of his apartment, and hit the road with us. We owe a lot to him for that. He also brought to the table a lot of new influences for our band, as well as always being the most positive person I have ever met. He is great to have on the road, and as a friend and brother.

Have you ever faced discrimination from other bands because of your Christian stance?
Yes, we have ran into this, but I think that is scriptural. Christ said we would come under fire for his name, and that we should find joy in this. It can be discouraging, but honestly, we have toured with so many amazing bands, and for the most part, everyone has been very respectful and genuine.

Have you ever had the chance to share your faith with fans or a band at one of your shows?
We have had this chance on many occasions, and it is always encouraging to know that people are reading into the message we have behind our music.

Do you ever find the lyrics of bands with an anti-Christ stance a challenge to deal with in your lives?
Honestly, not really. We have the right to state our beliefs on stage, and I will uphold that right for others as well. It doesn’t change the truth I know, that Christ is my Lord.

How cool was it working with Jason from Strongarm?
It was such a great experience working with Jason. We met him at Cornerstone 09 and when we began working on the new EP, we thought it would be great to get him to work on a song with us. Strongarm was such an influential hardcore band in the 90s, and it was an honor to work with him. He wrote the lyrics to our song “The Call” and when we were in Richmond recording the EP, he came out and tracked dueling vocals with Chad. It was such a fun time, and he did a great job on the song. I am so glad we had the opportunity to make music with him.

Being a Minnesotan, which do you like better Sonshine or Cornerstone?
It’s hard to decide. Both festivals are great and offer different things. When we come out to Cornerstone, we know there are going to be a lot of hardcore and punk kids who are ready to have a great time and dive off the stage all day. I love that, because that is the kind of show that keeps me excited about music. Sonshine is great as well, because we know we are going to be playing for over 1000 kids, and they are going to have a great time. I like how Sonshine is shorter as well. I don’t know, they are both great festivals.

So, what is next for Venia, where do you guys see yourselves in the next few years?
We are going to continue hitting the road, and hopefully we will have a new full length out next year. It is all up to God, but I would love to continue this band as long as He would like, so hopefully in a few years, we are still having as much fun as we are now.

Venia is:
John McCully- Guitar
Ben Kocinski- Guitar
Chad Urich- Vocals
Matt Bakken- Drums
Chanse Goetz- Bass

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