Venice Is Sinking bring experimental indie-pop to Bentley’s Pub

Athens, Ga.’s orchestral indie-pop rockers Venice Is Sinking bring their unique sound to Bentley’s Pub July 31 along with Champaign’s own The Third Flight. buzz caught up with guitarist/vocalist Daniel Lawson as the band was setting up to perform at a benefit concert for their hometown’s Georgia Theatre. In a venue that could only be explained as a turn-of-the-century industrial compound in rural Georgia, they chatted about the band’s latest release, AZAR, and the subtleties of recording.
buzz: How does your latest release, AZAR, expand on your previous record, Sorry About the Flowers?
Daniel Lawson: I think when we made the first record, we were very new and super excited to go into the studio to record. With AZAR, we wanted to make the record that we always wanted to make. The writing process was totally different since the band is more of a democratic entity now. We would all bring in a lot more ideas and write together, whereas I previously wrote materials and brought it to the rest of the band. Now, it is more of a collaboration.
buzz:buzz: The word “azar” means “bad luck” in Portuguese, and the title seems to reflect the band’s experiences leading up to the record’s release. Have things since AZAR turned out any better?
Daniel Lawson: We actually didn’t know that it meant “bad luck” at the time the record came out, but when we learned that, it felt kind of appropriate. Like any record, it is a reflection of where we were as a band, and at the time, we were about to break up. We drove to North Carolina every weekend to make the record. We all had a lot going on, and we thought we could make it quickly, but it became constantly part of our lives. The recording process, however, was amazing, and with being a band as long as we have, things start to get better slowly.
buzz:buzz: Last year, you recorded a live record at the famous Georgia Theatre in Athens, which burned down a year later. How does that change your release plans for the Georgia Theatre sessions?
Daniel Lawson: Well, we had been waiting to put it out because of AZAR, but once the theater burned, the project was kind of reinvigorated. The owner of the Georgia Theatre was going to help us put it out until the fire, so we decided the day after it burned to donate all the proceeds to the theater. After it happened, we thought, “People really need to hear this.” It’s amazing, almost like there is another member of the band in the theater itself. It was recorded straight to tape with only two mics, it has never been in a computer and it is going straight to vinyl. We’re still trying to raise money to put it out.
buzz:buzz: What can the audience expect from your live show at Bentley’s July 31?
Daniel Lawson: I think we’re a different band live than on the record. I’ve always kind of liked that about bands — that juxtaposition. We’re really different in a good way.
buzz:buzz: Your hometown of Athens, Ga., is also the home of bands such as R.E.M., the B-52s and Elf Power, as well as the University of Georgia. What do you think it is about major college towns that seems to inspire unique music scenes?
Daniel Lawson: I think cheap rent brings out artists and musicians. But some of my favorite bands are from Athens. When Lucas Jensen moved here in ’98, it was partly because of what was going on here. James may have even moved here for the music. I didn’t really come here for that, but I was definitely aware. I don’t know what it is about college towns … it’s just a different pace of life.
Don’t miss your chance to catch Venice Is Sinking in your very own college town at Bentley’s Pub July 31. By all accounts, the group’s latest release, AZAR, may actually be their Pet Sounds, so head on over to to get your copy before the show. The group will also release a digital-only EP in September, which includes alternate takes of AZAR tracks along with covers of Fremont, Calif.’s one-man-digital-band, Okay.

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