Friday, June 15, 2012

V is for Villians Brings Carnivale Noir Into the World of Steampunk

L to R Verica Jade, Mr. Agitaor,  Falon Flynn,  and The Pulse

V is for Villains was a band that I had not encountered prior to the Steampunk World’s Fair, but they seemed interesting enough, I stopped by one of their shows for a look and a listen.  The crowd seemed to really be enjoying themselves as many were up dancing in front of the band.  It had a smooth electronica feel, but with emotionally evocative sound, lyrics, and vocals.  The stories they tell in their songs reminded me at first of Voltaire as, like their name suggests, they are clearly taking the Villain’s point of view.  What is different is that they really do sing about plans to conquer, dominate, and subdue the planet.  This really gives the feel of a dark graphic novel come to life on stage!

 I asked for and received the opportunity to interview the band leader, Nicholas Santiago, about his band, the concept, and their future plans.  He told me that he and his brother,  Jonathon Santiago, performed for years in a band called Digital Mindy (Industrial Metal) for any years, but eventually wanted to try something entirely new. He wanted something a lot more fun and playful, but with really good quality music.  Something that would seem to leap right of the pages of his favorite dark graphic novels, like comic book super villains, but very classy, intelligent and dangerous ones.

Nick said he wanted a lot more theatre and story telling, but to still be making good music!  They mix Rock, Electronic, Industrial, and other styles into a fusion that rebels against the rules for musical genres.  It’s  a blend of Steampunk with Visual Noir.  He created V is for Villains to provide a stage for this type of musical performance art.  Nick’s brother, joined shortly after as their guitarist. Next  Carrie Hegenderfer came on board as the keyboardist, and finally Richard Nash as their drummer.

L to R Verica Jade, Falon Flynn, Mr. Agitaor, and The Pulse
Nick revealed that his supervillian name is “Mr. Agitator“, who, when not conquering the world, of course, is lead singer and songwriter for their evil collective.  His brother Jonathon, as “Falon Flynn“, spreads the power of darkness with his even more powerful guitar and backup vocals.  Their beautiful, and equally evil seductress Carrie, as “Veronica Jade“, adds depth with keyboard and her female lead vocals.

Their drummer Richard is just called “The Pulse”!  He was originally a fan of their evil plan to spread musical villainy and offered at one of their shows to audition for us.  He has added to the power of their sound ever since!

Mr. Agitator (Nick) said that he really has fun with this band.  “I get to entertain people on stage with music that I wrote, and [in the Steampunk community] I don’t have to dumb down the lyrics.  I get to do what I really like and they still really enjoy it!

I should add that the young lady (henchman?) manning their merchandise table was so friendly and charming, that I found I had signed up for their e-mail list before even hearing the band or speaking with any of them.  The rest of them seem just as friendly and smooth with the fans.  That combined with emotionally dark, but highly entertaining lyrics and music makes it likely that this band will become a frequent flyer on both the club and convention scene in the future.

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