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ROCKWIRED INTERVIEWS ELLEE VEN

GROOVE IS IN THE HEART
ELLEE VEN TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HER LATEST CD 'DANGEROUS DIVERSIONS'
WORKING WITH PRODEJE
AND KEEPING THE MUSIC COMING
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INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
ELLEE VEN's 2007 release 'YOUCANBUYME' was my first introduction to a style of music that Ms. VEN has dubbed 'GROOVETONICS'. Sounding like something that one would wash their hair with, GROOVETONICS was described by VEN (JESSICA KUNIN) in a previous interview with ROCKWIRED as a brand of music that "..is supposed to make you move and make you feel better and provide some sort of relief." While any kind of dance music can fit that bill, ELLEE VEN's brand runs the whole gamut from techno to rock to hip hop and everything in between and it's all topped off with her MADONNA-esque coo. GROOVETONICS is in full force on her latest CD 'DANGEROUS DIVERSION' (HOT SAUCE RECORDS) with energetic tracks such as the rocking opener 'HERE', the positively thumping 'SORRY'S NOT ENOUGH' and the slow burning 'HOLD ON TO ME' featuring rapper PRODEJE, but it is the track 'WHAT AM I RUNNING FROM' where VEN gets her DEBORAH HARRY on and truly shines through on it's ethereal chorus.

ROCKWIRED spoke to ELLEE VEN over the phone. Here is how it went.

When does the CD come out
November 18, 2008 is the date. You can hear the album on MYSPACE now. We've created the DANGEROUS DIVERSION page on my website to draw attention to the singles. But the official retail date is next week.

What's going through your head about this particular album? Are you nervous?
No. I feel like the measure of my success is that I feel  that I'm still doing what I like doing even though it's not the easiest path all of the time. But I always feel really satisfied when I  have a show and you really see that the power of it is undeniable. Its a gift and and its so much fun that it's ridiculous. I would like to make more money in licensing because I feel that with a little more money you could really kick it up a notch. I don't feel like I'm going to stop songwriting anytime soon. I don't think that it's the end of my crafting.

What's different this time?
I feel really happy that PRODEJE has really committed himself to the project. We started working together years ago and there was some fear that he might be perceived a certain way streetwise because this was around the time that all of the J-LO duets were happening and that he would be seen as a sellout because he is a gangsta rapper. But then, our songs end up being really musical and really fun to perform. I think that he loves doing that music just as much as he loves doing the music that he started with and is known for. I'm really proud of that because it shows his musicality and a little bit street cred all rolled into one.

You say he fully committed himself. What do you mean by that?
He produced every song on the album. He worked with ANTHONY LEE my guitar player and they created the music together but there were a lot of tracks that PRODEJE had and mastered and finished. He was very much a part of the process from beginning to end.

Talk about your live shows for a moment. Obviously when I hear your music, I always think of the club scene so how does that sound present itself in a live situation.
On stage, the sound is a little more rock-ish. I wouldn't say hard rock though. There is definitely instrumentation. I have all of the electronic parts but I also have a bass player, a guitar player and a drummer. Some parts are programmed but the sound is a little edgier with the live instrumentation.

From DANGEROUS DIVERSION, what tracks stand out for you at the moment and why?
Definitely 'SORRY'S NOT ENOUGH'. As a rap-rock dance song, I think it's awesome and it's been really fun to perform. Of course I love all of the songs.

Of course, but I hate that answer.
It's true. I could tell you which songs I think are the fillers but that would be rude.

Yeah. You'd be giving yourself away.
'WHAT AM I RUNNING FROM', I think is awesome!. It was actually created by a person who found me on MYSPACE who said 'I'd really love it if you wrote a lyric for me.' I didn't know what to think of this person at the time but he seemed to have good vibes about him and then he sent me this track and I thought it was really great but I didn't think that I was going to have time to develop it. It wasn't intentional. Sometimes life just flies by. So I gave him the words that I had for it and then he recorded it with this female artist named JOHNNA over in France. When I heard the song, I was like "You know, we can do that better." I never met the guy but he heard my music and felt that there was something about my songwriting that would work with his songwriting and we have this great song. It just shows you the power of music. I think it's really great. Another favorite would have to be 'JUST ANOTHER THING' because it's very danceable and very fun and it includes PRODEJE as well. On that track I'm pretending to be a Miami dance diva and I love it! I love PRODEJE's  voice on it. It's fun!

Talk about working with him.
He's great. He's super mellow. I don't think I talked to him for the first few years that I knew him. It was all about the music. I would do my part and he would do his part. When I first met him, I was doing some songs with ANTHONY LEE who is my guitar player and he introduced me to PRODEJE. It was Anthony who decided that we should have a rapper on this. That was how PRODEJE and I met and it was completely all about music and nothing else. Almost immediately, it was like 'let's go into the studio'. It wasn't about doing lunch and shooting the shit. It was about 'what is the song going to be about?'. It was totally easy and completey magical. It was really awesome.

I remember the video you did for 'YOUCANBUYME'. Are there any videos in the works for any of these songs?
Yes. The video for 'SORRY IS NOT ENOUGH' is almost done. It's narrative and we did it on a close to nothing budget in comparison to what we've done before. I'm happy with it because the price was right and it will be fine for the internet.

Good! I was looking forward to another video.
Now that you mention it, there is going to be another video for 'WHAT AM I RUNNING FROM' and that will be very artsy and simple,  but it will be cool.

You're one of those rare people that comes to ROCKWIRED with a finger in everything. What are the challenges in keeping an engine like that running?
The challenges in doing it well are in that you feel badly if something doesn't go right. I did reach a million people but maybe it takes reaching ten million people to really make a mark. It's a whole new world. In Kentucky, my hometown, I'm starting to get known and people come to my shows to see me, you know what I mean? At my shows everyone knows me but in Los Angeles its different. Going through the day, it's not like everybody recognizes me but if I'm in Kentucky, people are like getting nervous at the cash register.

(Laughs) Weird situation but okay! I have to say that the packaging is pretty impressive and I don't know why more artists don't do it.
I am very proud of it. This might sound a bit egomaniacal but I actually have all my albums and everything that I have done framed. In the beginning I thought that was kind of bad but for me it is a way of reminding yourself of what you have accomplished otherwise you forget. I wish I would've gone a little further but I'm proud of myself when I see the amount of product that I've created.

It's important to keep going.
It is. That's why I'm going to keep working on GROOVETONICS a little bit more. With that name, I'm going to try to market GROOVETONICS as a bottled water. A lot of companies seem to have there own water.

You're right! For a while, I was thinking of ROCKWIRED underwear.
Exactly.

I mean, how many CBGB's Tee-shirts were there? And you know that none of the kids that were wearing them knew what CBGB's was.
Totally. Or HARD ROCK and all of the merchandising that went into that.

Yeah, and who ever really goes to it.?
I was thinking about that because one of the girls who worked for us for a while had thought about doing that. But right now, I'm just really excited about the album.

What would you like a person to come away with after having heard DANGEROUS DIVERSION?
I'd like them to think 'God! I'm sorry that album is over! That was really fun!'.

PREVIOUS ARTICLES:
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READ THE PREVIOUS ROCKWIRED ON-LINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ELLEE VEN HERE