VNV Nation Biography
Last updated: 03/15/2011 12:00:00 PM
One of the most frequently asked questions is what the letters VNV stand for. They stand for "Victory not Vengeance". The meaning behind this stylised motto is that one should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret.
VNV Nation are Ronan Harris (electronics, lyrics, vocals) and Mark Jackson (drums).
The project preserves that which it seeks to express; the notion of Europe, modern and classical, clashing. So many facets representing her land. Mythology and Technology in uneasy fusion. The music? Cold energetic electronics and orchestral passion. Fast travel through consecutive cultures. VNV NATION is an expression of philosophy, art, politics, music, symbolism, all elemental in it's voice. VNV Nation does not advocate any ideology. It is a metaphor for expression.
1990-93 : VNV NATION was formed in London, England by Ronan Harris. Originally it comprised a collage of orchestral, electronic dance and soundtrack inspired pieces. This resulted in two limited edition vinyl releases. These were; "Body Pulse" white label 2 Track 12", May 90 and "Strength of Youth" white label 4 Track 12" Nov 90. The project moved to Toronto late in 1990 and enjoyed reasonable local success including the opportunity to support Nitzer Ebb on the Ebbhead tour of Canada.
1994 -95 : In late 1994 Ronan returned to Europe to complete new and reworked material. Exclusive tracks were released on samplers and in July 1995 VNV NATION signed with German label Discordia and releases their first full length CD "ADVANCE & FOLLOW". Around the same time Mark Jacksoin joins the band.
1998 : In January 98 VNV NATION signed with German label Off-Beat and released the full-length album "Praise the Fallen" (02.06.98) and the "Solitary EP" (14.09.98). VNV Nation do their first headline tour of Germany in September 98.
1999 - 00 : Early in 99 VNV NATION and 3 other artists leave Off-Beat to start Dependent Records along with Off-Beat's A&R. Three albums resulted. The first, "Empires", stayed at No.1 in the DAC (German Alternative Charts) for 7 weeks winning DAC album of the year '99. The album produced 2 singles- "Darkangel" topped the DAC for 5 weeks. In early 2000 the follow-up single "Standing" stayed at no.1 for 8 weeks (the maximum a single can remain in the DAC) winning a German Alternative Music Award for most successful single of 2000 and sharing the place for most successful single in the DAC's history with the Chemical Brothers. A limited edition entitled "Burning Empires" followed containing alternate versions of tracks from "Empires". This remains one of the most sought after VNV rarities.
2001 - 02 : In March of 2001 the first ever VNV Nation album was remastered and released as "Advance and Follow v2". In September of the same year the single "Genesis" was released. It spent 4 weeks in the German Media Control Charts reaching no.67 as well as again topping the DAC. In October 2001 VNV Nation embark on the highly successful "Futureperfect" tour of Europe and North America. The 4th full length CD "Futureperfect" was released in January 2002 and reached no.25 in the German Album Charts. This was followed by a second single "Beloved" which again reached the high 60's in the German Singles Chart. Following the release of "Beloved" VNV Nation leave Dependent. In April 2002 VNV Nation go on a second tour of the US. Despite being 4-5 months after the previous tour of North America it is an even bigger success.
2003 : VNV Nation form their own label "Anachron Sounds" along with their manager Kai Lotze to exclusively handle all future releases by VNV Nation.
Advance and Follow (CD) - 1995
Praise the Fallen (CD).- 1998
Solitary EP (EP) - 1998
Darkangel (CDS) - 1999
Empires (CD) - 1999
Standing (CDS) - 2000
Standing / Burning Empires (Limited edition CDS / Remix Album) - 2000
Advance and Follow (v2) (extended and remastered CD) - 2001
Genesis 1 (CDS) - 2001
Genesis 2 (Limited CDS) - 2001
Futureperfect (CD) - 2002
Beloved 1 (CDS)
Beloved 2 (Limited CDS)
Beloved 3 (12" vinyl)
The Story behind Bruderschaft
In the late Spring of 1999, my father was diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer. His doctor predicted he'd live another six months at best. The news was both devastating and shocking. After all, he was only 57 years old.
As children, our parents are our bedrock, our essence of being; both biologically and metaphorically. As teenagers, we tend to view our parents as hurdles, obstacles in the paths of our ambitions. Often, it is not until we mature and become parents ourselves that we see things from their perspective, that we begin to understand the depths of their commitments in our lives and value them accordingly.
My father and I didn't always have a close relationship, in part due to the fact that we lived in different cities. It wasn't until my daughter, Emmilee, was born that I made a conscientious effort to bring us closer together.
Perhaps it was regret for the time lost with him during the years previous, coupled with the unwelcome reminder of my own impermanence, that intensified my sadness during his illness. Each day that passed brought us nearer to the end and time seemed to elapse more quickly each hour, even as I struggled against it.
As the cancer raged through his body and my father began to lose his struggle against the disease, I became more distraught and mournful than ever. In my grief, I wrote for him a song, "Forever," in an attempt to capture his value to me and my defiance towards his imminent departure from this earth. I sat endlessly by his side for the last few days, only sleeping when my body shut down against my will. Regrettably, he lost consciousness before I could share the words I had written with him. Two days later, my father passed away quietly at his home on November 30, 1999.
The weeks after my father died were especially difficult for me and were it not for my wife Agnieszka, I am not sure how I would have made it through them at all. She was constantly there to offer comfort, or just a kind ear, and it was she who encouraged me to share my lyrical tribute with others, as a sort of cartharsis. During the period of my father's illness and eventual passing, friends and colleagues from around the world were there to vocalize their condolences and support; it was to two of them that I turned first to share the words I had written: Ronan Harris of VNV Nation and Joakim Montelius of Covenant.
Upon reading the lyrics, both Ronan and Joakim supported my idea of transforming them into a formal song and donating the profits to cancer research, in honor of my father. When I indicated my inability to perform the task alone, Ronan himself replied that he "would be honored to set them to music." The idea for Bruderschaft was born.
Unfortunately, due to heavy workloads and the bands' constant touring and work on their own projects, the idea remained no more than a good intention for two years. Then, in early 2001, while on the road with Icon Of Coil, I discussed the project with Sebastian Komor. Moved by the passionate lyrics, Seb offered up several ideas for the song and immediately began work on it upon his return to the studio.
When Seb had finished the basic programming for what would become "Forever," I forwarded him the loops that Joakim had provided earlier, which he worked into the track. While in Leipzig spinning Wave Gotik Treffen in Spring 2002, I was grateful to find Ronan still committed to providing lead vocals to the project after two and a half years.
The project had steamrolled from a quiet, personal tribute to an impropable coming together of three of the top bands in the dark electronic music scene. Still, in my eyes, the effort was incomplete without Stephan Groth from Apoptygma Berzerk. With a rough mix in hand, Seb and I contacted him and were pleased when he expressed interest in providing backing vocals on "Forever." The circle now felt complete.
As the pieces of the puzzle fell into place and the song neared completion, I set myself to the task of selecting a name for the group. Nothing my wife or I came up with seemed to suit the immensity of the achievement; even our closest friends were skeptical when I hinted that I was pulling together members of the scene's top four acts for a collaborative project. "No way" was the most common reaction. The more I thought about it, the more incredible it seemed, even to me. How could such people, with such demanding schedules, not only find the time to participate, but also stay focused on the goal after so many years? Yet, there was a bond which bound us together in our cause...uniting us in a charitable and selfless brotherhood of artistic collaboration. And so in this union I found inspiration for the name, which it seems had always been right there, in plain view...BRUDERSCHAFT.
As I mentioned the Bruderschaft project to other friends and musicians, the offers to provide remixes of the song began flooding in from all points of the globe. In the end, there were far more artists willing to participate than we could possibly sustain, but I made some tough choices and settled on a group of artists whose talent, I believe, not only equals that of anyone in the Bruderschaft, but whom I also thought most understood and sympathized with the scope of the project and the power of the song itself.
"Forever" is probably the hardest thing I've ever done, but the most worthwhile. It wouldn't exist without the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in the project from start to finish: most especially my wife Agnieszka and my daughter Emmi, who've made countless sacrifices in the name of my musical passion; my mother, whose done the same for more than half of her own life; and my brothers...Seb, Ronan, Joakim and Stephan...whose benevolence, unending talent and involvement in this project mean more to me than they will ever know......
All net profits from the sale of "Forever" will be donated to various cancer charities for the purposes of cancer research and treatment and to assist families with loved ones suffering from cancer to be there to provide comfort in their time of need. Options will also be made available to those who wish their donation to benefit institutions which do not condone animal testing.
I present Bruderschaft with great pride in the face of those who tried, in vain, to place obstacles in my path. You have given me strength and resolve to a degree I did not know I had.
I humbly dedicate this song, "Forever," to my father: Charles Richard Millhouse, 1942-1999. I am sentry to you now, until we meet again..........