Interview: Before Ybor show, Ronan Harris professes love for Tampa, reveals his favorite VNV Nation album and more

He promises to party at The Castle after the show, too.

click to enlarge VNV Nation, which plays Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida on October 3, 2017. - Right Angle PR
Right Angle PR
VNV Nation, which plays Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida on October 3, 2017.

It last brought its penchant for sweeping melodies, contagious hooks, irony filled lyrics of reflective melancholy and personable stage show to St. Petersburg in 2016.

On October 3, Hamburg, Germany-based VNV Nation again tackles the Ybor City’s Orpheum, where once again singer Ronan Harris and keyboardist Mark Jackson will perform their hook-filled brand of lyrically-introspective synthpop to fans – just as they’ve done for the past two decades.

On its latest tour, VNV (Victory Not Vengeance) Nation, the duo will perform cuts from its2011 album Automatic and 1999’s Empires, both of which contain some of the band’s most-beloved hits: “Nova,” “Resolution,” “Control,” from Automatic; “Standing,” “Firstlight,” “Legion” from Empires.

Speaking from Chichester, England, while on holiday but with a fever, Harris said in retrospect, the time he’s spent with the Nation has been rewarding and motivating. 

Read our Q&A and get more information on the show and after party via local.cltampa.com.


VNV Nation w/iVardensphere
Oct. 3, 7 p.m. $24-$50.
Orpheum, 1915 East 7th Ave., Ybor City.
More info: local.cltampa.com.


It’s been 27 years since VNV Nation formed in London, England, you have a plethora of memorable songs from 10 albums. Does it seem like a long time for you?

It does seem like a long time has gone by; I don’t think you realize it until years later, until you actually stop to look back. You think, “How long has it actually been?” Then, you really get an incredible scale of the time. It’s been 18 years since the release of Empires. So much has happened since then, it’s absolutely astounding.

Are you surprised at the popularity of VNV from those early years, or did you expect it to go big?

Originally, I had a full time job when I did Empires. I would get out of work in computing, jump into cab and head over to the studio and work until 1 a.m. I was really burning the candle about both ends to get that album done. I hoped (Empires) would have some longevity but I never thought it would grow to the scale that it has.

What are your two or three favorite VNV Nation albums?

Automatic, absolutely number one place. The entire experience of making that album and the finished results, I’ve never been happier. Empire” has always been a very personal album. I was going through a horrible, emotional period of my life and it got me out of it. It gave me focus; it gave me something to at least gravitate my emotions towards. With that album, I was a saying a lot of things to myself that nobody else was saying to me. It’s a very important album. I hear where I was in my life.

Where did you feel VNV Nation fits into alternative music these days, more futurepop, synthpop or goth rock at this point?

I call it alternative electronica and I leave it at that. I quit using the term futurepop after I invented that term so radio stations in Germany would play us and another band. I invented the word. When radio stations told this is a new futurepop single, they thought, “OK, this must be some crazy, new genre” and it worked and they played us.

As far as playing Tampa, did you intentionally schedule a stop there?

I absolutely love playing Tampa; it’s always on my list. I wouldn’t do a tour without playing Tampa. I love the crowd there and have made a lot of friends there. I’m very close with the people. We have a tradition of people bringing inflatables to the show, which only happens in Tampa.

What can fans expect at the show as far as the set list or obscure ditties?

We’re sticking to Empires and Automatic, that’s the whole point of this tour. People ask are we going to play songs from other albums and the point is we’re playing Empires and Automatic in full. There are some remixes being played live, like “Further.” It’s for people who love both albums get to hear all the tracks, live from the stage.

Any chance we might see you at The Castle afterwards?

Oh yeah, that was pretty much planned. So yeah, The Castle is on.

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