Though VENOMSPITTER is new to the Richmond music scene, it’s band members are seasoned veterans of the local metal and hardcore scenes, and they already have close connections with other bands they call friends. Formed in December 2013, VENOMSPITTER consists of vocalist Bryce Hardin, guitarists James Hoffer and Travis Downey, bassist Nathan “Falcon” Stables, and drummer Dan Gibbes. Currently taking the Richmond scene by shock and awe, the band is preparing to record their debut EP and enjoying playing intimate, local shows. We spoke with Gibbes regarding the band’s first show and what they have planned, some of his favorite local spots in Richmond, and the fact that metal is not only back on the rise in Richmond, but it never left in the first place.

How would you describe VENOMSPITTER’s sound?

We take a lot of influence from a bunch of different bands. We all really like the chaotic aspect of CONVERGE, as well as INFEST and other power violence bands, and we also have really sludgy, heavy parts like WEEKEND NACHOS.

Tell me about your first show at Bandito’s Burrito Lounge on 4/20. How did it go?

It went really smoothly. We have been playing together since December, so we are pretty comfortable with each other. All the other bands were great too, and we got a lot of good feedback from the people that were there. It went swimmingly.

What do you like to get on your burrito, and what do you prefer to wash it down with?

I’m lactose intolerant so I usually shy away from burritos, but when I do, I usually get them pretty plain. As for my drink of choice, I’m a huge Strongbow or Alagash fan. I don’t normally drink to get drunk. I like to enjoy what I’m drinking.

Where is your favorite local spot to eat/drink in Richmond?

I love Galaxy Diner. Pretty much any little sit down bar. The Hill Café in Church Hill is really good. Also, my girlfriend and I like going to Captain Buzzy’s Beanery. The food is all local, and I love their hot apple cider.

When do you guys plan to release your debut EP, and what can people expect from it?

Well it’s going to be six or seven songs, and we are not sure about the release date yet. We are recording in a couple weeks with Nick Matako, who I play with in my other band FRAGILE HANDS. It’s gonna be just like our live show—really fast. You’re gonna feel like you have been punched in the face repeatedly for 15 minutes, and we hope it will make you want to throw something. It’s very chaotic, fast, and crazy.

What were some of the bands you guys were in before this one?

I used to play in a band called SANA ROGUE, which was an indie progressive rock band I joined fresh out of high school. I’ve also played in BENEATH THE SURFACE, BORIS WHEATLEY, and VICE OR VIRTUE before that crumbled. Jimmy has been in over 1,000 bands it seems like. I know he was in CARETAKER and POSTCARDS. He was also in a band called TRI-STATE KILLING SPREE, and you can still order their music on (Editor’s note: It is still listed on the website, but no longer in stock.) Bryce played in BORIS WHEATLEY with me and he also used to play with COMRADES back when they were ENDEAVOR THE SEAS. Travis has played in a bunch of death metal bands, but I can’t remember any of their names. Nathan, also known as Falcon, used to play in BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS in 2007. They are super nice guys and have been doing really well.

Does VENOMSPITTER have any plans to tour this summer?

So far, we have a show in Pennsylvania in late June, so we might do a weekend up there, but we want to focus on playing locally to build up our fan base. We may do a week mini tour in late July, but our focus is local shows for now. When your band is starting out, you should play as many shows as you can. You don’t want to play too much in the same place to oversaturate it, but you should try to get on as many shows as you can.

Do you think that metal is making a comeback in Richmond?

I would say that it was never dying down. When VICE OR VIRTUE played a local show in Fredericksburg, there were like 200 kids that came out. There are still metal heads out there, and there have always been. My friends still love metal, and I think music should be more than something to listen to in order to make you feel cool.

Is it easy to have house shows in Richmond? It seems like I’m hearing about them more and more.

I think it has a lot to do with Kingdom closing down. Strange Matter and The Camel are great venues too, but they are usually all booked up. House shows and small venues are just the way to go for us. The intimacy of screaming in someone’s face that’s inches away from you is important. It’s all about whom you know; you just gotta keep your eyes open. I got into the house show scene recently through my girlfriend.

Is there ever an issue with them getting shut down?

I’ve rarely seen a house show get shut down compared to a regular party. The people who host them are usually smart about it and tell their neighbors there will be music playing and to call them instead of the cops if it gets too loud.

Who are some of your favorite local bands from Virginia?

I have friends in lots of bands so I don’t want to piss anyone off by forgetting them. UNSACRED are great guys. We are playing a show with them and PRISONER soon, who are really similar to us. For hardcore, BREAK AWAY is awesome; TOUGH LUCK and FIRE & ICE rules. MY ENEMIES & I are moving forward like crazy. Also, COMRADES and SHY, LOW. CROSSING THE EVENT HORIZON is making music again, and I heard they have a saxophone player now. For pop punk, I gotta give a shout out to CENTERFOLDS, BROADSIDE, and IN COURAGE. There are just so many good bands from this area.

For more updates on VENOMSPITTER, be sure to “like” their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.

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