The character of Victor Moore has arguably sustained itself as that of one of the most detailed and dynamic recurring protagonists of a concept album series in possibly all of synthwave music. The stories involving the renegade super-soldier have remained fresh and intriguing while keeping us in our cyberpunk comfort zone- a duality that isn’t always easy to accomplish. A man named Brandon, more formally known as Venator is completely to give credit to for this. I’ve halfway known the cat personally through past music communities for a few years now, and have thus kept up with Venator’s work since his early singles releases. After getting the Dungeons’ caverns’ humidity stable enough to accommodate cybernetic individuals, I was able to secure a moment of inquisition from Venator- right in time to coincide with the release of his newest canon release, which features Volkor X and a snowstorm of emotion, Victor’s Descent. Here’s how it went, in exact words:
So, Venator, my good friend, I’d like to finally welcome you to the Dungeons.
Thanks for having me. It’s great to finally sit down with you and have a conversation.
To start this off and open for more questions, I’d like to pry into your cybernetic mind about the world you’ve created and are creating. The Venator universe. Venator-verse? What’s your official name for the future Victor Moore lives in?
I haven’t really come up with any other names besides the Venator universe, and I think that’s probably the best name for the universe. Anything else wouldn’t probably link my music and the universe in the way “the Venator universe” does.
That makes sense. So tell me about your newest record, Victor’s Descent, which just dropped about two weeks ago. Where exactly in the Venator lore timeline does this fit in? What’s our protagonist up to?
It happens directly after the events of the Cybertheism album. Victor Moore ends up in a final battle against the Juggernaut in that album that ends up killing them both, which is viewed as a heroic sacrifice by Victor’s remaining peers and the people of New York City to end the approaching destruction and oppression the Juggernaut threatened.
However, unknowing why (for now), Victor Moore materializes back onto the Earth, as if nothing ever happened (aside from some cuts and bruises). He has no idea why he still exists. He does some research and figures out that the only people that may have answers for him are a group of Cybertheist monks, some human and some androids, who supposedly reside in the deep woods in northern Japan. He lets a close friend know that he’s still alive, and then ventures forth on foot, through Canada and northeast Russia to get there, to become a scholar of the true meaning of Cybertheism.
Your mention of northeast Russia calls to mind the track “The Northeast Russian Blues” which follows the track “Premonition”. “Premonition” contains some very great and rhythmic vocal work, which for a somewhat chill synthwave track can bring the listener quite a bit of angry emotional energy (due to both lyrics and instrumentals). Tell me about that passage right there, about those lyrics. You know what I’m talking about.
The lyrics were mostly inspired by bad relationships I’ve been in, and also witnessing close friends who dealt with terrible relationship troubles. It’s a story of an abusive person who metaphorically “kills” their significant other by driving them into deep depression and rendering them soulless, which could be more highly inferred by some lyrics I had left on the cutting room floor, ex:
“It’s obvious to me now that you never really cared, of the tortured soul you’ve made of me and my life that you have spared.”
I left the passage this is from out of the final song because I felt the mystery surrounding the lyrics would fit it more. As for tying in with the Venator universe, it doesn’t represent much more than Victor Moore’s complications with his compatriot Zoe Winters who not only had he made romantic advances on, but who completely disappeared during the Juggernaut crisis. This is not the only track that’s about his regrets towards Winters.
And Zoe Winters and that Juggernaut crisis, we can learn more about that on the record Cybertheism. Is there anywhere else as of now?
There’s no confirmations yet, but a talented close friend and I are looking into making a graphic novel detailing the events of the Odyssey EP and Cybertheism, as they’re both tied to Victor Moore’s emergence as a vigilante and the Juggernaut crisis. There’s probably other ways the lore could be detailed as well but those are options that will be considered in another time.
A Venator graphic novel? Are you serious!? Tell me more about this possibility, please.
A graphic novel, or graphic novels, would be my favorite way to detail Venator lore, right under a video game, which would be second (thinking a little big). The concept of a “graphic novel” is so fantastic, as in it’s a visual story that’s too dramatic to be considered a comic, and that ties in so well to the story of Victor Moore, as it finds it’s roots in Victor being somewhat of a superhero figure, but it’s grit down to much bigger and more complex things, that will be hopefully fleshed out in time.
That’s such a cool project to think about, and I’d love to see it come to fruition. Now, I notice in the Victor’s Descent liner notes, you do address the release an EP. It clocks in at 8 tracks, which seems a bit long for an EP. Cybertheism is regarded as a full album, from what I remember being said leading up to and during its release. Any system you have on personally determining what’s what? I, myself, would definitely call Victor’s Descent an album if you didn’t say otherwise.
I would personally call it an EP for a couple reasons. First is that it’s not a HUGE event in the lore, as in where an album would constitute for new characters and conflicts. Victor’s Descent is only really closure for the events of Cybertheism and a semi-setup for album #2. Second reason would be that they differ in length quite a bit. Cybertheism runs for 88 minutes in full, wherein Victor’s Descent only runs for 46. Whether people consider it an album or EP, or even a psychological thriller, it doesn’t bother me as long as they’re enjoying the music.
I had a feeling the significance and intensity of the actual lore and events had something to do with that decision. Victor’s travels through the barren wastes to the home of the Cybertheistic monks hearkens thoughts of Bruce Wayne travelling to the mountains of Tibet not only to find physical advancement, but for internal closure and peace of mind. Honing his spiritual energies. Is it likely we’ll see Victor’s power and ability actually show a change due to what he discovers with the monks? A Yoda-esque experience being bestowed upon Victor?
Definitely. Victor Moore already possesses some insane qualities from birth that won’t be revealed until later in the storyline of my releases. But not only does he travel to this hub of spiritual power to seek answers to his questions, but to become a more skilled warrior. One question that plagues him though, that these masters of Cybertheism could not answer, is this: Is Victor betraying his morals by not defending NYC from the possible looming darkness, even when everyone thinks that he’s dead?
That’s an interesting duality. His absence could potentially see him return with even more capability to defend the people of NYC, but in the mean time, him not being there… Tell me about your influences going into the creation of the Venator universe. Of course, we can see the obvious from the classics, like Blade Runner. But what’s had an impact on you, that’s had an impact on your work, that most people probably wouldn’t pick up on? #
Most fans wouldn’t see it but there’s definitely a huge influence from the world of Dark Souls. Victor is much like an Undead in Dark Souls, as every death that occurs to him will only have him revived, and the character of Victor Moore finds influence a couple Dark Souls characters, such as Knight Artorias and Alva the Wayfarer. There’s also some eldritch plot points that can take back some influence from the works of HP Lovecraft.
I personally know of your affinity for Dark Souls, and I’m always happy to hear about Lovecraftian influence in the retrowave world, which I’d love to talk about in the Dungeons soon, as well as with you. But it’s about time we bring things to a close. I gotta know first though- and you may have already addressed this on your own- what’s the significance in the number 5507? As in Venator #5507? Is it just a random number you chose to attribute to your project, or does it have another simple origin?
It’s a number with no deeper meaning. That was Victor Moore’s service tag when he was in Project V, the failed government program that he survived and changed him forever. That’s really it. It isn’t a reference to anything or has no deeper meaning in itself. Originally, the tag was supposed to differentiate me from my friend Nicolas, better known as Fortune In Exile, before I had emerged as Venator and we were planning to make it a two man project, as he was going to be #1035. As I emerged as Venator and the lore started coming to, the number 5507 gained more significance to the story. But beyond that, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a number.
A simple enough answer that I had to have. Well, Brandon, thanks for speaking to us here tonight. It’s been fun, and I look forward to having you back.
It’s been a pleasure, man. I also look forward to a reunion. Godspeed and may the purple flame burn forever.
Make sure to check out Victor’s Descent and follow the Venator universe on Bandcamp.