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Euro futurepop duo VNV Nation picks up where New Wave left off, but the VNV approach adds weight and heft to the otherwise limp-wristed dreck that pop radio drowned in back in the ’70s and early ’80s. There’s an intellectual curiosity about such topics as faith and war that underlies VNV songwriting, so much so that I wonder where it comes from. Ronan Harris (the other VNV Nation member is Mark Jackson) emails from a tour stop in St. Louis that their songs emerge from synth sequences or from noodling around on a keyboard. Sometimes, he says, songs seem to materialize from thin air.

“It isn’t so much a method as a weird phenomenon that I can’t explain and has been responsible for a lot of songs on the past three albums. I’ll be doing something completely unrelated to music such as walking, sitting in a café, talking to someone — there’s no specific circumstance. A song will start playing in my head in the same way you get a song stuck in your head after hearing it on the radio. Only it’s not a song I’ve heard.”

VNV Nation (it stands for the Churchill-esque Victory Not Vengeance) is an Irish-English alt-electronic rock duo. They formed in London during the mid-’90s after a muddle of dance-club singles and trans-Atlantic crossings. I ask if Harris can pinpoint when he and Jackson knew they were a band.

“It was after the release of the first album,” he says. Harris began work on the follow-up the next day. “Suddenly, everything clicked, and the tracks seemed to write themselves. I couldn’t stop. I saw a sound develop — concrete ideas and concepts — a style I was happy with, and this was the moment where everything gelled. To be honest, I see our second album, Praise the Fallen, as our first true album.”

Past Event

VNV Nation

  • Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
  • House of Blues, 1055 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
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