VNV Nation

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VNV Nation
VNV Nation Live at New City, Edmonton, September 2007
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Synthpop, futurepop, EBM
Years active 1990–present
Labels Anachron, Dependent, Discordia, Energy, Metropolis, Off-Beat, SubSpace, Wax Trax!/TVT
Members Ronan Harris, Mark Jackson

VNV Nation is an English/Irish electronic music band originally from Dublin and Essex and now based in Hamburg, Germany. They combine elements of synthpop, trance and electronic body music (EBM). The members are Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson. The "VNV" in the name stands for "Victory Not Vengeance", in keeping with the group's motto, "One should strive to achieve, not sit in bitter regret."[1]


The group's first album, Advance and Follow, was released in 1995. This was a mixture of danceable synthesizer melodies and harsh electronic beats firmly in the tradition of middle-era EBM, supplemented with elements of orchestral music. Their next release, Praise the Fallen in 1998, continued largely in this vein, and they began to enjoy a larger degree of commercial success.

During that time Harris also wrote for the online magazine Side-Line of which he was the webmaster until 1999.

VNV Nation live in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Empires (1999)[edit]

Empires, released in 1999, was their breakthrough album, gaining them widespread commercial success (topping the German DAC charts for seven weeks) and increasing the visibility of the genre. While in the vein of their previous two works, Empires expanded the bombastic synthesizer lines and incorporated tighter song organisation with verses and catchy choruses. Furthermore, the harsher 'sheet metal instrumentals' of albums like Praise the Fallen were largely gone, and the music as a whole was far more complex with multiple-layered arpeggios and pads. This album was composed using only one synthesizer (the popular Access Virus) and two (rather low-quality) samplers.

Futureperfect (2002)[edit]

Their 2002 album, Futureperfect, while retaining many industrial elements represented a departure in many ways, largely away from EBM and towards synthpop, even incorporating some elements of trance. Some neoclassical instrumental pieces were included in the album. This shift caused their mainstream popularity to increase still further, but alienated some of their fans who preferred their earlier harsher and darker sound. Nonetheless, they embarked on several highly successful world tours in 2002 and 2003. Notably, the album was produced using mainly software synthesizers instead of hardware synthesizers. It was the first VNV Nation album made entirely with software synthesizers.

Matter + Form (2005)[edit]

Their 2005 album, Matter + Form, expanded on the soundscape established with Futureperfect while also adding a harder and more mechanical sound in some songs. Notable for this harder-edged sound was the first single "Chrome". Also of note is the lack of effects applied to the vocals, a departure from previous albums, which allows Harris' voice more space in the mix. There were also several songs with a softer and more pensive theme. Some songs even had a slight "rock" feeling to them, mostly from how drum sequences and bass lines were arranged, the most obvious example being the final song, "Perpetual". The assortment of instruments used in the production was much larger than on previous albums and everything from the Access Virus to a custom-made analogue modular synthesizer and several software synthesizers were used. This album was also the first time the band used an outside producer.

Judgement (2007)[edit]

VNV Nation's next studio album was Judgement, released on 4 April 2007. Containing ten tracks, it continued the evolution of the VNV Nation sound.

On 25 April 2007, at the sold-out show at The Metro in Chicago, Harris stated that the rumours about Judgement being the last album were false and that more was to come and that Judgement was just the beginning.

At the alternative electronic music festival Infest in Bradford on 26 August 2007, just after the murder of Sophie Lancaster, Harris dedicated the song "Illusion" to her and contacted the family soon afterwards to offer his condolences.[2][3]

VNV Nation performing "Legion" at The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia

Reformation 1 (2009)[edit]

Two years after Judgement, the box set Reformation 1 was released in Europe on 24 April 2009. Its US release was on 12 May.

Of Faith, Power and Glory (2009)[edit]

The next album, Of Faith, Power and Glory was mentioned on the band's MySpace blog. Harris confirmed to Side-Line that they were aiming for late April to release the album, which would be titled Of Faith, Power and Glory, or as Harris described it: "The 3 things that people desire and which can make you or destroy you!"[4]

Due to the release of "Reformation 1" in mid-April, the release of the album was postponed; it appeared in the US on CD and in the iTunes Store on 23 June 2009, and in Europe on 19 June 2009.[5]

Crossing the Divide / Automatic (2010–2011)[edit]

A new remix album called Crossing The Divide was to be released on 8 June 2010,[6] but was delayed until May 2012. The update on the official website cited unforeseen circumstances and "personal matters which weren't appropriate for public discussion"[7] for the delay, but have promised that additional tracks will be added.[8]

There were plans for a number of extended and enhanced re-releases of previous albums in 2010 "with lots of extras" as well. However, these also appear to have been caught up in the Crossing The Divide delays.[9]

On 16 September 2011, VNV Nation's eighth studio album Automatic, was released for most of Europe, with a physical CD released on 25 October 2011 in the United States. It has been announced that the Crossing the Divide EP will be made available for free due to the delays.[10]

On 14 May 2012, the EP was announced on the band's Facebook page and released the same day as a free download from Soundcloud.[11] It contains six tracks. No announcement was made on the band's own website.

Gothic meets Klassik, Transnational & Resonance (2012–15)[edit]

In November 2012, VNV Nation, Blutengel and Staubkind performed for two days at Gothic meets Klassik in Leipzig. On the 10th, they played a regular set as usual, and on the 11th, they played an exclusive set accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. It marked the first time VNV Nation had done a set like this. The show was recorded for release, but the recorded audio was unusable. As a result, Ronan began work with the arranger on plans for an album, later titled Resonance, of VNV Nation songs, scored for Orchestra, which will include the tracks performed at 2012's Gothic Meets Klassik festival, as well as additional songs. Ronan also performed a selection of VNV Nation songs with a classical pianist on the 2013 Gothic Cruise.

The new album Transnational was pushed back due to technical issues and was released on 11 October (EU),[12] 15 October (NA),[13] and elsewhere on 19 November, preceded by a promotional tour on 2 October 2013. [14]

The orchestral album 'Resonance: Music For Orchestra Vol. 1' was released on 15 May 2015. It consists of tracks selected from their back catalogue reimagined for orchestra. It was recorded in the Babelsberg Studios outside Berlin at the end of February 2015, the same studios where scores for films such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 & Part 2 were recorded. The album was too long for a single vinyl, and was released as a double vinyl as part of the Resonance box set. The songs 'Nova (Largo)' and 'Teleconnect, Part 2' were recorded with a piano and string trio ensemble. Resonance hit #4 on the Billboard Classical Music Charts [15] for May 30, 2015.


For a more comprehensive list, see VNV Nation discography.


  1. ^ History section
  2. ^ VNV Nation – Illusion on YouTube Infest 2007. Harris dedicated this song to Sophie Lancaster
  3. ^ "Parents' tribute to loving daughter". Rossendale Free Press. 30 August 2007. 
  4. ^ VNV Nation on demoing 'Of Faith, Power and Glory' album
  5. ^ VNV NATION OFFICIAL HOMEPAGE – "Products" July 3 2009
  6. ^ VNV Nation Crossing The Divide
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^
  9. ^ VNV Nation MySpace post regarding albums in 2010
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links[edit]