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Nights on Venus began and grew out of a solo project by multi-instrumentalist/producer Craig "Professor" Thomas, making its first appearance in October, 2010. 8 months later, the self-titled debut album "Nights on Venus" was released in June, 2011. Atmospheric, dense, hypnotic, smooth, ethereal, and "brain-wavin" were words that were used to describe the music on that first album... and also the second album, "In 4 the Evening" which was released in May, 2012. The origin of the NoV sound can be traced back to around 1995, when Thomas says he was working on "a cross between surf music and ethereal keyboard stuff." All instrumentals so far, he calls it "ether rock."
In June, 2013, Nights on Venus released the 3rd album, "Another Day in Paradox" which signaled a move toward more uptempo, instrumental pop/rock. Two tracks - "Paradise by the Lava Lamp" and "Agave Blues" were included on the compilation albums "This Ain't No Cowtown", volumes 4 and 5.5 out of Denver.
"Perspective", the 4th album followed and was released in December, 2014. The album spawned two singles in the summer of 2014 in advance of the album: "Impermanence" and "Summer Madness", a remake of Kool and the Gang's classic instrumental on its 40th anniversary. "Perspective" has a definite 70’s vibe, more low-key, moodier, introspective, and more jazz-oriented.
In July of 2015, NoV/Craig has just released the 4-song EP "Santos", the first of two scheduled EPs for 2015, which includes the ballad "For All the Afterthoughts". All of Nights on Venus' albums can be found on CD Baby, iTunes and here.
The somewhat condensed version of the longer bio on Craig goes something like this:
Born in Asbury Park, New Jersey, Craig grew up in Dallas, Texas in a musical family and was classically trained on piano and pipe organ (his dad was a church organist and choir director); he began writing original compositions around the age of 10. Although Nights on Venus does not feature vocals at this point, he has sung lead and backing vocals for various bands over the years, including Bobby Frost and the Modern Poets and Texans Without Cattle among others.
Craig is also an accomplished visual artist in painting and photography and holds a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts from University of North Texas in Denton. He moved to the mountains of Colorado in 1992 and established Excellent Sky Gallery in Kittredge, just outside Denver, eventually moving the gallery to the smaller, higher mountain town of Empire in 2003. He continued to play in bands and write original music during this time.
Over the course of his musical career, which has run parallel with his career in art, he has played keyboards in all styles from New Wave to Blues, to Classic Rock to Reggae and Jazz. In the process he learned guitar and bass; he plays all instruments and handles production and engineering duties in Nights on Venus. Musical influences include: The Doors & Ray Manzarek, Velvet Underground, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music, The Cars, The Church, Brian Eno, Thelonious Monk, Love Tractor, Sigur Ros, the Aqua Velvets, and the composer John Barry. Craig currently lives in Golden, Colorado with his wife Erin Foley (flute, guitar, and saxophone) and two orange tabbies, Maxx and Cosmo.