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Nights on Venus began and grew out of a solo project by multi-instrumentalist/producer Craig "Professor" Thomas and made its first appearance in October, 2010. 8 months later, the debut album - simply entitled "Nights on Venus" - was released in June, 2011. Atmospheric, hypnotic, smooth, ethereal, and "brain-wavin" are words that have been used to describe NoV’s music. 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.
The second Nights on Venus album - "In 4 the Evening" - was released in May, 2012. The album is a slightly more uptempo, more diverse collection of songs that represented a major step forward. The track, "Paradise by the Lava Lamp," was included on the "This Ain’t No Cowtown, Vol. 4" compilation from Denver.
The 3rd album, "Another Day in Paradox," was released officially in June, 2013 and was another major step forward, moving into a more pop-oriented style of ambient music. “Agave Blues” from this album was included on the "This Ain’t No Cowtown, Vol. 5.5" compilation from Denver.
In December of 2014, Thomas/NoV released the 4th album, “Perspective” which is his most current release. The album features his remake of Kool and the Gang’s classic “Summer Madness” on its 40th anniversary. The album has a definite 70’s vibe, more low-key, moodier, introspective, and more jazz-oriented. He is currently in the studio recording new material for at least one EP (probably two) in 2015.
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); 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; some of his artwork can be found on the Nights on Venus website at: www.nightsonvenus.com. 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.