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Exclusive Premiere: Rhea Raj’s Rock Version For ‘Venom’

U.S.-based musician and producer Saint Steph also features on the new rendition of the track that the duo first performed at SXSW earlier this year

David Britto Jun 15, 2022

Los Angeles-based Indo-American artist Rhea Raj. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Last October, Indo-American Los Angeles-based artist Rhea Raj released her slithering track “Venom” along with a sizzling choreographed music video. Since then, Raj went on to release two more singles, “In Ur Hands” and “Devil In a Dress.” She also involved herself in the Web3 space, performed at music, tech and film festival South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas and even started performing as a DJ. Raj says, “DJing is a new passion I’ve developed in the past few months, which I’m in love with. I perform my music in a different way and people get to hear the music that inspires me.”

Now, Raj is out with a rock version for “Venom.” Since she writes and produces most of her music out of her bedroom, she says, “I’m always thinking about how I will perform my songs on a bigger stage.” The singer teamed up with her friend and musician/producer Saint Steph to create the new rendition of the song. The pair first performed it together at SXSW earlier this year. She says, “We actually started with a completely different version that was more cinematic and orchestral, but I woke up a few weeks later and was like, ‘It needs to be a rock version.’”

As someone who spent a lot of time listening to heavy metal and rock music due to her parents’ musical tastes, Raj is a huge fan of how “in the moment” performances are as part of those genres. “With [the original version of] ‘Venom’ being a darker trap song, I envisioned electric guitar and big drums on it,” she says. That’s exactly what stands out in the new version. The amped-up chugging distorted guitars, the heavy airy drum sounds as well as additional sonic embellishments such as keys, synths and atmospheric elements add to the track. Also, Saint Steph’s keen ear for production and Raj’s controlled and exhilarating vocals make the song quite the earworm.

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The artists worked on the song over Zoom calls. The pair even shot a music video at HAPPYMONDAY Studio in Brooklyn, New York, against a white backdrop in which they are seen performing the song as Saint Steph straps on a guitar and Raj is seen at her striking best.

Up next for Raj are a few DJ sets in New York City next week. She says, “One of them is a DJ set for Deadfellaz, a top favorite NFT [non-fungible token] collection of mine, so it’s sick to be working with them.” Also, another single titled “Outside” is due to be out during summertime in the U.S. “It’s a hot girl anthem that celebrates culture, fashion and tech,” says Raj.

Watch the music video for “Venom (Rock Version)” below:

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