VNV Nation, is an electronic music group originally from London, now based in Hamburg, that combines elements of trance, synthpop and electronic body music (EBM), into what they call futurepop. The members are Ronan Harris and Mark Jackson. The "VNV" in the name stands for Victory, not Vengeance.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, 1998's Praise the Fallen, continued largely in this vein, and they began to enjoy a larger degree of commercial success.
During that time Harris also wrote for Side-Line Magazine and was also the webmaster until 1999.
1999's Empires was their breakthrough album, gaining them widespread commercial success (topping the German DAC charts for seven weeks) and almost single-handedly spawning a genre of similar artists. While in the vein of their previous two works, Empires expanded the bombastic synthesizer lines and incorporated tighter song organization 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 legendary Access Virus) and two (rather low-quality) samplers.
Their 2002 album, Futureperfect, represented a departure in many ways, largely away from EBM and towards synthpop, even incorporating some elements of trance. Furthermore, 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, leading to a somewhat weakened reputation in the "underground" music community. Nonetheless, they embarked on several highly successful world tours in 2002 and 2003, including to the United States, where this genre of music does not normally enjoy much commercial success. Notably, the album was produced using mainly software synthesizers instead of hardware synthesizers. Some hardware was used, but the majority of instruments used were software programs.
Their latest album, Matter + Form, released in 2005, 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 Ronan Harris' voice more space in the mix. Of course, there were also several songs with a softer and more pensive theme. Some songs even had a slight "rock" feeling to them, mostly with how drum sequences and bass-lines were arranged, the most obvious being the album-closing song Perpetual. The instrument assortment used in the production was much expanded upon from previous albums and everything from the Access Virus to a custom-made analog modular synthesizer and several software synthesizers were used. This album was also the first time VNV used an outside producer, and the overall mix and master of the album is much improved.
Currently, VNV Nation is working on a live/remix/studio followup to the Matter + Form sessions and tour, called Reformation, as well as their sixth studio album, entitled Judgement. Judgement is scheduled to be released in March, 2007