VOIVOD Drummer: 'It's A Good Challenge To Be 35 Years In The Business And Try To Be Innovative'
November 4, 2018
Southeast Wreckmetal conducted an interview with drummer Michel "Away" Langevin of progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD prior to the band's October 17 show at Tavastia club in Helsinki, Finland. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the secret to VOIVOD's longevity:
Away: "Perseverance, I guess. Maybe a bit of, how can I say? Independence in terms of not trying to follow trends and doing our thing. It might have played against us when there were big waves like techno or grunge. There were a couple of crossroads where it was hard to decide if we should keep on going or stop. Of course, thinking about the unfortunate departure of Piggy [guitarist Denis D'Amour, who died in 2005 after a battle with colon cancer]. We did stop for three years. We took the opportunity to finish 'Katorz' and 'Infini' with [former METALLICA bassist] Jason Newsted, but it was a hard decision to start over again in 2008, ten years ago. But it's uphill since then."
On the writing process for VOIVOD's new studio album, "The Wake":
Away: "It's been the usual in the sense Chewy [Daniel Mongrain], the guitar player, is the main writer and he came with a bunch of songs that were pretty much written, but we did a lot of improvisations that we recorded and we picked the best parts. He also re-arranged it into VOIVOD songs. Rocky [Dominic Laroche, bass] came with a few riffs. I found a few beats that I brought to the rehearsal space, but everything is sort of morphing into VOIVOD songs when we are rehearsing together. That's where we really fine-tune everything. Everybody's style is completing each other and we also found a way to work on the road on Rocky's laptop, which is really helpful. Even though it took three years to finish 'The Wake', it would have taken longer if we were not able to work on the road because we've been touring a lot lately."
On "The Wake":
Away: "I'm proud of every album. It's very, very hard. I really like 'War And Pain' because it's the very first album and it also represented the Cold War-era very well. I like the album we did with Jason Newsted in 2003 very much, the self-titled. 'Killing Technology' is one of my favorites. It has all the elements of VOIVOD from metal to punk to industrial to gothic and it's all there. But because 'The Wake' is very fresh, right now it's my favorite. We haven't played too often yet, only three songs, the three singles, so it's an exciting album for me right now because it's so new and I can't wait to play more of it live."
On the variety of styles found on "The Wake":
Away: "I think it's the alley we're following right now. A lot of psychedelia and progressive rock is involved and it's actually going to be a bit of a challenge to push it forward for the future albums because we worked so hard on every detail of 'The Wake' that we'll have to really work harder on the next album to make it even more experimental in a way. It's a good challenge to be 35 years in the business and to try to be innovative. It's quite hard. Since we reformed in 2008, it's been the most successful tour, so obviously, we'll write more songs and do more touring. Reviews of 'The Wake' have helped a lot. Now, people are a bit curious and it had, let's say, a four out of five in Rolling Stone magazine. Many people heard the name VOIVOD but haven't heard the music are now curious to come see us."
On whether VOIVOD has started to write the follow-up to "The Wake":
Away: "We want to start writing when we get home. It's going to take a while before a new album comes out, but not four or five years like last time. We're torn between doing a 'Nothingface' tour and touring 'The Wake'. I think we're going to have to tour 'The Wake' for a couple of years because it's super successful right now. It's even No. 20 in Germany or something like that, which has never happened to us. It's charting everywhere. It's strange for an underground band like us. We think we're going to tour for a couple of years. Like I said, we found a way to work backstage and, on the bus, so we'll try to write something very crazy for the next one. [Laughs]"
"The Wake" — VOIVOD's fourteenth studio album — was released on September 21 via Century Media Records. The record was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada, while the artwork was once again created by Langevin.
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