VOIVOD Guitarist Has 'A Bunch Of Ideas' For Next Studio Album
April 18, 2020
In an April 16 interview with Canada's The Metal Voice, VOIVOD guitarist Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain spoke about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's follow-up to 2018's "The Wake" album. He said (see video below): "We're composing. So I record some ideas here and I demo them. I send the files to the other guys. We go back and forth like that. I've got a bunch of ideas — beginnings of songs, a little bit of structures, some of them. And we had a chance to jam, before the lockdown, a few of the ideas, so we have demos. And Snake [vocalist Denis Bélanger] recorded some melodies by himself on his phone, and he sent the files to us, and we can find a way to accompany the melody — create a riff undernearth it, or use his vocal melody to create a riff. It's not necessarily a vocal melody — it can be a bass riff. Also, Away [drummer Michel Langevin] just got a drum app and he's writing some beats, what I send him, and some original beats as well, so I can write over the [beats]."
Asked about the musical direction of the new VOIVOD material, Mongrain said: "The're only [one] direction, and it's forward. You don't wanna do the same thing again. I guess we're gonna keep the VOIVOD identity, as it's always been — pushing boundaries and getting the best out of everybody. And we have the chemistry where there's no ego in the room. Everybody's welcome to pitch in an idea, and there's a lot of, usually, improvisation when we can jam together, and there's some magic moments happening. And that's what we're looking for. So that's how it's gonna happen with file sharing. One idea can provoke another one, and it can provoke another one, and then it takes form and it's transformed into something that you have to nurture and feed."
He added: "Personally, if I wanna answer the question more directly, I would like to write a more in-your-face song — like, thrashy old song… Just for one song — not the whole album like that. But I want this ugliness. 'The Wake' is very polished, so I miss a little bit of that rawness, that ugliness, so to speak, of the music. So maybe I'll work something around that idea. But some of the other songs will be probably a lot [more] intricate and progressive as well — spooky, post-nuclear vibe.
According to Mongrain, the songwriting process is helped by the fact that "everybody in the band evolved musically as well. Snake doesn't write the same way he was writing 20 years ago. And Away doesn't play the same way as well — he doesn't have the same drum kit. But we have a good team working together. We really know how to do it now. We have the practice with the EP and the full-length. After that, we knew exactly the process. So it's pretty efficient now. We know what we want, what we don't want."
Mongrain also talked about VOIVOD's upcoming live album, which is tentatively due this fall.
"I think [it was recorded in] only one place," he said. "We wanted it to be [culled from] a few shows — we recorded a few shows — but one show was way better sound-wise and performance-wise than all the others. So we chose that one.
"I heard some of the [mixed] songs," he continued. "The mix sounds really, really good. The vibe is great. You can hear the crowd well. It's a good setlist as well. So, different than the last live album — it's totally different."
In March 2019, VOIVOD was honored with a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Award) in the "Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year" category. VOIVOD won the award for "The Wake", which was released in September 2018 via Century Media Records. The disc was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada. The album's artwork was once again created by Away.