VOIVOD's DAN MONGRAIN: 'We Still Have The Fire Inside'
December 22, 2020
Guitarist Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain of Canadian metal innovators VOIVOD spoke to Antichrist Magazine about how he and his bandmates have been dealing with the coronavirus crisis. He said (see video below): "We've been home for a while, so we had time to all get on with our own lives separately, individually. And I think we can feel the positiveness, so to speak, out of it, because it's good at the same time to be back home and to take care of each other's life individually. But now it's been a year almost since we've been on the road — we were on tour last year in December; it was the last tour we did — and we started to work pretty early on during the lockdown on new material. And we're just back at it since a couple of weeks [ago], trading files and stuff like that. So it's gonna give another perspective on how we do things between us. And also, being on the road with the band since 12 years [ago] non-stop, really, it was not a bad thing to have time off the road and to re-center ourselves in our lives and our being, internally and emotionally and everything. So I think now we kind of crave, we need to play again; we need to see each other again; we need to jam; we need to play. And that's pretty relevant, because it means that we still have the fire inside."
VOIVOD drummer Michel "Away" Langevin recently told Metal Pilgrim that the band "recorded improvisations and bits" of new songs in January and February, and spent the last few months working on these "templates." He explained: "Now it's just a matter of getting to Snake's [singer Denis Belanger] new studio and jam together and morph it into VOIVOD material. But I really doubt that it's gonna come out before end of 2021 or early 2022. That's realistic. Especially if we focus on learning specific albums [for possible upcoming live streams]. Let's say we decide to learn 'Nothingface' or 'Dimension Hatröss' or 'The Outer Limits', it's a lot of work and many rehearsals.
"I think the whole process of writing new material has been slowed down a lot," he continued. "But thankfully, we are synced up with Logic Pro online and are sharing a Dropbox folder, so with the new technology, we were able to write new material while socially distancing."
Asked about a possible storyline for VOIVOD's next album, Away told Metal Pilgrim: "We've been asked if we would resurrect the Voivod character, and we're thinking about that… We have a messenger chat with the four of us in the band, and we discuss a lot, and it came up a couple of days ago, and we're looking into that. And also, I asked Snake what type of lyrical content he was looking at, and he said he doesn't wanna focus on the COVID situation; he says he doesn't really wanna think about the pandemic situation. He's moving onward.
"We're still trying to deal with the puzzle about the 20 bits of songs we have and trying to make it into something coherent," the drummer explained. "So I think that the next step is for everybody to get together at the new studio that Snake is building, and then it's really gonna morph into a real thing. But I think the content of the lyrics side is coming up quick, and we have to figure it out eventually, because sometimes it really ties everything together. What I mean is it's easier to write the album if you know what you're gonna talk about, and which subject comes before which and after which. So that's probably the mission this winter — to try to do a plan [for the lyrical direction]."
VOIVOD released a new live album, "Lost Machine - Live", on November 27 via Century Media Records. The disc was recorded in Québec City during the worldwide touring cycle for "The Wake".
This past summer, VOIVOD released a new three-track 12-inch vinyl and digital EP titled "The End Of Dormancy" via Century Media Records. The EP is centered around a special "Metal Section" version of the title track (off VOIVOD's latest album, "The Wake") with added trumpets, saxophone and trombones. The complementary songs on this release are exclusive live versions of "The End Of Dormancy (Metal Section)" and the group's classic "The Unknown Knows", recorded at Montreal Jazz Fest 2019.
"The End Of Dormancy" EP came with artwork by Langevin and is available on 180-fram 12-inch vinyl.
"The Wake" 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.