1987 Metal Forces #21 Interview with Snake
Metal Forces was a British magazine, which emerged during 1983. The last issue (#72) was published in 1992. The magazine was then re-launched as “MF” in early 1993, but this only lasted for two issues. The magazine was edited by Bernard Doe.
Metal Forces #21 1987 by Mike Exley
There is a great debate going on in our letter pages at the moment as to whether this band or that band is or is not hardcore, a skinhead band, thrash band etc. It seems some people will argue about anything. That question seems as yet unanswered and no doubt it will keep our secretary busy for some time. Okay here’s a challenge from me to you! Categorize VOI VOD.
The VOI VOD, if I am correct, was a barbarian warrior who roamed the length and breadth of Europe back in the midst of time in large and marauding bands being basically war-like to everyone. Once again it seems that such a band has returned to a welcome usually reserved for visiting dignitaries. Hailing from Quebec in Canada where they seem to live in near permanent winter Blacky (bass), Piggy (guitar), Snake (vocals), and Away (drums) are a fresh sight on the European scene and it seems that it’s not only European audiences who are surprised.
The band, on their first visit to Europe, are over-awed with their reaction over here but I think they like it
Snake takes up the story:
“Quebec is really quite isolated and we were really surprised to see everyone going so wild over here in Europe. It’s really great because all the lids seem really crazy about us. When I’m up on stage and they’re all singing the chorus to “Voi Vod” or chanting for us, I feel really great. Our manager Maurice worked really hard to get us over here and so far we’ve loved every minute of it. I’m really looking forward to seeing England as well because it’s a dream come true for the whole band because we listened to all that old metal stuff like MOTORHEAD and early RAVEN when we started.”
VOI VOD’s rise to fame was quite sudden; their debut album “War and Pain” although blasted by some of the press for the sheer rape of each instrument, was welcomed by the underground like a breath of fresh air in a sewer. I too was an immediate convert and what’s more I’ll hold my head high and admit it. The of the band’s style brought them high regard amongst the dedicated, while some magazines tried to dismiss them having got bored with the fact that they didn’t fit any of the standard labels they’re used to attaching to all new bands.
The success of “War and Pain” was backed up by the release of the strange titled ‘RRROOOAAARRR’ album which still contained that same strange atmospheric fascination and awesome power. So Snake how did the album get that unusual title?
“The name was really a progression from the first album. The VOI VOD concept on the first album was one of the normal soldier but on this album he became all mechanical and stuff. The name comes from his scream after five or six nuclear wars. Rather then somebody in the band just screaming I think it was a logical step from the idea of “War and Pain”.”
The album showed a considerable step foreword in lyrics and writing style for you so what are your feelings on the album now?
“We were very pleased because we think our two albums have a bit of everything. “War and Pain” was very preemptive but on “RRROOOAAARRR” we went for a more technical approach and we rehearsed the material to a much greater standard. The songs were still very spontaneous as we wrote for the third album we were trying to combine the styles of the other two. I think this third album will be our best so far”.
We will come to the third album “Killing Technology” later but now I’m interested to see that you surround yourselves with so few people, why is that?
“Yes we do! We come from Quebec and really we are out of the major metal scene there because it’s remote and French speaking. We had to plan everything for the band very carefully and work really hard on getting a good team together because in this business you have to trust a lot of people and to avoid a lot of shit, you know, we think it’s best to keep a small dedicated team.”
I believe that Metal Blade became something of a hindrance to you, but how did you make the switch to Noise?
“With difficulty! After “War and Pain” we were waiting a lot of time for money. Metal Blade seems to have the wrong attitude to what bands want. They’ll put out and distribute your album but then there’s no promotion and you’re expected to sit at home and watch what happens, which is no good for bands, especially those like us who are isolated form a large metal scene like California. We began looking for another deal for more exposure and we received six or seven good offers but finally we chose Noise because we realized it was the best and because the have good bands like CELTIC FROST on their books. Then, we received another contract from Metal Blade saying that we had to do the second album for them. Would you believe it, it cost us to get out of that one. We were ripped off because we had no money from “War and Pain” to buy new equipment or to work and we still had to pay to clear ourselves of Metal Blade. We believe it was worth it though because Noise have already done a great deal for us with promotion and, of course, with this tour.”
Do you think though, that it was really fair to dedicate “Fuck Off and Die” to Metal Blade?
“The song wasn’t really just written because of them. I wrote it to tell people not to care about those who try and break you and to push for yourself. It just seemed appropriate to our position with Metal Blade at the time so that it provided an excuse rather than being as bad as it may seem.
Why the release of the picture disc without any new material?
“Noise said that we hadn’t had much exposure with photos and stuff so they asked us if we wanted to put out a picture disc limited to 6,000 copies or so with the logo and everything. They asked us for a new track but we wanted all these for the new album “Killing Technology” so in the end we both agreed to put out the EP as a collection of some of the best tracks from the second album.”
Your style is difficult to categorize, so how would you describe yourself to those who don’t understand your style?
“I’m not quite sure how to start with this one myself, but one thing we definitely are not is black metal with all that stupid stuff about Satan. I mean, I’ve never seen Satan at all so why should I write about him. I prefer to say that we try and bridge the gap between hardcore and the technical development of heavy metal. I like hardcore very much because it’s very energetic and we try and base our music around that type of energy while including the technical changes of riffs and beat of heavy metal. I think our music is actually quite challenging to the listener.”
Each album you’ve released seems to have an aura of doom about it even while it is still in the sleeve-will this be an important part of “Killing Technology”?
“Yes, I think so, it’s all part of the concept of the band really, with the art work and everything. “Killing Technology” lyrically will be a little more political though. We’ve never tried to side with one point of view but in the lyrics we like to tell people about nuclear war and polluting the atmosphere and stuff, and “Killing Technology” has quite a bit of that, “Over Reaction” for example is about the China Syndrome. Doom is always in our concept on each album but we like to progress to different ideas in each album we do.”
What are the plans for the completion of the album?
“We should have already recorded the album by the time this interview is printed. We are in Germany for a month after this tour then we go back to Canada. We have a tour of the U.S in March and hopefully the album can come out just before that so that we can promote it live.
Would you admit to writing some tracks with a humorous angle like “This is Not An Exercise” (a track written for the third album) or “Fuck Off And Die”?
“No, not really! “This Is Not An Exercise” actually has a very important message because it concerns the scare of nuclear attack and the impending danger with all the fear and disruption of people and communication. Really I think it’s more of a scream, you know, help-this is not an exercise! In fact I think we have only one track that makes me laugh although we were quite scared at the time.”
That’s “Cockroach” is it?
“Yes; we took an apartment and there were millions of cockroaches everywhere. It was quite frightening because we had to kill something like 15 every night before sleeping and, you know, I just had this terrible though that after five or six nuclear wars these would be the only survivors, these huge mutated creatures walking around eating people and devouring everything.”
At this point Snake crunches and grinds his jaws or at least that’s how my tape recorder picked it up-can you imagine that though. The Earth becoming a cockroaches Savoy restaurant-no thanks! Do you think you have something of a European style?
“Yes, I suppose we do. We have the speed of U.S metal as well but VENOM and MOTORHEAD with their power and style we big influences on us in the beginning so I guess we do take something of a European style into our songs. Coming from Quebec, which is like a small part of Europe, we found that we were quite close to the European fans and that really helped us over here. I can’t wait to get back actually because everybody has been so good to us.”
By the time you read this the tour will be well and truly a part of concert history but it will be remembered as a total snub to compromise, hence a classic! The bank have it seems, taken an important step in their career signing with Noise and now seem to be on the justifiable point of hitting the big league. From the three tracks I’ve so far witnessed “Killing Technology” should be as mean if not more dangerous than its predecessors so be careful not to let the BON JOVI or STRYPER albums get too close to this hot property when it emerges or the melt down of the China Syndrome may well enter your record collection.
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