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1997 Critical Mass Fanzine Interview

Submitted by on August 20, 1997 – 10:06 am

1997 Critical Mass Fanzine Interview

Canadian futuristic techno-thrashers VOIVOD are currently recording a new album in Toronto. CRITICAL MASS got in touch with drummer Away (Michel Langevin) to talk about the past, present and future of the band. But first, a brief VOIVOD history:
1984: VOIVOD released their debut LP “War and pain”, a harsh, raw metal album with a very punky edge. The classic, original line up was: Snake (Denis Belanger) on throat, Piggy (Denis D’Amour) on guitar, Blacky (Jean-Yves Theriault) on bass and Away (Michel Langevin) on drums.

The second effort from the band was “Rrroooaaarrr”. On this album, the “classic” VOIVOD sound takes shape, but the album may be a bit too chaotic and messy. A “hard listen”, even for dedicated VOIVOD fans.

1986: The third album “Killing Technology” saw the light of day. This album is, together with 1988s “Dimension Hatross” considered (by many VOIVOD fans) as VOIVODs prime time. These two albums are sure milestones in metal history, and years ahead many bands of the time. Both records were recorded in Berlin with the classic thrash-engineerer Harris Johns. This collaboration resulted in killer production!

1989: The band softens up their sound a great bit, gets more melodic and unleashes the great album “Nothingface”, including a really great cover of PINK FLOYD’s “Astronomy Domine”.

1991: “Angel Rat” is released. Something has happened here on the bandphotos, Blacky is not to been found. He has left the band, but do play on the album (he’s listed in the credits section). The album is even more nice “space music”.

1993: This year, “The Outer Limits” album was released with a session bassist (Pierre St-Jean). The original cover artwork on this album was done in 3D, and came with 3D glasses! Very nice!

1995: Snake has left the band, leaving only two original members; Away and Piggy. The band finally meet Eric Forrest who takes care of both bass and vocals, making the band a power-trio. A new album, “Negatron” was released. The album indicates that VOIVOD has stepped back to the hardcore sound from the ’87-’88 era, but with a modern sound.

And this year, 1997, we’ll get a new VOIVOD album, a live album and a homevideo.

Over to the interview with Away, VOIVODs drummer:
How’s are things going for VOIVOD at the moment?
We are putting the final touch to the pre-production of the new album, which we’re gonna be recording starting Feb. 23rd. We will tour Europe in the Spring and Summer. We also have a live album scheduled for the Fall.

After Snake left, did you and Denis consider to quit the band for ever? And, during that period, did you think of changing the name of the band?
Of course we considered splitting the band for good. I was going to recycle towards computer animation. But after much reflexion, we realised that we still had lots of musical ideas that voivod fans would probably want to hear. Since Piggy always wrote most of the music, and I always took care of the concepts, we didn’t see the use of changing the name of the band.

What are Snake and Blacky up to today?
Snake has a new band and Blacky is involved in the Internet business.

Are VOIVOD touring much with this album? Any plans for some Scandinavian dates?
We toured for one year and a half for Negatron and we want to do the same for the next album, but we want to concentrate more on Europe this time around. I will make sure to make it to Scandinavia.

How come that the multimedia on “Negatron” wasn’t included in the european release?
Because it was a project put together with the collaboration of our American label; Mausoleum.

How come that VOIVOD went back to a much rawer, more aggressive style? Did you get tired of softer direction VOIVOD had on the latest albums?
Also, the sound is very high tech and “up to date”, were VOIVOD inspired by the sound of bands like Fear Factory/Ministry and perhaps Machine Head/Pantera?
The bands mentioned above are all great bands. It was a thrill to watch bands such as Fear Factory, Machine Head and Pantera performing with much anger. We went back to the hardcore sound because we missed it, after playing psychedelic space music for 5 to 6 years.

I heard a rumour about a comic or art magazine that you made, that got stolen from your fan club Could you tell some more about this? (Is this mag still available???)
The comic was never stolen. I’m still working on it, and hopefully it’s gonna be completed for the European tour. But the fan club office did get broken into in 1990.

Have you done any exhibitions with your art?
Only once, in a burned church. I was offered to do a couple more but I never had enough time to put it together.

Are the members of VOIVOD involved in any other projects (music or anything else) ?
I played on a couple of Foetus albums called Steroid Maximus and on one Men Without Hats album called Sideways.

To what songs have VOIVOD made videos for? Did you make the special effects for the latest video?
We made videos for : Voivod, Ripping Headaches, Ravenous Medicine, Tribal Convictions, Psychic Vacuum, Astronomy Domine, Clouds in my House & Insect. I did the computer animation on Insect using Soft Image on Silicon Graphics.

Coolest memory in VOIVOD history?
We toured with Rush in 1990 for the Nothinface album. Meeting those guys is one of the highlights of my career, since they had such an important input on the direction we took as a Sci-fi metal band. Great moments are too numerous to recall (as much as not so great episodes) but recording Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross in Berlin was a very exciting period.

J.G. Thirlwell sings and does effects on “D.N.A.”, but you have also been involed in some project of his, could you tell some more about that?
My frienship with Jim dates back to 87, when I met him at one of our shows in NYC. He’s one of my favorite artists and I hope to work with him again. We share the same interest for freak sideshows.

When playing live, do you use any spectacular effects on stage to match the S.F. oriented lyrics?
We used to have screens, projections, smoke etc…But nowadays, except for the occasional stroboscope, we prefer to concentrate on the musical performance.

What music do you prefer listening to, except for metal (and Pink Floyd :-) )?
In the beginning: Motörhead, Venom, GBH, Discharge, Sex Pistols, Van der Graaf Generator
Nowadays: Sepultura, Bauhaus, Beck, Van der Graaf Generator & Techno

Who does the design of your way out guitars?
First I did the designs and Piggy would build them. Them he started to draw his own and had those made by a guy named Liberatore. Now he’s using Fender and Gibson & Eric is using Fender.

Where can we buy VOIVOD merchandise?
We put the Iron Gang back together at this address : 62, Station A, MTL.QC.CANADA, H3C-1C5.

What will the upcoming album sound like, compared to “Negatron”? Also, could you tell something about the video “Nanoman”?
I would say that it’s a mixture of Dimension Hatross, Outer Limits and Negatron. The video for Nanoman will come out with the live album. The footage was shot at the Dynamo festival and I made some computer animation to mix with the live stuff.

Any closing words to your Scandinavian fans?
Yes, I know there are a few Voivod freaks over there, thanx for the many years of support and I hope to meet you all this summer…By the way, Norse Mythology is the greatest !

We thank Away for this interesting chat. Be sure to check out VOIVOD if you still haven’t.
Read and see more VOIVOD stuff on these sites:

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