1999.03.10 Interview with Eric Forest
1999.03.10 Interview with Eric Forest by Greg Godin
GG: Comment ca va?? How do you feel after this bus crash and your physical problems? What will you learn about this experience?
ERIC: I feel very, very lucky to be alive, and I am still going through a lot of ups and downs physically and mentally, but the majority of it is over. I am still limited as towards there’s certain things I can and cannot do, however all of it beats a permanent wheelchair. I appreciate life more now…every minute of it. I know just how precious life can be…the simple things really do mean the most, and I am enjoying everything that I can.
GG: How do you see your future in Voivod, and the future of Voivod?
ERIC: I see Voivod continuing; I can’t imagine it not. As far as the accident slowing me down, only time will tell.
I still have some progress to make.
GG: You joined Voivod when the band had a lot of problems, Away was talking about splitting the band. Why did you take this job and leave your life in Toronto?
ERIC: It was an opportunity to play with professionals and to do what I have always wanted to do. Every band has it’s problems, whether it be financial or personal, so I wasn’t really worried about that. Not that there were many problems–once we inked a deal, then we were on our way, and it was just a matter of proving myself to the band and the fans.
GG: How did you, Away, and Piggy adapt Voivod and the songs to a power trio?
ERIC: We just did it! It was pretty natural! We did it as naturally as we could–the vocal lines going over the top of the music were not that difficult to do, however, some of the older material I had to learn was pretty difficult to sing and play at the same time, but I managed.
GG: What do you think about Piggy’s guitar work ? Does he really compose most of the music?
ERIC: Riffmaster-P is one of the best in the world, in my opinion. He really did things that nobody had done, and now I hear his guitar sounds in a lot of other bands. As far as composing goes, yeah, he is the main riff-master!
GG: What do you really think about the artwork from Away?
ERIC: It is really deep and incredible…the things he draws definitely fit everything from every album from the beginning to now!
GG: Who have influence you in your bass style ? Who is your bass player idol?
ERIC: My favorite is definitely Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. As far as other influences go, metal as a genre really influenced me.
GG: Have you met Snake or Blacky? What do you think about their contribution to Voivod?
ERIC: Yes, I have met them both. I remember meeting Snake in Toronto when he was still in Voivod on the Angel Rat tour. I think what they contributed was classic and Snake really did his part in defining Voivod’s style. I met Blacky in Vancouver in 95 or 96 on tour, and he was just the opposite of what I had heard he was in Voivod. He was pretty calm, down to earth.
GG: I think you did a really great job with Phobos especially with singing, did you use a lot of special effect on the voice? Will you continue with this way, or come back to a more powerful voice?
ERIC: Thanks! I did use a walkie-talkie on some of the tracks, and some effects on some of the tracks were added in the mix. I am going to do a bit of both clean and effects, depending on how it all comes together in the studio.
GG: There is a rumor on the internet that Voivod will record a cover from Van der Graaf Generator? What other covers can we wait for from Voivod?
ERIC: We were going to do a VdGG song on “Phobos”, however we decided to go with “21st Century Schizoid Man”.
The Van der Graaf Generator song may pop up in the future. As far as other covers, you never know.
FROM Marcel Roy, Memphis, USA
-You were asked to fill the bassist and vocalist positions in Voivod. As far as singing and playing at the same time goes, how difficult was it to prepare for that kind of coordination?
ERIC: I’ve always been able to do it, I guess you’ve either got it or you don’t. Some songs are harder than others, but it definitely took a lot of practice to get some some songs down.
MARCEL: Did you have to go back and re-arrange the older Voivod tunes to make it easier on you?
ERIC: No, not really. The bass is still pretty much the same, but the vocals are a little different. I like to do it close to the original, but add my own thing in the final presentation.
MARCEL: Do you have any suggestions to others (“learn the music first,” or whatever)?
ERIC: Start off slow…and just do stuff that you’re capable of singing and playing on, and then work your way up, because it’s really endless where you can go with it.
FROM Igor Leiva, Chile
-What’s your personal music taste, favourite bands?
ERIC: I like early Iron Maiden, early Black Sabbath, early Motorhead, early Deep Purple, early Metallica, and Warrior Soul… mostly late 70’s and early 80’s kind of stuff.
IGOR: What did you know about Voivod before joining? Were you a fan?
ERIC: Yes, I was a fan. They definitely had their own thing going. I was very into heavy music, but not too heavy, and Voivod was exactly where I wanted to be (and where I still want to be!) Plus Voivod has more than one dimension, which leaves you NOT playing the same song every song. It’s a real privilege and honor to be part of the team. Everyone’s been very good to me, and the fans have embraced me, and it’s been great.
IGOR:In which bands did you play before Voivod, which style was they into?
ERIC: Liquid Indian, Thunder Circus and about a half a dozen cover bands. I’ve always played heavy metal to harder rock.
IGOR: How was the audition for joining Voivod? What did you play?
ERIC: Their manager, Pierre called me in Toronto and asked me if I was interested in auditioning, and I said “Fuck yeah! When?” Two days later, I jumped a bus to Montreal, and went straight to the rehearsal room. I walked in, did the meet and greet thing, and we started jamming to one of my original riffs. We just jammed out, and after about ten minutes of jamming and barking into the microphone, they stopped. I was wondering what was going on, and they said, “That’s it. You’re in!” And then we were off to the bars to celebrate. I was very happy, needless to say!
IGOR: Do you speak french? How’s the communication in the band?
ERIC: No, I don’t speak it at all. We discuss everything together in English.
IGOR: What did you feel when joined Voivod?
ERIC: It felt fucking amazing to play with real professionals. After ten years of paying my dues, the real work began.
IGOR: How do you feel with the audience? Do you feel as the “new guy” still?
ERIC: I do feel that I am “still the new guy”, but the audience is very receptive to me being part of the band. Some fans have watched me from under a microscope, but that’s okay. Bring it on!
IGOR: Which is your favourite Voivod Album before “Negatron”, why?
ERIC: It’s hard to say. I like a few songs off of each record a lot. I would have to say “Outer Limits”, probably.
IGOR: Why don’t you play more “Dimension” stuff live? It’s a classic!!!
ERIC: We do “Tribal Convictions” and there’s just so much material to choose from that it’s hard to pick and choose. We try to concentrate on the newer stuff.
IGOR: How’s Voivod’s rehearsal room? Where is it? Anything special about it?
ERIC: We rehearse in Montreal, but currently everything’s in storage since the accident.
IGOR: What’s your current equipment (overdrives, fx, amp, bass)?
ERIC: Mesa Boogie Rectifier guitar head, two Mesa Boogie 4×10 bass cabinets, my Fender P bass and new bass strings as often as possible.
IGOR: Which was the best Voivod show you’ve ever had until now? Why?
Dynamo Festival, May 1996…oh, what a feeling. It’s not often that you play in front of thousands and thousands of people, unless you’re Kiss!
FROM Gare Ward, USA
A lot of your music has to do with concepts and has (in my humble opinion) a lot of cinematic value. Would you consider making some songs for a movie or video/computer game soundtrack?
ERIC: Absolutely! You want the number?? (laughs) There’s a couple of tracks from “Phobos” that are going to be in “Universal Soldier 2″. As far as video games, yeah, that would be great!
Gare: Since the next studio album will be the last episode in the Voivod saga, will you start with a new world and a new central character, or will you do independent releases similar to Angel Rat, The Outer Limits, and Negatron? Moreover, is it too early to tell which direction you will take at this point?
ERIC: The music has been written for the next release, but as far as subject matter, nothing’s been decided. Everything’s been delayed because of the accident.
GARE: What do you think of some of the metal/industrial bands that have come out recently such as Fear Factory, Head of David, and System of a Down?
ERIC: They’re great at what they do, and it’s good stuff.
GARE: I know that much of your music is entrenched in story lines that have to do with Sci-fi or fantasy. Are you as frustrated as I am with the seemingly mainstream-ness of such TV series and movies as Star Trek, Earth Final Conflict, Independence Day, and Armageddon. I’d include the X-Files, but I think they’re still holding to their originality. Anyway, I’m just tired of movies like M.I.B defaming genuine research into the paranormal and alien encounters by making it all seem comical.
ERIC: I agree. A lot of movies have just been done before, and now that that’s happened, they need a more original approach to the topic.