2018.09.21 – Impact Metal Channel interviews Dan Mongrain
Impact metal channel conducted an interview with guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain of Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD prior to the band’s September 15 concert at Dürer Kert in Budapest, Hungary. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band’s new studio album, “The Wake”:
Daniel: “We worked a lot on this record. We gave everything we had. Just the composition was a journey in itself. To describe it would be like having pretty much all the ingredients of VOIVOD’s music, but with new spices here and there, because, of course, the lineup has changed and we have our own personalities; even if one member changes, it creates a new chemistry. With the EP [‘Post Society’] we did before that, we found our way to write together and find the colors that we will use naturally on the compositions, so it was a great journey to work together. The album, we already had found this method of working, so it went faster and more to the point; no ego in ‘The Wake’. When someone brought in an idea, we work around it, we try to make it shine and it makes it multi-dimensional because everybody’s personality is in each and every song. It’s very nice to experience so much creativity.”
On which VOIVOD album from each decade he would like to play in full live:
Daniel: “That’s a hard one. Because we did ‘Dimension Hatröss’, already, the whole thing. That’s checked on my list. I would love to do ‘Nothingface’, the whole ‘Nothingface’ album. I would like to do ‘The Outer Limits’, of course, and ‘Phobos’, but it’s a different direction with vocals and everything. Maybe the new one, actually.”
On what he thinks of the VOIVOD era with Eric Forrest, the singer/bass player who replaced vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger in 1994 and saw VOIVOD embark on a more harsh and industrial sound than their previous efforts:
Daniel: “I love it. Yeah, I just dig ‘Phobos'; I’ve listened to it many times. ‘Megatron’, I’ve listened to it a little bit less, but I prefer the live version on the ‘Voivod Lives’ live album. I really like Eric Forrest’s voice and his energy and he’s totally different, but it’s still super VOIVOD-ish. He’s super-talented. Now he’s touring with E-FORCE, playing his songs from the VOIVOD catalog, so it’s pretty exciting. I wish I could go see the shows. It’s very good. We meet him every time we are in Europe or so and he’s a good friend and very talented. Yeah, I wish him the best. I would love to see the band playing that stuff.”
On what he thinks about older bands retiring and, in some cases, passing away:
Daniel: “There’s new blood, it’s always renewing itself. Of course, there are monuments that went away and we have to celebrate their lives and their music and remember what they brought to the metal scene and the emotions that they gave us and the memories attached to the music as well. I remember seeing, we were playing with HEAVEN & HELL for four shows and seeing Ronnie James Dio sing every night was like, ‘Wow!’ I was blown away. The same thing for MOTÖRHEAD. We’ve opened for them a few times, so yeah, it’s a hard blow each time we have a sad loss like that, but life goes on and we have to, like [original VOIVOD guitarist Denis D’Amour] Piggy, when he passed [in 2005], it was a shock and I didn’t know him personally. I met him a couple of times, but the best way to honor him is to play and continue and go on, to play his music every night. Of course, since I’m a VOIVOD fan from an early age, 11 years old, I was influenced by him and my contribution is to make the other guys happy. It’s been working good for now ten years already.”
On Piggy’s legacy:
Daniel: “He was very humble about his talent. Crazy compositions, novelty, uniqueness, resilience, lots of ups and downs in his career, so unique, one of a kind. You know, when I started to listen to VOIVOD and started to like the band, the first thing I noticed, he was playing the riff up the neck, not in the lowest part of the instrument, it was not chuggy or chunky or ‘djent’ riffing. It was with actual chords and tri-notes, not just power chords and stuff like that. Of course, there are power chords in VOIVOD, but I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ It sounded almost like keyboard chords and the bass was complementary to that. That’s the first thing that blew me away from the music.”
“The Wake” — VOIVOD’s fourteenth studio album — was released on September 21 via Century Media Records. The record was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada, while the artwork was once again created by drummer Michel “Away” Langevin.
Voivod live in Budapest 2018