and submitted by Slaytanic
|By Daniel Oliveira, for the "Rock Brigade" magazine (Brasil), # 89, December, 1993.
From the hallucinating "Voivod" scream to the experiments of the recent "Fix My Heart" song, many things happened for Canadian band Voivod. During a recent visit to Los Angeles, lead singer Denis Belanger gave us some details about his musical "trips".
ROCK BRIGADE - Originally, Voivod was a noisy band, with weird lyrics. After the "Killing Technology" album, things started to change and you adopted these futurist and space-y thematical approach. What led the band to this change?
SNAKE - After releasing the "Rrröööaaarrr" album, we've become well known to the thrash scene, alongside the likes of Venom and Slayer. Back then, the majority of the bands were satanists, but this had no appeal to us, because we've always been sci-fi freaks. "Killing Technology" was a more technical work, music-wise, kind of a challenge to us. This album was like a warning to the fact that technology is developing faster than society itself. When I was young, I'd spend 60 dollars to buy a calculator, nowadays you get it for a dollar! Every other year there's always something new. On the other hand, I was always fascinated with things related to the outer space, because, when I was 12, me and my sister saw something very strange. It was 3 am, and there was this light in the sky, it was so bright we could see the mountain and the river near our house clearly. I was very scared, couldn't sleep that night, and, from that on, I became fascinated for this kind of stuff.
RB - You are from Canada, a place far from the music scene. Lots of difficulties in the early days?
SNAKE - When we started, we came from a small Canadian city, Jonquiere, circa 300 miles North of Montreal. It was an isolated area, nothing to do there. I needed to go to Montreal to buy my albums. On the other hand, there was the advantage of not having any outside factors to influence us, I mean, if you're from LA, and you're part of a gang, it's unlikely that the local scene won't influence you. In Quebec, the French portion of Canada, bands such as Genesis and King Crimson were huge. Our guitarrist always enjoyed this particular style and developed his own technique based on prog music. Every album we unleash, we try not to repeat ourselves.
RB - Major media complaints came especially after "Killing Technology", when the band put thrash metal aside, in favor of some experimentalism.
SNAKE - Actually, I think we were highly experimental on "Dimension Hatröss", which was an even more technical album. The following one, "Angel Rat" (note from the typist: ???), was more of a direct one, and it was released during a tough period for the band, Blacky was leaving and we were facing relationship problems with our label. I think that's why this album is kinda depressive.
RB - Speaking of Blacky, after he left, the band chose not to substitute him and remain as a trio. Why is that?
SNAKE - We hired a guy to play in the studio, but he had his own band and we had some musical differences. After that, we called a French friend, from Montreal, an excellent bass player who really fit the band, but he had some troubles getting his visa to enter Canada, so when we went back from an USA tour he was deported to France. Hopefully, he will be able to come back and still play with us.
RB - What had really led Blacky to leave the band after so many years together?
SNAKE - He just got tired of everything. Things were not very well with our label and nothing happened for the band. It seemed as we were always taking one step behind. So he wanted to change his lifestyle. He has the right to, I think.
RB - Now Voivod is on a major label, how was that change?
SNAKE - We're not an "upcoming band", we've been on the road for 10 years now, and we've shown people our value. Mechanic (band's old label) was a division of MCA (band's current label), so the change was natural and our relationship with them is a very good one.
RB - The new album, "The Outer Limits", has a very interesting overall subject, and it's got a 3D cover. What kind of message are you trying to give with this piece of work?
SNAKE - The 3D idea came from Michel. He went to a 3D Cinema to watch the "Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers" movie and brought us this idea. It was hard to convince the label we wanted to do a 3D cover, though. It took around two months only to complete the art for the cover. This work is kind of a tribute to the old science fiction, because we always loved the "Outer Limits" show. We also like old movies, flying saucers-related books and so.
RB - Voivod always had a good reputation in Brasil, and there were many rumours of you playing there. Why it never came to be?
SNAKE - I really don't know. Our manager takes care of this stuff, we only go where our bus driver leads us (laughs). Anyway, Brasil is definetly in our plans for '94. It is the same for Japan, our sales there are always good but we never played there.