Simone Dow Talks New Voyager Album "V"
Band Photo: Voyager (?)
Featuring 13 tracks of power-prog goodness, Voyager's new release "V" (reviewed here) is a testament to the dedication of metal fans.
Shattering its initial goals, Voyager funded the album through a Kickstarter campaign that beat all expectations and saw fans of the Australian band rally to ensure new music can continue to come out from this veteran outfit.
After listening through the new album, I got in touch with Voyager guitarist Simone Dow to find out more about his this latest release came together and discuss the business side of the metal industry. Check out our full interview with Simone below.
xFiruath: Voyager crowd funded this album – how did that process go and did you end up going past your original funding goal?
Simone: It went spectacularly well thank you! When we first decided to do the Kickstarter, we really weren’t sure how it would all pan out. There’s always the fear that we could fail epically and make $20! Luckily for us, we have such amazing, loyal, and supportive fans the world over and we ended up earning more than $8,000 over our $10,000 target. As you can imagine we were totally blown away and still are!
xFiruath: You've been posting quite a bit about ways to support artists directly on your FB page. For fans not familiar with the sales breakdown, can you explain some of the best ways to support Voyager when picking up digital or physical copies of the songs?
Simone: We actually posted a graphic to show in percentage roughly how much profit we make from each avenue of purchasing our music. I believe the math works out to be 91% from CD Baby sales, 85% from Bandcamp, 61% from iTunes and 0.001% from Spotify. And of course, buying from our shows goes directly to us! The more money we can earn, the quicker we can actually start making money on our products (once we’ve covered all the production costs) and tour the world for our fans. And this isn’t just for supporting us, remember this is pretty much the same for all your favourite bands. Most of them are still struggling unless they are Dream Theater or Metallica.
xFiruath: When were these tracks written and how do you feel they differ in sound from previous albums?
Simone: Funnily enough, we actually started writing the first song for this album just as our previous album “The Meaning of I” came out! Danny came in with about a minute and a half of what would be “Hyperventilating” and we were just so inspired we finished it in no time. I think it only took us about two weeks to finish that song. We released “The Meaning of I” in October 2011 and I seem to recall “Hyperventilating” and possibly “Breaking Down” being written before the end of 2011. It was a very easy process and different to how we have done it in the past. Previously, Daniel would bring 80-90% of the song complete and we would add our arrangement touches and maybe a few riffs and that would be the song. This time we wrote about 80% of the record in the rehearsal room together. Some songs were written with maybe one person bringing a riff in and we’d work from there and other times songs would just occur from us jamming. I think with this album being our most collaborative effort to date, comes a new freshness to our sound. It’s a heavier, punchier, groovier and more refined sound, but I think it still maintains that Voyager charm we are known for hahaha.
xFiruath: Are there any guests musicians on the album?
Simone: Yes, we were very lucky to have the amazing Dan Tompkins guest on our track “Breaking Down” and a local talent of our own Zemyna Kuliukas who added some stellar vocals to “A Beautiful Mistake.”
xFiruath: What's happening with the lyrics on “V?”
Simone: Well, that’s more Daniel’s area, but I can say that the lyrics are a lot more positive than our previous album. They are still about Daniel’s perspective on the strange and wonderful world we live in and life in general, but not so dark, pensive, and bleak.
xFiruath: Where did the recording take place?
Simone: We recorded guitars and bass at my fellow axe grinder and partner in guitar crime, Scott Kay’s, pad. Daniel recorded his keys and vocals at his place. Drums were recorded at Sumo Studio, WA by Matthew Templeman & Fraser Cringle. The album was mixed, engineered, and produced by Matthew Templeman of Templeman audio with Voyager and mastered by Simon Struthers at Forensic Audio Perth. It was a very hands on process, but it was great to be working with some really awesome local talent. The whole recording, mixing, and mastering process was just as collaborative as the writing process. We are really stoked with the final product and think the clear, punchy, modern sound suits the songs we have written.
xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the filming of the “Hyperventilating” music video.
Simone: We worked with a lot of the same crew as our previous video clips with director Ben Berkhout of Benja Mind Images and Producer Natalie Lewis of Storyhorse Productions. We loved the work they did on our last video clip and Ben’s always got such vivid ideas for how he wants our clips to look like. He is just incredible at bringing our music to life. It was an extremely full-on day of shooting (13 hours to be exact), but with the most amazing crew we managed to get it all shot in one day and edited and looking all slick within a few weeks. It also wouldn’t have looked too amazing if it weren’t for Frontire Lighting allowing us to use their space for shooting (along with their amazing lasers, giant LED screen and awesome lighting staff helping us out). I ended up with a three day killer migraine after the exposure to all the intense lighting and screens, but boy was it worth it! Hahahaha!
xFiruath: Where will Voyager be heading out to tour in support of this album?
Simone: At the moment we have an Aussie tour booked in July covering all the major cities with support from our Brisbane Prog buddies Caligula’s Horse, and we were invited back to Progpower EU this October, so we are in the final stages of penciling in some EU/UK dates around the same time. Aside from that, we definitely want to head back to the USA as soon as possible and Asia/India are some other places we would love to play. With the help of our manager extraordinaire Lulu Davis of Incendia Management, I have no doubts that we will head to those places as soon as we possibly can.
xFiruath: On the music front, what sort of albums are the Voyager crew listening to these days, and what's coming out soon you are excited for?
Simone: I’m really looking forward to the new Monuments record. The tracks I’ve heard are absolutely killer. Also the new Opeth and Anathema records. Aside from that, we all have a very eclectic taste in music, so we listen to everything from Guthrie Govan, Tesseract, Scar Symmetry, Destiny Potato, Type O Negative, Jazz fusion, Steven Wilson, Russian pop and dance music. Too much amazing music to list.
xFiruath: What other projects are the Voyager members active with these days?
Simone: Scott is still working with Dan Tompkins on Absent Hearts and on his own solo stuff, Alex is also currently writing some new tunes for a solo release. Ashley plays drums in too many bands (The Floors, Will Stoker & The Embers, King Onion...I think I’ve left at least 5 out hehehe) and Daniel is always making some form of music. I’m not sure what he is up to these days apart from Voyager, but I have no doubts he’s dabbling in all sorts of music.
xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to mention?
Simone: Just thank you to all of our amazing fans the world over for their endless support. We could not have made this record without you. We can’t wait to play these new songs for you when we come to your city on tour.
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