Voivod Drummer Away Discusses New Album "Target Earth"
Canadian progressive metal act Voivod is back with new album "Target Earth," which was released today in Europe and is due out for eager North American fans tomorrow.
Just a handful of days before the album drop, I chatted up Voivod's drummer "Away" (Michel Langevin) to find out what went into the album and how the recording process went with members "Blacky" and "Chewy."
In the transcription of the interview below you can also see what Michel had to say about the distinctive artwork he created for the album, what Voivod's tour plans look like over the coming year, and how the band has become a cohesive unit while playing early classic material at live performances.
xFiruath: When was the material for “Target Earth” written and how did it all come together?
Michel: We actually toured a couple of years before we started thinking about writing an album. So we toured in 2008, 2009, and early 2010. We started writing new material and we worked on it for more than two years and ended up recording in early 2012 here in Montreal. We had it mixed by Sanford Parker last summer and it’s finally coming out on the 22nd for the 30th anniversary of the band.
xFiruath: You guys have had this lineup for awhile now, but this is actually the first time recording with two new members, your new bassist and guitarist. How did the recording go with the “new” guys?
Michel: It was very natural because by the time we finished a couple of years of touring we were really tight as a unit. By then we had played mostly the ‘80s material around the globe, but also a couple of tracks from the Eric years. We had Voivod in our blood and it really started when Chewy and Blacky did a demo of two songs, and Snake and I were working away, it really brought us back to the “Dimension Hatross” days. We also did a lot of improvisation while recording. So the whole project felt right at home.
xFiruath: What’s happening with the lyrics on “Target Earth?”
Michel: I’m sure Snake could tell you more about it, but over the past couple of years we were writing and many events occurred, like the Arab Spring, the economy crash, the Fukushima reactor, the Occupy movement. It’s still in sci-fi mode though, like in the case of the title track “Target Earth,” it’s about a hacker that controls an armed satellite in order to blackmail countries.
xFiruath: Now I understand you actually did the artwork? I read that it has a connection to previous album art as well.
Michel: I did the artwork for all the albums and t-shirts and all that, so I did it again for this studio album. It really started when our friends told us the demos sounded like all the eras of Voivod combined together. It made me think I could try to use colors I used on other covers. It’s colorful, but on purpose, because I wanted it to look real good on vinyl.
xFiruath: Do you already have a tour lined up for the album?
Michel: We have South By Southwest in March, then in April will be South America. May and June will be North America and then we’re going to go to Europe. Hopefully in the fall will be Asia. In-between tours we want to write a new album. Might as well enjoy the resurgence of interest we’ve been having.
xFiruath: Have you been playing hometown shows and what’s going on with your local metal?
Michel: We don’t play that often in Montreal. Like once a year. But the scene here is very healthy and we do run into all these bands from here across the planet at festivals, like Kataklysm, Gorguts, Despised Icon, there are tons of bands that are signed internationally from Montreal. It’s always been a very healthy metal scene.
xFiruath: What’s happening with the other projects from the members of Voivod?
Michel: We’re all part of side projects from when the band was on hiatus after the departure of Piggy in 2005, and then when we reformed in 2008 all these projects took a back seat.
xFiruath: What else would you like to say to the fans?
Michel: I think on this album there’s a little bit of everything for everybody and we are confident people into Voivod will really enjoy this one. It was a lot of work, but here we go: 30th anniversary and new album, it should be a great year.
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