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Interview

An Interview With Away Of Voivod

It’s been over a year since Metal Underground.com has talked to Away, drummer for the long-standing band Voivod. Through decades of changes in personnel and sound, Voivod has remained a metal icon, recently playing at Maryland Death Fest IX and Roadburn Festival to screaming fans. They premiered a new song live at the fests which is part of a new album currently being written. I was able to talk to Away for some time about the album, Voivod's history, and the many influences that have shaped their sound.

Buick McKane: How are you doing today?

Away: Good, thank you very much.

Buick: Great. You released a live album this summer, shortly after Maryland Death Fest, and everybody is talking about a new album that yall are working on, and will this album be in the same vein as the album you released in 2009?

Away: Well, it’s going to be….it might be a bit different. The thing is with the live album is because Blackie, the original bass player came back, we were concentrating on the 80s thrash metal material live. And it just happens that the new material that we are writing is pretty much rooted in that prog and thrash metal that we were doing back then. So it might be a bit similar. It has a lot of thrash metal energy and intricate beats mixed together.

Buick: That’s awesome. And yall have gone through so many different genres of metal and rock, it seems like, through the years. Do you think that all those different sounds yall played have come to make your current sound?

Away: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We wrote a bunch of tracks for the next album and we performed one of them live on the last tour this year, and that’s what people thought of it; all the ingredients are there, a little psychedelia, a lot of thrash metal and prog/tech, industrial all mixed together. And so, yeah, I guess that’s what we are right now. It’s a combination of everything we went through musically all these years.

Buick: Well that just makes you completely unique cause most people only play one kind, and yall have everything.

Away: Yeah. It has probably played against us at times in the sense that we were never part of any big, mainstream thing, and pretty much stayed underground. But, yeah, we really play the music that we love.

Buick: What would you call the music? I know it’s a mixture of so many different things, but if you could call it a name, what would you call it?

Away: I mean, there is a lot of metal involved in it, of course. That’s our roots. When we started, we heavily into Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, but we were also listening to a lot of hardcore like Discharge, Broken Bones, lot of types of alternative music like Killing Joke, Bauhaus, and also a lot of obscure, progressive rock and krautrock like Faust, and Can. So all of that mixed together with the fear of the nuclear war of the 80s, it’s a bit hard to describe, but I saw the term nuclear metal back then. I thought it was pretty funny. Quite often we were labeled progmetal, but somehow the main word is metal.

Buick: I think nuclear metal is a very good name and it still fits for today with all the crazy stuff going on in the world.

Away: Yeah, what I like about the fact that we were a part of the thrash metal scene of the mid-80s is they were all, like, socially-oriented regarding nuclear war because pretty much everyone was influenced by hardcore music back then also. And it’s still relevant today.

Buick: Absolutely. Well does the album have a name yet?

Away: No. We make great progress on the writing, we have about ten songs in progress, and four of which are pretty much done. But there’s no title yet.

Buick: I see. And do you think it will come out, I guess, next year, hopefully early next year?

Away: Yeah, we’re aiming for spring 2012. So for that we need to record in the winter, so we still have a lot of work to do til then writing-wise.

Buick: Right. Are you going to do any shows while you’re recording it?

Away: We are hoping to play the west coast of U.S.A. before the end of the year because last year when we played in U.S. with Kreator we only did the east coast. We have nothing planned right now, it’s just something we would love to do. But if it doesn’t happen, we’ll just writing.

Buick: Right. I think you’re fans would love to see you too.

Away: Yeah, we would love to go back there. It’s been…I think the last time we played on the west coast was in 2003 when we did the Ozzfest. That was with Jason Newstead and Piggy.

Buick: Right, and that’s such a, not necessarily big festival, but there’s so much going on…I’m sure a lot of people would like to go to a show and yall are the main thing, and they can just focus on yall.

Away: Yeah, we just did that all across Europe, playing our own headline tour, and it went really well. So hopefully we can do that across U.S.A. in the near future.

Buick: I like festivals, but they can be pretty distracting when you’re trying to watch a band or go see another band, and another band is playing that you want to see at the same time.

Away: Yeah, and quite often there’s restrictions on the setlist, and you get about half an hour. And in a club, you can play an hour and a half easy. Yeah, the festivals are really fun, and I always get to see other bands that you like also. My favorite lately was the festivals on the boat, 70,000 Tons of Metal. We had a great time on the boat, and I got to meet a couple of my heros like Raven and Saxon. I also saw Trouble, they were great.

Buick: That’s awesome. I wanted to go so bad.

Away: It’s really worth the trip. I hope we get invited back there.

Buick: Well, hopefully they’ll see this interview and they’ll know that. Well, are you going to play any more new songs that you’ve written before the album is released if you do go on tour?

Away: Probably because four songs are pretty much done, so there would be opportunity to play more new stuff. That’d be great actually.

Buick: You mentioned so many bands, what bands would you like to tour with one day?

Away: Wow, that’s a great question. I mean, you know, in terms of touring with a band that I have a lot of respect for, that would be Tool. Maybe…I guess that’s it. I really do like Mastadon, that would be absolutely great.

Buick: Definitely prog bands, not so much thrash though.

Away: Actually, lately, since reforming in 2008, we’ve been playing festivals with the likes of Destruction, Testament, Forbidden, and all of our old friends like Kreator. It’s been great. Especially in Chile, Mexico, or Japan, and places we’ve never been before on tour. So that gives us the new territory to explore.

Buick: That’s great. Metal is huge worldwide. It really is a universal thing.

Away: The metal community has always been healty, even when it took a bit of a low-profile in the early 90s. It was still possible to go to Europe and play huge festivals, that’s what we did.

Buick: Right, it’s amazing. And yall have a really great history to tell about that. You’ve seen almost everything.

Away: Well, we covered quite a few decades now that I think about it; the 80s, the 90s, the 2000s. And now we’re jumping over right into the next one. Ups and downs, crazy times, fun and all that, and a lot of mistakes along the way, but still we have a pretty good catalog of sixteen albums, and working on the seventeenth one. So it’s pretty fun.

Buick: Great. Keep that enthusiasm up, definitely.

Away: Yeah, yeah, it’s all good. Now that we are back on the road, and there are many younger people who never thought that they would see Voivod live, so it’s good to see these people all around the planet.

Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?

Away: Yeah, actually, there were a lot of demands for the noise catalog of the 80s, like, it’s been out of print for a while. So just wanted to say that “Rrröööaaarrr,” “Killing Technology,” and “Dimension Hatröss.” are going to be rereleased for Christmas, remastered with bonus Iron Gang???demos. And also our very first demo which came out in 1984 is going to come out on vinyl sometime this year also. So we’re slowly making everything available, but surely.

Buick: That’s really awesome. Those kids, those younger people, some of them really love the vinyl. I do too because, to me, it’s just sounds better.

Away: Yeah, “War and Pain,” our very first album, just came out last month on vinyl again. It’s doing very well. So I’m pretty sure that “Rrröööaaarrr,” “Killing Technology,” and “Dimension Hatröss” are going to come out on vinyl as well.

Buick: That’s great. It sounds like yall are doing really, really well.

Away: Yeah, well, we keep busy and we want to make the most material available possible because we think that the people who love Voivod deserve it. Everything is self-poduced and we have a company called Iron Gang Factory. And it takes time because we do everything ourselves. We’re getting there.

buickmckane's avatar

Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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21 Comments on "Interview With Away Of Voivod"

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Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

1. Cynic writes:

Fantastic interview, new material sounds great.

# Aug 16, 2011 @ 8:54 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. Arnian writes:

Well done. But stop using "yall", feels like the interview's being done on a farm or something.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 1:30 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

3. R10 writes:

Excellant read,nicely done Buick. I have to admit this band flew way over my head in the mid 80s. I believe it was Killing Technology where i started to into these guys. The rrroaarrr and War and Pain albums were pretty rough sounding.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 4:13 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

4. Diamond Oz writes:

Agreed with Arnian. It's a great interview but everytime I read "y'all" it really annoyed me.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 6:43 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

5. psythe writes:

Every time I read 'yall' I wanted to punch my own eyes. Awful, just awful.

A good interview that was unfortunately killed. Sack your editor!! haha

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 6:53 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
buickmckane's avatar

Writer / Reviewer

6. buickmckane writes:

Thanks for the input, but I refuse to stop typing y'all, it's the way I talk, a part of living in Louisiana and I'm proud of it. And farming is awesome, trying to get into it, so thanks for the compliment.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 9:47 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

7. Diamond Oz writes:

OK, I'll put it this way. You're reading one of my interviews and I keep calling the other person mate because that's how I talk. I guarantee you it'd get annoying really quick.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:19 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
deathbringer's avatar

Founder, owner & programmer

8. deathbringer writes:

I didn't think it was too many y'all's, and if it was, there's no harm in editing a couple instances so that it doesn't feel repetetive. Lots of our writers have their own style, so let's give Buick a break.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:32 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

9. Diamond Oz writes:

I'm not having a go or being nasty about it, I'm simply stating that I feel the word was used too often, a sentiment which is evidently shared by others. Constructive criticism is all it was intended to be.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
sonictherapy's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

10. sonictherapy writes:

You blokes need to quit it. LOLOLOL

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:42 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

11. R10 writes:

The y'alls buick used definately told me she was from the south. Didnt really bother me,she could have thrown in a few ' fixins , or yonders. Like asked Away when they were fixin to tour New Orleans orx something. I wonder if French Canadian Away got a chuckle from hearing the y'alls? Anys,good interview,a few y'alls and all.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 12:26 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
sonictherapy's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

12. sonictherapy writes:

It's basically vernacular. When I've spoken to Reed Mullen or Chuck Schuldiner, the yalls were flowing like gravy. I see it like this: In a Q&A interview, there's room for more informal speaking, but if you were to rework it into prose and make a story out of it, then you need to tone down the colloquialisms unless they are direct quotes from the bandmembers. That's just my take on it.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 12:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

13. hellrat writes:

hey...fvck y'all country bumpkin hatin muthafukkas :)

Most Commonwealth accents annoy the fvck out of me...I s'pose all y'all should just stop talking eh? ;)

Agree with sonic, the Q&A format should be transcribed directly, thereby preserving the spontaneous ambience of the interview itself...it is similar to a live recording of a musical performance, it should never be edited or enhanced

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 1:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

14. Diamond Oz writes:

We're not hating on her accent, simply saying that in a written interview, the constant use of regional dialect doesn't work well.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 1:42 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

15. R10 writes:

I see your point Oz in a way. But if you interviewed a member of Maiden or Sabbath,a few blokes,mates,etc thrown in wouldnt hurt the interview. What would destroy the interview would be someone like me using the words bloke,mate,etc in talking to someone English. That would certainly be fake,id deserve to get called on it. Buicks from the south,she uses y'all naturally. It probably would have went over better in a video interview,rather than print,but whatever. I probably have one of the most ridiculed accents in the country,with the bah for bar,cah for car thingy. Ive been down south,recieved all kinds of hell for the way i talk. The y'all thing doesnt really bother me that much.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 2:20 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

16. hellrat writes:

Oz....humor, brother! Eh, I mean... HUMOUR, mate! It does a body bloody brilliant! :)

Big R, your kinda accent is definitely fvcked up man...my honey's family is all from Massholio, and her parents have lived in Maine for the last 25 years, and I'll tell ya, even the dogs up there talk like that!

We were trying to call her parents' dog in one night, "Barney! Barney, come on damnit, get in here!" it was like the frikken dog was deaf, totally ignoring us...I was like fvck the sh!t dog, he can stay out there! but then Kristin says, aha! I got it---"hey BAHney! come on boy!" fvckin dog immediately snaps to, and comes trotting in all jolly :)

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 3:08 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

17. Diamond Oz writes:

Honestly Hellrat, I find it really hard to tell when you're joking and when you're not. This is no doubt due to us talking over the interwebs instead of face to face, but before you said you were joking, comments like "Most Commonwealth accents annoy the fvck out of me" just come across as spiteful. Funny story about the dog though.

I'm going to stop with this now because we're taking a good interview and ruining it by focusing on a regional word, thus devaluing the hard work Buick put into the piece itself.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 3:14 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
R10's avatar

Member

18. R10 writes:

Yea,good one about the dog,so true though! Wicked funny dude! Ive traveled up the coast HR on little Route 1 through Maine,those accents get worse the further north you go. Beutiful country,and you oughtta see the moose. Holy sh**! Some of those little northern Maine towns have more moose than people. Good story about Barney though HR. Got a chuckle out of it!

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 3:31 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
hellrat's avatar

Member

19. hellrat writes:

Ya, sorry Oz man...you'd probably get my sarcasm better if I wasn't such a fvcking c0cksnout, but its no worries my limey brother...you know I love ya!

Yessir Big R, them accents get pretty fvcking wacky the further north/back into the woods ya go...."hey, why dontcha grab Bahney and get the boat out of the Bahn, and we'll head on ova and see if theres any ducks out on the Mahsh backwatah..."

Good Sh!t :)

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 3:53 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

20. Diamond Oz writes:

Haha, no worries HR. Glad you cleared it up for me.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 5:11 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Cynic's avatar

Senior Reviewer

21. Cynic writes:

Y'all need to stfu and start talking about the new Voivod material - is no-one else excited for some weird nuclear thrashy sh**? There's no doubt Piggy pretty much was Voivod, but I honestly think Mongrain can guide the band to another great album.

...also I think I might get "Warriors of Ice" just because the title and cover art is insane.

# Aug 17, 2011 @ 5:25 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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