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Voi Vod

Interviewed by Mike Korn
Interview with Away Of Voi Vod from 2009
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 3 at

Is the new Voi Vod album Infini the last chapter in the Voi Vod story?
Do you mean conceptually? It is definitely the last album we wrote with Piggy. It features the last remaining tracks he recorded professionally. As far as the lyrics go, they don't really cover the Voi Vod saga we've written about in the past. They were written by Snake. The album is called Infini because we wanted to express that Voi Vod is timeless, it is endless and it is never really finished. Snake wanted the title to be something that meant "Voi Vod Forever."  I dream of some projects in the future where members of Voi Vod would be involved, that would be great, but at this point, it is definitely the end of Voi Vod with Piggy.
MSJ: He was such a unique and original guitarist. Could anybody pick up where he left off?
Hmmm, it's really hard to tell. Nobody could duplicate his signature, that's for sure. That's something I will have to deal with. Having jammed with Piggy all my life, I know nobody's going to replace his sense of suspense and drama in music.
MSJ: There are not many guitarists where you hear just one or two notes and know immediately who it is. He was certainly one of them.
That's true. He was very original...very hard to replicate and imitate. He was a great composer. I don't think anybody will be able to write music like he did, but maybe if somebody could play for me what he learned from Piggy, I might be interested in writing new material. At this point, I really take it day by day. I'm concentrating on promoting Infini. We've booked 20 festivals over in Europe but it's with Blacky on bass and Dan Mongrain from Martyr on guitar. We are covering the material from War and Pain to Angel Rat, although we might be playing a song or two from Infini.
MSJ: Was Blacky pretty receptive to hooking up with you guys and going on tour again?
Yeah, actually! As soon as I was convinced it was not sacrilege for all the Voi Vod fans to see the band without Piggy, it was very easy to put together. Everybody was excited to try the experience. When we were asked to reform in 2008 for a festival in Montreal, I found out that Jason (Newstead, former Metallica guitarist now in Voi Vod) was not available. I thought about Blacky and our 80's catalog right away. I also knew that Dan from Martyr was a very good candidate to match what Piggy played on these songs. I made a couple of phone calls and everybody was really excited. I was really scared that people wouldn't really accept it as Voi Vod and say it was sacrilege to go on stage without Piggy, but the reaction was awesome. After we made it to Japan with Testament and had the same killer reaction, we decided to go ahead.
MSJ: There's a whole new generation of people who want to see Voi Vod.
Yeah, of course. When we released Katorz, Snake and I took a couple of years off away from Voi Vod so we could mourn Piggy. I wasn't too sure if I wanted to do anything with Voi Vod anymore, but there was more and more pressure and demands from promoters  and people on the Voi Vod forums to finish Infini and go and play live again. It was really Snake who convinced me when he said if we were not going to finish infini and play live, then the music we wrote with Piggy would rot and disappear. That was the trigger that made me agree to the offers for the festivals.
MSJ: Infini was the second time that you used tapes that Piggy had left behind. Was your approach this time around pretty much the same as it was on Katorz or did you do things differently?
Katorz was made right after Piggy's departure and we were still in a state of shock. Katorz is very similar to the demos, but when the time came to finish Infini, we knew we had to update our respective parts a little to make it sound more like what we are now. I changed my parts a little, I know that Snake changed his lyrics a lot. The lyrics he wrote in 2004 were not relevant any more, he felt, and he also wanted to share the experience of losing Piggy in his lyrics. That's what I get in his new lyrics.
MSJ: The new album sounds a little bit harder than Katorz. It sounds a little bit more metallic and more complicated. Would you agree?
It's possible. We wrote 23 songs in 2004 and then Piggy went to San Francisco to record his tracks in Jason's studio there. Jason had written bass lines for ten songs that later became Katorz. So he either picked them  to the style he liked the most or maybe he wrote the basslines for the easiest tracks and saved the complicated stuff for the end. But of course, Piggy got ill and passed away...
MSJ: So Jason had a really big input on these two albums....
Yeah, since he joined the band, he's had a huge input. His bass playing is kind of Black Sabbath oriented and he sits on the riff a lot. So I learned to sit on the songs a little more myself. It's now more of a groove than real technical stuff on the last three albums. He's definitely a huge part of the Voi Vod sound and he's also really the ingredient that resurrected Voi Vod with his energy. He's very supportive of the band.
MSJ: I talked to him around the time the self-titled album came out and it was almost like it was a personal project for him to make Voi Vod a big thing.
He always told me that he was on a mission to get recognition to the band.  He's been promoting the band a lot. He's always been doing that...we've known him for more than 20 years . I saw him many times playing live with Metallica wearing a Voi Vod T-shirt and even on the TV show "Supernova" wearing Voi Vod shirts. He had really tried his best to help us. He's a very good friend and I really respect him.
MSJ: We don't know when and if there will be another Voi Vod album, so looking back at your whole career, what were some of the albums that stood out the most, that you were most proud of?
In the 80's, I really liked Killing Technology. It had a lot of the ingredients that I liked. It was very hardcore but the prog rock was creeping in a little. It was very thrash metal with socially oriented lyrics. Even though I was not really playing as I wanted to back then, it's only a couple of years after that I was really achieving what I wanted to on Nothingface. I can hear mistakes on Killing Technology  and that kind of bugs me, but the raw feel and energy is there. As for the trio version of Voi Vod in the 90's, I was really proud of Phobos. We worked really hard on that one to make it cohesive.
MSJ: Do you have a fear that some of the stuff you did in the 90's might get overlooked in favor of the material you did the with the "classic" line-up of the band? I thought Phobos and Negatron were both good albums.
They didn't sell that much but we are very lucky because we have a very loyal following and we were still able to record and tour in the 90's. But it's true that we didn't get much exposure then.
MSJ: A lot of bands suffered during that period.
It's true. When Jasonic joined in 2002, we got the attention back from the main metal magazines. Now we are an established classic thrash metal band and that's why we were able to book about 20 festivals in Europe this year. So we have become legendary enough that we can still go on tour and record. I'm very grateful to the people we call the Voi Vodians...(chuckles)
MSJ: When you started in the early 80's, was there any idea that in 2009 you'd still be putting out a record?
Absolutely not. I wanted to give it a shot and now I'm amazed that we have 15 albums out.  Without all the bad luck, we could have released 25 of them, but I'm still very proud of what we've done.  When we started in Northern Quebec, I had no idea that 25 years down the road I'd still be touring the world and not only that, I got to open for Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead. And I saw people wearing Voi Vod shirts! It's quite an honor. Being in an underground band, I had to keep up with my graphic arts career so I could do both. That's how I can make it downtown here in Montreal, doing freelance artwork for other bands and playing music with Voi Vod. I've been pretty lucky.
MSJ: When you guys started out, I couldn't name another band from Montreal. Now it's one of the great centers of experimental metal in North America, if not the whole world.
It's true, there are a lot of metal bands here in Montreal. It's great. It started in the 90's with Gorguts and Kataklysm and it is still going on with Despised Icon and of course Cryptopsy. There are a lot bunch of technical bands from here touring the world.
MSJ: I also got your record from your side project, Kosmos. Is there anything coming up with those guys?
Yes, we are writing a second album. We hope to release it maybe early next year. I hope it's going to be on The End records again. It's more of a studio project.
MSJ: Another thing we've got in common is we're both fans of the old Outer Limits TV show.
MSJ: What were your favorite episodes from that show?
Definitely the one with the Zanti Misfits....
MSJ: (laughter) Everybody remembers that one! I saw it when I was 7 years old and I didn't even wanna watch it for ten years!
It's something that really marked my memory forever. It was just so scary!
MSJ: Another one that scared a lot of kids was "The Architects of Fear", where Robert Culp got turned into an alien so he could scare all the nations of the world into peace. That was pretty creepy....
I remember an alien coming out of a radio...
MSJ: Yeah, that was "The Galaxy Being"!
It was an amazing show!
MSJ: They redid it in the 90's and I liked that show, but there was something about the old black and white ones. They just had a certain feel to them...
Definitely.  I'll try and get the whole show on DVD someday...
MSJ: What was the last CD or record you picked up just because you wanted to check the band out?
 I'm a pretty retro guy but I think I got the new Mastodon, that impressed me quite a bit.
MSJ: That definitely has pretty advanced music on it. Especially the drumming.
I got to tour with their drummer when he was in Today Is The Day. That was in 1990 when we toured Europe. I couldn't believe the drumming. And now he and the guitarist are in Mastodon. They are a scary machine!
MSJ: What was the last live show you checked out just because you wanted to see the band?
I went to see Cradle of Filth because we toured with them in 2003 when we were on the Ozzfest. I saw them when they were back in town and I really liked what they do live. That's the last real heavy show I saw.
MSJ: Is there any Spinal Tap moment from Voi Vod that stands out in your mind?
Yeah, we had a real Spinal Tap moment once in LA. We got lost between the backstage and stage and winded up in a big reception room where there was a huge wedding! We came in with all of our bullet belts, gas masks, spikes and even the smoke machine! (laughs) We trashed the wedding! Everybody turned around and looked at us! It was really funny!
MSJ: Too bad they wouldn't let you plug in and play a couple of tracks!  It might have been a good time to play "Ripping Headaches!" (laughter) Any last words?
Now that we've started playing again, I'm really determined...and Snake is, be touring every year. So I'm sure you will see us around in the near future!
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