Prior to VOIVOD's performance in Budapest, Hungary on September 15, VOIVOD drummer Michel "Away" Langevin spoke with NoiseEyes.com. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he still gets nervous before a show:
Michel: "Yeah, a bit. I have to focus. Some of the material is kind of intricate, so I'm always a bit nervous. I don't want to make a mistake so everybody's going to get confused, so I'm focusing. I get nervous still before the shows, but after 35 years, it's better than before."
On why the band likes to release seven-inch singles:
Michel: "It's not necessarily an homage to the old school. It's just that it's our signature. Our roots are in thrash metal, so in a way, [we] will always be thrash metal, but there's a lot of psychedelia mixed with it and prog rock and punk, so I think we will always have this type of mix of many different types of music. In a way, it's sort of pure VOIVOD."
On the group's new album, "The Wake":
Michel: "The new album is a continuation of 'Post Society', so we're going down the prog-rock path. It's the way Chewy [guitarist Daniel Mongrain] and Rocky [bassist Dominic Laroche] are interacting together. It's almost like fusion metal in a way, and it makes me play differently. That's where we're heading — more intricate material, reminiscent of 'Dimension Hatröss', 'Nothingface', a bit of 'Angel Rat' and '[The] Outer Limits' as well."
On the five-year gap between "The Wake" and its 2013 predecessor, "Target Earth":
Michel: "We talked a lot, and when we decided to write 'The Wake' two years ago, Snake [vocalist Dennis Bélanger] immediately said he'd like to write a long story through the album, so Chewy started to write riffs that come back in the album there and there. Then we decided to put many layers of music and intros, outros, interludes... it turned out to be quite a puzzle, especially with the last track ['Sonic Mycelium'], which is, like, 13 minutes long. It took a couple of years. We set up a studio in the back of the bus and backstage on the road, but it was a long, long work, so that's why it took a bit of time. Now that we have a structure, we think we can release more albums quickly."
Michel: "Him and Chewy are very close. They are childhood friends, like Snake and I are childhood friends, so they collaborate a lot of the music. Although Chewy wrote most of the music, Rocky participated a lot, like I did and Snake as well. Rocky has a wonderful energy and [is] very positive all the time. The chemistry is better than ever in this band. We are having a really, really good time."
On the longevity of thrash:
Michel: "We always talk about the fact that thrash metal is still relevant. I think it's because in the '80s, we talked a lot about the destruction of this planet, so it's still a recurring nightmare nowadays. I think that's why many younger people are into thrash metal."
On last year's reissues of the group's Noise Records albums:
Michel: "I worked on these reissues for 10 years, so I'm really, really happy with what BMG did. It's fantastic product, to be honest — a lot of work, and I'm 100 percent behind the reissues. Plus the remastering is amazing — [it] sounds really good — [and] the packaging is amazing. I put all the VHS tapes I had in the archives onto the DVD and scanned a lot of photos and art from way back. I was very, very involved and happy that I was involved."
On the group never achieving widespread mainstream success:
Michel: "I try not to think about it that much, the fact that we stayed underground all of these years. Of course, being a mainstream band would mean financial security and all that, but it doesn't bring me down in the sense that the fact that we can tour around the planet and get two, three, four, five hundred people at our shows, it's a lot of work to get to that, and not that many bands from Quebec can claim that, so I prefer to take it in a positive way. We owe a lot of respect to the VOIVOD fans because they've been supporting us for 35 years. We're lucky."
On the band he'd most like to tour with:
Michael: "VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR. That's my favorite band of all time. That would be a dream, but I don't know if their crowd would like VOIVOD. That's hard to tell."
"The Wake" — VOIVOD's fourteenth studio album — was released on September 21 via Century Media Records. The record was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada, while the artwork was once again created by Langevin.