Interview with Snake of Voivod: We’re still compiling footage for D-V-O-D-2!

15/04/2020 Video Interviews Share


Minions! We did a 50+ minute interview with Mr. Snake of Voivod. In this interview, Snake discussed Covid-19, the new live album, his vocal influences, Voivod concept, DVOD 2 and much more! Right at the beginning Snake expressed his feelings towards the whole Corona virus pandemic and the way it influences him on a daily basis:

“I really try not to think about it but it’s obviously everywhere…It’s a bit scary, I have to admit…It’s dark a little bit but yeah, we have no other choice but to stay home and be focused I guess on different things we used to sometimes. So it’s a good thing in a sence… It’s a good thing for planet, that’s for sure. For nature, you know…”

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When asked whether the coronavirus has a creative impact on him, he stated the following: “I’ve been creative but it’s always a matter of having to focus on something while you always have this thing in the back of your head  you know… worries and stuff like that. It’s a bit confusing. It’s  hard to focus on something for a while and not thinking about what’s happening. But yeah, me and the boys are in contact every day. We do stuff and exchange riffs and ideas. But it’s really bad that we cannot get together in a place to play and rehearse or anything. It’s completely crazy. It’s something that we’re not used to but we can cope with in a sence. That’s what we do in normal life, you know..We exchange ideas via internet. But once in a while we go in our rehearsal place and we expirience what we have in mind together. But now we cannot do it. It’s missing (laughs).”

Then, Snake talked about the new live album and a new music video: "I can’t wait to release it. You know, it’s live stuff, picking up from different places, different shows….It’s cool because it’s live. Live is live, there’s nothing you can do about it. Yeah, it’s the fun thing and you might have us something to release as a video soon so hang in there. Something really special but I cannot talk too much about it right now. We figured out to keep ourselves busy during this time.” He also shared his thoughts on the way the Corona virus is going to change the music industry:  "I don’t know how long this is gonna be. It’s like… It could be in a long run and that is scary. Its’s scary for the performances, concerts, touring, everything that goes around it. The labels, booking agencies, everybody’s gonna suffer from it.  Yeah touring… it’s one big source of revenue ‘cause at  least you can sell merchandise. You have a lot of expences but you can make a little something there. I mean the whole structure of live concerts might change over the years or over a few months. Even the transportation would be maybe different from now on…I’m thinking about not only the bands but everybody that work around it. The whole structures of festivals, magazines and metal…whatever. It’s just really sad but I just want to keep hope you know…It’s the only thing you can do but it’s crazy how devastating that thing is and not only in the entertaining aspect  of life  but devastating in every aspect of it.”

Then, Snake said that he almost predicted the situation the world is facing right now 2 years ago:  “When I wrote the lyrics for The Wake, basically it was not the same scenario but some kind of look alike scenario. Something that’s gonna change the life of everyone forever. Basically songs like Obsolete Beings and Orb Confusion, when you look at what’s going on on the media, on the fake news…It’s exactly what I wrote two years ago. It gets to a proportion of people don’t know what to believe anymore, who tells the truth, who’s wrong, who’s fake. Orb Confusion is when you look at the lyrics is  almost what’s happening right now. Songs like Obsolete Beings, words that go like: you live alone, we live alone, Castaway and insecure... It’s just what’s happening right now. I’m thinking what’s gonna happen after. How the world will run, maybe in a different way and I hope for the best, for the better. It’s just maybe there will be a lot of changes and everybody I think will realise that we’re small in a sense.  We’re really small and just a part of this planet.  And I think we abuse it too, it’s no good.  Cause I’ll always say to myself: this is crazy. The way we treat nature, the way we polute, the way we expand... How long this is gonna take? For how long do  we have to live like this? The whole thing is gonna... I don’t know. Something’s gonna happen. And now it’s happening. Something maybe I would not think that this is gonna be on my lifetime but it’s  actually happening right now. It’s certainly inspiring for what we’re living  now what we’re living through it and what’s gonna be the future.“


Then our conversation shifted towards answering the fan questions (about 20 of them).  We had to cut out some of them due to the time limitations. Snake recalled the last time he saw Piggy: "Last time I saw him alive was at the hospital. Two days before he left. And it was really, really sad to see him in a bedroom. But he was kind of like... I think that at that point he accepted it. And I remember when I said, oh I’m gonna come tomorrrow or the next day and he went like thumbs up and looked at me. That’s the last last image I have of him. Making the thumb up.“

Then Snake talked about opening for Rush back in 1990: "Opening for Rush was amazing! It was like a dream coming true for us but we were really nervous. „Opening for Rush, you know, you set up the level to a certain degree and there were some bands that actually got booed before opening for Rush. So we were really scared of getting booed but actually we did pretty good. We did our stuff and it went really well. The first gig was in Quebec City and we played in Montreal the next day and there was like two days in Toronto after that so we played 4 shows together. I remember the first show we came back after in the dressing room with the big  bottle of champaigne, all signed by the guys and I was like: OMG this is crazy! Really nice people. They treated us like gentlemen. It was fantastic. It was one of the top thing, the highlights of my career. We’re fans in the first place. Just being in their surrroundings, looking at them doiing sound check  I remember Neil Peart’s setting and different kind of resetting, different kind of his drum kit. It was like, my god…we’re in heaven here!”  He also recalled working with Terry Brown on the Angel Rat album.

 Then, Snake was talking about his vocals on the very first Voivod album – War and Pain. “I didn’t know what I was doing. I just kind of expressed myself but of course I  was listening to metal in general – Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, but I liked punk as well, Sex Pistols, GBH all this stuff. But kind of I was trying to get some sort of my own thing. And I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was experimenting… I never had any choruses or any lessons to sing I kind of jumped in the vagon and I was really young too and I did what I thought was good. I was really naïve about everything. I think it created that sort of original, something special about it but for me it’s hard to see exactly what it was.  I just kind of expressed myself with the microphone.” He also named Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols as one of his main influences because he was singing off the note. He also named Rob Halford of Judas Priest, Lemmy of Motorhead, Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden as some of the vocalists that influenced him in certain ways. Snake also recalled the way how playing with Piggy shaped his own vocal style: "Working with Piggy was really difficult sometiimes because he had like complex structures and I had to fit the words into that frame. But the tritones he was pulling kind of developed myself in a different way… Piggy has his own way of putting things together and I thiink by the fact that I was with him kind of put me into this weird vein, weird branches to create my own thing and to be little off of things and little different than others. Just like different kind of expressions, or the tuning, the tone of things. It’s really hard to explain but he gave me something special that created my sound while I was doing most of the Voivod.

After that, Snake discussed whether he is nervous before shows and his favorite Voivod album. He stated that one day, he might do a “decent release” of Union Made. Snake also talked about the language barrier in the early days (since Voivod are French Canadians). He stated that he is not used to singing in French. Snake also touched on the life on the road. One of the fans asked “What the hell is that on Snake’s face on Psychiic Vacuum video? "I think it’s mud (laughs) said Snake. The last scene was kind of messy.” He also announced that one day the band might play Nothingface or Angel Rat in its entirety at some "special event“. Snake also stated that he has "pages and pages“ of  different stuff he wrote and that it might end up on some of the new songs. When asked if the band was going to release DVOD 2, Voivod frontman stated: "We’re still putting footage together. We’re still working on it actually. Yeah, eventually. We’re still compiling footage. Now we have some pretty good footage of different shows”.

In the last part of the interview, Snake was talking about the Voivod universe – the story that goes through the following albums: War and Pain, RRROOOAAARRR, Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, Nothingface, Phobos and on a unreleased album with Eric Forrest. Snake explains the Voivod concept:

Voivod is a strange, fantastic world. Basically it was inspired by images of ... even like, kind of cartoon type of  thing but really gore. Extreme and gore. As a character, Voivod is sort of like post-nuclear vampire, a soldier, a leader. Something from post nuclear catastrophy or whatever. Away created that sort of image. We were trying to get a little story behind it. So every album has sort of like an episode, we see it as an episode of the Voivod basically. It’s been something that we built the story around it. It’s sort of like a character of Eddie from Iron Maiden. It’s not necesarrily related to Eddie but Eddie is a figure, it’s a character.”

He also briefly explained the concept of the first five albums: "It’s a post nuclear creature that always wants to survive. The only thing he can do is making everything to survive. RRROOAAAR is like building up machines and building up weapons. Killing Technology was more sophisticated. Dimension Hatross was completely into some sort of another dimension. It’s a constant evolution. And so in Nothingface it kind of disappeared. He kind of died but it’s still there as an entity.”

Then, Snake talked about the Dimension Hatross album where each song is connected into a one big story.  “It was like a sort of oppressive world… Maybe it was because we were in West Berlin but back in the day The Wall was still there and we had all these ideas of you know, like…troop or soldier or warriors get together against the big government. And as we were walking in the the city, we could hear helicopter above our heads, the wall… It was the perfect scenario to get to that vibe. Kind of oppression. So we decided to get the story to have like a link from one song to another with little intros and different stuff that once you put your headphones on from the first song it goes…you let yourself go in a story.” Snake also confirmed that MusicLab Studios (where the Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross albums were recorded) was really close to Checkpoint Charlie. He also said that the band wanted to go to over the wall, to East Berlin, but that the Soviet authorities wouldn’t let them: “They said to us, you look too funny!”(laughs). Snake also stated that the trip to West Berlin inspired some of the songs like Chaosmongers, Technocratic Manipulators, Tribal Convictions.  

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Make sure to check out our older interviews with Voivod:

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