In an interview with Brazil’s Kazagastão, drummer Michel “Away” Langevin discussed guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain‘s unenviable task of replacing founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, who passed away due to complications from colon cancer in 2005. D’Amour‘s unconventional brand of guitar playing was a staple of VOIVOD‘s sound, but Mongrain, a lifelong fan of the band, has injected his own personality into VOIVOD while retaining some of the hallmarks from D’Amour‘s playing.
“I would have never believed that it was possible to replace Piggy,” Away said (see video below). “In 2007, I saw Chewy play, and I was blown away. And I was with Snake [singer Denis Belanger] at that time. So when we were asked to reform in 2008 for the Heavy Montreal festival, Chewy was the first person I thought of. And he turned out to be the perfect candidate in the sense that he understands the essence of VOIVOD, because he grew up learning our songs, but also he has his own direction, which is more fusion in a way. Piggy was more boogie old school, but Chewy is surgical and very technical in his own way. And he makes me play a different way, and I really love it. It’s always a challenge.
“It’s the fifth VOIVOD lineup, and I was with all five lineups, and every time, it’s sort of made me play differently,” he added. “And I love this type of challenge.”
Asked which is his favorite lineup, Away said: “I must say that right now, we have a wonderful chemistry, and with [VOIVOD’s latest album] ‘The Wake’, we are enjoying a lot of success at last. I’m just surfing on the positivity of the new linup, and like Rocky [bassist Dominic Laroche] says, it’s like a dream in a dream in a dream. [Laughs]”
VOIVOD recently released a new three-track 12-inch vinyl and digital EP titled “The End Of Dormancy” via Century Media Records. The EP is centered around a special “Metal Section” version of the title track (off VOIVOD‘s latest album, “The Wake”) with added trumpets, saxophone and trombones. The complementary songs on this release are exclusive live versions of “The End Of Dormancy (Metal Section)” and the group’s classic “The Unknown Knows”, recorded at Montreal Jazz Fest 2019.
“The End Of Dormancy” EP comes with artwork by Langevin and is available on 180-fram 12-inch vinyl.
In March 2019, VOIVOD was honored with a Juno Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Grammy Award) in the “Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year” category. VOIVOD won the award for “The Wake”, which was released in September 2018 via Century Media Records. The disc was recorded and mixed by Francis Perron at RadicArt Recording Studio in Canada. The album’s artwork was once again created by Away.