Tag Archives: Quebec

Ep. #286: Voivod

Voivod is a pioneering rock ‘n’ roll band who originally hail from Jonquière, Quebec. Formed in 1982, Voivod have never been afraid to challenge expectations with their work, exploring aspects of speed metal, thrash, hardcore punk, and progressive rock, over the course of more than a dozen full-length albums and several EPs. Though they’ve endured a number of shifts in their line-up and have almost broken up a few times over the years, Voivod solider on and remain one of the most influential, uncompromising, and mightiest bands on the planet. This past February, they released five new songs on the Post Society EP, and they’re rumoured to be working on a new album too. Vocalist and lyricist Denis “Snake” Belanger and guitarist and composer Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain joined me for a keynote interview before a live audience in the Halifax Central Library at the 2016 Halifax Pop Explosion on Thursday October 20, 2016 and we discussed things like Voivod playing St. John’s, Newfoundland for the first time, road routing, metal and hard rock in eastern Canada, the dedication of Anvil, Snake’s first trip to Halifax as well, Martyr, what it might mean to be post society, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic visions, “Post Society,” humanity and greed, optimism in the face of bleakness, the Cold War and atomic bombs for children, my grandfather and The Day After and Steve Guttenberg, Away is away, sci-fi imagery and songwriting, the way Away works on Voivod artwork now, melodic gibberish and attitude, smartphone zombies and foreseeing a robotic world, communication breakdowns and horrific accidents, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 airplane announcements, what might happen next, articulating Voivod song ideas, fickle and particular fanbases, AC/DC and Axl, Chewy’s love of Voivod growing up before he got to join the band to replace the late guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, fan acceptance, Piggy and Chewy’s guitar playing, Snake’s post-Piggy’s passing depression and the rise of alternative music, how Voivod benefitted from open-minded underground music fans, Primavera Festival, writing new songs for the next Voivod album, a conceptual framework, the pros of collaboration, memorable Snake melodies, lessons and regrets and going with the flow, whether Canada supports its own metal scene enough, the national expanse, government support for creativity, Facebook action, the song “Fall,” and then it was time to get to soundcheck.

Related links: voivod.com halifaxpopexplosion.com vishkhanna.com


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Ep. #122: Heather O’Neill

Heather O’Neill is a talented and provocative novelist based in Montreal. Her first book was the celebrated Lullabies for Little Criminals, which won Canada Reads in 2007 and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel is The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was published by HarperCollins Canada this past April and tells the compelling story of a pair of directionless fraternal twins in Montreal, Noushcka and Nicolas Tremblay, who live in the shadow of their has-been folk-singer of a neglectful father and bare certain emotional scars as a result. Young Quebecois coming of age in 1995, they are separatists on one hand, but unwitting sovereignists on the other. Their creator is bringing their story with her as a participating author at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, where she’ll read on Sunday September 14. Here, Heather and I discuss how to pronounce Nicolas, why it’s difficult to describe what The Girl Who Was Saturday Night is about, the magic in the mundane, having an amicable break-up with a book you wrote, separatism, separating, and needing people you need to get away from, establishing boundaries to become your own person, why we’re reading this world from Noushcka’s perspective, what this book might say about the separatism/sovereignty debate, class divides, promiscuous has-been folk-singer daddy issues, embittered former child stars, Raphael the sexy bad boy, fame might be a drag, people who think authors are their characters, how Heather relates to her characters, how Quebec today relates to Quebec of the mid-1990s, how a teacher’s encouragement drew Heather to write a story about shrinking machines and a cockroach, needing to write, delving into creative non-fiction and how it intertwines with a novel like The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, the political folk music of Montreal that’s conjured in this book via Etienne Tremblay, Heather’s thoughts on film treatments of her works, Wes Anderson and The Royal Tenenbaums, her forthcoming book of short stories Dear Piglet out this spring, writing more than one story at a time, what Heather will be doing at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, @lethal_heroine, weird turns, and the end.

Related links: harpercollins.ca twitter.com/lethal_heroine vishkhanna.com


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