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| 20 May 2017 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

Local prog metal heroes Voyager have released their epic sixth album, Ghost Mile, which is all about, singer Daniel Estrin states, “what we do on this wonderful earth, having really not much meaning at all.” Hometown fans will be able to experience the power and beauty of the record at Amplifier Bar on Friday, 19th May.

“I really do think it’s a natural progression [from our previous albums], “Estrin explains, “especially because it’s the second album that’s been done with a consistent line-up. The first four [albums] had a different line-up on each album, and there had been consistent progression there, but this one has just really taken it a step further.

CLICK HERE TO READ my interview with Daniel over at AROUND THE SOUND

And read on for bonus material from our chat:

On the progression of new album Ghost Mile:

“I think Ghost Mile is probably a little bit more experimental in Voyager terms, anyway. You know, we haven’t gone seventies prog rock, but it’s a little bit more experimental than we initially thought we were going. But it was completely natural and it’s a progression which we’re all super happy with.”

On the progression of Voyager’s sound over the years:

“[When] Scott joined the band a few years ago, he brought much more of a groove element. He’s into the sort of modern metal stuff, which is something that I hadn’t really been exposed to. If you listen to the way that Voyager has progressed over the past, it’s come from an almost neo-classical type of vibe, to something that’s a lot more groove based and a lot more atmospheric. Which is not intentional, it just happens, because of our own influences and the way that we write and the way that we play our instruments.”

On forthcoming tour plans to the U.S.:.

“I’m eyeing off the U.S. again – I think they’re due for a bit of a Voyager injection,” Estrin muses, which will no doubt be exciting news for many of friends on that side of the pond.”

On delving into such deep philosophical realms is a theme of Estrin’s long career lyric writing with Voyager, I put it to him that perhaps in order to write important, deep lyrics, one might require a certain amount of their own dysfunction?

“Yes, if you want to make it interesting,” he concedes. “Otherwise it just becomes a really shallow, ‘I met a girl at the bus stop,’ type of thing, which just makes for boring songs and boring lyrics.

“I think everyone has a dark side, everyone has an exploratory side to their feelings and to their emotions. So yeah, absolutely, I think you have to have a degree of melancholy… for me anyway, to write good songs that have some meaning, that have depth to them. That’s not to say that once in a while I don’t enjoy The Vengaboys, you know, but it’s that sort of trivial song type, that I’m not really interested in writing.

“I think when there’s a lyrical content it’s gotta match the mood and the melody of the song. It is really important to have gone through something in your own life, to be able to write something that’s a little bit interesting. We don’t take ourselves that seriously but we do take our music seriously, and I do take, mostly, the lyrics seriously as well – because you’re writing from the heart and you’re writing about concepts which you’ve sat there and thought about as you’re gazing into the distance.”

On what Crowdfunding their albums means to Voyager:

“Crowdfunding means two things,” declares Estrin. “One – acknowledging that the Bon Jovi model of record deals in the eighties and private jets is no longer a practical reality; and secondly – being able to directly deal with our fans and give fans things the normal model of going into the shops and buying a CD doesn’t provide for.

“I guess with what we’ve done now it’s more of a pre-order, rather than a Kickstarter-styled crowdfunding campaign, but the model is still the same. It’s fans directly contributing to something that they love, they get something in return and they make sure that the band can actually do more of things that the band wants to do. And that directly benefits the fans again.

“It’s an interesting model, but I think it works for us, and I think it works for that die hard fan base. At the end of the day if people want to subscribe to the generic model of not doing the crowdfunding, just going to the shops and buying the CD and coming to the shows – that’s awesome. This is optional. We’re not forcing anyone to do it, but if you do want to it, this is an amazing opportunity to interact directly with the band.”

Voyager 2017 is a vastly different band to the newly formed 1999 Voyager, or even the debut album vintaged band from 2003. With fourteen ex-members to the band, has every line-up change contributed to the forwards momentum and evolution of the band?

“Sometimes it’s been a bit two steps forward-one step back,” Estrin muses. “Yeah, I’d say so… I think line-up changes can be very healthy, but I think they can also do some damage to the band. I think in our case there’s probably a couple of changes which really changed the live aspect of what we do. For example, Mark deVattimo leaving – he was a very charismatic person, he was very, very rock. With him leaving, that kind of changed the band into more of a, I guess, a contemporary sort of groove direction with a more modern, polished sound. His was more of that sort of rough rock sound, [so we] moved away from that. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing I don’t know – some people lament it, some people think it’s good.

“So I think with every line-up change comes an injection of new creativity but also obviously some of the old influences go. I can’t really think of an example of a band that I’ve really loved that’s gone through significant line-up changes that I haven’t really got on board with. Perhaps – I don’t want to self-aggrandise – but perhaps when the singer changes, it changes quite substantially, because that is literally the voice of the band. But I don’t think in our case it’s made too much of a difference. Sure, along the way we’ve lost a few fans probably. You know, there were probably people that really just lament the fact that we don’t really do power metal any more like we did in 2001. That’s not because I don’t like power metal, it’s just that you move into different things.”

Category: Interviews

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