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Void

Het einde is nabij, maar Void blijft bestaan tot de laatste snik. Hoewel elk album tot nu toe werd opgevolgd door lange periodes van vrijwel absolute stilte, wist de band elke keer weer op te krabbelen na flinke tegenslagen en vervolgens op de proppen te komen met uitstekend nieuw materiaal dat zowel herkenbaar als verrassend is. Void maakt nog steeds het soort avant garde extreme metal dat in het verlengde ligt van Dødheimsgard, maar tegelijkertijd verkent op hun nieuwste EP ‘The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’ veel nieuw terrein dat zo ver buiten de gebaande paden ligt dat een goed stel wandelschoenen en GPS apparatuur zeker geen overbodige luxe zijn. Er is nog meer! Er valt niet alleen veel te vertellen over wat er gebeurd is in de jaren tussen ‘Void’ en The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’, alsmede over wat er komen gaat, maar Void presenteert op deze site ook een volledig nieuwe muziekvideo.

Door: Martin | Archiveer onder different metal

Just moments before preparing this interview, I noticed a message on your Facebook page. It seems that vocalist Levi Jackson has left the band and Void are looking for a replacement. This caught me by surprise, as things seemed to be moving forward nicely. Can you elaborate?
MJ: We started to ask too much, too often and Levi doesn't have enough free time. He's also playing bass and singing in Cythraul, as well as other music, teaching and work commitments, and he's not local to us, so it became too much of a drain on limited resources. He had to ask us to find a replacement. He is still in the band until we do. After that, we will surely work together again, in some format, at some time. He will still appear on the album, to which he has already contributed vocals, a refinement of the style of the latest EP, vocal harmonies and lyrics. We are recruiting a new member to take over live lead vocals, add something new, and to replace much of the draft vocals that I have recorded on the demo of the album. We've had a couple of great offers and will be letting you know how that works out in due course.

It is a pity that Levi left the band, as he seems to be a key figure in Void moving forward after the tragic loss of Ben Lowe; is it correct that Levi’s played a significant role in the release of ‘The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’?
MJ: Levi is credited as being Void vocalist from 2010 – 2018, however in reality we were on hiatus from 2013 – 2016 or thereabouts. Levi joined from our sister band, the death metal act Cythraul, where Joe (Burwood, drums) plays guitar, in order to fill in while Ben was on sabbatical. He performed some great live shows with us and kept the band alive, but nobody expected it to be permanent. What happened next with Ben's death left us ruined and on very unsure footing. Nevertheless, we continued with the recording of our new material. When it came time to recording the vocals however, we found we were unprepared, uncertain of style or direction, and neither Levi nor the band were satisfied with the results. Since all members were busy with other projects, including the running of the recording studio, Void went on hiatus again. We tried a few times in that period to rekindle the fire but with bass player Rob Archibald becoming more estranged and disinterested in music making, it didn't happen, until one fateful night in 2015. Gathered for an end of year party at the studio, Levi, Joe and I dusted off the recordings... and you know, time really adds a shine to these things. What were we thinking, abandoning this child? We should get a visit from social services! It was criminal! We decided to have another crack at it. This is when Levi truly 'joined' the band, as himself, as the front man. We began to meet each week at my new facility to rework the lyrics and vocal lines. I wanted something completely new, totally out there, outrageous, freakish, daring... and Levi delivered. He hit on something unique, exciting and utterly bizarre. The much-uttered phrase of the sessions was “I'm going to try something I've never done before”. It was intense, exciting, at times we were splitting our sides with laughter! We figured, anything that evokes such a strong reaction must be good. Joe and I both added our own outrageous vocal takes to the mix and what we ended up with was, voila! Whatever the hell this is.
It was the sound of these vocals that inspired us to adopt characters and costumes. Not the other way around.

Those characters and costumes are featured prominently in your new video. So does Donald Trump, for that matter. It’s quite an intense stream of information in a bit over three minutes, so would you be so kind to help us process all of this?
MJ: After Levi, Joe and I made a conscious effort to push the boundary with the vocals, we were excited about how we might present this completely outlandish music live. I had floated the costumes idea before, but it wasn’t until Joe had spent countless nights tweaking sound for metal and punk bands, many of whom sound and look exactly the same, that he wanted to try something more theatrical. We are living in oversaturated times, it’s true, but there still aren’t that many bands trying to do something transmedia. We decided to go all the way.
We met Gerardo at this time and when we asked him to join the band on bass, straight away he chose the costume for his character.

Putting on the masks, costumes and makeup helped us transform, to become individuals that could perform at the level necessary to do the music justice. So it was a personal enhancement, not just a visual one. The characters are the architects of this aural disease, but they are still very much us, of us and because of us, so transformation became a key concept. How do we get from normality to this each time? What is the real world context? We put on masks and become someone capable of expressing this intensity of emotion and experience.

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” Oscar Wilde

The masks that we chose, coincidently, and with some artistic license, spelled out the name of the band. (And in a nice chronological order, with regards to length of time with the band) We found a graphic designer on fiverr called Umesh Galage and he did a great job realising that concept as a new logo. And then we started thinking about the individual characters’ back story. We knew how we ended up, as these monsters, but where did we start off from? In my case I decided to start from the position of another fictional character, a terminally ill rogue scientist called Prof W.J. Marsh who was a character I had played in a short film by Bernardo Bacciardi called ‘Ruby One’ a week earlier. I borrowed the name, put on the same clothes and wrote another chapter in his life/death. I intended to make back story transformation videos about all four characters, before the release of the tape, but only that one, ‘V: The transformation of Prof W.J. Marsh’ was finished in time. We had also shot some of Levi’s Mandark footage so we included that in the visuals for our live shows. When we got in touch with you at Lords of Metal and you decided to do a feature we thought, this time lets finish that idea, and have a video to go with the article. So here it is. It has all been very DIY, our friend Tatu Mantovani came and pointed the camera and we fleshed out Joe’s Vengvisir character, and Gerardo’s Plague Doctor and mashed the four stories together into one video. It was originally cut to ‘The Phobia Of A Fiddler’s Paradise’ (the second track on the EP), but it gelled much better when we played the edit to ‘Scumscrubber’. So that is how Trump got into our video. Because he has always been a part of that song, since we recorded the lines

‘screamed shrilled... nasty... soliloquise
reckless... immoral... authorities
fell well... short of... integrity
dark hands... dictate... catastrophe’

So we aren’t dealing with surreal themes here. We are talking about the here and now. At least that is how this song resonates with me. And though the characters themselves are not political statements in any way, there is certainly a metaphor of spreading illness, transformation, mass hysteria, that resonates with our current populist times, obsessed with social media and the dissemination of hateful lies. That’s why I wanted the iPhone to appear as a theme. “V” digitises himself into the phone, but there is a virus, which spreads to “O” via his phone, “I” gets infected at an office computer, and “D” on a laptop. We are not going to write a Brexit song, of course, but we’re also not hiding from reality, playing World of Warcraft and writing songs about dragons. Void is a place for us to put real feelings about real topics. It is scream therapy.

GS: I agree. The point is to find imaginative ways to channel this malaise. My character is inspired by my interest in history and apocalyptic themes, but the sign that says ‘THE END IS NIGH’ is a direct reference (or a tribute, if you will!) to the one held by Walter Kovacs in ‘Watchmen’. Initially, I wanted to portray a medieval doctor who lives through the black death. Watching the epidemic makes him lose faith in everything. Then he somehow enters a time portal, which brings him to the present, and he mistakes the exposure with such an alien reality with the end of the world. More recently, I’ve come to think of my character as a contemporary man who contracts the V virus, becomes completely delusional, and imagines he’s living through a plague epidemic, and feels that he’s the only one who can see that the end of the world is approaching, and desperately tries to warn the people around him. In either case, there is an attempt to use the epidemic as a metaphor of suffering and impotence, the inter-temporal dimension to signify the character’s alienation and ‘disconnect’ from his society, and the apocalyptic undertone as an indirect commentary on the dark times we are living in. Joe’s relationship with his character, ‘O’ (or ‘Vengvisir) is again different - perhaps more a hint at self-parody rather than the product of ‘pure’ imagination. It’s a bit like the film ‘The Song Remains the Same’, in which the members of Led Zeppelin created fictional alter egos. Jimmy Page appeared as a wizard, Robert Plant as a knight, while drummer John Bonham was shown drinking at the pub and, well, playing drums. But there’s more to it – the pattern on Vengvisir’s clothes contain a reference to Nordic mythology. In the video, we presented a stylised account of his origins, but we also wanted to use him as a satire for urban violence, and for how the metal sub-culture is misunderstood. Anyway – video spoiler: in real life Joe would never punch a child!

I guess that immediately brings us to the lyrical themes on the EP. For sure titles such as ‘The Phobia Of A Fiddler’s Paradise’ and ‘The Horrid Lover The Scum Scrubber’ are more than a bit intriguing. Please tell me more about the lyrics!
GS: Levi wrote 90% of the lyrics for the EP, so he would be the most qualified person to discuss them. I guess it’s fair to say that our lyrics are a response to the fact that too much lyrics writing in metal is very generic. We like to think or our lyrics as capturing the experience of living in London – there is no scope for snowy forests, dragons, or paganism. It’s all about capturing the bleakness of living in a post-industrial dystopia.

MJ: That probably is fair to say. I don't really take specifics from Levi's lyrics, they paint an abstract picture, sometimes using recognisable motifs, a faceless child, a corrupt moral authority, but mostly the wordplay is unique and challenging, an invitation to madness. Hidden miles, puerile delirium... occultic rhetoric possessed! The exception was ‘The Wildebeest’, where I asked Levi to write a bogeyman story, told from the bogeyman's perspective, of a half-man-minotaur type person, born of human parents, who escaped from an institution that should have been caring for him, living as a drug addicted hermit on the fringes of society. Because we all feel like that sometimes, don't we?

LJ: As the listener experiences the lyrix, they are designed for one to interpret em for themselves and visualise their own story within our music... conjuring the emersion experience we tryna gain with soul summoning interactiveness.

MJ: It's interesting to note that 'Paradise', 'Scumscrubber' and 'Wildebeest' were in fact the working titles for the songs before the lyrics were written. Levi started there and through mitosis cultivated the entire songs – I see them as the drugs song, the political song and the monster song. The working title for ‘Outer Plains of Zenith’ was 'Dadretch' – which seems to have been the catalyst for a concentrated outpouring of pent up rage about abandonment-

“cursed infant still lays asleep
(chosen era spent alone)
pacifier dipped in terror... they keenly suckle at the teat
ghostly spectres we shall keep... cradling
its arcane capabilities
(occult rhetoric possessed)


MJ: I'm adding the rest of the lyrics to Bandcamp now.

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In musical terms, the new EP showcases a bit of a change of direction for Void. In short: less ‘black’, more ‘grind’ (the frenzy of Napalm Death comes to mind rather frequently). How did this change happen?
MJ: Well, Joe is a massive punk and hardcore fan, Bad Brains, Minor Threat... he's played with Antisect now for ten years, and was in Extreme Noise Terror. So there's quite a lot of punk influence. We even opened the Fuck Reading Punk festival last year... we throw in D-beat parts, 2-Step beats, all lashed together with blasts and double kick. We played with a bunch of Deathcore & Slam bands once, so that's how that bit got in there (‘...Zenith’). For me, the riff writing was more urgent. I wrote a lot of parts on the spot (e.g. ‘Scumscrubber’), sometimes I just did whatever our bassist Rob was humming, e.g. ‘The Wildebeest’ blast part was just a warmup exercise and Rob shouted, “Stop! Play that again three times, then add a tail bit on the end”. Yes Sir!... I also had riffs left over from the ‘Posthuman’ days and we joined them together with some Cythraul leftovers, to great effect (‘Paradise’). There's a funny video about how we made such decisions back in 2010. #NSFW

Given the age of the material on the EP, how representative are these songs for Void’s current direction?
MJ: Nil Points. Or full marks. These elements are still present, but it’s an album of considered work and has many other facets and layers as well.

GS: The EP can be considered representative of the band’s current direction insofar as it shows our commitment to experiment and overcome the boundaries separating different metal sub-genres.

Despite the aforementioned elements in the sound that seem to be ‘new’, the EP also shows that Void still deserve the ‘avantgarde’ tag. ‘The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’ is wonderfully bewildering and probably not a recommended listen for conservative metalheads. Could this be the result of sort of a mean streak, i.e. the genuine need to fuck with people’s minds, or is it simply what comes out when you are writing music?
MJ: We are the people whose minds have been fucked with and this is the sound of the music! We don't intend to create weird music per se. We are just an unusual collection of weird people. “Alt as fuck!” we've been told. I know a lot of that can be seen as controversial and that some people think, we shouldn't put that stuff in metal, or even play metal, but if you think that then our music is not for you. No, indeed, it is for us! If it helps, don't call us a metal band, call it 'lemon savage plonk' or 'dramagrind', a term coined for us at the toiletovhell. Let's put it into perspective: Fantômas, Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum, Naked City... I mean we're already so far outside the box now that Void is starting to look boring by comparison. We are unlikely to drop metal riffing at any point though, because of the simple truth that we love to riff-out, and play metal. But add a jungle break atop a blast beat and we are really starting to party. Or is that just plain stupid?

It seems things are getting slightly topsy turvy with respect to avantgarde (black) metal; in recent years, a significant pushing of boundaries has come from bands that could be labelled as orthodox black metal, whereas what was typically seen as leftfield often seems to be stuck in a certain routine. As Matt ‘Kvohst’ McNerney said in a recent interview: what Igorrr has been doing, with great success, is actually not that different from what Dødheimsgard were doing on ‘666 International’. Actually, Dødheimsgard themselves released an album back in 2015 that demonstrates just this point, as it balances between pushing the band’s sound forward and referencing Ved Buens Ende. I love that album, but it does confuse me at times; where, exactly, is this fine line between avant-garde and nostalgia? Do you have any thoughts on that? (Oops, what was meant to be a question came out as an essay)
MJ: Yes, Mat McNerney was closely associated with the avant garde metal tag, through playing with Void and then later joining DHG. I'm very impressed with how well Mat McNerney has done in his music career. He has worked very hard to put out so many quality recordings. I don't think he would choose to make avant garde metal himself though. It is a shame he doesn't credit what we were doing in Void with more significance, as I feel we were building on what DHG started with 666, taking it further in the crossover direction, if arguably more generic in the guitar work. I doubt he's ever mentioned me in interview though. The way Mat tells it, or at least how people print it, Void was just a fashionable whim he had, in between attending Catholic school and finding success, my whole existence is contained within a full stop of a footnote of that story. (and wrongly credited on his Wikipedia article, to a stranger called JK Flesh – Well done Flesh! I'm used to it. This shit happens to me all the time. Would you believe there's another Matt Jarman who holds mattjarman.com, who plays in bands like me, is a sound engineer like me, & runs his own studio!?! A more successful version of myself? - I expect when I die his kids will inherit my (considerable & vast) estate and mine will be left to fend for themselves. Well, maybe it’s for the best, they'll grow up fighting for everything they get. And in the future to come? Could be useful! I met a girl recently who said she knows Matt Jarman. Apparently, Matt Jarman is a dick ).

Mat McNerney was the guy who introduced me to that DHG album, and many others besides. Music that helped shape my musical outlook, bands that I still consider favourites, (although it was my own personal experience in electronica and techno clubs that led to the ‘Posthuman’ sound, not just the DHG influence.) What ‘666 International’ did (and bands like Fleurety, Solefald and Arcturus were also doing) was to open the door to all potential influence in metal. Anything was fair game. You're right, that has probably tapered off now, or at least gone underground. Mostly we get copies, or people looking for the perfect organic sound. I'm sorry I wasn't more productive in electronic music when dubstep hit, or that I wasn't so wasted when I was listening to breakcore. There's loads of potential for metal crossovers that are untapped in those hills. I'm sure there are all sorts of black metal electronic crossover records to hear if you dig deep enough, but they're not coming from the well-known bands... Or are they? I lost track. We were talking about Igorrr weren't we? We'd like to play with him. If Void had continued in 2004 I strongly believe we would have contributed to keeping that style alive, but, alas, I couldn't hold the band together. I had to let Him go and move on. But that was then...

Sorry, you wanted to discuss avant-garde metal. How can something be avant-garde and nostalgic, at the same time? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? That was very, very nostalgic right there.
Hey, Do you remember that time when (The True) Mayhem went electro!?!

I was very surprised to see that ‘The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’ was released on cassette. Now that is seriously old school! Why this format, and, what are the odds of a CD or LP release in the near future?
GS: This decision was the outcome of a prolonged and complex thought process. We have chosen a medium that could simultaneously hint at the punk and grind element of our music and summon the ancient rituals of duplicating and exchanging music among friends, something that we all remember and cherish. Seriously speaking, we launched an online survey, asking the respondents to choose the release format between vinyl, CD, or tape. We had only two respondents, and one said tape, so we went for it. As you can see, we don’t care much for sample size and statistical significance.

MJ: Everything Gerardo does is the outcome of a prolonged and complex thought process : P
The basic logic however: 50 tapes was £130 or so. With vinyl we were looking at a minimum spend of £600, money we don't have. Our good friends in Tropical Nightmare had made several tapes, all small runs, and sold them. They, like us, did the first run with each copy recorded separately in reel time! A labour of love. We even made the inlays. I got bored recording them so I started adding random unreleased Void tracks to the spare tape on side 2. A few have a funny 'snuff rap' that Ben & I made pissed in 2010. They're all gone now. The next one will be vinyl. Fuck CDs. If you like CDs we have copies of the first two albums. We have 500 Posthuman CDs that Mat McNerney saved from being crushed by Plastic head, and Einar Sjursø of Duplicate Records gave us half of the CDs he printed for 'Void'.

The recording sessions for the self-titled were done at home. I remember some hilarious stories about Ben Lowe recording his vocals stuck in a cupboard. Was ‘The Unsearchable Riches Of Void’ recorded in a similar way?
MJ: No, we used a proper studio, albeit it DIY. The 1st DSI studio to record the music in 2012, and then Bad Princess Productions to record the vocals in 2016.

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Back in 2011 you expressed your ambition to build a modular studio in which you could rehearse and record, and possibly record other bands. In your ad for a new vocalist, you mention that you have your own purpose-built facility, which suggests that you have succeeded in building such a studio. Is that correct?
MJ: It's difficult to summarise this Martin, but yes, well researched, I did indeed promise to do that, and that is exactly what I did. I found a large, three room converted garage, built into a covered urban residential garden, by a council estate, in a notoriously dodgy part of London. I joined forces with Keith Thomas of Flowers of Flesh and Blood, Maxime Seiter of Dead Existence, Wagner Antunes now of Tropical Nightmare and later Nick Howdle-Smith whose main focus was the studio itself. We continued under the name The Dissident Sound Industry, which first appeared in the Posthuman album liner notes. We had almost no soundproofing and ran 7 days a week without complaint. The local homeless anarchist alcoholic would sit outside in his wheelchair every night and sing along, until the Police took him away. There's a song about him.

I played in bands with all these guys and all our bands rehearsed and recorded there. We were soon joined in the rehearsal space by other bands including Cythraul, Meinhof, Fuckjar, Betty's Rifle, Jakal and loads more... people started coming to record, we were making Metal, Punk, Polish & UK Hip-Hop & Grime, Electro, Pop, Reggae... we outgrew the space in one year and relocated to a former commercial studio run by a guy who wanted to get out of his lease with the council and retire. We took over his business and started hosting his clients, gospel bands, skiffle acts, Congolese big bands... I mean can you imagine these bands rehearsing next door to Death metal bands!?! Only at DSI. Sometimes doing the washing up in the corridor the sounds would start to meld together and become one. I swear I heard Satan and Yahweh being praised in the same song. It was mental. I ran a school there for a time, and produced loads of recordings. But the industry is fucked. No one has any money to spare. We had to work full time as well. It was a dream that became a nightmare. There was no time for Void! In the end I had to leave it behind. I remortgaged my house and built a new studio for myself called Bad Princess Productions. I am very pleased to say that DSI studios is still going strong without me and if you are looking for a rehearsal space or recording studio in North London you should give them a shout.

Material for the next full-length has been written. What can you tell me about it, and when can we expect the next release?
GS: Yes, the material has been written, and we are about to start recording the drums. It’s an ambitious project. We are trying to push the boundaries, while building on what we have already done. So, like in previous Void records, it will feature a fusion of different styles, samples, and electronic bits. Perhaps the most evident difference is a systematic inclusion of orchestral arrangements. We are seeking the involvement of cello, woodwind and brass players to replace the parts we wrote in midi with the ‘real’ thing. The album has been written as a single track of 36 minutes, which has allowed us to find creative ways of joining the different songs with instrumental interludes, shared melodic lines and spoken word. This choice also mirrored with the idea of creating a concept album.

‘The Hollow Men’, by T.S. Eliot represented an important source of inspiration, and provides also the lyrics for the first song. The album tells the story of an individual who reads the poem, and experiences a series of horrible visions. When he finally wakes up, he is surrounded by signs that point out that the world is indeed coming to an end, not with a bang... but not with a whimper either. The album is an exploration of the sense of loss, madness and despair that haunt him in this troubled journey. In a sense, the lyrics of the album build on some of the themes explored in previous works, but there’s a more explicit inclusion of literary and filmic influences. Besides T.S. Eliot (and the haunting interpretation of the poem by Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now), these include Philip K. Dick, Albert Camus, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – among others. A demo version received the appreciation of Yusaf Parvez of DHG, who said that it reminded him of the spirit of the 1990s, not because of the kind of music played or the content, but because of its willingness to find new directions and solutions, and its total disregard of conventions.

MJ: Yusaf Parvez is the man. I hope Czral will like it too!

Recently, Void has been quite active on the live front. Please elaborate about those shows.
MJ: Yes we love playing live. It takes a long time to plug in all the gear. Finding the right mask is also hard. But it’s the best way to meet very cool new people, and hear great bands. We've just played with Diskord, Cryptic Shift and Plague Rider in Leeds and London... I mean this is top of the game stuff. Very progressive. We were very lucky to be there. If you looking for something special, check these bands out. In Leeds we played an amazing DIY space called the Temple of Boom. It was like being in Europe. They had three stages, a dance floor, two bars and a restaurant. The guy said it had just happened by accident, kind of like a more successful DSI, it grew from a couple of rehearsal rooms him and a mate opened. Smart, because they were selling alcohol. Everybody needs that. Long live Temple of Boom. Unfortunately, the Void set was a bit of a catastrophe, we couldn't hear the backing track, the projector kept turning off, then at the start of our second song I broke a string on a Floyd Rose bridge guitar, always bad, so I switched to my Les Paul backup... and then the head snapped off. Gasp! Everybody talking about “the necks on Gibson guitars”, “I've heard about it, but I've never seen it”, that sort of chatter. Thankfully Jake from Plague Rider lent me his Strandberg and we managed to get out another song before we ran out of time. Sunday night by comparison, was a dream come true.

Back in 2011 you said you ‘have to get out of the fucking country’, which, unfortunately, hasn’t turned out to be particularly easy. What needs to happen in order to see Void perform on the European continent?
MJ: It is really too hard to get out of the fucking country. We've been invited to play in Malta in 2019 though, so it’s going to fucking happen. Our second ever escape from these borders, the first being Oslo, for the Zyklon show in 2003 at the John Dee. So, fast forward. How many years? 15 years? We only just made it out of London with this line-up (I mean with Joe Burwood on drums). We played in Leeds on Saturday 1st September 2018. So, rewind, Oslo -2003, fast forwards, Leeds 2018... what's next? Wherever it will be, it will be a fucking revelation! Oh look, we're playing again in London. No wait! It's in Bristol! Things are looking up! Invite us to your town. We will come.

Recently, you had to switch from guitar to bass for a live show. To me that seems to be potentially incredibly challenging, but also a great way to get a different perspective on your own material. Could this influence future songwriting?
MJ: In homage to a dear friend, who expanded accelerated reality, on many plains, music just one of them, we learned to play the part he had originally written, because it is pure genius and deserves to be played! So for sure, that will always remain an influence on our writing. And I love playing the bass. And our new guitarist Elliott is doing a great job of stealing all my guitar lines. With a double t. So we are writing more. But whenever Gerardo is not attending a summit in Africa or publishing a thesis, we will play with him, because he has added something great to the band, and not just his jazzy grooves and his machine gun finger tips, I mean he is the conceptual lead. “I want to do a T.S.Eliot concept album”. Ok, here it is.

GS: Although I wasn’t attending a summit in Africa, I was out of the country and I missed two live shows in which Matt played bass. He did a wonderful job! But the two gigs I missed were actually very important for me. When I joined Void in 2016, Matt invited me to develop my own bass lines, and that’s more or less what I did, even for the old material. But after those shows, discussing with Matt, listening again to the previous albums and the latest EP, and watching videos of Rob playing the original bass lines, reminded me of the fact that there was so much brilliance in what Rob had written that it didn’t need to be changed. Maybe I’m oversimplifying, but I sometimes get the impression that we metal bassists are caught between two extremes: either play root notes and/or simply repeat what the guitar is doing, or go crazy all the way and show off our technical prowess at all costs. What Rob has is the extremely rare capacity to create tasteful, elegant, and groovy bass lines without neither being obvious, nor showing off for the sake of it. It’s the kind of bass lines that only someone with a very intimate understanding of how music works can develop. I have had the pleasure of meeting him in person only recently, at a Voices gig. After we shook hands he said ‘Oh, you’re the new me!’ Let me tell you, to try to replace someone as talented as Rob is both a bliss and a curse. I’m standing on the shoulders of a giant - with all the dizziness that this entails, but the view is beautiful and inebriating.

Thanks for this wonderful interview! I guess we can slowly wrap…
BREAKING NEWS: Void are looking likely to have found a new vocalist, and you may be thinking, how can they top that? Well, they’re likely keeping their old vocalist as well. So watch out. Decisions come and go in the flighty æther of creative expression. Expect chaos

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