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Voodus

Black Metal is een genre waar ik een special gevoel bij heb. Soms is het de stijl die precies past bij mijn gevoel, mijn emotie van een bepaald moment en dan gaan we volledig gelijk op, wat een magisch gevoel is. Op andere momenten staat de muziek kaarsrecht tegenover die emotie en dan moet ik er ver van weg blijven, anders gebeuren er ongelukken. Er is binnen dit genre ook wel degelijk verschil tussen de verschillende bands, het is niet alleen maar vol gas vooruit. Een band als Voodus brengt black metal met gevoel, in dit geval betekent dit dat zij een vleugje doom metal en zelfs jaren zeventig rock meenemen in hun sound. Tekstueel echter zijn ze zo zwart als maar zijn kan en bandleader T. Fongelius geeft ook toe dat zij een occulte band zijn, maar weet ook haarfijn uit te leggen dat dit niets engs hoeft te zijn. Vanwege hun uitstekende album ‘Into The Wild’ hebben we de heer Fongeius even wat vragen gesteld, waarbij hij uitlegt wat de term ‘occult’ inhoudt en waarom de Scandinavische metal zo speciaal is.

Door: Berto | Archiveer onder black metal

To start things of, how did you come up with a band name like Voodus? What does the name mean or represent?
The name Voodus is a chant or a spell I discovered during my works with the currents of Sitra Ahra. I believe it works like the gravity of death/the other side or for all that lies beyond the jaws of Malkuth. Like the song of the Sirens in the dark, something that slowly draws you to your death and/or rebirth. And thats what Voodus is all about for us. Something obscure, irresistible and powerful! A force with it´s own aim and direction. We just trying to go with the flow, and this far it has been a very interesting journey!

Can you tell us something about the history of the band? I believe the band started under a different name?
Yes! It´s true. We started up the band Jormundgand in 2004, but Jormundgand had lost it´s mystic sence, i guess. We didn´t get any strength or creative atmosphere from Jormundgand anymore. You can hear it very clear if you listen to the "Visions...." album. The lack of dark atmosphere and to be honest, good music and great ideas is just not there! We have struggled so fucking hard with Jormundgand during the past years with almost no response. And finally we decided to kill Jormundgand. Chop his fucking head off! We (me and Ingo) hooked up with Erik (who stepped in as session/live in Jormundgand at that time) once again and we decided to do music like we did in the early days of Jormundgand. Straight from the hart and from the dephts of our souls, just like it should be done. I met Fredrik at the same time and we wanted him to play in the band as well, and he was right on it! We are now for the first time in ten years a full band with active members who live for the band and is 100% devoted! That’s the main reason why we sound so much better today, as Voodus. We have found our path/sound now! We have also changed the line-up a little bit along the way. We have a new drummer, Marcus Fors (ex-Vornth, Death Reich, Vulcanic, Xul etc) and a new bassplayer, Desecrator (Pagan Rites, Stormdeath, Styggelse).

Your music is often described as black metal. Is that how you would like to describe your music or is there more to your sound?
Well, I guess that we play some kind of Death/Blackmetal or "Metal of Death". In my opinion it´s even harder today to put a band in a specific shell or genre. The Black Metal sound/genre is under constant development, which I find very interesting. And the musical spectre of what defines Black Metal is expanding more and more each day I think.

What bands impressed you so much it made you want to start a group of your own? And what music did you listen to when you were first getting into the more extreme genres ?
Wow! That’s a tricky question! I can only speak for my self here, but I have to say that Guns N’ Roses was the first band that really got their hooks in me for real! It must have been in the beginning of the 90s or something. I started to dream of being in a band as soon as I discovered them! The band´s after Guns N’ Roses have to be Metallica, Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P.! I didn’t get in touch with Black Metal until quite late I guess. I was like 15 or 16 years old when I heard ’Stormblåst’ by Dimmu Borgir for the first time. That was my first meeting with this dark and sinister kind of music called Black Metal ! In that time ’Stormblåst’ was the most fantastic, evil, satanic, wonderful and paralyzing music I had ever heard! Maybe it´s not my kind of music today, but I cannot deny Dimmu Borgir’s importance for my musical development! But it wasn´t until I heard Dissection for the first time that everything started to be for real for me ! So I have to say that Dissection is by far THE most important band for me. Both musically and spiritually.

Are there also any non-metal bands that you like and can recommend?
I listen to all kind of music, mainly Black Metal though. But just to namedrop some bands: vnv nation, Depeche Mode, Gary Moore, Andi Almqvist, Wovenhand, Pink Floyd, Vangelis, Townes Van Zandt, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Anna von Hausswolff + 1000 more bands!

What goals did you set yourself when you started the band and have you already reached any of them?
As I mentioned before, Voodus has its own aim and purpose. We don´t know where this will end or where this journey will take us. But of course we have a driving force inside of us that wants to take this band as far as possible ! To play our music and to discover new places with Voodus will be a fucking blast! But some personal heights have already been conquered along this wild hunt I have to say! To go on tour with the mighty Mayhem was a big thing for us. To record our first vinyl was also big for us. And to record our first professional album has been fucking huge for us! And to have the album released by Shadow Records and Regain Records is of course a great honour for us as well!

On November 26th your debut album ‘Into The Wild’ was released through Shadow Records. How did you get in touch with them ? And do you really need a label these days (with internet and social media) to release your music ?
It was Jonas "Nebiros" from Malign, ex-Ofermod and Mephorash who recommended Marcus Tena, the owner of Shadow Records to give us a listen. He listened to the "Path Of Hekate" EP and he decided that he wanted to release the EP right away ! And after that it has just rolled on. And to answer your question about the necessity of a label today, I have to say that we, as a pretty small band, are very depended on their contacts around the world. Without Shadow and Regain I wouldn’t for example do this interview with you guys ! But as a bigger band with already established contacts, it´s of course not the same situation I guess.

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How did you write your songs for this album? Does it always start with a riff or does it involve some jamming with the rest of the band?
Both I have to say. Me and Erik used to spend time together at my place with our guitars to write songs a couple of times every year. We used to bring either already created riffs to these meetings, or if the inspiration starts to flow, we write completely new songs during the session. But the most common thing is that we create the songs, or the "skeletons" for the songs on our own. Then we meet in the rehearsal room to give the bones some flesh and soul as well ! It´s a very unspecific process and therefore very hard to explain !

What are your influences when writing lyrics for ‘Into The Wild’? I read somewhere that Voodus is an occult metal band. If this is correct, how does this reflect in your lyrics? And do you want to get a message across, or just tell a story?
Yes, we are an occult band. If you have in mind that the meaning of "Occult" is "Hidden, the consealed, to seek contact with the beings beyond the bound" then you have all our lyrical themes gathered like in a box! All our lyrics (at least the ones that I write) is about my search, thoughts, dreams and meetings with the dark and sinister currents/forces/gods of the wild and the unbound. I have absolutely no need to propagate for the masses how they shall live their lives and so on. The lyrics are personal, just as the music is for me. I need to write from my heart to make it all to be true and important for me. It´s sometimes hard and a little bit anxious to open my self and to write down my thoughts, experiences and sometimes fears, and to let everyone be a part of that! But I have to be true to my self without hiding behind some deceptive walls of illusions, because if you do so, you will just end up astray in your self and your false ego.

The cover for ‘Into The Wild’ looks amazing by the way. How did you come up with this ?
Yes! I love it! I came in contact with this amazing artist Ars Moriendee (Pedro Felipe) from Brazil. I was just blown away by his art. So I contacted him and asked if he wanted to paint the cover for the album. He said yes! So I told him about the lyrical themes, the title of the album "Into the Wild" and my visions for how I wanted the album to look like. He started to paint right away and delivered the cover a couple of weeks after our first talk. And the result is just amazing. I think that he captured the whole idea with Voodus and our hunt in the wild with that artwork.

Scandinavia is a part of the world that influenced metal in a big way. There are influential bands in about every genre you can think of that come from your part of the world. What is it that makes Scandinavia such a fertile ground for metal?
I don’t have any wise answer to that question I´m afraid, but I have some thoughts about it though. I believe that all the history and the dark past of the north has drawn currents of pure energy to the water, soil and woods etc. that still thrives on our shores and in our blood. I think that we northmen, maybe because of the failure of the christians when it came to "christify" our hearts, still have a rare and strong connection to the wild and to the powers of nature. To all that once was... And that´s perhaps the reason why the connection and the fascination to the occult and the shadowside of the existence is such a natural thing for many of us. I’m pretty sure that you can hear that in many Scandinavian bands that there is some special kind of atmosphere that you just can’t fake or find anywhere else in the world.

Modern metal is always produced in a more or less clinical way with ProTools and other programs helping bands to create a slick sound. On the other hand you see that every band releases vinyl again. Where do you see music go in the near future? Will vinyl take over again, including a more organic production?
I don´t know, and to be honest I don´t care so much about it. There will always be physical copies for those who want that, and the digital world is here to stay. The important thing is always the music and the expression. That the final product feels right for you and your visions. Personally I prefer vinyl when I´m at home, but I stream music through my phone every day at work so... I like to have my music available all the time.

Is music pure for entertainment or does it play a bigger part in the world of today?
Music has always been more than just tunes, chords and vocals. Music can change your life for real. Music can make whole nations change direction or to rise up in revolution. Music can make people commit suicide or even murder. Music can even convert religious people to Satan!So music is a strong magical tool indeed and nothing to take easy on. Specially not when it comes to Black Metal. It is when it all comes around powerful forces in movement when you practice the dark art of Black Metal.

Assuming you at one point in time run into him, how would you convince the pope to listen to your music?
I do not prefer to have him as a listener to Voodus anyway. He´s just an old man with silly clothes...

Finally, will you be playing any live gigs to promote 'Into The Wild'?
Yes, definitely! We do not have any bigger plans for the moment, but we will announce the gigs as soon as we have it all in order.

That wraps it up for now, thanks for your time. Any last comments thoughts or well-wishes you’d like to share with our readers? The space below is yours….
Thank you very much for the talk! Great questions! And dont forget to drink beer and worship Satan!!!! 666

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