Voodoo Six interview. Manchester 20th November 2011.

 

Lara Kisel is with Guitarist Matt Pearce, Guitarist Chris Jones and Vocalist Luke Purdie.

 

L.K- Who is Voodoo Six? What makes Voodoo Six?

CJ- What makes it tick…

MP- It’s a mixture of classic and modern rock sounds I think erm Tony Newton is the guy who put it all together our bass player and it’s kind of filtered through his production and vision. We all put a bit of flavor in there and Luke is the voice.

CJ- He is the man he is the focus…he is the centre of the attention.

LP- I am the one worth talking about really.

CJ- The star.

LK- So I just ignore the other two…you are Voodoo Six haha

CJ- Ignore them haha… he is the one worth talking about but he doesn’t talk about himself a lot he is very very modest and erm all that.

LP- I’m assuming…I assume…

CJ- dopy really…hahaha nah I’m joking

LP– Thanks very much

LK- very well looked after then ha…

LP – I’m well looked after really…very well looked after.

LK- From starting out in 2003 and sharing the stage with Iron Maiden how have you changed/ developed among the years?

MP- Well there’s been a few line-up changes…errr the original other guitarist that Chris replaced has gone and the original singer that Luke replaced has gone… so there’s been a couple changes over the years and it has the changed the sound quite a lot. I think Luke’s voice changed the sound completely. Even the songs we used to do which he now sings, makes it sound like a different band.

CJ-Yeah… I think as well when we first started recording Fluke it was like… it started to become a lot more stripped down and a lot more focus on it. We listened to the first couple songs off the first album the other day on the way up to rehearsal before we set off for the tour and it was like… this really is quite different… it really is quite different. Although unmistakably it still is Voodoo Six.

MP- I think it’s a lot rawer kind of sound now and even the whole presentation of it is a lot more real I guess… with the earlier stuff it was a bit more you know the singer dressing up and much more produced albums and stuff. I think it is a bit more for real.

LK- For real…ooo yes haha.

CJ- For real…Shizzel my dizzel haha.

LK- haha yo b-dizzel…So… you’re new EP ‘Falling Knives’ what were your influences for this and what did you want to get across?

MP- We wanted to do something quite quickly because the last album took a while from conception to delivery or whatever and this one we kind of banged it out pretty quickly within a few weeks. It was really nice to do wasn’t it? Rather than the usual process. We also wanted to revisit a few of the old tracks with Luke singing, that was part of showing the new influences coming in and also show what we are doing with the old stuff. It was an interesting show case.

LP- The whole falling knives thing is quite funny really…I’ve never told this story… not told you guy’s the story of the whole falling knives thing. I opened a draw in the kitchen and knives fell out of the fucking draw.

CJ- He has draws just full of knives and we are talking proper knives.

LK- That’s quite scary haha.

LP- and I went to like catch them because they were falling and a couple of them are antiques and I go to go and catch them and I thought oh shit then I thought what a great name for an album or a song titled ‘falling knives’ thought that was you know a strange thing to go on in my head, wrote the name down on a piece of paper and just left it on the table. I just started writing and a few ideas started to come out and it fit perfectly in the subject. That’s how it happens.

LK- It’s funny how ideas come across to you…

CJ- He writes lyrics the proper way you know when you hear stories about you know someone woke up and had a dream about a lyric or a significant thing happened where they caught a knife in their hand and there like yes I am going to write a song called catching falling knife. He has those moments as the rest of us if we wrote the lyrics it would just be some forced up bollocks haha.

MP- and also in a few songs there’s oysters in the lyrics as well… you know about oysters…

CJ- there is oysters in the lyrics that’s a genius move.

MP- Explain that one?

LP- I can’t really… I can’t explain that one.

LK- What has been the most memorable/embarrassing thing that has while being on tour?

MP- Probably our ex-singer was the most embarrassing thing haha

LJ- hahaha…

MP- Sorry… sorry… it’s probably true actually

LJ- it is probably true.

LK- Really…Can you elaborate?

 

MP- just a bit of a prima donna really you know…

LJ- A diva.

LK- so who’s the diva now then in the band?

LJ- Oh Tony Newton haha.

MP- Haha…whoever is not in the room really isn’t it.

LJ- Tony is the biggest diva definitely without a shadow of a doubt…can’t really think of any really major embarrassing moments can you?

LK- None of you fallen off stage whilst playing or…

MP- you get the usual getting lost backstage things and you know the usual spinal tap things…

LJ- I think er…I did once … but that was for something else. I was running across the stage and hit a wet patch. I just went straight down boom… and carried on playing laughing my arse off but that wasn’t in Voodoo Six.

LP- We got stuck in snow didn’t we? We all had to push the van down the hill…

LP- Oh yeah that’s right my sat nav…

MP- and this guy brought a shovel with him for some reason.

CJ- Oh who’s got a shovel…Luke you got a shovel…

MP- He has a draw of shovels at home you know as well as the knife draw haha.

LK- Your quite dangerous no? Knives and shovels anything else?  haha.

 

CJ- Show her your knife get your knife out…He always has a knife.


LP- It…It sounds terrible but its people that associated them with aggression that’s thing so… I have them as antiques.

LK- Well my dad has a huge Japanese knife collection and he also does Aikido so he has the whole Aikido sticks and swords stuff.

LP- that’s great…That’s some serious stuff.

CJ- Your dad does Aikido does he? I do a bit of Taekwondo.

LK- Cool so you do that in your spare time.

CJ- Yeah I do…

LP- This is what he does with my knives by the way…

CJ- I customize my jeans.

LK- you know what really works is a grater…grate your jeans.

 

MP- You grate your jeans yeah…

LP- what like a cheese grater?

LK- Yeah!

LP- yeah well there you go… That’s a good idea.

MP- Do you do it while your legs are still in them? You can tell when it’s coming through yeah haha.

LK- No I don’t do it when I’m still wearing my jeans… you will definitely know when its coming through haha…Who do you look up to the most in the music industry and why?

LP- I’m an odd one. I love soul music like Stevie Wonder, erm… Al Green all the… mainly 60s 70s sounds sort of thing that’s my big turn on for me and I think it comes out in Voodoo Six stuff. I hope it adds a bit of my soul influence with a bit hard rock I think it’s a nice mixture.

LK- I like a bit of soul a bit of Stevie Wonder… I like a bit of 70s disco too.

LP- Me too.

CJ- Who do I respect most in the industry hmmm… I don’t know I have always really liked Iron Maiden and how they have done their career through the years and managed to retain a young crowd and an old crowd erm… guitars players I really like Adrian Smith, Marty Friedman from Megadeth because he’s got such a unique sound even if he wasn’t playing in a heavy metal band like Megadeth he could be doing anything rock and pop based stuff and he still sound amazing. Dimebag Darrell someone like that just a unique guitar player, where you think they made a distinct mark on the map of music that wasn’t really there before.

MP- I got to agree with him on the Iron Maiden thing I mean their not my favorite band. I like a lot more 70s rock stuff… Led Zeppelin, AC/DC or whatever but the way they have done their career is inspirational. The way they actually somehow kept themselves current and brought a lot of young people into it, which is a challenge I think for all bands that are a bit classic and how do you bring the young people into that… Prince is a genius that’s someone I am going to mention.

CJ- You went to see them didn’t you…I think he is fucking rubbish haha.

MP- You think anyone better than you is rubbish haha.

LK- Haha… What would you say Voodoo Six greatest achievement is so far?

CJ- Hiring Chris Jones… haha.

MP- Putting up with Chris Jones haha.

LK- and what do you hope for in the future?

MP- erm… a bottle of wine after I finish playing tonight. Which is never there. Some risotto in a little while at Pizza Express.

CJ- Are visions are high and usually based by Matt’s stomach haha.

MP- I think we just want to keep building and keep the momentum going. The last few years we have moments where it feels like we are kind of breaking through a little bit and we are doing quite well, the whole awareness of the band is happening, then it always seems to for various business type reasons keeps stalling a little while. I think this time we got to keep pushing it forward to then get to a level that we are happy with.

 

CJ- It would be nice to get into position where after the tour the next thing is coming in straight away that we are going to be doing. It has been like that on occasions but then there has been periods…I guess you need a break actually if we were flat out we’d probably kill each other…I don’t know we all seem to get on alright but I mean we haven’t never been out for an extended extended period of time.

MP- If you think of a band like Airborne they are just touring constantly and doing it all over the world. That’s a lovely position to be in.
CJ- One of the things that have bugged us business wise over last couple years is how we haven’t got properly in to Europe or Germany. For various reasons people not necessarily doing what was required of them where things just hasn’t happened. We are really trying to make sure that isn’t the case and UK is not are only territory. So hopefully what the situation will be is we tour the UK and we can immediately go on over to Europe on the back of that with the same promotion. Visit Germany, do support tours as well and just keep the ball going by just constant touring, which I think we really have to do.

LP- Just more of everything really… more gigs…it would just be lovely to do it full time.  We have all just been talking about killing each other a minute ago haha. That probably will happen eventually but I think that would be quite healthy…It is quite healthy.

MP- I think we have a better team of people around us now so we are kind of cautiously optimistic that we can really start pushing it a lot further this time.

CJ- So we’ve done some great stuff that we have been able to do, like tour with UFO and Extreme and stuff. Their great and its humbling to come back onto a headline tour and realize that you got to put in a lot of work. We cant take for granted the fact that there’s still a lot of people out there who don’t know us and that we need to get out there and play to them especially in Europe that’s a big thing for us and Germany.

LK- What is the most Rock and Roll thing you have ever done?

CJ- Well don’t ask Matt…Jesus that man is a rock and roll textbook haha.

MP- I don’t know what to say to that…so I’ll say nothing haha…

LK- Sounds interesting come let it all out… all the secrets haha.

 

MP- No idea what he’s talking about…

CJ- erm…what is the most rock and roll thing I’ve have ever done…I don’t know. It’s not really for me to choose rather people say that’s the most rock and roll thing you have ever done….Luke

LP- erm…Chris

LK- What about things like a stage dive…

CJ- I’ll tell you what we have been doing, we have started to keep a list of the funny things that we encounter on tour with support bands…we are ticking them off as we go along…. Haha things like the bands with the big intro. The ridiculous stage props that’s another one. Or the singer and the guitarist, where they have a wireless mic or something like that and feel the need to walk out into the crowd. The drummer who turns up with a ridiculous big rack kit and insists to use the kit for the show and he’s left handed so he has to use it. There’s a few others like erm… any band that announces a song…this next song is untitled haha. We are just ticking them off as we go along…

LK- So how is the tour so far and what are your expectations?

MP- Every gig has got better. The first one or two were a bit quiet and we were just getting ourselves together I think in terms of the set.

CJ- We had a mad couple of weeks before hand. We had to get the video done the EP finished and everybody was fab, because when you’re going on tour you’ve got to get your shit together and do shit loads of work. Matt was up at the crack of dawn every day cracking on with this business. I was flat out before we came and I’ve really not had the chance to think about how we are going to do the new songs. We’d just turn up to rehearsal bluff our way through the songs. First time I played those songs after we recorded them was at the first rehearsal. The next time I played them was the second rehearsal, so we came out did the first gig feeling like…

LP- We practiced it the day we were playing…

MP- it was like semi-rehearsal semi-gig the first gig.

CJ- It’s not good doing that but then again we know that under pressure we still can do this sort of stuff, but yesterday felt like the first proper gig for us really.

MP- So tonight hopefully will be…adequate haha.

LK- What has been the most stressful/ frustrating time since the start of Voodoo Six and how did you overcome it?

MP- I guess like the business side of it is just really frustrating. Everybody says it all the time that it has become a big cliché, but its just really hard now to make money from putting records out and stuff, which is why everyone is touring all the time which is why it’s harder to sell tickets. Your just kind of up against that and all you can do is just realize that, that’s just the way it is…

CJ- sometimes you look at it and think if I did it myself, it would be easier it would be better but then at the same time its easier said than done. You’ve got to have booking agencies to book tours you’ve got to have managers to do things for you. Sometimes you think you can do it all but you can’t.

LP- plus its never good coming from the band, coming from a professional level it’s never good to come from the band.  It just doesn’t work.

CJ- We do as much as we can but the important stuff is left to management and booking agents and that sort of thing.

MP- Sometimes working with people, you really are hoping they will be great and they turn out to be just not be, but the whole time of realizing that, is not the big chuck of time that you have wasted on a agent or a manager or whatever, not going to go into it too deeply.

CJ- We have to be realistic sometimes and we want things to happen for the band and we are like… can these people really make it happen for the band. They go… well you know small little steps need to be broken down into smaller little steps, because we a small climbing band climbing the greasy pole, you know what I mean.

LK- So what message do you have for your fans out there now waiting for you tonight?

MP- Buy the EP! 28th November, come to the gigs come say hello.

CJ- Kneel before Zod! Hahaha.

MP- Hahaha…more pole dancers! More people…

CJ- Actually this goes to everyone in the music industry at our level, people who come to see the shows buy the merchandise because that is thee soul place where bands make money on tour.

We don’t get money from tour tickets we don’t get from ticket sales; we don’t get money from that. You have what’s called a break over point, and if the venue is not filled up to that point. Then you just get a abnormal amount of money from turning up and doing the show which could be  100 to 200 quid or whatever. Now if it pays for the tour as you go you get a couple of hundred quid a night that just covers for the daily costs of putting on a show. Where any band makes money is from buying merch. I don’t think some people realize that. I think they buy a ticket and tickets are expensive 7- 10 pounds whatever but we don’t get any of that money. If you see 100 people in the venue and it was ten pound a ticket that doesn’t mean we are getting a 1000 pounds, we are getting 150 that’s it. If you could buy merch at all and they are your favourite band do it. It’s just so we can break even that’s it.
LK- Well thankyou for your time guys enjoyed chatting to you and can’t wait for the show.

 

About Del Preston

So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweet shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me and Keith Moon and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweet shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shop owner and his son, that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business really. But sure enough, I got the M&Ms and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.
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