Interview with Vodun...
Before their performance at The Ruby Lounge, we managed to catch Vodun for a few minutes to have a chat and see what is happening with them.
Firstly, who am I here with?
“Marasa, also known as Linz and I play the guitars”
“Oya or Chantel and I sing”
“And Ogoun or Zel and I play drums.”
How the name is pronounced as I have heard several interpretations? “Ver-dune” says Ogoun, “we watched a documentary and it was pronounced that way.”
Even though the band has been together for four years, I hadn’t come across you until last year when the Mawu video popped up on my Facebook feed and I was completely blown away by it “well, thank you very much!” says Oya.
And since then I have been trying to get to see you, I am really looking forward to the show and also to buy some CDs, it's always nice to buy something physical from a person rather than just a faceless online merch person or warehouse worker. Ogoun agrees “yeah, a tangible transaction is always better.”
How has the reaction been to the album? “Preeettty gooood” continues Oya. “We had some great press and some really great reviews around it last year from MOJO, Kerrang! and there was a great piece in The Guardian too. Generally very positive so we're really happy.”
And the audiences are definitely growing as a result of this… “each time we go out there are more and more people coming down. At the first night in Coventry the promoter was saying that people were coming down from Stoke and Birmingham and Wolverhampton and someone came down from Manchester as well to see us twice in a week.”
There was one person on the Facebook group for this gig who had seen the band something like 10 times “we were thinking who is this guy but yes he is seen us a number times, and he is always down the front too” and that is pretty dedicated.
One of the major influences for the band is West African, Ogoun explains “when I started the band I was very interested in Afro beats and how we can tie them into the heavier aspects of what we do and the name came out of that and the concept evolved from there. And because Oya was already writing lyrics about animism and spirituality which really helped to tie everything together.”
How did you all meet? “Oya and I (Ogoun) were in a band together back in 2009 but that disbanded and we ended up doing our own thing for a while but we also knew that we would want to get back to write together again at some point; back then we also had a different guitarist, Ollie, who wrote the EP with us. Marasa I knew from mutual friends who were from New Zealand.”
“Vodun was the first live show I saw when I came over from New Zealand” confirms Marasa, “and I need to steal that drummer and that singer and I thought that if I just hang around long enough it will work out for me.”
The album Possession came out about this time last year so do you have plans to record more songs?
Ogoun explains “that's why we've been a bit quiet for the first part of this year because we wanted to create a bit of space with the pressure of a second album, especially following the reviews of the first one, and also because of Marasa being the new guitarist so it is taken us a while to find our stride but we are definitely getting there and we are going to play a couple of new songs tonight so it will be interesting to know what you think. It's taking what we've done before and developing it further and let the songs breathe a bit more.”
There were some talking samples between a few of the songs on the last album, is this something you're going to continue?
“Naming ourselves after a religion, it gets a bit sensitive with people sometimes but what we do is genuine, it's just about celebrating, looking at West Africa and celebrating it. It is easy to associate voodoo with something that is nasty and horrible, something you're not supposed to talk about. With slavery and the Crusades they really kind of killed it, demonised it, so the interlinking of the songs are really good to help educate people and let them know what it's about and that it is not something to be feared."
Ogoun elaborates further: “yes definitely, it helps with the vibe, it is just part of the band now. We already have a theme that we are going towards for the second album and it is ancestry. The first album was all about possession and being taken over, which relates back to music like at a live show, being possessed by a spirit.”
And with that I prepare to be possessed by Vodun and I was not disappointed. The intensity of their performance is incredible, the new songs they play fit into their set perfectly. I am already excited by the idea of the new album and it's release date cannot come soon enough.