What is your name and role within Vodun?
Ogoun / Zel – architect of rhythm
Where are you currently based?
London – North London, to be precise.
How was your 2017 Euro summer?
It seems like a lifetime ago now – but it was great. We were busy over the last summer with our first extensive European Tour, spanning Italy, Spain, France, Germany & The Netherlands. Most notable festivals were packed day sets at Hellfest and Freak Valley, and also undertaking our first Spanish tour (Barcelona and Madrid were both almost sold out and had incredible vibes).
What do you find most challenging and enjoyable when touring?
Its relentless. We are mostly DIY, apart from having friends help out here and there (which is a lifesaver) so the 3 of us do a lot of the driving, loading, merch selling, setting up and packing down, tour managing etc etc. Finding appropriate times to eat (and sometimes finding food at all as we are all vegan / veggie!) can be tough – you don’t want to eat too close to stage time, but then if you don’t eat before then sometimes you wont get to until 2am! Italy in particular is amazing with its food but very relaxed with timings, haha.
In terms of enjoyable – Its obviously great be able to travel and meet people and lovely when we can go to a tiny place in the middle of Europe to play our music to a super enthusiastic crowd. It’s mind blowing, really.
Do you have a favourite country to tour? If so, why?
Our friend and Italian promoter Ale has had us over to Italy a few times now and its always great there. Ale has such a big heart and an infectious enthusiasm, we feel lucky he discovered us and loves us so much!
Have you been working on any new material?
We’ve just finished up writing the second album, which we’re very proud of – It’s our first recording with guitarist The Marassa (Linz) and we put a heck of a lot of work into it. The new material is an interesting progression from our first album ‘Possession’ – in that we have really amped up the Afrobeat influences across the board (there is amazing percussion on a bunch of songs, courtesy of Anselmo Netto from Ibibio Sound Machine) and we’ve allowed some ideas to play out and breathe more rather being so spasmodic. A quote from a friend of ours Jimmy Lacey “It’s definitely more hip swaying than head banging”. I think personally it’s still pretty heavy though! The album is due out in this Spring, along with our best video yet(!) for first single ‘Spirits Past’ which was directed by the incredibly talented Noomi Spooks.
What influences your songwriting and how do you usually go about writing new songs?
It’s very rhythmic. Normally it starts with a drum beat or rhythmic idea then builds from there – The Marassa and I work intensely on different sections and how they will fit into different songs – we were quite brutal with ideas for the new album, actually. The first album was kind of thrown together, this one is very thought out and refined. The theme of the album is always organic and seems to be a concept we are all attuned to at the time. ‘Ascend’ is about reconnecting with our myths and stories, paying heed to our histories and inviting the ancestors back into our lives to enlighten us with their virtue and infinite wisdom.
How did you meet your new guitarist?
His first gig in London was actually a Vodun gig! He’s a friend of a friend from NZ, and was determined to secure his place in the band as soon as the position became available. The Marassa is a real asset to our little tribe <3
How is the new album coming along?
We’re just putting the finishing touches on it, like segues & guest vocals, (Chris from Turbowolf and Dana Jade) then the artwork needs to come together. There is always so much more to do after you have finished recording! I heard somewhere that patience is a virtue, haha.
What do you have planned for 2018?
Getting the album out is a huge priority, obviously, then there will be the usual tours to promote it. Hopefully taking a step up from the year previous, that’s always kind of the aim J
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I wrote this interview listening to my friends band ‘Butcher in the Fog’ – they have just finished up an awesome album that they recorded with Wayne at Bear Bites Horse (where we recorded Possession). I fucking love the Propagandhi album ‘Victory Laps’ that got released last year, it’s captured such a great feeling within the album that i jut can’t get enough of. ‘Nuclear Soul’ by Lionize is pretty rad. I watched a drum clinic with Jeff Porcaro on youtube the other day which has totally got me back onto Toto and Steely Dan vibe, exceptional drummer and such a charming, funny guy, you should totally check it out! There are a whole heap of albums coming out this year by friends of ours so it looks like a great year for music all round really. Also, the fucking Distillers just reformed which I am so incredibly happy about!
How did Vodun form?
Oya (Chan) and I were in a previous band ‘Invasion’ a few years back, who had a relative level of success but then disbanded for inter-personal reasons. Her and I wanted to work together again and the concept of the Vodun grew from discussions and influences really – both of us are interested in animism and the ancient spiritualties, and I love playing afro inspired beats as they are so rhythmically interesting and challenging. We also all love heavy music, of course! J
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Temple of seitan vegan chicken shop in hackney… its sublime. They are opening a new shop in Camden soon so I guess I’m gonna be there a whole lot more! My favourite place to hang out is our practice room, either teaching drums or practicing drums and geeking out.
Featured Photo Credit : Juliette de Momigny