After two years of relentless writing, rehearsing, performing and touring; VOTOV released their debut self-titled full-length album on Dec. 20th/2017. This harsh symphony of primitive dark grooves erupts with aggression, pummeling the listener like a tank rolling through a battlefield. VOTOV is metal in its purest form; stripped down to its essential components… absolutely unwavering and unforgiving.
Shortly after the album release, they parted ways with original drummer Matt Penner. Refusing to let this defuse their momentum, Labossiere and Duke immediately began writing and discretely searching for a replacement. Late in March 2018, they began working with seasoned veteran Derrick Kroll. He was announced as a permanent member in May of that year.
Completely revitalized, the writing flowed seamlessly for the full length follow-up .The three song “Blessphemy” EP (two singles: Activating the Alteration, Blessphemy and a special version of the song Regeneration that is only available on the EP) was released in July 2019 to tide over fans and promote the new record.
In March of 2020, CDN records signed VOTOV and announced they would manufacture, release and provide worldwide distribution of their new album titled I.X.X.I in summer of 2020.
Chuck Labossiere – Guitar/Vocals
John Duke – Bass Guitar
Derrick Kroll – Drums
1.Thanks for taking the time to talk to The Metal Times! You have a new album out, Tell us about it!
Our new album is titled I.X.X.I. and it drops on August 14th/2020. Its nine tracks of OSDM with some Thrash under tones and subtle Black Metal influences.
2.Where was it recorded? Is all the material new?
The entire album was recorded in our home studios as we’ve done for years. The band is self-sufficient and very hands on. Three of the songs appeared on an EP that we used to shop to labels but, the album versions are very different in sound than the EP. Also, our new guitar player from Immortal Possession (Lee Arnone) appeared on the EP version of the song “Regeneration”. This makes the EP all that more special to fans and collectors.
3.What is the biggest difference between your last release and the new one? Our self-titled release and the Blessphemy EP were both independent releases. I’d say the biggest difference with the new record is our song writing has matured. We’ve managed to grow as a band yet retain our own sound.
4.Are you signed to a label? , If so which one and how did they help or support the process?
We signed with CDN records in March of 2020. The owner Craig Newman, is very much like us in the fact that he is hands on and pretty much a one man operation. He’s a great guy to deal with and a straight shooter. We’ve known him for years through correspondence from the IP days. We basically told him what we were looking for in a deal and he drafted it up. CDN manufactured the CD’s and are also going to be producing cassettes. Craig deals with a lot of small labels like his own and they trade product so, that’s how he achieves international distribution for his artists. CDN has been very supportive in terms of financing lyric videos etc. to promote the record. We still do a lot of our own promotion as well. Just because you are on a label doesn’t mean you can sit back and just write music and play live. A huge part of being successful is maintaining a strong online presence and being accessible to your fans. CDN also promotes its bands through their own YouTube channel and Craig does his part by sharing posts on his personal social media pages.
5.What has been going on with the band between albums? Did you tour?
Well, our self-titled release dropped in late December of 2017 and just a few weeks later our drummer Matt Penner left the band. We kept this on the down low as it would have been the kiss of death for a new band to lose their drummer on the heels of releasing their first record. We just promoted the album the best we knew how at the time, put our heads down and started writing new material. We knew what we were looking for in a new drummer and quietly approached a few local prospects but, none of them seemed to fit the bill. We did have one particular guy in mind that Chuck was working with in another band called Eyam. He was kind of reluctant at first as he was in great demand and had a few bands and projects going. We finally were able to set a meet, show him some of the new songs and he agreed to learn some of the material. After we jammed the first time, the chemistry was undeniable and he joined us in March of 2018. We did a few local shows and then recorded our EP. We hooked up with another band that are good friends of ours from Regina; Altars of Grief. We set up a small tour last summer with a few shows leading up to us both playing Loud as Hell Festival. That was an amazing weekend and we can’t say enough good things about the organizers, staff and other bands, we got to share the stage with. All the promoters and fans were awesome. Other than that, we have just been writing the new album, playing locally and recording.
6.Do you have any new members?
Derrick Kroll is our “new” drummer but, as I stated earlier he’s been with us since we began writing this album and has been an integral part of VOTOV ever since. It’s like he’s psychic; he knows exactly what to play with every riff. Derrick’s steel work is incredible. His kicks, snare and tom performance are second to none. He’s a phenomenal musician and all around great guy. It seems like we’ve been friends with him our whole lives.
7.Who produced the new album and how did they effect the album?
Chuck generally does all of the editing, production and mixing on our albums. Jake Sacher of Sacher Audio Services has mastered the first album and our EP. Jake is another longtime friend and he actually plays in a band called Serrated Scalpel with Chuck. This time around we let Jake take the reins mixing and mastering. He did a stunning job of capturing the sound we were looking for. Every instrument is audible in the mix and it’s pushed just enough, without causing sibilance. He definitely was a big part in making this record sound the way it does!.
8.Some like to record naked or in the dark with candles , Did you have any strange studio practices?
I know it doesn’t make for an exciting interview but, no blood sacrifices or offerings on an altar are happening in our camp when it comes to recording. I guess playing naked would make for some interesting play-thru videos though, lol. The biggest motivator to recording for me is, being well rehearsed and knowing my parts. I have to jam the structure of a song with the band and then take it home to really plot out my bass lines. Sometimes it will be months before I feel totally confident in what I’m playing to actually have the desire to record. I’ve never been big on improvising although, some of the happiest accidents in jam can create amazing music. Once I’m ready, we like to do at least 6-10 takes of a song. I play through no matter what because even if I make a mistake, there might be parts of the song that are played better than others. It’s very much like playing live, keep the song going at all costs.
9.Of course tell us where to pick up your album and how to learn more about you.
I.X.X.I. is currently available from CDN Records at: http://cdnrecords.com/shop/votov-ixxi/
It will also be available on Bandcamp and all the major digital retailers shortly after that. We are on FB, Instagram, CDN’s website and YouTube channel. We also have our own YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4XC7xLz6SgjrGkKkjNwAOA
10.What are your plans, now that the new album is out?
Given our current situation, there are no tours currently booked. We will be doing a local CD release show here in Winnipeg unless things get locked back down. My biggest goal is to get this album into as many hands as possible and to promote it as much as we can online. I’ve been building a data base of radio stations, DJ’s, media outlets, blogs, reviewers and webzines that I can send it to digitally. Hopefully all that work combined with the backing of CDN will open doors to bigger things in 2021 for us. Thanks for helping to spread the word Wes and taking the time to discuss the new record with me.