Mutiny on the Machine
An Interview with Toronto's Monster Voodoo Machine
by: Adrian Bromley
Mutiny. The word brings up images of a rebellion or some form of revolt. Seems fitting for Toronto sextet Monster Voodoo Machine who in the last year, since the completion of their year and a half long tour in support of _Suffersystem_, have bailed from their major label RCA/BMG, had to deal with internal band conflicts which lead to the departure of some members and the everyday hassles of dealing with the opening up the creative floodgates for new material.

Despite all the setbacks and obstacles, almost 20 months to the date of the release of their debut album, emerges the next step in the evolution of Monster Voodoo Machine's musical prowess: _Pirate Satellite_. The five-song EP on independent label 45 Revolutions Productions (only 1,000 copies of _PS_ will be pressed) is by far a ways away from the award winning grind hardcore-metallic stomp dose of music that embodied their 1995 Juno Award winning LP, _Suffersystem_, let alone the swelling techno/industrial/hardcore tinged offerings of past EP's: _Burn_ (1992) and _State Voodoo/State Control_ (1994)

Led by singer/songwriter/founder Adam Sewell (the band is comprised of guitarists Jason Cuddy and Darren Quinn, drummer Dean Bentley and newcomers keyboardist Nick Sagias and bassist Chris Harris - both good friends of the band and ex-Soulstorm members) Monster Voodoo Machine has once again shapeshifted itself, lessening the need for guitars and the harsh grittiness to their sound and adding more feeling to the material and lyrics by incorporating ample amounts of samples and vocal stylings to balance out the diversity of the record. While different in some aspects, the album itself still has the feel and markings of MVM. No doubt about it.

On the new album _PS_, Sewell begins, "Even though we will only have 1,000 copies of the record out, those that will hear it or have it will be able to see what the new stuff is about. That is all that it is about. I have no intention of keeping up the indie label and putting records out on it." About the EP's material serving any real purpose or showing off the growth of the band, Sewell answers, "I don't know about that. I think this material is the material that in the spring of 1996 Monster Voodoo Machine recorded and put out. We have about an album's worth of material right now and plan to record that in September sometime. Everything is ready to go for us."

"This wasn't a conscious effort to make an impression on anybody," remarks Sewell on the direction of the new material, "The only thing that I was conscious of was to make the production of the record more along the lines of what I wanted to hear. I think people will finally understand that we had nothing to do with industrial music or be in a industrial band. To be able to take what is in my head and clearly portray it musically and I think I am finally capable of doing that. I think people will understand that we are more Big Audio Dynamite than Skinny Puppy."

"This is the first time I have ever made a record and made it because it was fun," he says, "Because it was the right thing to do and it was enjoyable doing it. MVM have never made a record under those conditions before." Sewell is obviously happy with the production of the EP and his work with Biron Wong (from Toronto band, My Brilliant Beast). Sewell states, "Over the last year since we took off time, I had to educate myself. With Biron he really educated me and taught me how to get the things in my head on tape. He spent a lot of time with me and was patient too. I spent time educating myself and also with the fact that the band wanted to push themselves to approach their instruments. It was a collective desire for a step forward and that has really helped everybody. Music is more enjoyable for me now because I am working with people that I want to work with and I think if you look at what the songs have lyrically or mood-wise, I wanted to create a record that was a good time. For example, the song 'Ghetto Blaster' isn't quite exactly a serious song. I think that is an indication of what is going on with the band and it's music."

While the band had done their time with a major label and now on their own, it doesn't go to say MVM isn't scouting around for another major to call home - or worse - that the band is up a creek without a paddle. The band has been approached by several record labels since their departure from RCA/BMG. "That was a fortunate thing that once we walked out of the RCA deal we walked into a situation where other labels were interested in what was going on or how they could be involved, which was cool for us."

Another thing that the band has seen grow and feed off of is their experience within the music industry. Calling their own shots is a big deal for them. On touring: "I definitely think we are not as naive anymore about having to play anywhere and anytime. I definitely want to play with other types of bands other than the types we played with in the past. A few of us in the band have families and I am sure we don't want to stay on the road as long this time around. Maybe a few weeks here and there and then some time off. For the first four years of the band it was just continuous work to make things happen and everything we did, all the energy, went into making things happen and not the music. Now there is a relaxed atmosphere within the band and now it is the music first and then we work on the other things we have to deal with. Everything seems to be going good right now because of that. I'm not dying to get out on the road. I have no points to prove to anybody except musically and that is why I am choosing this way of doing things this time around."

(article submitted 12/8/1996)


CHATS
11/8/1995 A Bromley Monster Voodoo Machine: Monster Voodoo Machine
ALBUMS
7/8/1998 A Bromley 8 Monster Voodoo Machine - Direct Reaction Now!
8/12/1996 G Filicetti 7 Monster Voodoo Machine - Pirate Satellite
GIGS
10/11/1996 J Smith Monster Voodoo Machine / Ink Disassembling the Machine
10/1/1995 G Filicetti Monster Voodoo Machine Experiences With the Monster Voodoo Machine
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