Interviews

NOW, VOYAGER interview

We conducted this lengthy interview with the guys from Brussels’ NOW, VOYAGER on December 27, 2011.

Hey, guys. Thank you very much for taking this interview. Please, introduce yourself and describe your band in a few sentences.

Nabil:

Hello, I’m Nabil, and I play microphone (yes, I’m the vocalist).

Ben:

Hi, I’m Ben, I play drums in the band. There’s also Antoine and Martin who play guitar and Thomas who play bass.

We are Now, Voyager, a 5 piece band from Brussels, Belgium and we play music that goes between rock and metal. We’ve been a band together since August 2010 and we are loving it so far.

How does it feel to live in the capital of the European Union? Please recommend a few interesting places to check out in your city and country.

Nabil:

Well, other than the fact that Belgium’s well known for its fries with mayo, and its beers, and random statue of a peeing boy living here’s pretty cool. I mean, there’s obviously a lot of differences within the various regions of Belgium itself. There’s a lot of gorgeous cities, each with their own history, and I guess on a more egocentric side, it’s cool knowing we’re “in the middle” of everything, so to speak. Makes getting anywhere pretty easy. And a few interesting places to go: my personal favorites would include Bruges, Ieper, and within Brussels there’s obviously the “Grand Place” and the Floris/Delirium bars which are a must for any visiting person wanting to get their beer groove on.

Did you attend Ieperfest 2011? If yes, how was it?

Ben:

I’ve never been to Ieperfest but I’ve heard many good things about this festival. Even though we’re not that “hardcore-ish”, I’d love to play there. Ieper has always been great every time we’ve played there!

Nabil:

Nope, haven’t been this year either, even though they had a really solid line up. I’m kind of disappointed about it, but had other priorities and was just not able to go unfortunately. I did get to play in 2009 though with my former band and it was a blast, so I’d love to go back and play with NOW, VOYAGER hopefully soon. Like Ben said, Ieper’s always been good to us, and it always feels like a hometown show when we play there.

You have recently unveiled a new teaser for “The Surface” music video. Tell us more about the clip.

Ben:

As a band we have a preference for “live” videos instead of videos with scenarios, or playbacking in a given location. We just felt that live footage would be more suitable for our music. In addition to that, we had the chance to play great venues with huge bands that draw a good crowd at the time we decided to make a video, so in the end the decision just made sense to go for a “live” video.
Everything was shot in October and November 2011 during the Rise Records Euro tour and the WHILE SHE SLEEPS / BURY TOMORROW tour, but also during our hometown show in Le Botanique. There’s also going to be some footage of our trip to the UK when we recorded our EP at Outhouse Studios. The point’s just to make a genuine, but intense video. No scenario, no trends, no bullshit. Just an honest video with the band, that keeps the focus on the music.

The track comes from the “Seas” EP, released back in April 2011. How did you guys write this album? Could you tell us more about the recording process?

Ben:

We recorded the EP in April but we released it on September 5th. We’ve been promoting “Seas” for four months now. The writing process went really well, a bit stressful but that’s rock’n roll. We had two songs written before our pre- production. During the pre-production we worked literally day and night for 2 weeks to get everything ready before we hit the studio. We still had to write 2 songs and put the finishing touches to the last one.

Nabil:

Songs like “The Surface” were still not entirely finished even when we got to the studio. Some parts were changed the night before the guitar takes and it was pretty chaotic at some points, and we were really sure if we could do it. “The Surface” was a song that the band had never even played together once before the studio, so it was all pretty risky, but I guess we work well under pressure, somehow.

Ben:

The writing process is always similar, we try to work around emotions, feelings, mental images that our songs would evoke within the listener. Martin is usually the one coming with a riff, a chorus or even a full song structure. Antoine and I then re-shape everything to bring some kind of coherence in the song, we also add the “electronics” and samples. Then we show the result to the rest of the band and we all discuss what we feel would suit the best for the song. It’s a long process but that’s how we feel comfortable and how we all have our own input in every song.

Nabil:

As far as the lyrics are concerned it depends greatly on the song, or the idea behind the song. Sometimes the music is actually based on lyrics written before hand (“Tabula Rasa”), sometimes the lyrics and music are both written according to the “theme” (“Astrophoria: The Weight of a Dream”), let’s say, that was set for the given song, or simply the lyrics are inspired by the music as most traditional song writing processes would go (“Foundations”, “To Every Beginning”).

What about your debut full length album? What are your future recording plans?

Ben:

We’re now focusing on our exams but we have some things up our sleeve. I can’t say that much, but we’ve written an acoustic song we’re planning to record shortly after our exams. We’ve also been working on new heavy songs. We’ll be working on that full time from the end of January 2012.

Nabil:

As far as a full length album goes though, we have no idea. We just released our EP, we’re going to promote that, and hope it’s enough to start getting us out of Belgium and into Europe altogether, and as time goes and new songs are written we’ll see. If we do ever plan on recording anything again though, it’ll definitely be at Outhouse Studios again.

What are your touring plans for 2012?
Ben:

We just started working with Noize Agency, a Belgian agency that handles bookings for bands like More Than A Thousand and Campus. We’ll see what the future brings but we’re pretty excited. Our main goal for 2012 is to play shows outside of Belgium.

Nabil:

We’ll take anything we can get. Weekenders in random countries, 10-15 day tours in various countries. Any of it, and all of it, we want it and we’re hoping to make it happen, and any help at all means a huge amount to us, since this is our dream. We just want to play our music for people out there, and hope they connect with it, as much as we do.


How many shows have you been playing so far?

Ben:

We’ve only played like 20 shows so far. Which I think is pretty cool considering we’ve only been together as a band since August 2010, took a month off for the Seas EP pre-production and all succeeded our university exams in the process. Talk about a successful year!

Nabil:

We’re hoping to double that number this year though. It’s definitely a challenge since it depends on our booking agency, and other bookers as well, but it’s a challenge we accept.

You have shared the stage with THE ELIJAH, POISON MY BLOOD, EMPIRES FADE, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA and many other bands. How do you remember these shows? Which tour was the best one?
Ben:

Every show has been great so far but playing these huge shows has been a great opportunity to get the exposure we needed as a starting band. I’ve had the chance to meet people I thought I would never have the opportunity to meet, so that’s great.
As far as I’m concerned, the best show was the Rise Records Euro tour, all these huge signed bands were so nice to us, the venue was packed, we shot footage for the video and the crowd was really responsive. It’s a great feeling to have people here in Belgium backing our message and our music.

Nabil:

I think every show carries a certain memory to it, I mean honestly there’s always something that happens at each show. Martin might’ve had guitar problems at one show, and then Tom wireless system issues at another, or something funny might’ve happen somewhere else. In the end it all becomes little stories we learn to treasure and retell later on, and laugh about. My favorite show was probably the one with MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, THE COLOR MORALE, and DREAM ON, DREAMER as well. They’re all such top notch bands, and we’re just a regular local band, and yet they were extremely nice and friendly to us the entire time. It makes you want to keep pushing harder, and get to where they’re at, but always remember where you came from as well.

What is the first concert you remember going to?
Ben:

This is actually funny. We recently had the chance to play one of the biggest venues in Brussels, which is called L’Orangerie. I said the question was funny because the first gig I ever attended occurred in the same venue in 2002. It was a French nu-metal band called PLEYMO. That wasn’t clearly the best gig I ever went to but I was really excited about seeing a band I liked play live.

Nabil:

I think my first concert ever was a SWITCHFOOT concert in Chicago at a venue called The Vic. It was right after they released “The Beautiful Letdown” which is an album that changed my life in some ways, so I was really stoked on seeing them live. It was a really small venue, with an extremely intimate atmosphere between the band and the fans, and I was there with my sister and it was honestly just perfect. They were honestly just amazing.

Can you tell us few pieces of work that either shaped or changed your life? A movie, a poem, a book, an album, etc.

Ben:

Without a doubt, I’m going to say “When I am God” by the band OH, SLEEPER. I think everything about this record is perfect. When I listen to the record not only do I hear one of the most coherent modern metal albums ever written, but the music also brings so many images in my head. I really dig music that carries me off to somewhere else. It’s really a shame that they are so underrated compared to some of the “chug breakdown scene” bands.

There’s also Colony, Clayman and Reroute to Remain by IN FLAMES. I listened to those 3 cd’s non stop when I was in high school. As far as books are concerned, I really dig (and Antoine & Martin are going to hate me for saying that) Frédéric Beigbeders work. Particularly “L’Egoïste romantique” and “Windows on the world”. I also really liked “Le Roman des Jardin” by Alexandre Jardin.

Nabil:

Personally, the top 3 albums that changed my life were “No Name Face” by LIFEHOUSE, and “The Beautiful Letdown” by SWITCHFOOT, and “Define The Great Line” by UNDEROATH. Those cd’s helped me get through a lot of different things in my life and are major reasons for me wanting to play music in the first place. As far as literature’s concerned, books that have inspired or influenced my life in anyway are definitely “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky (from which I got a quote tattooed), and “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom. Music, or book, they just thought me how to look at life in a positive way, and to embrace the beautiful and the ugly and accept them for what they are.

Which artists and bands are your main influences?

Ben:

I’m a HUGE IN FLAMES nerd. They got me in to the whole metal “thing”.

Nabil:

For me it’ll be LIFEHOUSE, UNDEROATH, THE CHARIOT, and THRICE. Lyrical wise, they’ve all just taught me to push myself and develop as a writer, but mostly just to be honest. If you really want to reach out to someone, and want them to believe in your words, you’ve first got to believe in them yourself. So those bands/artists taught me how to give a piece of myself to every song I’ve ever written for.

You’re a young band, but if you could change one thing about your career, what would it be?
Ben:

I’m really happy with what we’ve accomplished so far and I can say that I’ve never scrapped that many things from my “Bucket List” than in 2011. Outhouse was our first recording experience and sure, there’s a few things we could have done better but we’re super stocked about the result. The only thing I would change would be the artwork/printing process for our EP “Seas”. We’ve had way too many setbacks due to not really knowing what to do first and how to handle things. It took a lot of time, stress, sweat and tears but it’s finally out, and I’ve never been so proud.

Nabil:

There’s no sense in looking back, at this point there’s only the future to look forward to. We’ve grown and learned a lot over the past year, and it’s time to take those lessons and use them to grow even more this upcoming year, and hopefully take everything one step further. If we can do that, then in my heart, we’re on the right track.

What are you most looking forward to in the future as a band?

Ben:

Continuing to play music with my best friends, travel more and spread our music outside of Belgium.

Nabil:

Yep, what he said. Playing music with the same dudes you talk to every day, and go out and party with, and share the love for what we do with others in hopes that they too end up loving it. All we ask is for a chance to do this and to do it everywhere.


What do you guys do in your private lives?

Nabil:

Everyone in the band’s either working, or studying, or doing both actually. I’m currently doing Business Management in night classes, and planning up on starting a little t-shirt brand with a friend in a few months. I’ll probably be going back to finish my Psychology studies when September rolls around. For money I do some odd jobs here and there, like in December I helped direct Christmas Light Show Parades for a company with Martin. It was a ton of fun, despite the lousy weather.

Ben:

I’m currently doing my Masters Human Resources Management and I do also work part time in the Communications department of the University.

Thank you. Feel free to tell people anything you want.

No, thank you for your time and for giving sound to our voice! We also would like to thank everyone who helped us in any way. Every kid that came out to a show and banged his head along to our music, bought a shirt, or an EP, told his friends about us, or even had a beer with us. All of it is appreciated way more that you could ever imagine, and we thank you for supporting us in what we love doing.

Photo credits: JC Guillaume, Serge Thomas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Comments
To Top