After catching Voyager drummer Ashley Doodkorte’s drum masterclass, I managed to get some time with Danny and Simone before they were due to headline Techfest’s 2nd stage.
So…you have certainly brought the Ozzy weather with you! Do you have any tips for us Brits?
Danny & Simone: Get Air-conditioning!
Simone: Why is there NO air-conditioning anywhere!? Haha
Danny: Well, I guess it’s the equivalent of us buying snow tires! It’s a significant investment for a rare occurrence.
Simone: Get air-conditioning…you never know.
The band has been going for nearly 20 years, with only Danny as the original member. Could you explain, the processes you went through to get to where you are now.
Danny: Firstly, not many people know that! Most people see us as a fairly new band recognising us from the last few albums…
(…it was at this point, my professional head went out the window and I explained that I first discovered Voyager though their album “V” due to a Spotify suggestion and the song “Hyperventilating” came on. My interview turned into some horrific acapella beatboxing trying to replicate the intro riff! Haha …but in all seriousness, if you have not heard that song, check it out and you will understand why I got very excited about that intro!)
…The interview continues…
Danny: Back in University, I was heavily into Power Metal. There were no bands doing Melodic Metal in the area and I wanted to do that. I remember coming on with a keyboard and people were like, what is that!?
Simone: I remember that, even before I was in the band. You had the extremes, you had people who either absolutely loved Voyager, or absolutely hated it, there was no middle ground.
Danny: It’s actually really cool, I’d rather have that polar opposite. So yeah, Voyager started off with that love for melodic and neo-classical music.
Simone: You can tell as time went on, how the different musician influenced the music. Like with myself, Scott, Ash and Alex, its progressively getting groovy.
Danny: I was a classically trained pianist and violinist, so I was all about the neo-classical, you know the… **Insert shredding solo sounds here**. Groove was never really a thing for me, but these guys brought the Funk. If I was to look bank on my career, I’d be really disappointed if I had 6 albums that all sounded the same.
How did you find each other?
Simone: We’re all friends, the Perth music scene is very small. Everyone would go to gigs and hang out… even if the style of music was not your thing, you would still go to support them and we all had a lot of respect for each other. I think we even played shows together in different bands, you just get to know people.
Danny: This line-up is fantastic, we don’t fight, we all get along and we love writing the music together. So yeah, its feeling good right now.
What is your writing process?
Simone: It’s kind of a mixture. In the early days Dan used to write the majority of the songs, but as of “The meaning Of I” onwards, its been more like coming to the jam room with an idea, but sometimes it doesn’t have to be all of us in a room. Sometimes myself and Scott will work on something together, other times it would be Danny, Ash and Alex. It seems to be working for us in the last few albums.
Danny: Technology has made things a lot easier, for example in Ash’s drum clinic he mentioned about writing out something that looks good on paper, and then can try it out. But on the other hand, you can get overwhelmed with the number of samples in the library and you can get carried away… sometimes its hard to know when to stop.
(I made a comment about how diverse the music was and delved into Ash’s drum clinic. If you listen to what he is doing, it is actually quite complex, but there are parts of songs where it is full on backbeat groove, which makes Voyager such an interesting and fun band to listen to.)
Danny: We may not be as technical as a lot of bands here at Tech-Fest for example, but that’s the wonderful thing about our music. You can listen to it on a complex level or almost as background music. That’s the thing with progressive music, it’s progressive, it’s constantly evolving and as a listener you have that ability to listen to it on the two levels. A bit like chill out music or ambient music, you can have it on in the background or you can really listen to it.
Simone: Meshuggah, I love them, but turning on your car at 8:00am with it blasting when you have a hangover… it’s not the greatest feeling in the world. It is music to be listened to.
Who in the band keeps everyone in check?
Ash, the drummer, he’s definitely more organised.
Who loves their food?
We are all massive foodies. Ash is into brewing, anything with brewery, Ash would be all over that!
Who is the daredevil out of the band?
Who’s the party animal?
**Simone, points at Danny…**
Danny: There have been instances, when the band has said we’ve got to go home now Danny, and I’ve been like, Nooo…PARTY! But it all depends of the occasion. Road touring is definitely more relaxed than the plane touring. Plane touring Australia is a nightmare, you’ve got 2 airports a day! You do your gig, get back to the hotel at 3am, then you are back out again at 7:00am to catch the next flight. It’s full on.
Simone: We all have that party side to us, we like to hang out, socialise and talk to people, but you have to rest up, you don’t want to be doing terrible shows due to lack of sleep.
Danny: Especially when you are at a bar talking really loudly to people, you can’t recover from that with 10 more shows to go. You have to be responsible.
And on the flipside, who is loves their naps?
**…again, Simone points to Danny!**
Simone: Followed closely by Scott.
Danny: Napping is essential, the key to life.
Most memorable gig/moment in the band?
Simone: The Deftones Australian tour was definitely a highlight for us. A.They were some of the biggest shows we have done in Australia and B: In terms of the crew and the all the band members on the tour, everyone was just so bro’d out. We all helped each other out, there was no egos, it went so smooth, that was one of the best tours for me.
Danny: For me it was Prog Power USA. After the show, there was a HUGE autograph queue, they were queued twice around the venue, waiting for 2 and a half hours! I couldn’t believe it…it was like one of the moments you dream of as a kid.
Most enjoyable song to play as a band?
Simone: “Hyperventilating” is a good song. I think in terms of music when we are all tight and the crowd gets involved. That’s what makes it, when you get that feedback from the crowd. That and “The meaning Of I”, they are probably our 2.
What is your Pre-Stage routine?
Danny: I regularly fall asleep before we have to go on.
Simone: Naps and Wine.
Danny: Yep, Naps, Wine…and a bit of chocolate.
Simone: We like to hang out with each other. It psyches us up for the gig.
Danny: Unlike some bands, we don’t really need quiet or anything like that, we’re pretty chilled.
Who is one of the biggest behind the scenes hero?
Danny: Lulu, our manager. She has been amazing, she has helped us get that entry into the UK and goes above and beyond to help us out. She is definitely one of the best managers we could have ever hoped for. She’s done wonders for us, she’s a character and an amazing person.
Simone: LOVE YOU LULU!!
What is left on the band bucket list?
Simone: We would love to do more of the bigger European Festivals, Download and BloodStock. Japan is one we have wanted to do for years.
Later that day, I headed over to check out their set and take some photos. Their set was tight, well received and even chucked in a cheeky snippet from the 90s dance classic, Darude, 'Sandstorm'.
If you like your progressive music, Voyager are definitely a band to check out.
Big thank-you to Danny and Simone for sparing some time from their busy schedule to have this interview.
Website - www.voyager-australia.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/voyageraustralia/
Photo & Interview - Matt Jones