Monster Voodoo Machine
Rebuilding the 'Machine'
by: Adrian Bromley
"The whole heavy seriousness, lethargic element of Monster Voodoo Machine is gone. There is no more of the 'Suffersystem,' dark angry side. I've done it before. If I could change the name and not be Monster Voodoo Machine anymore and release it under a new name, I would" -- Adam Sewell, vocalist/mastermind

And then there were three.

Toronto's Monster Voodoo Machine (MVM) has gone from a sextet to a trio in less than a month. Out is bassist Terry Landry, drummer Dean Bentley and sampler/keyboardist Stacey Hoskins. Remaining members/mercenaries are guitarists Jason Cuddy and Darren Quinn, and outspoken mastermind and lead singer of MVM, Adam Sewell. But like many times before, Toronto's Monster Voodoo Machine has been morphed, split, rejuvenated, kicked, hailed as heroes, and still the band manages to display a steady, powerful determination to seek originality rather than success. Survival is key.

About the departure and restructuring of the band, Sewell responds, "If you look from the beginning of Monster Voodoo Machine up to now, the amount of people that have come through the doors is quite a few. I think if anybody looks at MVM and bandmembers changing as something drastic, then they have been incredibly clued-out to what is going on. I said this years ago that the people in the band at that time were the right people for the job, but things are changing [with the direction of the band] and it has nothing to do with people leaving. It is just the way it is. It's no big deal."

The changes that Sewell speaks about are going to find a home in the band's forthcoming LP, the follow-up to their 1994 Juno Award- winning (Canadian equivalent of a Grammy) album, _Suffersystem_. Sewell begins, with a smile and obvious sarcastic, humorous overtones, "I want to make the ultimate heavy metal record. I want to make the fastest, heaviest, most crushing, most grinding, most brutal black metal record ever made. I wanna have an excuse to walk around with white face make-up and black eye-liner." He laughs and says, "What?! You don't believe me?"

"It is hard to explain," says Sewell putting on a more serious expression. "To understand what I am doing now is sort of to understand that I have never been happy with anything that we have done before. Right now, I am making the record I have always wanted to make. The people who I am working with in the studio now are giving me the freedom to explore things I have wanted to explore, things that I have never had options to do before." He adds, "By no means is this a heavy metal record; don't expect _Sufferstytem Part Two_." And an explanation of one of the main reasons behind his obvious unhappiness or acceptability of the metal edge that his band carried on _Suffersystem_? "I have really been unhappy with the metal sound of our band for a long time. To make another _Suffersystem_ record would be selling out. That is not what I feel comfortable with right now or feel like doing." Aware of what he will face with the new material, he says, "Sure reviews will say that we are selling out." He corrects the supposed statements that'll be made and says, "Making another metal record would be selling out. That would take no talent - it takes nothing to throw chugging chords and samples together. We've done it already, why do it again?"

The album should be out in April or May and will have a tour to follow in support of the release. Sewell, as well as Cuddy and Quinn, are in the process of putting together demos - a pre-production of the album. "When we decide to record the album it will go by fast," Sewell said.

In regards to touring he had this to say. "We won't be touring with metal bands anymore. We'd like to tour with bands like Pop Will Eat Itself, Fishbone or The Jesus And Mary Chain." And filling the gap of losing three members on tour and in the studio? "We'll just do it ourselves, and then when we need to tour we'll get people and take care of it."

So with a pure adrenalin rush to revamp or mold the sound of the band, is Sewell and the rest of the band trying to get away from what they had accomplished with _Suffersystem_? "I don't know if I am getting away from everything, it just seems like the less logical progression for us, and the thing for _Suffersystem_ was that it was a step backwards. This is what I want to do, and for me it is natural and simple to do. Whether people like it or not, I don't care." He adds, "I think the first people that may or may not complain [about the new record] are the people that never bought our records before. So I don't care."

So what can we expect from the new as yet untitled album? "I think the main thing is to understand that the samples are there, the guitars are there - though there are less guitars. I think that with the new songs, we have been able to utilize the same elements as we have had before, but in a way that no one else is doing it. I think I have finally found a way to manipulate sounds in a way that no one else is doing and feeling comfortable doing it. We are not an industrial band. I think we know now how to mix samples and guitars without coming across as Ministry or Nine Inch Nails." Reveals Sewell, "I never wanted to sound like those bands at all, and I let MVM fall into that bracket because it was easy to get a response from people when you do that and I was never happy. Now I know what I am doing in the studio and sort of found answers I was looking for."

What about having to deal with expectations? The band has won a Juno for Best Heavy Metal Album, toured successfully with Marilyn Manson, Fear Factory, Fight, Carcass, and Life Of Agony, and have been known to put on a killer show (ask Gino! See CoC #3). Are there pressures mounting with the new album? "If I started thinking of the pressure of what other people are expecting from me, I'd kill myself right now 'cause all of these things I am putting pressures on myself to step forward. Making _Suffersystem_ and having to tour with those songs for so long was to me just a step backwards, a let down."

Continuing on, Sewell says, "Night after night, the songs didn't have the dynamics I wanted, or covered the musical scope or range that I wanted. To me, I am going to try to push myself to cross a couple of new thresholds and break down some new boundaries. My biggest goal is that I never want to see another review that names NIN, Ministry or White Zombie. There has never been a reason to mention those names before and I want to make sure that nobody does it in the future."

(article submitted 8/11/1995)

8/12/1996 A Bromley Monster Voodoo Machine: Mutiny on the Machine
7/8/1998 A Bromley 8 Monster Voodoo Machine - Direct Reaction Now!
8/12/1996 G Filicetti 7 Monster Voodoo Machine - Pirate Satellite
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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