Music Q&A:

Self described as heavy, weird and soulful, Vodun are a tribal rock three-piece currently touring. Vocalist Chantal Brown, aka Oya, tells us she’s inspired by West African music – and Bonnie Tyler

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What informs your music and songwriting?
Drummer Zel had been studying lots of rhythms and beats from different regions of Africa, which is often a starting point. We all have different backgrounds and tastes in music and that means ideas for songs can be drawn from anywhere. We often enjoy the challenge of approaching a style or idea that might seem ridiculous, and manifesting it into a song that’s enjoyable for everyone in the band and fitting with our overall vibe.

How have you evolved as a band evolved over the years?
We feel like we have always tried to stay true to ourselves in what we are doing, even though in the beginning a lot of people didn’t quite get what we are trying to put out musically. During the progression from our EP to the release of the album, we delved deeper into the Vodun spirituality. When the original guitarist left, we were given another ear and a new set of ideas from someone fresh coming into the band too. We have really worked on building our live show as well, bringing a bigger sound – which unfortunately means lugging a lot more gear around – as well as percussion throughout the set.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
While writing this we are currently driving from Coventry to Bristol on our UK tour. We have taken the first part of the year to really knuckle down on new material for our second album, which we feel has come with a bit of pressure after our debut album Possession was received so well. The new material is coming together really well, and we’re just beginning to work it into our set list. We’re trying to stay true to ourselves in the music we write and continuing to try push the boundaries of what we are doing. We have a European tour this summer, which will include making a return visit to Italy, our first visit to Spain and Portugal, as well as appearances at Hellfest, DesertFest and Freakvalley Festival.

What’s on your rider?
Nothing too extravagant. We have a vegan and veggies in the band so we ask for crisps, nuts, cheese, bread or pittas, fresh fruit, salad, assorted vegetables and hummus. None of us are big beer drinkers so we ask for wine and pear cider.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
The most surreal experience we have had so far is when Kerrang! magazine surprised us by putting a poster of the band in one of their issues. We only found out on the day it ran, and it was a surreal experience to think for a relatively small and still very much underground band that people could be hanging that poster up in their room. Top tip from Zel – any posters you don’t want make excellent wrapping paper for presents. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart, as it is sung drunkenly and heartfelt across the land.

What’s your worst lyric?
With the new material we’re currently fleshing out in the rehearsal room, not all of the songs have lyrics completed yet. So, one of the temporary backing-vocal lines is “the giraffe fell overboard”.

Vodun play Desertfest 2017, London, 28-30 April

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