Nearly a quarter of a century after their inception in 1999, Voyager are finally receiving the acclaim they deserve after representing Australia at the ever-popular Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, placing first in the second Semi-Final and ninth in the Grand Final. They are, quite possibly, the first truly ‘progressive’ artists to take the Eurovision stage. With a new album, Fearless in Love, just around the corner, Voyager seems set for world domination. TPA’s Basil Francis sat down with the band’s two guitarists, Simone Dow and Scott Kay to find out, amongst other things, how important it was to Voyager to represent prog at a global level and whether any compromises needed to be made to reach new audiences…
Thanks so much for talking to me today! I’ll start with a basic question: how ‘prog’ do you consider Voyager to be and what does that term mean to you?
Simone Dow: ‘Prog’ means ‘progressive’, which means ‘different’ and ever-changing and ever-evolving. I think we’re pretty ‘prog’ in that sense. I know a lot of people tend to focus on the time changes and ten-minute songs a little bit too much but, if you actually look up the meaning of ‘progressive’, I think we fit in the genre pretty well.
I’d agree fully. I’ve had a few weeks to get caught up with your back catalogue and the evolution the band has been through over twenty years has been extraordinary, but I was surprised that you’ve never released a song longer than six-and-a-half minutes. What’s holding you back from writing a longer song?
Scott Kay: I think it’s honestly the intention. We just don’t find it happens. For us, writing is such an organic process and we’ve never found ourselves needing that much time to get our point across. I think we’ve always had a ‘pop’ mentality in terms of form and structure. We love hooks, we love something we can sink our teeth into. In that way, a repeated hook can only get you so far in a tune. The four-and-a-half minute mark seems to be the point that feels most cohesive to us, it’s the full statement. Writing a long song just for the sake of it would feel like ramming a square peg into a round hole.
Simone: We very much write with the song being the main focus. We chuck our egos out the window and make sure that the song makes sense rather than cram another section in here because the song’s less than six minutes long.
I feel pretty guilty now for wearing a Dream Theater T-shirt.
Simone: Please don’t, we love Dream Theater!
I did want to ask, what are your influences in general?
Scott: Honestly, Dream Theater was one of them when I was younger. I listened to Images and Words a bunch. For me, it’s old-school Dream Theater. It’s everything from the mid-’90s to early ’00s that feels like their peak years and I attribute that mostly to the fact that I think their songwriting was just stronger in that time. My bias is showing obviously. Some people really like the more sprawling, exploratory kinda stuff, but the succinct hooks in the early days are what really got me going.
Outside of them, Devin Townsend was massive for me. His ’90s to ’00s stuff as well. This is just gonna make me sound like that purist that likes their early stuff more. It’s just the nature of it, man. To me, Ocean Machine and Infinity are perfect in every respect, so he was huge for me.
And you, Simone?
Simone: It’s funny that we’re talking about Dream Theater again because I just added Awake, which is one of my favourite albums, and Images and Words back onto my iTunes. We were flying to Adelaide and it was Awake in particular that made me think “Man, they could write a catchy banger back in the day when they had Kevin Moore still in the band.”
Coincidentally enough, my wife’s boss’s cousin is Kevin Moore.
Scott: What? WHAT!?
Simone: You can tell him, his era of Dream Theater was *chef’s kiss*.
Oh yeah, I love Moore’s songs too, like Space-Dye Vest. My all-time favourite Dream Theater track is a strange one, Only a Matter of Time; Moore’s lyrics on that song are just mind-blowing to me.
Simone: So some other influences for me. Devin Townsend was another big one for me. Soilwork and Scar Symmetry in my earlier days, and some of the more Goth, thrashier stuff, because I started off in a more thrash and death metal background before I got into the more melodic stuff, which is obviously a bit different.
In terms of Voyager, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Ozric Tentacles, Infected Mushroom, Korn… There are so many different genres that have influenced the band. We’ve all got our own things we listen to but there’s a big cross-section that’s moulded our Voyager sound.
Scott: Devin has definitely gotten itself into there. Devin is a big part of the Voyager zeitgeist. He’s just layering all of the atmospherics and stuff. We love that. That’s part of the driving force of Voyager’s music. We like to get the synths, but instead of just layering them in the background, we like them to be a driving force for the music too, which is really cool.
That brings me to one of my next questions. I’ve listened to your upcoming album, Fearless in Love, and will be reviewing it soon. I couldn’t help but notice that the synths are front and centre on this new album, and also to a lesser extent on your previous album Colours in the Sun, whereas they weren’t really present at all on your previous two albums, V and Ghost Mile. What’s affected that change for you?
Scott: I think there was a certain amount of personal reflection that just happened organically. There was a certain point in time when I was chatting to Simone about what the guitars would do. I think when you listen to V and Ghost Mile – more so V – the guitars are everywhere on that record. It’s all guitar-driven music on that album, for no particular reason. It just sort of happened that way, it wasn’t intentional, but I think there were a lot of points where the guitar had to be front and centre to make the song click.
It dawned on both of us that we love hearing Danny’s synths; we love the pads and the layering. There was a moment where we went “We should take a step back and let the synths do more of the talking.” I think that positively influenced the sound because we were able to take ourselves out of it a little more and let other things shine. From my point of view that’s really what dictated the difference between Colours in the Sun and those two albums.
Funnily enough, I was going to ask you if the move to synths was a bother to you because it took away from the guitary-ness of the music, but it sounds as if that was on your terms.
Simone: There are a few other reasons as well. The songs that we were coming up with were lending themselves to needing a lot more space, and a lot more cinematic-sounding.
But the other thing that influenced our sound between Colours and this album was actually doing Eurovision. Australia Decides, in particular, really changed the way we framed our songwriting in a positive way. It made us really focus and go “What do we need?”
You only have three minutes for your song, that’s the first rule. We need this to be Voyager, so what does it need and what doesn’t it need? Where can we trim things that don’t need to be there? It really forces you to hone in and pick your moments; where things should shine, where things should pop out, where things should pull back.
I think after doing Australia Decides, we then came back and wrote the album and we really took those lessons that we learned from doing that – not to cut it to three minutes, obviously, but just to really look at our songs more closely and figure out how long does it need to be? What needs to go there? Do we actually need guitars here or could it just be bass and synths so that it’s nice and spacious? You get more of a dynamic impact then and you really feel it when something comes in. We wanted that big cinematic sound, and that’s why we’re so proud of this album, because we’ve hit all those points that we’ve always wanted to meet, and without overplaying for once in our lives.
Wow, so you could say Fearless in Love has been influenced by your experience in writing a song for Eurovision. What’s your favourite track from the new album? Mine has to be the opener, The Best Intentions.
Scott: Yeah, I really like that one too. I think, for me, just Gren. Gren hits me every time and that song was one that I wrote as – this is the geekiest thing ever – but the whole thing with Gren is that’s a character from the anime Cowboy Bebop. It’s a homage to that character and the trauma he experiences in his life. The two-part episode Jupiter Blues is just phenomenal. They’re historical in anime culture so I just wanted to write a song about that.
Simone: Well Gren’s definitely up there as well. It’s actually super hard to pick one because it’s one of those records we’ve written where you listen to the whole album and you need to hear all the songs because it’s taking you on a journey. But if I have to choose, then Gren, Ultraviolet and… actually I really love Listen, just for the absolutely sensual guitar solo section. But it’s not even the guitars that I like the most, but the bass and the drums in that section. Every time it comes on I think “Oh man, this is the sexiest thing we’ve ever written!”
I wanted to get your Eurovision timeline nailed down. Obviously, you participated in Australia Decides last year, but when did you begin to think “We should do Eurovision?”
Scott: It was pretty much as soon as Australia was eligible. It was actually quite a fan-driven thing too. We have a bunch of fans who have always said “Voyager would be awesome on Eurovision.” We had a hashtag in 2015 which was #VoyagerForEurovision. It did start to make some momentum amongst our fans and spread a little bit.
Really the first dip into it was when we started submitting songs to the portal. We actually submitted Embrace the Limitless off V for one year. We didn’t see anything back until we submitted Runaway from Colours in the Sun. That was when we got a response and some momentum with it.
So this move to a more melodic sound due to Eurovision has really been part of your process for the last three albums. Were you afraid of any stigma that comes with being a Eurovision act?
Simone: Not at all. Firstly, we don’t really care, we just do what we want to do. Secondly, how could you not want to have the opportunity to play on a massive stage with a massive production like that that reaches upwards of 160 million to 180 million people? It’s just nonsense if you don’t want to do that. That’s just lies if you say you don’t want to do that.
Were there any acts that are similar to Voyager that came before that made you think “We could do that?”
Simone: Well, Lordi in 2006. I remember we were on tour, it was the first European tour I’d ever done when I first joined Voyager. Danny has been massively into Eurovision since he was young and he said to me “Oh you’ve got to check this band out, they just won Eurovision from Finland” and they had the monster outfits on. I remember thinking at the time “I can’t believe this won Eurovision!” so it must have been implanted in the brain back then that it was possible.
You were asking before about any backlash that we received. We were honestly surprised at the lack of backlash we received. The metal community back home in Western Australia have been nothing short of super supportive, sending us such loving messages, saying “It’s so awesome what you’re doing for metal in general and progressive metal. You’re getting it out and people will realise it’s not all growling and super aggressive music, there’s actually a lot to choose from.” We were actually disappointed by the lack of hate.
Scott: We love reading roasts, man!
There was no new edition of Australia Decides this year, so how were you selected to appear on Eurovision 2023?
Scott: We were internally selected. Everyone still submits music to a general pool and it gets chosen internally rather than being a televised event. I don’t know what their selection process really is but I would assume because we were on their radar and there was this narrative about us being “robbed” from last year that was permeating through Australia pretty aggressively. Perhaps they were thinking “Hmmm, maybe let’s just send them”.
Having watched a bunch of your interviews, I’m aware that Dreamer, which you played at Australia Decides in 2022, was edited down from a four-minute idea you had while Promise was written completely from the ground up with Eurovision as its premise. My first question is, will fans ever get to hear the original Dreamer?
Scott: Ooh, god, it would be deep in the computer somewhere. It’s literally in the computer I’m doing this on right now.
I would be fascinated to hear it, so I’ll just put that thought in your brain.
Scott: The demos would be there somewhere, so we might do it as a Patreon snippet or something because it is interesting the things we had to do. It was like, four-and-a-half minutes so we had to cut out about 35% of it.
When you listen to Dreamer and Promise side by side, that narrative is so clear because, while Dreamer is a good song, it doesn’t feel complete in the way Promise does. Promise is also a much more adventurous song with many different elements to it, so I’m actually quite glad that you failed to qualify last year, as you got to come to Eurovision with the superior song this year.
Scott: In hindsight, we all agree that it was better that we got in this year. As you say, we were actually able to write a Eurovision song from the outset rather than taking something and trimming it.
Simone: And actually write something that had the visual aspect in mind as well. That’s something we really learned from doing Australia Decides and hanging out with all the SBS and Blink TV crews. It’s not just about the song, it’s about the story you’re telling visually, so you’re thinking about the twists and turns, the dynamics and how you want it to move. You’ve got to capture the people on stage in a little TV box, because the TV viewers are who will mainly be voting, not the people in the stadium.
We had to think about all of that and that’s why Promise is a far better song. I’m not taking anything away from Dreamer, I think Dreamer is a banger, but it’s too straightforward. It doesn’t go down then come back and have a big heavy section and a big epic guitar and keytar solo.
Precisely. I watched Dreamer and I just thought you wouldn’t have got nearly as much love and buzz as you did this year if you had performed it last year. In 2023 you were able to come with your best foot forward and smash it.
I first heard about Voyager when my friend told me there was a prog metal band coming to Eurovision, and I couldn’t believe it. I went to listen to Promise and I was surprised that it didn’t sound like any sort of prog or metal at all. Then with the chorus, it started to get heavier and then you get to the breakdown which is pretty hardcore, but only lasts about ten to fifteen seconds. Did it feel as if that was the quota of ‘prog’ or ‘metal’ that you could really get away with at Eurovision?
Scott: No, I don’t think it was that. We spent a lot of time discussing the breakdown. We wanted it in there because you need that dramatic moment and in a metal song, it’s the breakdown. In a pop song, it’s the dance break or the bit where things twist and turn. This was the metal version of what a Eurovision song should have. I didn’t feel like it needed to overstay its welcome, it just needed to do what it needed to do and get out quickly and promptly. It’s someone delivering a ten-second speech that leaves you floored.
Simone: Believe it or not Basil, that was at the request of SBS.
No way, they wanted you to put that in?
Simone: That’s right. They said “You’re a metal band. We need to see that aspect of you.” So we thought “Awesome!”
Scott: The growl. We wanted to know “Should we put a growl here?” And they said, “Yes, yes you should.” They told us to embrace the metal, that was the identity of the band. They said, that’s part of the selling point.
As a progressive band you’ve written much more complex songs than Promise. Did it feel as if you had to restrict your progressive sensibilities to write Promise?
Scott: To a certain degree, yes. But the song is what it is, kind of like Dreamer. Dreamer is not exactly a hyper-complicated song, but to us, we thought neither of those songs needed it. We did have moments whilst writing where we thought “This sounds overly complicated, we need to make it more direct,” but it was never a case of self-censorship. It was more that these songs had a particular purpose which is not to be complex. It was never that the song was going to be more complex and then we made it more simple; it was always going to be more simple. The identity of the song doesn’t require complex elements, whereas Submarine or Gren or Ultraviolet or Prince of Fire are really complex songs because that’s what they require of you. Promise was never a song that demanded us to be complex in the first place.
It’s funny because Promise feels like the ‘real’ Voyager but not the ‘full’ Voyager, if you see what I mean. You’re just giving them a little taste.
Scott: A little teaser.
Hypothetically, if you’d brought one of your more progressive songs, such as Ghost Mile or The Best Intentions to the stage, do you think it would have been received as well?
Simone: Probably not. [laughs]
Scott: To be truthful, probably not.
Simone: You need it to be slightly accessible, that’s the whole point. The other thing is that we wanted to reach more people. We saw this as a unique opportunity for us to lift our platform as a band and make this more sustainable for us. We need to have some income so we can keep doing this, so that’s in your mind. It’s got to reach more people so it has to be more accessible, but again, 100% important to us that it still sounded like a Voyager song. We wanted long-term fans to listen to it and feel it was still quintessentially Voyager. I think that’s why we’re so proud of the song, because we really did manage to nail that. We managed to encapsulate that in a way that has managed to reach so many more people.
It’s been incredible to see the change in our audience; maybe a third of them are Eurovision fans who have never been to a metal concert before, and they’re saying this is the best concert they’ve ever been to in their life. They’re checking out our back catalogue and they’re loving it. Promise hit that mark and there’s proof in the pudding.
Scott: The fact that people go back to the back catalogue and don’t feel alienated by it is a good sign as well; that what we did with Promise can still be identified elsewhere in our catalogue. If there was this big disconnect and they didn’t really like anything else that we’d done then there would be an issue. I think that’s further proof that things are more cohesive. Yes, we gave them a three-minute version of what we do, but it still translated to our back catalogue.
What was going through your mind when you heard you only got 21 points from the public vote?
[Simone and Scott both laugh]
Scott: I just laughed, man. I thought “This competition is ruthless!”
At first when I saw that, I thought “The world isn’t ready for prog,” but when I remembered that you literally won the Semi-Final, I did some digging on Reddit. I’m convinced now that there were fans who enjoyed more interesting music such as yourselves but gave their votes to Finland since Käärijä was more likely to win. So the fact that you received fewer points meant you were actually one of the favourites this year.
Simone: Once we started to see some of the larger countries that normally do well getting quite low points we thought we were going to be annihilated. We were expecting it to be worse than that, to be honest. The top five got all the high scores and then it just dropped to no one getting more than fifty points.
Scott: I think a lot of that is that everyone knew it was going to be a two-horse race between Finland and Sweden. So everyone who was in Camp Finland that may have liked our song a bunch were like “Sorry guys, I have to dump my twelve into Finland,” rather than diversifying it. In a way, it’s a bit of a shame because it would have been nice to see an honest distribution of the votes rather than seeing what people felt like they needed to vote for.
I suppose that’s the nature of voting.
Simone: At the same time, the scores we got from the jury! Oh my God! We were so blown away! Danny was losing it, saying “You don’t understand how good this is for a band.” For some reason, juries usually don’t like bands but they seemed to really get what we were doing. I think we got quite high points from every country.
Scott: Ten points from the UK, a bunch of eights and sixes.
Iceland and Portugal gave you twelve each.
Simone: I know, what the hell?
Scott: So weird.
I have to give the juries some credit because, on the night, I was wondering “What is this Kool-Aid they’re all drinking to give Loreen all these points?”
[Simone and Scott both rock with laughter]
It didn’t make sense to me because Loreen’s song was so vanilla, I’m just going to say it.
Scott: From our point of view, I think the song is very accessible. I think it’s a predictable song from Sweden. I think she performed it really well. My take on it is “It was good, but was it really twice as good as what was second?” I don’t know, but that’s just my take.
For us, it doesn’t really matter. We got to the Grand Final and everything else is gravy, dude.
It was wonderful to see you on that stage representing metal and, perhaps for the first time, representing prog at Eurovision. How did that… responsibility, almost, feel to you?
Simone: We just felt proud to be there. Danny himself said, “This is the most patriotic I’ve ever felt.” The support from back home was incredible. We were getting all of these videos from Perth. There’s a theatre called His Majesty’s Theatre and it had these big LED signs saying “Go Voyager at Eurovision”. We had the Perth Symphony Orchestra playing a version of our song.
It was like the ‘Music Olympics’ for us. At that moment, I was thinking “We are representing our country right now” and it felt really great and really wholesome, a little emotional at times. That Perth Symphony Orchestra version had us all in tears. These are things that we never expected to happen to us and we are so incredibly lucky to experience that. It was like a dream come true. I never thought it would be Eurovision that would be this thing but it was honestly the best experience I’ve ever had in my life.
Scott: I have nothing to add, that’s perfect.
Why is Eurovision so big in Australia? Don’t you have to get up at an awkward time to watch it live?
Simone: 3 AM!
Scott: 3 AM, 5 AM, hell yeah!
I know, no one else in the world is doing this besides Australia.
Scott: Here’s the thing, it’s already popular in Australia. I think we have the highest viewership per 100,000 outside of Europe, but imagine how much more popular it would be at 7 PM. You could triple those numbers.
I don’t understand how it became so big in Australia in the first place.
Scott: I think there are a few reasons. One, we have a massive European ex-pat community in Australia; Melbourne is the third-largest Greek city in the world by population. I really like saying that little factoid because it’s really quite amazing. I think that there’s a general consensus that Europe doesn’t feel that far away when you live in Australia because we have a big European community here.
But also, I think that the Australian culture is that we love drama. We love shit that’s ridiculous. We’re ridiculous. We’re very self-aware people and we’ll take the piss out of ourselves a lot. So the general ridiculousness that is Eurovision and the flamboyance and the over-the-top nature of it really does suit Australian culture in a lot of ways because we’re very aware of how ridiculous we are as a culture. So I think there’s a general love for something that’s dramatic, something that’s silly.
We also love competition, we’re quite a competitive country when it comes to sports and stuff like that, so the fact that it is like the Music Olympics does attract a lot of people to Eurovision as well.
Voyager is a stand-out band in many ways: you’re progressive but you write shorter songs, you incorporate a lot of pop tendencies into your songs and you’ve evolved your sound dramatically over time. But one other aspect that sets you apart from the crowd is your long history of having female band members in a particularly male-dominated genre. Simone, why do you think that we don’t see so many women in either metal or prog?
Simone: Look, heavy music is aggressive music and I completely understand why a lot of women would not be interested in it. But I like to bring up the point that, if you take a snapshot of music as a whole, I can guarantee you it would be pretty close to 50/50 men/women. Look at pop, it’s women basically at the top of the game in the pop genre. Classical music has a lot of females as well.
I think it’s down to the aggressiveness of it. I’m quite a tomboy, and I’ve always been in touch with my masculine side so for me it just made sense. I was an unhappy, pissed-off teenager when I was younger and I wanted to play angry and aggressive music, but it’s not for everyone.
I’m just really stoked to see more women in the industry as a whole. Whenever we go on tour and do shows there’s generally at least one or two other females working whether it’s lighting, sound, production, management, merch or even in the bands. We did a tour with VOLA recently and their lighting engineer is a female…
Scott: And she was bloody phenomenal!
Simone: She’s one of the best lighting engineers I’ve ever worked with. Just absolutely phenomenal.
Compared to back what it was like when I was a teenager starting out, which, admittedly, was awful and there was a lot of sexism and I really had to be aggressive and fight my way into spaces… I don’t really feel that’s an issue so much anymore. I think a lot of that is the guys that are coming out and calling out the bullshit. When there’s someone in the industry that’s just ‘off’, people are going “Hey man, that’s not cool. Piss off, you’re not welcome here if you’re going to be like that.” It’s really been through men and women coming together and listening to one another and working together that’s actually made a difference.
And the other thing that is changing the tide, of course, is having great representation like yourself. My friend told me that his daughter loves Eurovision and was really excited to see a woman playing the guitar and doing that kickass guitar solo, and it inspired her to pick up the guitar. If that’s just one person then you must have inspired thousands or millions of others.
Simone: The comments I get have been overwhelming. You don’t really know what to say sometimes. I’m absolutely stoked that I’m an ambassador for women coming forward and I hope I’m a positive one. I’m just trying to be myself as much as possible and stay true to myself. That’s been a big theme while I’ve been doing this. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 16 and I’ve always been myself and I hope that shines through for people. I’m really happy to be that figure up for people.
Was there a female figure up for you when you started playing music?
Simone: I never really thought about it so much like that. Most of my guitar influences are guys and I never put any thought into that. It didn’t occur to me that there should be more women playing. What made me realise I could actually do this was seeing people like Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy, a female growling vocalist. That was a big turning point for me, where I thought “Okay, this is possible.” But I never felt intimidated in that sense of “All of my guitar heroes were guys, so that means I can’t do it.” I never let that get in my way. I’m a chick and if you don’t like it, tough shit.
That’s an awesome attitude. In my opinion, you shouldn’t even have to think about these things in the first place.
Simone: I’m longing for the day that we don’t have to have this conversation, to be honest. Where we can just say “It’s really cool that there are people playing metal,” instead of “Oh, you’re pretty good for a chick.” If I had a dollar for every time I had that said to me… It’s just like “Ohhh, shut up!”
My advice to young girls, when they want to do it, is just “Do it!” Don’t be afraid, have confidence in yourself. Even if you know you’re not quite at the same level… I wasn’t at the same level as some of the people I was jamming with, but jamming with them is what lifts you up. I knew I wanted to be as good as these people so I just immersed myself in it as much as I could and met and played with as many people as I could. That goes for guys, too – guys and girls. Just get out of the bedroom, get to a gig, talk to people, jam with people, go to people’s houses… Once you get over that first barrier, the floodgates open.
Scott: I feel this as well. I teach almost exclusively girls the guitar because I work at an all-girls school, and I get to experience that world as well. What I’ve noticed is an aversion to geekiness and I mean ‘geekiness’ in the most positive sense – in the sense that, as Simone said, just go headfirst into something, literally learn everything you can about music, about rock, about metal, whatever it is you want to do. There’s an aversion to it because there’s still some stigma to the ‘female geek’ which needs to just piss off because that is ultimately getting in the way of progress for women.
So just, unabashedly, be a nerd about it! Who cares? That’s what makes you good at things. Be a geek, man!
Even though I’m not a girl, that actually hits me at such a personal level because I grew up feeling especially geeky. Back then, I liked Pokémon, maths and old bands like the Beatles and all my friends at school would tell me to stop talking about that stuff because no one wanted to hear about it. So I felt like I had to keep my geekiness inside and that’s affected me in some really profound ways.
Prog rock is an inherently geeky musical genre and I feel as if I can hardly talk to anyone about it – even my family – and have them take me seriously. For a while, my enjoyment of prog rock was the butt of a joke which I accepted for a while, but now I’ve grown tired of that joke being made.
Scott: What it is, is that it’s annoying because you’re a fan of it and you’re hearing people denigrate it without knowing what it is. But actually, it’s like “You’re missing out, dude, you’re just missing out, that’s all it is.”
Danny is a total nerd about cars. I couldn’t give two shits about cars, and we joke about this all the time. He doesn’t give a shit about Magic or Dungeons & Dragons, which I love, so I’m a nerd as well. You can take the piss out of each other in that frame of mind because we both also accept that it’s awesome that we’re nerds about it. There’s this fundamental understanding there that “I love that you love this so much. I think that’s sick.” It’s when people are like “I don’t like the fact that you love this so much,” that’s when it’s shit. You don’t need to hear that. Nobody likes that attitude of shutting you down because you like a thing. That sucks on every front.
Simone: Everyone’s geeky about something. Like you just said, Scott, Danny loves cars; there are a lot of people that are geeky about cars. Everyone’s got something that they hold dear to them. I’m sorry but that’s nerd culture; I hate to break it to anyone that doesn’t think they’re a nerd. If you’re obsessed with something or there’s a hobby that you’re into, that’s nerd culture.
Scott: Sports, man! Sport nerds. I look at sports as an outsider and I think “You’re all geeks, man!” You’re talking about how many possessions this player has, it’s numbers! You’re looking at numbers, man. There’s no stigma around that, but they’re nerds, they’re all nerds, every last one of them.
I really do want to push for people not to shut other people down, because this stigma around geekiness is actually what got me into writing in the first place. I was at university and I had just discovered prog rock, and I was consuming so much music and I couldn’t find anyone to talk to about it. I had all of these opinions building up that were just waiting to be shared and it felt like my head was about to explode, and I got really depressed. Eventually, I discovered ProgArchives.com and made a profile on there and started reviewing and it was like a waterfall came out of me.
It turned out to be a good thing in the end because I got picked up by an online journal which led to me doing more professional reviews and allowed me to interview lots of great artists, such as yourself, but that only came after I had been in a really dark place in my life. So I really value that sentiment of trying to destigmatise geekiness, for both men and women.
So, is that the reason you had a car on stage because Danny likes cars?
Scott: That’s certainly part of it. Our manager was able to wrangle it. We were talking about a bike and it just didn’t make sense, then Lulu contacted us and said “We’ve got an MR2, baby! We’ve got it locked in.” And we were blown away, because Danny drives an MR2, that was his first car, so that’s the history there.
Simone: It’s featured in quite a few of our videos too, so it’s sort of become a bit of a mascot for Voyager. If you go back and watch the Colours video you’ll see it pop up a few times. It’s also been in some artwork so it’s definitely part of the Voyager story at this point.
I have a few random questions that I wasn’t sure how to fit into the narrative but I wanted to ask them anyway. Were you influenced by The Terminator for your track The Morning Light?
Scott & Simone: Yes.
Simone: We actually had The Terminator intertwined with The Morning Light as an intro for a while. So that was definitely an influence, and we all love Terminator – Terminator 2 in particular is a big movie for all of us in the band. An essential movie.
One of my favourite acts was Käärijä, what was he like in person?
Scott: He’s great. He’s good fun. He’s just a lovely dude. He’s one of the guys I feel you could connect with on a human level really easily. He was just a bloke in a bolero. He’s really down to earth, just a cool guy.
Loreen performed at Eurovision twice and won twice. Would Voyager ever consider doing Eurovision again?
Simone: We all discussed that we would still like to be a part of Eurovision in the future, maybe as a special guest or maybe writing for some of the other countries, because we connected really well with the EBU. We were allowed to do the countdown theme which was just incredible, one of the best things we’ve ever been asked to do. Our jaw was on the floor, I’m really proud of how that came out as well.
But I don’t know that we would go through the whole competition again, because it’s a lot, honestly. Not that it wasn’t incredible and life-changing, but there’s a lot that goes into it. We were away for six weeks. You’re almost doing a political campaign while you’re there doing the pre-parties and interviews and stuff. So I don’t know.
Never say never, but at this point, this is where we’re at.
Scott: We’d like to be part of the community but not necessarily competitors.
When did you notice an uptick in the number of streams you were getting?
Scott: There were a couple of spikes. When the song first got announced there was a massive spike, then things simmered and settled. Then as the pre-parties began we noticed a lot of hype amongst the Eurovision bubble, for example, the Eurovision Reddit made a post about Voyager performing in Madrid, so talk was happening then.
Then obviously when we qualified and got the highest public vote for the semi-final it went whoosh [makes a gesture towards the ceiling with his hand] and it was insane. I went into our Instagram to try and just look at some of the messages and it was like bam-bam-bam-bam, they were just firing off. So it was crazy, absolutely crazy.
Well thanks so much guys, it’s been really amazing to talk to you. I’ve never done anything like this before.
Scott: Yes, got it in there!
Thank you so much for speaking to me. Hope you have a great day and a great tour.
Simone: Thanks, man.
Scott: You’re welcome man, thank you so much. Thanks for having us.
You can read Basil Francis’ review of Voyager’s new Fearless in Love album HERE.