by Rod Whitfield
It’s great when a band, especially an Aussie band, experiences a renaissance in their career when they are a long way into their journey. It’s often a moment in time, a certain album or tour, that creates this unexpected upward momentum shift, and that is exactly what has happened for Perth based prog rock/metal act Voyager. Four albums and almost a decade and a half into their career, this band had carved out quite an illustrious niche for themselves in Australia and across the world. However, with the release of their superb fifth album V in mid-2014, things suddenly shifted up another gear for the band, and they have been riding that wave of momentum ever since.
Even a year and a half after the release of V, the band are still in ridiculously heavy demand. When we spoke to front man and keytarist Daniel Estrin recently, the band had just come off two dates with legendary Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, then they are off on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with avant-garde Norwegian prog act Leprous. Following that tour, they are touring the nation with titanic Dutch orchestral metallers Epica, before they jump on a plane and head off for another extensive tour of Europe. And this all happens by half way through April. It’s enough to make your head spin, and Estrin could not be happier. He is also justifiably proud as punch.
“I’d say definitely (it has been a renaissance),” he concurs, “and it’s a renaissance with an album, an album that we produced ourselves, we’re self-produced, self-managed, and crowd-funded I suppose. It just shows that the industry is a bit topsy-turvy at this stage, and you never know how things are going to go.”
“I think with the last album, we’ve established the fact that this line-up we’ve got now is so strong and so solid, and we’ve got some great people in our lives who are very happy to assist, so I really do feel like we’ve stepped it up a notch in the last couple of years.”
As stated, the next cab off the touring rank for the reinvigorated band is an Aussie jaunt with Norwegians Leprous. Whilst on the surface it may seem somewhat of an odd pairing, with the Scandinavians’ melancholier, comparatively meandering approach seemingly in direct contrast to Voyager’s snappy, up-tempo take on progressive heavy music, Estrin believes it will be well worth the while and some of the ‘hard-earned’ of heavy music fans across the country.
“It’s a really exciting tour package,” he enthuses, “it’s a co-headliner tour package, and we’re doing a tour-swap arrangement where they come over here, and then we go over in March to tour with them in Europe. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to get a band like Leprous out to play to our existing fan base, and then their fan base. It’s a band that I’m certainly excited about, I’m a big fan of what they do.
Estrin has seen the band before, and is confident that, while their recorded works are a little more ambient, their sound goes to another level in a live setting.
“My first encounter with them was at Progpower USA 2011,” he recalls, “where the impression they made on me was as the backing band for Ihsahn, and I thought ‘these guys are incredible musos’. Seeing them do their own thing is going to be very exciting.”
“What I’ve seen of their live show, it’s very energetic and captivating,”
On top of all the incredible touring activities, he has even more exciting news for Voyager fans across the globe. “We’re going to be releasing a new single in the next couple of weeks,” he reveals, “so yeah, lots of things happening in the Voyager camp in 2016.”
A new single usually means a new full blown release of some description isn’t too far away, and Estrin confirms that, while he doesn’t know what form it will take, something is definitely being cooked up in the Voyager kitchen as we speak.
“The creative juices are definitely flowing,” he states, “this morning I woke up after a show last night with Nightwish, you’d think people would be asleep. But no, the first thing I’ve got is a riff idea from Scott (guitarist Scott Kay)!”
“I think that when we get back from Europe we’ll take a bit of a break from the touring circuit and sit down in the studio and nut out some new songs. There are many, many ideas floating around. Whether it’s a full album or not, I’m not sure, it might be an EP. We’ve never done an EP before. The style we’re writing now is, dare I say it, a progressive 80s vibe, so whether or not we have enough material in that vibe for a full album, I don’t know. But the creativity’s better than it’s ever been.”
Voyager & Leprous Tour Dates
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