One of my favourite musical discoveries last year was a little band from Hamilton, Ontario called Voltang. I was asked by Liz Imperiale, our fearless leader here at Bucketlist, to review them because she thought I might dig it. At the time, I thought nothing of it and simply pushed play on their album, Hermaphrodite. I wasn’t truly prepared for what I heard. Self-described by the band as “Raunch & Roll,” what followed was an intense, high energy fusion of Punk and Metal that blew me away. Hermaphrodite would land on my Top 5 of 2015 list, as I enjoyed (and still do) multiple listens of the record.
I was lucky enough to chat with the lead vocalist, Jake Reimer, about what to expect from Voltang.
Let’s start with the origin of both your band name and the album title. Where did Voltang come from and where did you get the idea for the album title, Hermaphrodite?
We’re dirty, drunk, exciting, fucked up, vulgar, unique, etc. There’s no single human word that we could use to describe ourselves so we made the word ‘Voltang’ and called it “Raunch and Roll.”
Hermaphroditē, pronounced like Herm-Aphrodite (like the goddess), is the title of a story that’s a lot like Frankenstein. It’s taking a lot of parts and putting them together to build something new and different, just like the record.
When did you guys officially become a band? Were you all friends prior to the inception of Voltang?
We officially became a band when we got on a stage. We weren’t all friends before Voltang but you become friends pretty fast when you travel through space and time together.
Hermaphroditie is a very eclectic record in my opinion. There’s everything from Punk to Metal to Industrial on there. What are your musical inspirations? Any band in particular that you guys look up to?
‘Raunch and Roll’ is an idea that doesn’t wear a uniform. So, sometimes that idea comes out sounding like punk or metal or rock or whatever you want to call it but it doesn’t have to be one sound. We’re not inspired by specific bands, we’re inspired by things like booze and sex and time-travel.
What’s the writing process for you like? How does a Voltang-song come about?
It always starts with an idea. Then we take that idea and soak it with whisky and red wine. Throw that idea against the wall and see what sticks. If it feels like raunch and roll, then we perform it.
I’m curious about one song in particular on your record, “Mr. Time Machine Man.” Aside from being a fucking kickass tune, the lyrical content is pretty interesting. Can you explain what the song is about?
That track is a sci-fi rock-opera about being put on this horrible planet against your will by a mysterious man with a time-travelling box.
Take us through an average day on the road for you guys. Any crazy mishaps or tour stories you’d like to share?
Weird shit happens everywhere, especially when we’re in Montreal. That city knows how to party. I’m not sure if we should share our craziest stories because it might lead to multiple arrests.
What do you do to keep busy during your down time on tour?
We usually listen to comedy on AM radio and talk about our awkward first sexual encounters. Evan’s stories are the weirdest.
Any plans for new music in the near future?
Abso-fuckin-lutely! We’ve just spent two months making new tunes, it’s looking like a full-length album that you will get to hear sometime this year.
What would be the dream tour you’d like to be a part of?
A tour on a boat hitting every port city in the world, featuring the best and strangest collection of carnivalesque attractions like fire-eaters, mind-readers, and contortionists.
Finally, and this may be the most important question… What’s your drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) of choice when on the road?
I drink red wine. Paul drinks heavy-duty IPAs. Robbie drinks the cheapest booze in the store. Dan drinks Muscle Milk. Evan drinks blood.
Voltang has plenty of shows booked until the end of April. Check out their tour dates to find the closest one!
Written and Complied by Dominic Abate
*edited by Danielle Kenedy