Simone Dow takes us through the making of Voyager’s new album, The Ghost Mile

For Perth’s Voyager, the release of their sixth studio album in The Ghost Mile marked a significant moment for the group. Coming off the back of a fruitful period spent writing in studio – a more collaborative effort than previous albums had seen – as well being created while weddings and general life continued to swirl around the prog sounds fans were hearing, Voyager enter this new album cycle refreshed and raring to go.

As guitarist Simone Dow mentions during our recent chat, The Ghost Mile was quite the evocative experience for all involved in its making.

“This is the first time we’ve actually had the same line up for two albums in a row.” she explains. “On previous records, we had several line up changes and obviously, that can change what’s going on in a writing room. Since Ashley, our drummer, has joined the band, the way we write has completely changed. I think we started to find that footing with V and what we did on V, we’ve taken and run with on this new album. It certainly feels like a more cohesive album; it was a lot easier to write.”

“We don’t write like we used to. Danny, our singer, was the main writer in the band for many years, so since The Meaning of I, we’ve started to slowly creep in and write ideas. Now with this album, it was completely written in the jam room. Someone would come in with an idea and we would run with it in the jam room from there. It was a very collaborative effort on this one.”

The dynamic Voyager currently enjoys is one that has been worked at over the years but for Simone, it doesn’t feel like there’s been a better time to be making music with the band. The Ghost Mile is an example of it, though as she explains, their relationship has been a solid one that has preceded the band itself.

“We’re writing what feels right for us,” she says. “The great thing is that we are very, very good friends. They’re like family to me. We’ve known each other for years, even before we were in the band together; we’ve grown up and we’ve spent the last six or seven years playing music together.”

“We have the same sort of vision for what we want, musically. There’s no ego anymore, we have no problems. If something doesn’t sound good or we’re not happy with it, we’re not afraid to go, ‘That’s pretty crap – let’s try something else’. That makes all the difference, because getting shot down in flames when you have an idea, no one likes that! We’ve gotten past that now, we’re all for the song. We all know when the song is finished or if there is something not quite right and we need to work on it. Just having that great relationship between another makes a whole world of difference.”

Of the fusion of new influences and writing ideas that have culminated in The Ghost Mile, the route the music was travelling in was one the band could feel was changing and developing as they jammed it out.

“We knew when we finished that it was pretty different,” Simone remembers. “It’s not so different that you would put it side by side V and go, ‘Oh my God…’ – it’s not extreme. It’s not bubblegum pop or something! We were like, ‘This could divide some of our older fans,’ but I think we knew we had something special. I think we’ll get a variety of new fans with this record as well. We’ve really pushed ourselves, all five of us.”

“We’re all completely stoked with how we played on this record as well. Ashley, his drumming is just absolutely ridiculous on this album and I pushed myself to the limit with some of the guitar solos. Danny’s vocals, and Alex’s as well, they’re incredible. We’re really happy and we pushed ourselves really hard to get this epic final product.”

At present, Voyager are on tour, bringing The Ghost Mile to fans around the country. They play their hometown of Perth tonight, before moving on to Canberra and Sydney. Talking with Simone about the band’s new production they had set up for the tour, the excitement shone through her voice as she explained it all.

“I think the thing about being a musician is that you slave away writing and recording and losing your mind, being a creative.” she says. The part where it all comes full circle and when you get to enjoy it, is when you go out and play shows. You’re feeding off of the audience and there is a mutual to and fro between you and the fans. You also get to meet them and hang out and chat. That’s the reward for all the hard work and losing the plot for the last 12 months. All the late nights in the studio trying to track something! It makes it all worth it.”

“It’s absolutely humbling to go out and receive the accolades from our fans. Even just doing the Pledge Music thing too, seeing people meeting our target within under a week, it still blows our minds. We’ve been doing this for years but you still never get sick of that awesome feeling between yourself and the fans. We’re just looking forward to going out there an partying; we’re bringing our lighting guy with us as well. We want it to be massive and to be a whole experience.”

The Ghost Mile is out now.

VOYAGER TOUR DATES

May 19th | Amplifier Bar, PERTH
with Sparrow

May 20th | The Basement, CANBERRA
with Immorium and Highview

May 21st | Oxford Art Factory, SYDNEY
with Hemina

Tickets available via http://voyager-australia.com