Voltaire Interview | at Starvox.net. From C6, 2000.
The Voltaire Club @ Yahoo.com
Voltaire Interview from June 4, 2002
Something wicked this way comes. Direct from the underground New York Goth scene comes this strange brew of gypsy violins, driving rhythms, sardonic wit and turn-of-the-century mayhem. Combining beautiful old-world melodies with viciously sarcastic lyrics, Wagnerian bravado with Brechtian allure, Voltaire has crafted twelve songs of love, loss, revenge and dismemberment sure to bring a smile to even the darkest of souls.
Voltaire is a singer/songwriter whose music has its roots deeply imbedded in European folk music. His songs speak of love and, most often, the loss thereof with the added twist of how best to seek revenge on the ones who have hurt you. Lyrically, he explores and reveals those moments of vulnerability most would rather not discuss and exploits with childish abandon those fleeting streaks of cruelty we all feel but choose not to act upon or even mention.
Voltaire's live shows, whether solo or with his skeletal orchestra, are highly theatrical -full of props and stories. The visual quality of his performances is not surprising; Voltaire has been directing commercials and animating short films for the last ten years. He's best known for his Hieronymous Bosch inspired station ID's for MTV.
Inspired by the films of Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad), Voltaire began animating at the age of ten on a super8 camera. At that time, he says, "no three dimensional object was safe. My brother's action figures, my sister's dolls, silverware, etc . . . If it was missing, chances were that it was in the basement in front of my camera."
Eventually, piecing together snippets of information from fanzines, he was able to teach himself how to make foam rubber animation models and animate them with fluidity and realism. The films of his childhood landed him his first directing job in 1988. That project was the classic MTV ID called "MTV-Bosch." The stop-motion tour of the hellish "Garden of Earthly Delights" went on to win several awards including a Broadcast Design Award and helped to establish Voltaire's style of animation.
His strange stew of gothic darkness, baroque lushness and whimsical surrealism has been seen in a score of television commercials for clients such as Cartoon Network, USA and The Sci-Fi Channel. His short films which he describes as being "an opportunity for me to be as strange and demented as I care to be," have been seen at animation festivals around the world, including the sinister "Rakthavira" which toured as part of Expanded Entertainment's Too Outrageous Animation.
Presently, Voltaire is teaching stop-motion at The School of Visual Arts in New York and continues to direct and animate for television, when not touring with his band.
Other Meaty Morsels:
- Voltaire's "other job" is as a director and stop-motion animator, producing eye-catching, darkly morbid station IDs for MTV, USA Network, The Sci-Fi Channel and numerous TV commercials. The Sci-Fi Channel spot featured his song, "When You're Evil," and prompted thousands of email inquiries to the Sci-Fi Channel and Voltaire websites.
- Voltaire's debut The Devil's Bris is produced by Richard Fortus (guitarist of Love Spit Love) and features musicians whose past credentials include work with John Cage, Elliot Sharp, David Byrne, Anthony Braxton and Enya.
- Voltaire is a staple of the New York City goth club scene and performs regularly there. Voltaire has opened for Projekt's black tape for a blue girl on several recent east coast tour dates and took part in "The 1998 Projekt Festival," a touring road show with shows in Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia.
- Voltaire illustrates/writes the Chi-Chian comic book (on Sirius). Another Voltaire illustrated/written comic book, Oh My Goth (also on Sirius), is the graphic novel of Voltaire's musician character.