Using music as a way to process, to heal and to grow as a human, New Zealand’s Voodoo Bloo has created a powerful collection of furious rock music in his debut album, Jacobus. A nine track studio album that has been born out of dark times for Voodoo Bloo (aka Wellington songwriter and musician Rory McDonald), Jacobus is an album of twists and turns, a narrative rollercoaster driven by emotion and urgency.
Featuring singles Ha Ha Ok Ok and MMA, Jacobus is relentless in its fusion of percussion and heavy guitars, while vocals soar throughout leaving little to no room for breath. An emotional album to record, Jacobus is a tribute album of sorts, a way for Voodoo Bloo’s Rory McDonald to deal with grief and mourning.
Has the build up to Jacobus been exciting?
I mean, yeah, but my brain usually works in a way that doesn’t get excited or anxious about something till it’s right there in front of me, so I guess I’ll know exactly how to feel about all next Thursday before the launch.
Have you been pleased with the reaction to the single Ha Ha Ok OK?
The receptions been great! We’ve been getting a lot of buzz going around this one and I honestly couldn’t be happier, it’s good to know that all the hard work I’ve been putting in is paying off, it’s a great feeling.
What is the story behind the single Ha Ha Ok Ok?
It’s a comedic take on social climbers, something that people seem to bring up a lot here in NZ. I’ve just always hated seeing people become something that they’re not in the pursuit of going through the social ranks and becoming top sh*t. Hype is a terrible disease.
Is there a lot of pressure on making a debut album that best represents you?
Well I guess I’m the only one who creates that pressure, but considering how long I spent trying to record, give up, re-record in a very vicious cycle, I’d say there’s a fair amount of pressure there.
Did everything go to plan in the studio?
Yes and no. Some things went very smoothly, and certain songs came together in about a day, but then other songs that hadn’t been played live yet were a bit trickier to get down. It did give me room to explore new sounds and actually figure out what the songs should be, so even though everything didn’t go to plan, it came out better than I could’ve ever imagined.
What comes first – the lyrics or the music?
Both! It really is dependent from song to song, however I always take down notes of everyday conversations that could be made into lyrics, like the first sentence of Ha Ha was taken from a friend mocking another on Discord, and when I heard him say “I talk sh*t but I can’t take it” I was instantly inspired. No clue why.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Number 4, not the actual number 4, the blue guy from that show the Numberjacks. Wait, does he count as the actual number? Is he just a character or is he a representation of the number as well? What does this representation mean? No one knows.
Has the COVID situation slowed your momentum at all?
Honestly it’s probably helped my momentum more than anything! Covid lockdown hit us here in NZ around the same time that we got our home studio set up, so during my whole lockdown experience I was able to spend heaps of time recording and getting this album sounding right, and just when it all finished we came back out of lockdown and we were able to start playing shows! It really couldn’t have come at a better time, though I know that my situation was very very fortunate and it really sucks to see what’s happened to the global music scene because of the virus.
Are you looking to being able to get on the road and start playing shows?
Already ahead of ya! We did of first of two charity shows in Auckland last month, which was an absolute blast and we were able to raise quite a bit of money for Lifeline Aotearoa, which is this great organization that offers counselling and a suicide hotline for people all over New Zealand, and we’re currently getting ready to put on the second show this weekend in our hometown. Honestly It’s felt so rewarding to do these shows and it’s been awesome to give back to the community at the same time as playing our tunes
What’s the next challenge for Voodoo Bloo?
Waiting until 12 to go on lunch. God dayum I’m starving, I’ll survive though don’t worry.
Interview By Rob Lyon