Hailing from Brussels, Belgium Now, Voyager describe themselves as a “rock band who play metal” but having played shows alongside The Devil Wears Prada, Bury Tomorrow and Violet, they fit nicely in the ever-growing metalcore scene. However as vocalist Nabil Sanaullah goes on to explain, the quintet incorporate elements of math rock and post-rock.
Now, Voyager’s latest single ‘Where We’ll Start’ is filled with frantic vocals, pounding drums, driving guitars and an appreciative melody in the chorus. To put it simply, it’s left us excited.
With UK shows happening in the coming months as well as a new EP, we caught up with Nabil “Billy” Sanaullah to find out more about the band, the new single, their future plans, the comparisons between playing shows in the UK and in Belgium and more.
Already Heard: First of all can you introduce yourself and your role in Now, Voyager?
Nabil: Heya, I’m Nabil, though sometimes called ‘Billy’, and I do vocals in the band!
AH: As this is apart of our “Recommends” feature which introduces new bands to Already Heard readers, can you sum up your bands sound for new listeners?
Nabil: That’s a tricky question, considering Now, Voyager’s a collective of 5 very different individuals, each with his own preference of music. To sum it up in as simpler a way as possible, I guess we could say that we’re a rock band that plays metal, all while incorporating various genres ranging from post-rock to electro, and some added math elements just for kicks.
AH: What bands would you consider as comparisons or influences?
Nabil: Overall the main comparisons we’ve gotten were The Bled, The End, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Every Time I Die, which funnily enough are all influences of ours as well; minus the latter.
AH: You’re just about to release a new single called ‘Where We’ll Start.’ What can you tell us about the single?
Nabil: ‘Where We’ll Start’ was conceived to be 3 minutes of unrelenting, energy driven chaos, with a hook. The theme of the song revolves around the idea of beginning a journey, or more specifically the departure from one place in order to begin a journey. In accordance with the music, the idea is to represent the chaos and doubt one may go through when faced with a choice to leave everything behind, and to seek something else that they may, or may not find.
AH: The single is your first new material since last years ‘Seas’ EP. How has the bands sound developed since then?
Nabil: After having performed the songs from ‘Seas’ for a while, I think as a band we took what we knew worked for us and then we asked ourselves: “How can we push this further?”. We maintained the foundations of our sound, but tried to push ourselves further as musicians, and to make sure we didn’t settle in a comfort zone. From that we began to write, and made sure we experimented and explored the full spectrum of our capabilities. We gave the new songs every single bit of ourselves without restraint and I can honestly say those songs are the best ones we’ve written to date.
AH: I understand a new EP is in the works. What can you tell us about and what can fans expect to hear from it?
Nabil: As mentioned, we took what we knew and pushed it to every extreme possible. Individually, each song on the new EP is extremely different from one to another, but there is definitely something for everyone. For every person that was a fan of ‘The Surface’ or ‘To Every Beginning’ off ‘Seas’ you’ll get the evolved equivalent on the new EP. For those who were into ‘Tabula Rasa’, you’ll find something you like on the EP as well. We’re still the same band, we’ve just evolved and tried to bring something new to the plate. The concept of the EP is to represent the thought process and the internal conflicts we experience when faced with making decisions. We tried exploring the more logical aspects of the mind, and opposing it to the emotion driven decisions of the heart. Each song is different because it represents a different aspect of that conflict. Ultimately, we’re trying to say ‘Live Free’; without any doubts or fears that may be provoked by logic. Follow your heart, allow yourself to chase your dreams, and you will be free.
AH: In recent months you’ve toured with Bury Tomorrow and Violet. How have you found those shows compared to playing in Belgium?
Nabil: It may be weird to say, but I feel like there is a completely different dynamic involved when playing in your country, versus playing abroad. When you’ve played around in your own country for a while, you build up these expectations as to how each show will go down, and you will generally be right. It’s like you have a kind of “safety net” and that makes it hard to completely let go. Don’t get me wrong though, we do still love Belgium, after all this is where it all started for us thanks to the people that got behind our band and pushed us forward. We’ll never forget that! When you play abroad though, you leave your expectations at home and completely step into a world outside of your own, where there’s no safety net and you just put yourself out there for the world to react to. There’s a combination of excitement and nervousness that builds up where I think you’re just forced to lay it all on the line and hope for the best. I don’t honestly think we could have been happier with how our first tours went. People were reacting, people were moving, and some even knew the words even though we’d never played there before. It’s an amazing realization to see that it doesn’t matter where you come from, music crosses borders and speaks to people around the world.
AH: Have you noticed any differences between UK and European audiences?
Nabil: From my perspective, the UK much like Europe has places where people are a lot more inclined to move, others would rather watch. Some would rather go get drunk, some are there for the music. Some do both. Everything depends on where you’re at, but I do feel like the crowds are a lot more responsive and open to various types of music. We’ve been extremely happy with how our music’s gone over in the UK thus far, and we keep repeating it, but we can’t wait to come back over!
AH: Besides the single and EP, you’re set to play Manchester’s SummerJam in July. With such a steller lineup, what can fans expect from a Now, Voyager set?
Nabil: Just the same as we always do. We go out there, lay it all on the line, and give it everything we’ve got. If you want to see 5 human beings on a stage, stripped of all layers from everyday life, playing music they love and trying to deliver that love to a crowd in the most honest way possible, then that’s what you’ll get.
AH: Following the new material, what else do you have planned for 2013?
Nabil: I do believe there will be some announcements involved regarding July, though I can’t say at the minute. There will also be an announcement regarding the UK in September, but that’ll be announced in a few days as well. There’s a lot up in the air, but there’s a lot we’ve got to get done on our side. There will be tours, and there will be new video clips on the horizon! On top of all that, we will be writing new songs as well and preparing for the future.
AH: And finally why should Already Heard readers check out Now, Voyager?
Nabil: Because we pour our hearts into our music, and we try to convey that feeling over to our listeners. Give us a listen, and maybe you’ll feel what we feel when we write our songs. Whether you end up liking our music or not, we’d still be appreciative of the fact that you took a few minutes of your time just to give us a listen. Thank you very much!
‘Where We’ll Start’ by Now, Voyager is available now.
Words by Sean Reid.