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NZ Punk Rock Act VOODOO BLOO Makes A Strong Introduction With Debut Single MMA

Driven by growling guitars and vocals to match, the new single from NZ-based artist Voodoo Bloo - ‘MMA’ - proves a hectic introduction to this young talent. The moniker of songwriter and musician Rory McDonald, Voodoo Bloo and their new music comes to indie rock fans with urgency and excitement powering it throughout.

‘MMA’ bounds along with catchy melody, Voodoo Bloo channeling influences as wide ranging from System Of A Down to Neutral Milk Hotel and Car Seat Headrest in bringing this debut effort to life.

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Recorded at PlasticGrooveHQ in Wellington before being mixed and mastered at Hammerhead Studios with Niel De Jong (Alien Weaponry), ‘MMA’ stems from personal experience, according to the artist. “This song is about that one drunk friend or even just an intoxicated asshole you meet when out in town on substance-driven adventures. The characters you sometimes meet teach you great lessons about what an ego is and how, when inhibitions slip, you can see a person’s true personality come out. And it’s not always pretty.” Voodoo Bloo

Though Voodoo Bloo is a new project, for McDonald, music has been a large part of his life for some years now. Forming hard rock group Lucifer Gunne in 2017 brought the 15 year old McDonald to wider attention in New Zealand, while the band’s single release ‘Energenetic’ made its way to Australian ears not long after, generating praise of its own. Moving into a new phase in 2020, Voodoo Bloo was created to explore new artistic avenues and with ideas already firmly in place for the Jacobus album (set for release this year), the pieces fell together quickly and easily. “I wanted to start a new chapter in my musical career, but to still use the knowledge I gained from my previous band to try and make something really special to me.” Voodoo Bloo

Making the most of his surroundings in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions, Voodoo Bloo worked with video director Hans Weston in Wellington to bring the ‘MMA’ music video to fruition. Keeping things close to home - quite literally - the video encapsulates the overall vibe of the song, while maintaining its sense of fun. “The video shoot was a lot of fun. Of course, with this being quite a hard time for everyone and leaving the house not really being an option, I tried to create something quite minimalist yet still true to what the song is about. Being pelted with bottle caps, corks, and other miscellaneous items you might find on a night out seemed like a fitting way to show how I can sometimes feel when having to put up with the nuisances you meet, being a person growing up and experiencing more of the outside world for the first time.” Voodoo Bloo


With this current lockdown situation preventing shows from taking place for many, if not all, artists in Australia and in New Zealand, plans are in the works for moving into Voodoo Bloo’s next phase once we all are able to pour back into venues to enjoy live music once more. Until then, more music is on the way.

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Who is Voodoo Bloo?

Voodoo Bloo is a powerful indie-rock driven project, led by Rory McDonald. The sound is influenced by harder hitting acts such as Marilyn Manson and System of a Down, as well as some singer-songwriter artists such as Car Seat Headrest and Neutral Milk Hotel. This brings a great blend of emotional and conceptual songwriting with a very catchy and frequently danceable distorted mess.

Before starting Voodoo Bloo, Rory was previously the frontman of Lucifer Gunne, which formed in 2017. The band gained a large fan base from touring, releasing singles & EP’s and getting some great exposure generally (see Energenetic music video: Watch here and Spotify: Click here).

Why Voodoo Bloo? 

by Rory McDonald

I started Voodoo Bloo as I wanted to start a new chapter in my musical career, whilst still using the knowledge I gained from my previous band, to try and make something really special to me. My debut album “Jacobus” (out later this year) was recorded at PlasticGroove HQ, and has been mixed and mastered by Niel De Jong (Manager of Alien Weaponry). As we come out of lockdown we are starting to plan gigs / tours nationally and internationally.

After having some time to reflect on the band and what direction I wanted to go in, I decided a rebrand would be necessary. I learned lots from Lucifer Gunne, but the music is now very different from the material we started with, and I don’t believe the music fits the name anymore.

I recorded the very first EP for Lucifer Gunne by myself before I had even recruited the other members of the band. I decided that I wanted to go back to this recording method as I have a lot more creative freedom that way.

The other reason I wanted to do this alone is because the concept of the album is very personal to me. While I think it’s something everyone can relate to or have an experience with, the events that took place prior to the creation of this album was something only I had experienced within Lucifer Gunne.

Last July, a close friend of mine for many years, took his own life while I was away overseas. This was obviously a massive shock to myself and the people around me, but being isolated from my friends while in a different country lead me to writing a lot of lyrics during one of the strangest and scariest points in my life. The writing of “Jacobus” was a very cathartic process at a time when I didn’t have many people around me to talk to.

The concept of this album is split into 2 different parts: The first half sharing how I believe a lot of young people in this country (and even worldwide) get into these situations where they feel lost or that the world is against them. The second part, describing the grief and acceptance of the loss of a very dear friend, who I promised would not just become another statistic in a problem that doesn’t seem to be declining.

New Zealand currently has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the world. No matter where my music ends up, I think this could be a very relatable record for any person going through depression or who has experienced an event similar to this, and hope that in that relatability they can use this as their own cathartic tool too.

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