Gojira is a metal band from Bayonne, France that has been labeled as “one of tightest live bands” in heavy metal music. With great stage performance, machine-like instrumental execution and great music they have taken the world by storm. Just a couple of hours before their show at this year's edition of Copenhell, Rockfreaks.net managed to sit and talk to drummer Mario Duplantier about their tour schedule, life on the road and Gojira's recently released fifth full length album “L'enfant Sauvage". Read the full interview below.
RF.net: Hi Mario. I want to start of with a question about the tour - how's the tour going so far?
Hey. It's very good, we have been two months on the road touring with Metallica, Slayer – all big shows. It's a dream come true to share the stage with these bands and do that just before the release of our album “L'enfant Sauvage".
RF.net What do you think of Copenhell 2012 and the line-up?
Mario: It's a great. Some of the bands we know from before, others – not. It seems like a real metal festival. We're playing after Mastodon and before Slayer, so I expect it to be awesome.
RF.net Have you ever played shows in Denmark before?
Mario: Yes, we have been in Copenhagen 2-3 times. We also played a show in Aarhus. In the beginning we weren't that popular but it is visible to us that crowds are getting bigger. It's a very cool feeling!
RF.net: You're about to release “L'enfant Sauvage" on the 26th of June. Can you explain to our readers briefly the theme/concept of the album?
Well, I'm the drummer of the band and my brother is the one who writers all the lyrics, so I'll try to explain what he tries to say in the album. “L'enfant Sauvage" means "The wild child" and I think Joe is talking about the fact that he would like to stay a wild child in this world. This is not that easy especially nowadays when you have a regular job, when you grow up and start having responsibilities. In general it's a hard thing to keep something essential, something deep and natural – a sort of innocence. So the album is mainly about keeping that “wild child” inside you.
RF.net: Does it's sound differ from the one in “The way of all flesh”?
Mario: Yes, a tiny bit. We tried to do something more organic, more natural – less “surgical” so to speak. “The way of all flesh” was cold and artificial and this time we wanted to bring a live show experience to the listener. The goal was to make the album sound loose. For example I play the cymbals like I would do live and not concentrate on each beat. Our approach was: “Ok, let's stay spontaneous”. I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
RF.net: I read an article some bands trying to record their albums on tapes like in the old days. What did you use for the recordings?
Mario: Using tapes is expensive and the whole process because very long when you use them. We just stuck to “Pro Tools” like with the previous record.
RF.net: In a recent interview I heard you claim that you're not “environmentalists” as critics often seems to dub you. What is your stand point towards the matter?
Mario: To me it is a great responsibility to say “Yes, I'm an ecologist”. Especially when I'm not. I travel in the bus, I drive my car and I don't fight every day for ecology. We just feel conscious about what is happening to our planet. Yes, we decided to make an EP with “Sea Shepherd” and invited “Green Peace” to a show but that's it! We don't pretend to be like “Eco-Riot” in anyway. It's just that the media needs to put a tag on everything. Sometimes we feel like say “Hey, you're giving us too much responsibility - we are not Eco-riot!”. We are connected to nature because grew up in a place with an ocean and mountains and nothing else.
RF.net: What is the source of your inspiration? I already understood that Joe is the one responsible for the text to all the songs so maybe you can tell me more about the music.
I get inspired for life in general, from everything! Sometimes I can hear just a song on somebody's computer and I'd say “Wow, this songs is amazing!”. Maybe I would try to reinterpret it on the drums but I think that everything is perceived unconsciously. What else – I get inspired from the ocean, from my friends, my family, my problems, my joy.
Mario: You also speak about the spirit and the soul in your songs...
RF.net: Yes, but I guess that the thing that played the biggest influence on us is our education. My brother and I were taught by our parents to respect ourselves and respect each other. I think that these values are still here and we are guided by them when we compose.
RF.net: How do you like life on the road?
I love it! It's very interesting to wake up at a new place every day and it's a big fascination. But sometimes it's too fast – for example yesterday we were in Norway, and tomorrow we'll be in Sweden and after we head back to France. Anyway it is amazing! It makes you stronger!
RF.net: I bet it does – especially when you are traveling around the world. And do you write music while being on tour?
Mario: On this tour, in particular, I just take pictures and then work on them. (Mario was kind enough to share some of the photos he made with me. You can check them out at GojiraGojira). Although I don't compose music on this tour, I try to stay creative with things like that.
RF.net: You're one of the best metal bands right now and you're famous throughout the metal community as playing really “tight”. Now you said that you, yourself, are not working on music while on tour. So I am interested to know – how do you keep your quality of playing so high?
Mario: My job when we are off tour is to play drums and I do that all the time. On tour it is important not to play during the day because I think that if you are constantly practicing you loose the desire to go onstage and play drums there. You simply loose the fun of it all! I know some drummers tend to do that but I'm not like that. Of course, I have some sticks in my bag and sometimes I may play on the pillow or something but in general I try to do something else.
RF.net: Can you tell me more about “Of blood and salt”. How did you decide to invite Devin Townsend and Fredrik Throdendal?
First of all the experience of working with those guys was really nice. We communicated on the phone and by exchanging e-mails. The recording process was done separately – we just wrote something, then sent them the files, then they'd send us back vocals or guitars and so on. But as I said they are great people – very talented, very generous. It was an amazing collaboration.
RF.net: So maybe we can expect a common tour with Devin Townsend Project or Meshuggah?
Mario: We want to make a tour with Meshuggah and they said they want that as well so we'll have to see when it happens.
RF.net: A few words about your “relationship” with “Lamb of God”. You invited vocalist Randy Blythe as a guest to your track “Adoration for None”. The result is crushing! How was that experience? How did you meat up with the guys from LoG?
Randy and Chris(Chris Adler – drummer for Lamb of God) did a lot for us. So this was a kind of a “Thank you, guys, for everything!”. We approached Randy with the idea and he accepted. He flew by plan to France for one week just to stay with us, visit our county and do the work.
RF.net: How did you meat up with the guys from LoG?
Mario: The main thing is that they enjoy our music. Before getting to know them we were unknown in the US – just a french band. In 2007 we took part in the Unholy Alliance tour with Slayer, Children of Bodom, In Flames and Lamb of God. We played in Paris but we didn't know them. They came to us and said “We love your album and we want you to tour with us.” After that they called and invited us to tour with them, they hand-picked us - it just crazy! They spread the word about us - especially to the media they were like “Hey, you have to check this band out!”. We also did a big tour of 44 gigs in 2007 in the US. It was our second tour there and we were already playing in front of thousands of people. So they did a lot for us!
RF.net: These are the closing questions – can you say something about your upcoming touring cycle? When will you release “Sea Shepherd”?
We're definitely releasing “Sea Shepherd” during the year. In August we are heading to the US for a tour with Lamb of God and Dethklok – it will continue for a month and a half. I think we're going to tour a lot this year – after US, we're going back to Europe for shows in November and December.
RF.net: Thank you very much for taking the time off to make this interview, Mario!Mario: