Gojira: Blood, Salt and Metal
Editor's note- since this
interview was conducted, Gojira has been confirmed for Soundwave
2012. Needless to say, we're pretty excited about this. Click here for more details. Check out our interview - one of the most popular features on the site - below.
Words: Brendan Crabb
Pix: Gabrielle Duplantier
Latest release: The Way Of All Flesh (Listenable)
Band site: www.gojira-music.com
It may seem like it’s happened rather quickly, but environmentally-minded, technically proficient French progressive metallers Gojira have spent the past 15 years positioning themselves at the forefront of their genre. Like all bands in the Internet age though, they have to keep the product coming thick and fast to remain as visible as possible, lest fickle fans move on elsewhere. However, the band’s work rate during the next 12 months is bound to put nearly all others to shame, with a new EP, studio album and DVD all in the works, plus a series of European festivals and their maiden visit to Australia in September as part of the Soundwave Revolution festival. That’s one hefty schedule.
“We are all very busy right now,” drummer Mario Duplantier says with a chuckle. “We have four or five things to work on at the same time. We also changed management this year, so that was a big change. It’s a big step in our careers and we know we have to stay concentrated on what we have to do. We are very excited about this period of the band. I think next year will be more relaxed,” he adds, laughing again. “At the moment, it’s one day in a plane, one day on-stage and one day in the practice room to finish writing the album.”
First cab off the rank will be the release of the "Sea Shepherd" EP. The band has already posted the track ‘Of Blood and Salt’ (featuring Devin Townsend and Meshuggah guitarist Fredrik Thordendal) online, which had many fans in a near-orgasmic state. Duplantier also confirms that Max Cavalera and Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse will make guest appearances on the four-track effort. “We’re waiting on a few guests,” the sticksman explains. “The music is ready, but we’re waiting on (a) vocalist. We want to release it as soon as possible, maybe August or September. When you ask to put singers on the record, it makes it difficult. If it’s just Joe on voice, that makes it easier, but it’s not easy,” he laughs.
“The music has been ready for six months, but the people who accepted to be part of the project had a lot of scheduling conflicts. Each song has different vocalists; it will be four very different songs. It’s not an album, so we decided to have fun. One is very fast, one is very slow, one has a very rock vibe – it’s very different to the album.”
It seems the collaboration with “HevyDevy” was a no-brainer as well. “We decided to invite him because we’ve known him since a long time, when we shared a stage in 2006. We were big fans of Strapping Young Lad, we’re amazed by his work. He told us he had a lot of respect (for) and loved our music as well. We wanted to share something and when Joe (Duplantier, vocals/guitars) decided to make the project, Devin was the first guy we decided to contact. He agreed to participate as he was a big fan of Gojira, but he was also a big fan of the project.”
Gojira and The Devin Townsend Project will both perform at Soundwave Revolution in September and the drummer teases a possible on-stage union. “Devin is on the bill, so maybe that will happen,” he ponders. “Maybe we will play some new songs, maybe one or two songs from the new album. We haven’t decided on the set list yet, but if we can play with Devin it will be amazing.”
Before any such potential collaborations can occur though, the band will hibernate in the studio to record the aforementioned next full-length. Duplantier acknowledges how much hard work they have ahead of them, but is hopeful they will wrap up the recording sessions in October, before releasing the record in early 2012. “We don’t have the name of the album or the songs yet, as that usually comes later,” he says.
There’s also the DVD in the works, featuring live footage with a bonus section entitled The Way of All Flesh From the Inside. However, which performance(s) will be featured is still unconfirmed. “It’s to close (2008’s) The Way of All Flesh (touring cycle). We toured for three years on that. Some shows had some great shots and we wanted to immortalise it. We are also working on a documentary, one hour talking about the three years of the band on the road. It’s a way to finish that period.
“Maybe (they’ll use) one show, but we have three or four very good quality shows (recorded). But we have to choose one,” he laughs. “Maybe it will be one we did in a small venue in France… The atmosphere was fantastic and the fans were crazy. We have a festival one, but that is a different energy. We may decide to put a couple of songs from each show.”
Although he good-naturedly jokes about struggling to understand the Australian voice at the other end of the phone line (“I’m sure it is difficult for you too with my French accent”), Duplantier is audibly enthused about Gojira’s inaugural trek to these shores. “It’s a mystery for us, because we live so far away and I’ve never been there. It’s up to my imagination. I do body-boarding and I know it’s paradise for body-boarding. So I can’t wait to see the ocean, the nature and meet the people there. It’s a mystery for us; we will travel in Australia with eyes wide open.”
What can fans expect from their live show though? “We will do our best … We will give everything we have each show. If we play at a bar or a stadium, we try to give everything. We are very, very excited to come to Australia, it’s one of the most exciting tours we have (scheduled). We have been waiting for it since a long time. We’ve been waiting for the opportunity and we will give it all on-stage. We will come to kick your ass,” he laughs.