Gojira

author EW date 08/01/09

There is no doubt that “From Mars To Sirius” represents one of my favourite albums of this here millennium and is in the upper echelons in my ‘greatest albums of all time’ list if I had one. So follow up “The Way Of All Flesh” came extremely highly anticipated and didn’t disappoint, featuring what makes Gojira so utterly brilliant: some of the best skull crushing riffs you’ve ever heard and moments of ethereal beauty. To get more of an idea of what makes Gojira tick drummer Mario Duplantier answered my questions, giving insight into brother Joe’s involvement in Cavalera Conspiracy among other things. I originally submitted the interrogation a few months ago so the discussion of the ‘recent’ album must be forgiven!

RF.net: Hello! Before we get going, please introduce yourself and the remainder of Gojira…
Gojira: Hello my name is Mario, I play drums in Gojira. We started the band my brother Joe (vocal/guitars) and I In 1996. Jean-Michel (bass) and Christian (guitar) joined us one month later. We started to play in our own town and after in all the south east of France and in 1999 we had the opportunity to tour with Immortal in all the country. At this point Gojira became a national band. We released 2 albums and a DVD “The Link Alive” with a national distribution with big tour in France. With our third album “From Mars To Sirius”, we passed a new step with an international deal with Listenable Records. This album introduced Gojira in the international scene. We made 3 tours in the USA with Children of Bodom, Lamb of God, Machine Head and Behemoth. These tours were very positive for the band. Now Gojira release his fourth album in the all world. We are actually on tour with In Flames in all the Europe and USA.

RF.net: How is life in the Gojira camp at the moment now that “The Way Of All Flesh” has finally been released following it’s highly anticipated build-up? What have early reactions been like?
Gojira: The feedback is great. I think people had to make an effort to impregnate the new album. Some elements are really different than usually. But we are content. The most important things for us is to be satisfied about the work we do. We gave our best for this album, and the album sounds like we hoped. It’s funny because the reviews from the others country are better than in our own country. I think the fact Gojira is very big in France, people were waiting us with a bit of apprehension, they expect a lot from us. Some reviews are mitigated. The news sounds on the music and the darkness of the songs had destabilised a lot persons, when people from others country were really surprised by the keyboard or experimental sounds in a positive way.

RF.net: It’s been 3 years since “From Mars To Sirius” came out, a long time for the follow-up record of a band just seen to have ‘made it’. Was there not the desire to capitalise on the huge interest in the band with a swifter follow-up?
Gojira: We didn’t know a real logical development. The thing was that “From Mars To Sirius” has been released first in France, we toured during one year in our country. About the Europe we had an interest from the UK, we managed to play at the Download festival and made our first UK tour with Hatesphere. One year after the European released, we signed a deal with Prosthetic Records for the US territory. At the moment who we felt the desire to compose a new album; we had to start again an American promotion of “From Mars To Sirius”. We made 3 big tours, almost 6 months playing on the US territory. Now with the new album the released is harmonious. The same day “The Way Of All Flesh“ was in the store almost everywhere.

RF.net: Did the band feel any kind of pressure, from within or externally, in the creation process of “The Way Of All Flesh”? “From Mars…” made such an impact in the Metal world it has given you guys a lot to live up to with this next chapter.
Gojira: Success is a psychological aspect for us but we can't base our way of composing on anything but our inspiration. All artists have the same problem but no true artist produces something for someone else. We compose for ourselves. Each album is a true personal satisfaction.

RF.net: “… Flesh” builds upon the style of “From Mars…” by upping the prog spirit I sense at the heart of Gojira with also a notable transition in the lyrics department. What do you consider to be the greatest differences between this and the preceding album
Gojira: This album is more like an arrow into the bull’s-eye. The compositions are based on ‘riffs’; each track has a strong melodic base, like an emblem. We explored news sounds so there's an experimental side to the composition, but the spirit is faithful to our previous albums. I would say there is melancholic streak.

RF.net: A lot has been made about Gojira’s pro-environmental stance, one which reflects many of my personal beliefs about what man is and should be doing for this Earth. I ask though, what foremostly attracted you as individuals to such a stance, and then the decision to make it such a heavy part of the Gojira concept?
Gojira: Because human being is nature. We are not separate to Nature. How couldn’t we feel concerned by the environment and ecology. I think it came naturally on the Gojira concept, Joe writes the lyrics and in general he talks about personal convictions and themes. In Gojira we just try to be honest, we try to stay ourselves and express simply what we believe on. There is no calculus. We feel close to our art. Art is part of our life, it’s hard to separate both.

RF.net: Has touring the world over the last couple of years changed these perceptions towards environmentalism and conservatism, being as you are constantly on planes and tour-busses and at the whim of modern society?
Gojira: Ahah, yes it’s some time very sad to be on the road. We are very often confronted to the dirty aspect of our planet. All these concrete, gas stations, scraps on the floor, town’s pollution forced us to note that a dark energy is on march, and myself, like each person in accident makes this energy happen, and even, feed it. We know that we are part of the ecological problem on Earth, but in the same time we try to be part of the solution. I really hope Government will go through a political way of development, to turn some rules upside down.

RF.net: All of Gojira’s music manages to sound thoroughly modern in it’s construction and feeling yet bear no resemblances to any other band I’ve heard. How much has the path which Gojira have taken thus far been a pre-planned one or do you count yourselves lucky to have stumbled upon a unique stylistic sound?
Gojira: At the beginning our biggest influence was Death. Our music was like a copy of their music. But with maturity and self-affirmation, we naturally put some personal influences on this our music. We wanted to talk about our fascination about Nature and mysteries of life in a musical point of view with experimental and organic sounds, bamboo and guttural singing, and in a lyrical point of view. Progressively, we became Gojira. Just staying ourselves, taking no care about fashion.

RF.net: In the downtime since “From Mars…” was released Joe has been involved in the Cavalera Conspiracy project with two little-known brothers from Brazil. How did this come about and what’s it been like performing with 2 guys as legendary as they are from the Sepultura days?
Gojira: They reached out to us to be part of this project. Jean-Michel, our bass player, wasn't available at this period, so we decided to have Joe replace him. Joe has been such a fan of Sepultura for so many years that he couldn't refuse it. Joe lived a dream. Playing with these guys was very gratifying.

RF.net: What are his plans in terms of future involvement with the band? Was this a one-off thing or is he a fully integrated member of the band?
Gojira: Joe won’t tour with Cavalera Conspiracy, because Gojira has a busy plan for the years to come. Gojira is his priority.

RF.net: It is pleasing to see a band from France make it big after years of being over-shadowed by European neighbours on all sides. Whilst it must be pleasing to be the band to put your country on the Metal map in the eyes of many, why do you think it has taken this long for someone to do so?
Gojira: Because we are the first French band ever who has been exported. For a French band it’s hard to cross the border because there is not a real credibility with our scene. French scene is unknown, and we feel the scepticism in spite of it. But we hope it will change now.

Rf.net: Touring has recently been conducted across Europe supporting In Flames. Firstly how was it playing with someone of their calibre and is there to be further European touring planned in support of the new album, especially as a headline band?
Gojira: In Flames is a big band; we love their music and they treat us very well. They are very famous in Europe, it was a positive thing for us, playing in front of 2500 people each night, was great. Now we would like to play headliner in Europe and USA to taste at which level of notoriety the band is. We are actually organising the tour plan for 2009.

RF.net: Well then, I must thank you for taking the time to answer these questions on behalf of Rockfreaks.net! What else would you like to add before we depart, to hopefully see you on the road again soon...
Gojira: Thanx to everybody who are curious about our art. And see you on the road.

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