Gojira: ‘It’s a Challenge to Deliver a Perfect Show Night After Night’
The French metal giant’s drummer Mario Duplantier talks about the importance of discipline in becoming a great band, their long-due album, and memories of India
In July and August last year,Â French metallers Gojira had a specialÂ guest on stage to get them throughÂ soundcheck on their Europe tourÂ ”“ Bengaluru-based drummer AbhinavÂ Yogesh [from death/thrash metallers InnerÂ Sanctum]. After following them on tourÂ for a good few weeks, Yogesh recorded aÂ video of his soundcheck jam, which has nowÂ garnered over 63,000 views. Soon enough, heÂ became a Gojira superfan, with jokes goingÂ around that the band outsourced MarioÂ Duplantier’s job to India. Says DuplantierÂ over email, “Abhinav is a pretty specialÂ human being, we love this guy! He is one ofÂ our most dedicated fans and has traveled toÂ all four corners of the globe to see us play.”
A memory like that also ensures thatÂ India never drops off Gojira’s radar. SinceÂ the band made their India debut at theÂ Indian Metal Festival in Bengaluru inÂ December 2012, Duplantier says thereÂ have been more offers, but nothing that hasÂ worked out yet. Now they have a reason toÂ look again, considering they’re at the lastÂ stage of completing their yet-to-be-titledÂ sixth album, something that frontman andÂ Duplantier’s brother Joe has called “perfect.”Â Joe said in an interview in 2015, “It soundsÂ really pretentious to say it’s the greatestÂ album of all time, but, to us, it is.”
With the album slated to release inÂ Spring this year ”“ sources indicate April orÂ May ”“ Mario Duplantier spoke about theÂ band’s previous run of shows promotingÂ 2012 album L’Enfant Sauvage, and India.
First off, please share with usÂ whatever you can about the upcomingÂ album at this stage ”“ howÂ is it coming along?Â
There is a lot to share, but at thisÂ present moment everything is tracked, andÂ we are about to begin the mixing phase. WeÂ recorded the entire album in our own studio,Â Silver Cord studios in Brooklyn, NewÂ York. For this album, we really wanted toÂ go back to our old ways and produce it ourselves.Â It has stayed true to the original visionÂ we had when we began the writing process.Â We are in our own universe and beingÂ in our own studio is comforting. In my opinion,Â Gojira has matured a lot throughoutÂ this experience and it has allowed us to createÂ better songs overall. I think our fans willÂ really connect with the new material and weÂ are very excited to share it with everyone.
Gojira has been playing L’EnfantÂ Sauvage for years now ”“ has itÂ been a big scale up for you guysÂ in terms of the production andÂ the number of people you playÂ to now compared to before thisÂ album was out?Â
We toured more on the L’Enfant SauvageÂ album cycle than any other album. It wasÂ a huge step for us; we got to play in over 40Â countries across the planet. The quality ofÂ that album combined with the great job ourÂ label did on its release, allowed us to gainÂ a lot of new fans. L’Enfant Sauvage was anÂ important and defining moment for us inÂ our career.
Did it feel monotonous to playÂ that one album for so long? HowÂ did you avoid that?Â
We try to vary the set lists and keepÂ things interesting for the audience so it’sÂ not exactly the same each time. A lot of ourÂ songs are physically very hard to play so regardlessÂ of whether we play some of theÂ same songs more often, it’s still a fun challengeÂ for us and we enjoy it. It kind of remindsÂ me of a martial art sometimes, theÂ art of precision.
“We’ve definitely expanded in terms of social media outreach and have learned how to communicate with our fans a bit better.”
And now when this new albumÂ comes out, it feels like Gojira willÂ play to even bigger audiences ”“Â how do you prep yourself beforeÂ going out to a sea of people?Â
There is a lot of preparation that will goÂ into our next headline tour. Not just on theÂ production side, but the physical side asÂ well. It is a real challenge to try and deliverÂ a perfect show night after night in front ofÂ so many people. It takes a lot of discipline.Â But the most important thing is to have fun,Â and communicate our love and our passionÂ for playing our songs to our fans.
Joe mentioned in an old interviewÂ before L’Enfant Sauvage releasedÂ that you guys were not “superÂ good at business, we’re just aboutÂ the music.” Has that changed orÂ do you prefer to concentrate onÂ just the music?Â
We’ve expanded in terms ofÂ social media outreach and have learnedÂ how to communicate with our fans aÂ bit better. We also keep a close eye on tourÂ expenses, merchandise contracts, andÂ all aspects of the business really.
There’s been no word on the famousÂ collaborative EP you wereÂ going to release for Sea ShepherdÂ ”“ is that going to continue to beÂ in the vaults for now?Â
Let’s not talk about it [laughs].
How were you affected by the terroristÂ attacks in Paris? Did it makeÂ you guys worry about the securityÂ behind your gigs?Â
Yes it’s worrying, but I feel like we have aÂ duty to keep carrying on in honor of thoseÂ lost that day. We played two nights in aÂ row at Le Bataclan in Paris in 2013. It is anÂ amazing venue, and the Parisian fans areÂ always incredible. We are so sad for everyoneÂ affected by the senseless violence thatÂ day; not only in Paris but everywhere onÂ the planet.
I heard it was quite a crazy timeÂ for you when you played in IndiaÂ in 2012 ”“ what is the one memory,Â good or bad ”“ that still sticks outÂ in your mind?Â
Our experience in India will remainÂ unforgettable. I personally loved it. TheÂ fans were so passionate and enthusiastic.Â Everyone who hosted us was very hospitableÂ and kind-hearted. India is such a fascinatingÂ country, in fact I listened to a lot ofÂ traditional Indian music in my house growingÂ up. My mother had traveled to India andÂ felt a special connection to the country…Â We can’t wait to go back and play the newÂ album there!
Have more offers come your wayÂ since you played in India? AnyÂ chance you’ll make it here to promoteÂ the new album?Â
Yes, we did receive a few offers since, butÂ they didn’t work out with our previouslyÂ scheduled planning. We will be back inÂ 2016 or 2017, I promise!