Doug had the chance to chat with Gojira’s Mario Duplantier regarding their new album, the world of music, touring, Lamb of God and plenty more. YOU will have the chance to check them out live for yourself at Peabody’s on August 20th.
Doug Esper: First off, I will come clean and admit I have no idea how to pronounce the album title, so can you help me out with that?
Mario: Ha. L’Enfant Sauvage.
Doug: Eh, La…infant…sausage?
Mario: No, no…L’Enfant Sauvage.
Doug: You sound better saying it anyway. I read that it means “Wild Child”. Is that accurate, and what can you tell us about how that title came about?
Mario: With our success, maybe we feel that we have to be responsible. We have to deal with business, with life, with our age…we have so many aspects of our life to deal with, but we try to keep the wild child inside us. We want to stay naive and we think it’s very important to keep a certain freedom and certain innocence in our lives and yet, we want to stay connected with something deep inside that is a wild child.
Doug: This album is heavy and layered with very clean production and yet none of the edge is lost how do you feel the album turned out and how did you like working with Josh Wilber?
Mario: We love the clean produced sound and we love when you can hear everything, exactly like you said. The American production is very close to what we love in general. We grew up listening to many US bands like Metallica, Korn, all these bands with such clean production, so I knew I wanted to have this kind of sound. When we decided to work with Josh, he knew exactly what we wanted: something clean, powerful, and organic at the same time.
Doug: Speaking of Josh Wilbur, you guys had a tour scheduled with Lamb of God that was canceled when their singer Randy was incarcerated. Randy has been really cool to our website over the years and we were shocked at what was happening. What’s the latest you’ve heard and how happy are you to hear he was released?
Mario: Trust me, it was a shock also for us. This tour was very important for the band, but first of all we were very concerned about Randy. We wanted to play so many venues it was very important to us in terms of promotion and to meet the fans. What happened to Randy can happen to anybody, even my brother. He has sometimes pushed some fans in the pit from the stage. You know, it’s an accident, a stupid accident and it can happen to any band. We were shocked and very sad and…everybody decided to cancel the tour.
Doug: You had some computer problems during the recording sessions for an ep you were recording for charity. What happened and did you end up losing music when the computer crashed?
Mario: When we released The Way of All Flesh we toured a lot, and after that we had a period without any management or label supporting us. So, at that moment, we felt like everything was open for us. We decided to record an EP. We didn’t want to record an album, just an EP with 4 songs and donate all the proceeds to Sea Shepherd. Have you heard of them? They are like Green Peace, but focus on saving the Ocean. The computer crashed and we lost the recordings, but finally we did release one song from this EP.
Doug: How are American crowds different from European crowds?
Mario: This morning I was in Starbucks and a guy came up to me and just started talking to me. He asked “What are you guys doing? Why are you over here in the States?” I was very surprised because he was so natural, like it was no big deal. This kind of thing won’t happen in France because people will look at you like you’re crazy or weird. In the United States the people will scream very loud and cheer us on. It is very spontaneous and there is a raw energy. In Europe, the crowds are more observant and they tend to analyze the music. Sometimes they will not cheer or scream at all. It can be a little disturbing, but deep down, I think, metalheads are the same all over.
Doug: Before you ever played Cleveland, Ohio did you have any impression of what our city was like or had you heard any stories about us?
Mario: When My brother and I grew up, we were big fans of the movie Major League, you know, with the Indians from Cleveland. It was a baseball movie that we watched all the time. So, when I think of Cleveland I think of the Indians from that movie.
Doug: Sad but true, our team is still that bad in real life. It seems to me that with each release, Gojira stretches the boundaries on how far you will take your sound. Is this something you do to test yourself each recording session, or is it just a natural progression of songwriting?
Mario: I think it’s very natural. We never know what we will be writing next. For example, the next album who knows what directions we may take? We’ve talked about it being more atmospheric, maybe slow with clean vocals, or we may go another direction. I don’t know. Each session we try to just be natural, natural, natural, you know? It’s the only way to compose music.
Doug: Is there a reason Gojira’s lyrics are in English rather than your native tongue?
Mario: My brother loved to speak English since he was a young child. Our mother was an American and we grew up loving baseball. Also, we grew up listening to bands from America, like Metalica. There were also bands we liked from the UK. I can’t write in English, but to my brother it came very natural. We wanted to make it very easy for people to understand what we were saying.
Doug: The day I bought the album I was listening in my car and though I knew none of the words I found myself singing and yelling along. While stopped at a red light I was totally busted by people in another car as I was pumping my fist in the air and trying to sing to “The Gift of Guilt”. I love the lyrics, “these vultures from the past, coming in all the hells and worlds, the time has come, delivered from their eyes, I’m leaving this behind, the gift of guilt”. Tell me a bit about how that song was written.
Mario: It started out as a simple tapping riff. Joe and I composed it 5 years ago during The Way of All Flesh sessions, but we didn’t feel it was strong enough, yet. When we started to work on new material, we came back to this riff and rebuilt the song around it. We often love to repeat progressions, so at the end of the song we play the riff over and over. We love the atmospheric feel, so that’s why we repeated it and faded it out at the end. I love the emotional aspect of that song, it came very naturally.
Doug: Who are some bands that you think we should check out?
Mario: Meshuggah. I am a big fan of Meshuggah. Also, there is a crazy, death metal band from New Zealand called Ulcerate. I can never remember their name, but you should check them out.
Doug: What’s next for Gojira?
Mario: We are going to keep touring. We want to do some headlining shows. It’s not that we don’t like being an opener band, but this is a step for us that we need to take. We hope to have a big tour that we can incorporate our sound, and our own lights, and our own stage set up, you know?
Doug: Well, my wife and I just had a daughter born a few days ago. The original due date was August 21st and your show here in town is on the 20th, so it looks like I can be at your Peabody’s show.
Mario: Well, congratulations.
Doug: I promise to be at the show, screaming and moshing like a 15 year old kid. I will leave work, and stress and life behind and at the show, I will be a Wild Child.
Mario: Ah, cool. Ha, Thanks.