Gojira Talks "L'Enfant Sauvage" and Look Back on "From Mars to Sirius"
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 08:14:19
Shrouded in mystery and mystique, Gojira reign supreme right now as far as modern metal goes.
The French outfit went beautifully and brutally "wild" on their 2012 epic, L'Enfant Sauvage. Revolutionary implications emanate from every track on the eleven-song body of work, yet there's an elegant level of secrecy. Nothing's quite as it seems under the mind-numbing polyrhythms and bone-snapping riffs. Often, vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier drafts lyrical images that belie that intensity with just the right amount of poetry. It's a dark art that very few have excelled it similarly—most notably on Tool and Metallica come to mind. That's how good they are…
In this exclusive interview, Gojira main man Joe Duplantier spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino about L'Enfant Sauvage, looked back on From Mars to Sirius, and so much more.
What's your take on L'Enfant Sauvage now that it's out there?
I actually just got a chance to forget about it for a month [Laughs]. I enjoyed a break and took some vacation. It was really good for me. Since we started to compose and record the songs and then go through the whole mixing and mastering process, it was very consuming. I co-produced this album. Right after we finished everything, we jumped on tour for a couple of months. I had so much going on. It's like giving birth to a baby. I took a break recently. It was two weeks, and I just came back. I feel a little more fresh. I really think it's our best album. I'm very happy with the way it turned out. I cannot wait to go on tour and play some headline shows with the full production and lights. I look forward to rediscovering the songs. When you compose a song and record it, it's one thing. When you start to play it live, it really starts to come alive. People can experience the songs, and that's the interesting part.
What's your favorite song on the record?
I like "The Fall". It's the last song. It's very dark, slow, and heavy. That's probably my favorite because it's so dark.
Where were you coming from lyrically?
I wanted to paint chaos, you know? It's like a painting of chaos. It's a deep feeling that humanity is destroying everything, and it's total nonsense. A lot of things don't make sense in this world, and I wanted to express this without really thinking if there's a solution or proposing what I think about it. It's a bunch of images put together, and the music really inspired me to come up with the lyrics for "The Fall".
Was "Born in Winter" evocative of the season? Was it written during that time?
Yes, it's also a song about hope. Birth is a beautiful thing. Winter is the hardest season. It's cold. My first baby was born while I was doing this album. A lot of came from that. My daughter was born in winter. It inspired me. The idea behind the song is even if you are born in winter, there will be a summer one day and things are going to be better. It's a little bit of hope in the cold.
Do you read often while you're writing?
In general, I don't read a lot. There was a time when I was reading a lot of books. I don't write a lot either. I struggle. I have a lot of things I want to express that are turning in my head. I always have a notebook and a pen. It's usually completely empty [Laughs]. A lot of it happens in the studio when I put all of my ideas together and, finally, the song is born at the last minute.
If L'Enfant Sauvage were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
It would be a mix between Star Wars and Dead Man. Jim Jamursch's Dead Man with Johnny Depp is a very dark movie of a guy who's walking through life, but he realizes he's dead at the end. It's very strange. I love it. It's a transition between life and death like a dream. It's surreal. I say Star Wars too because there's always this battle between good and bad. At the same time, you don't know if all of this is real or if it's just imagination. That's where Dead Man comes in.
Do "This Emptiness" and "My Last Creation" fit the album's overall vision for you?
Yes, for a couple of weeks, we talked about this a lot. We asked, "Should we make another long album?" We really wanted to keep this album short because the songs are so intense already. I think about Master of Puppets. It's eight songs, and they're brilliant. When you finish the album, you want to go back to the first song and listen to it again. Sometimes, we have a tendency to put out long albums. At the end of the album, you're exhausted. I love all of the songs on The Way of All Flesh, but you're tired at the end [Laughs]. We wanted to make a punchy, dynamic album. They fit with the whole because they were treated as part of the album. Until the last minute, we didn't know which would be part of the sequence.
What are you listening to now?
I listen to a lot of electronic music like Massive Attack. Then, there's this English producer named Ben Ash. He's a young producer doing a lot of interesting stuff. He has a project called Two Inch Punch. I'm listening to this. I met him, and that's how I got into his music. I listen to hip hop and electronic music as well as a little rock. I also listen to Queens of the Stone Age. I don't listen to a lot of metal in general. Sometimes, I like to crank Meshuggah really loud in my apartment [Laughs].
There's a lot that can potentially happen with the L'Enfant Sauvage songs live.
It's true! For the first time, we're going to change some stuff in the songs. You're right. It's inspiring to make these songs evolve and do something special live. Maybe the end of the song will take a new turn. There are a lot of epic endings that are invitation to changing.
What do you think of now when you look back on From Mars to Sirius?
It's a good record. It came at a time where we needed something for us to breakthrough. We were a French band performing in some other countries in Europe. That album was good for us. There are some solid songs on it. We can't imagine a setlist without three songs from it, which is big because it's like seven-years-old.
What's your favorite Gojira song?
See our review of the album here!