Interview with Gojira: Natural Connections

Gojira (Gabrielle Duplantier)For Gojira’s vocalist/guitarist, Joe Duplantier, 2008 has been full of surprises. As the progressive French quintet expand upon their death/doom combination with their latest effort, The Way Of All Flesh, and tackle a world tour in support of In Flames, Duplantier also lent his musicality to Cavalera Conspiracy, playing bass for the reunited brothers. But with his primary focus being his own band, Gojira continue pushing metal’s blackened boundaries while lyrically discussing the inevitably of death. Explains Duplantier, “Since the beginning of our band, I write the lyrics and it’s always about questions I have about life.” And as we talk more with this metal visionary, we learn about the spirituality of the album’s concept, the band’s fascination with nature, and what they hope to achieve with their fourth full-length.

How is the tour going?

We haven’t even done sound check yet! We just finished a European tour with In Flames—30 gigs —and it was just incredible. Now it’s the beginning of the U.S. tour so we’re stoked. We really want to play the new songs from the new album and it’s kind of a preparation for a headlining tour that we really want to do next year.

Tell me about The Way Of All Flesh.

It’s my favorite Gojira album [laughs]. Probably because it’s more recent [laughs], but also the sound is better than before and we work[ed] in a different way than usual. We took some risks—like we use a vocoder keyboard on tracks—and it brings a new, interesting aspect to the music. It’s less death metal, more open metal because we’re getting older—not old, but I’m 32, I’m not a kid anymore, and I think it brings a bit of maturity and experience [to] the music. Also, it’s our fourth album. I know a lot of people mainly know From Mars To Sirius and this one, but it’s our fourth so we’re getting mature and it’s more personal and straight to the point, I hope.

What were your goals with sound?

We tried to be spontaneous and just let the music flow and create something exciting. That’s something that we have in our minds, but I would say that’s a good way to describe what’s happening when we compose. We try to create something that will bring some excitement.

Describe the lyrical concept.

Since the beginning of our band, I write the lyrics and it’s always about questions I have about life in general and in particular: The soul, the mysteries of life, like what’s in the outer space? What’s inside of us? And on this album I talk about death —the fact that we’re all going to die. I know it’s not very fun, but to me it brings a lot to your life if you accept the fact that one day the body will not work anymore. Facing this truth brings a lot to the way we live, because we accept that everything is changing constantly—it’s what we call impermanence. I’m trying to overcome the fears that I have about my own death and I’m talking about this on this album.

What is the message?

I would say it’s don’t be scared, there is more to come after life [laughs]. That’s a personal belief that I have that the soul is immortal and you can find this idea in a lot of civilizations like in India, the Tibetan people, African people, South American mythology, even the American Indians, and there is only a small percentage of humanity that’s not into these ideas of reincarnation. To me it’s just a matter of fact that we are not just bone, flesh and blood. We are more than that, we have ideas, we have intentions, we have dreams, we have personality, memory and I think this will remain after death. So the message is we are more than what we think.