In the metal world, Gojira command respect. The genre blending quartet from Bayonne, France have continually impressed with masterful technical prowess and a level of innovation that is rarely seen in the music of today. 2005 release From Mars To Sirius and 2008’s The Way Of All Flesh garnered unanimous praise from critics and metal fans alike and earned them support slots with some of the biggest namesin metal. Now we are looking down the barrel of album number four L’Enfant Sauvage, French for ‘The Wild Child’ which hits the stores on June 26th. Chatting to Killyourstereo is the band’s whirlwind drummer Mario Duplantier who talks about the new album, the band’s move to Roadrunner and their recent Australian debut.
Hey Mario, good to be talking to you man. How’s the tour coming along?
Great, thank you. We are in France right now at the venue, we are playing a headliner show.
Cool, are you playing any new material?
We are playing one new song, which is strange because the album is so close to coming out and we can’t wait to play the new songs. We are oldschool guys and we like that people can hear the songs for the first time when the album is released.
I suppose it is also a good chance to farewell a few of the songs on your current setlist that will be making way for the new ones.
We finally got a chance to see you in Australia for the first time in a few months ago at Soundwave, did you enjoy your time here?
We loved it. It was our first time and we have a lot of fond memories, we met a lot of people and got to see the nature. It was Summer in Australia while it was Winter in France which was great. The metalheads also seem to be very passionate in Australia which is fantastic.
We definitely love our metal. It has been a pretty big gap between The Way Of All Flesh and your new album L’Enfant Sauvage, but it’s only a few weeks away now. What are the band’s feelings at the moment?
The Way Of All Flesh was the first album that recieved international recognition, we used to only be famous in France but finally became an international band. We were very busy after we released that album and we learnt a lot of things like how to behave on tour and how to talk to the crowd so now with this second album we feel a little more experienced and confident and we are very excited, it’s very cool.
I’ve had the album playing all day, it’s insane. It definitely pushes into new directions for you guys, it’s a little bit slower and includes some very anthemic passages. From where did Gojira draw inspiration in writing L’Enfant Sauvage?
I think it’s always the same for us. We try and always just jam and stay spontaneous when we are in the practice room. We knew we wanted to take more time with this one. Where we composed The Way Of All Flesh in just four months, we took seven or eight months with this one. We wanted something more rock and roll, not so fast. The inspiration comes from the moment and from our experience, but we were trying to create something more simple, more straight to the point and something more emotional.
L’Enfant Sauvage will be the first album released with Roadrunner Records which is a big move for you guys, have you found the move very beneficial for the band?
Yeah for sure, the coolest thing with Roadrunner is we can be the same band and play the same music and keep the same concepts on an artistic level. We wanted to call the album L’Enfant Sauvage, a French name which is not easy from a commercial point of view but Roadrunner were very supportive and respectful of that. Basically we have a bigger platform now without having to change, which is very cool for us.
For sure, tracking down your records in Australian stores has been hell, so it’s going to be nice being able to pick this one up on day one.
Yeah I know, we are happy that it will be more accessible.
You worked with Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Avenged Sevenfold) in producing this album, what was he like to work with?
Josh is very young, very fresh and very professional. He has a great ear and perception of music, working with him was very efficient and he was a great guy as well.
Cool, can we expect to see back in Australia on this new album?
We have no plans right now, but for sure we will come back in 2013 I think. Now we have played there we know we want to come back because it was amazing.
Looking forward to it. If someone handed you a copy of the album 10 years ago, what do you think you would have thought of it then?
I think the music we write now is the music I wanted to hear a few years ago, so I probably would have thought it was amazing back then.
If there was a song that inspired you to want to play music, what would it be?
Definitely a Metallica song. Probably Orion.
You’ve played quite a few shows with Metallica now, it must be insane playing to crowds of that size.
Yes we have played with them over 30 times now I think and it’s great every time. We played to our biggest crowd in France with Metallica, over 60,000 people, it was amazing.
Metalsucks recently listed you as the #2 drummer in modern metal and the readers put you in the #1 spot. Firstly, congratulations on that. Secondly, how does something like that feel?
Thank you. I was very proud and very surprised at the same time, it is strange to see people on forums speaking not only about your band but about you personally as a musician. I was very proud and it’s great to get the recognition but at the same time I know it is very subjective because there are so many great metal drummers.
What advice would give to an aspiring young musician?
Just enjoy what you are doing and work very hard at your instrument. The most important thing is to have joy when you play, each time when I play I try to have a good moment and play drums and just enjoy myself. In the practice room I can spend hours working on technique, but when you play a show you are in front of people you have to give them something simple and true and spread the happiness.
Thanks a lot for your time Mario, it’s been great talking to you. We’ll see you next year some time I suppose!
Yes you will, thank you very much.
L’Enfant Sauvage is out June 26th on Roadrunner Records.