Gojira: Soul

"We were just in this bubble full of creativity and freedom".

Gojira; a name that represents so much to so many - be it the groups involvement within environmental activism or the offering of some of the most prestigious music we have seen in our generation of Heavy Metal; since 1996 the Frenchmen have had a design; a purpose and with a wall of eager metal enthusiasts at their back it has now come full circle. They are progression. Whilst preparing for a show in Portugal recently, Metal As Fuck caught up with Mario Duplantier; drummer for this esteemed outfit to discuss the emotional side of their craft and the liberation they have gained through the creation of their sixth studio album Magma....

“Things are very well – we are in Portugal right now for a show, this country is very sweet and very beautiful". We’re chatting to you now Mario after a massive few weeks Gojira have had including the double feature at Download Festival, the Golden God Awards, the release of a new album – have you been able to take a breath yet? “I have been able to have one yes [Laughs] we had a ten day break just after our show at Hellfest in France, so it’s ok, we’re doing well, we feel good!”.

The new album.... Magma, and if you could see me right now Mario you will find I’m giving you a standing ovation, a truly incredible output and beyond our expectations - so in your words Mario, how do you describe Magma, what does it mean to you? “I think Magma is volcanic, emotional and a really diverse album. It’s an album that has tonnes of atmosphere”. What do you believe Magma has revealed about Gojira at this stage of the bands career? “The album took us deeper in the emotional aspect and also it’s a more open piece – we can feel the ordeals we went through, and the primitive influences of the band I feel come through”.

Both yourself and Jo [Duplantier - Vocals] locked yourselves away in your newly built studio to record Magma; new studio, new vibe – so what were you hoping to capture within the material going in? “It’s always a great feeling the kill the routine because we had done all our previous albums in France. Composing everything in New York as oppose to France this time around was a fresh approach – with a new vibe, new influences and I was around my brother for a whole year which was great. We built the room and spent all our days composing, everything was done in this one room”. I understand this time around both Jo and yourself found a balance in composition – can you elaborate on what this involved? “I would say that we are very different Jo and I – Jo is a real poet, he writes all the lyrics, he knows how to write and I am more into the musical aspect, the technical aspect, the dynamic of the composition – ensuring that the song has a real balance. Jo is into the soul and the spirit of the song – so working with him is very easy as we complete each other perfectly”.

When did you notice throughout the recording sessions that Magma was reaching its full potential? “During the entire composition we felt something was happening, we felt far removed from the expectations of people; the label, the fans – we were just in this bubble full of creativity and freedom and I remember when we composed the self titled track, I remember this day – something else was happening and it was this moment I felt that Magma would be something very real and something very important for us. The context of the album was still reeling; with the loss of our mother and all these personal aspects - we felt like we had no limits and we didn’t pay attention to the expectations – we just felt the need to compose something just for us and it is why Magma is so emotional and so authentic because we didn’t think too much, we just created what we wanted to create and what we needed to create”.

What types of challenges did you encounter during this process? “The challenge was to make sure the whole album can be listened as if it were the one song – we wanted people to start from the beginning and finish at the end without being... bored, or without feeling it’s too long – we wanted to keep it reasonably short yet very interesting and full of details. Aiming to keep the album as if it were one piece was a big challenge”.

Magma has now exploded throughout the globe and fans had been salivating for the new material – so how has it been playing the new material live so far? “It is doing well – there are some songs that will be challenging as it is very atmospheric so we still have to practice so for now we just play the four songs live – we’d love to play the most off the album as we can for the next headline tour in the US, yet right now Silvera, Stranded, Only Pain are working amazingly live – they are very catchy – people get it straight away. We’ve added now The Shooting Star which is a very ambitious track to play live, however it is very beautiful and we are getting better at playing it live. We played it for the first time on a very symbolic day; the 5th of July – the one year anniversary of our mother passing away which was a very emotional day for us. We still have to work very hard on the material but we have a great feeling about it”.

Gojira have played the stages of some of the most prestigious festivals already this year however where else is Magma taking you? And will Australia be seeing you soon? “Australia is one of our favourite countries in the world – we’ve played twice on Soundwave and each time was an amazing experience; we love your country, I fell in love with Perth especially. We love the spirit of the country, the nature; so we’ve already sent in our requests to our tour agent to do a real tour of Australia - please, PLEASE make it happen! [Laughs] so now we are waiting”