We had seen it all this morning; connectivity issues *shakes fist* pajamas, crumpets; let’s not go there. It was -15 in Quebec, and in a little farm house out in the country shook a Luc Lemay of Gorguts. Lemay; currently battling the flu… and adjusting to my accent is also secretly hoping for 40+ temperatures during their time in Australia for Direct Touring’s celebration; Direct Underground Fest…. So as Codral states boldly, we soldier on…
Now the band have only been to Australia just the once  so I was eager to hear what Luc and the band had thought on their previous experience. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your time in Australia last? “Super-hot weather, aside from that – it was one of the most pleasant trips I’ve ever made. Working with David [Haley - Psycroptic] is very amazing, he is a gentleman, everything is very well organised. It was just quality time. I can remember the crowds were very enthusiastic – it was great. Not a dull moment that’s for sure”.
For such a long time Gorguts have been prevalent on the extreme metal scene and you yourself have ventured along with it, carving your name and intertwining into its legacy. When you look back at the history of the band and the footprint it has left in the genre, it is difficult not to be impressed (from a fans perspective) so would you say the writing for Gorguts is very much forward focused or do you like to look back and reflect? “No, no I am more in a forward focus state, I am very, very picky for composition and I think that the band has never really made the same record twice. We don’t have as many records for a band that has been around for twenty five years, though it takes me a lot of time for composition. For me, if I don’t have a surprise while I write then I’d rather not say anything unless it’s new – I’m not saying that I’m reinventing the wheel each time I write a record but one of the most important things is that it has to go forward, I don’t want to repeat myself”.
I recall it was December 2006 and the idea to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of Gorguts was laid out, though preparations of the Colored Sands [released 2013] album faced some obstacles – can you take us through this time? Luc sighs. “It was all about old record contracts, legal issues and for some reason we just couldn’t see eye to eye on recording budgets – we were on the shelf for two years because of that and subsequently we missed the train for the 20 year anniversary. Legal bullshit - the bullshit that has absolutely nothing to do with creating music itself. Certainly not one of the happiest times for the band either that’s for sure. But thankfully everything runs great with the new label”. And it was with 2013’s Colored Sands which the band took a more progressive direction – what was the catalyst behind the style or theme shift? “The theme was a subject I discovered that really amazed me; new cultures and histories that were something very interesting to sing about and of course the music sounded very refreshing to me, also having a new lineup and writing new arrangements and working on new compositions, so it was all very exciting and as for the theme; it was very refreshing for Death Metal – in the early 90’s you wouldn’t expect a death metal record to be singing about the birth of the Dalai Lama [Laughs] it was a very passionate record to write and I think that the songs will stand the test of time. They are always very pleasant to play live that’s for sure – there is something mystic about the music and the thematics”.
How do you like to challenge yourself with composition and what barriers do you like to push through? “I like to create new atmospheres, and the story telling aspect is also very important for me, not only in the lyrics but if you were to listen to the music as an instrumental piece – it really needs to work, you need to tell that story without lyrics. I think we touched on this with Colored Sands though with Pleiades' Dust; integrating new guitar sounds; I mean it’s not just full distortion all time - which would have the music sounding static and monochromic in a sonic way and also I don’t think we would have succeeded writing a thirty minute song by just blasting, so it really forces you to take the listeners to a different place and different soundscape. When you find a topic that really inspires you, it’s natural to tell the story – having this story to carry to music”. The latest EP; Pleiades' Dust its foundations are based around the précis of storytelling, specifically the House of Wisdom – what did you envision as the final product? “I didn’t miss the train on this one – I was again very picky with the composition, everyone worked on very strong arrangements. When the music had been achieved I had found the topic of the house of wisdom and I was like holy shit – it’s like this music was specially written for this story. The vision was pretty clear from the very beginning. I wanted to have something progressive, not too square sounding – as it is, it's more like classical or chamber music partnered with electric instruments to me. The vision I had came together beautifully and I am very pleased. I do a lot of parallel between music and painting and this EP in particular, there is a lot of different lights in the music – so to me it is like a full scale painting. It is the best record I have ever made as an artist and to satisfy myself as a composer; this is the record that pleases me the most”.
Inspiration is most definitely the clincher behind any project, I’m curious, have you ever suffered severely from writers block? “Oh yeah… I am suffering right now [Laughs] it is never easy – I’ve been working on new music for a while, luckily enough I am really passionate about classical music so if I am struggling with ideas working within metal – then I’ll switch and move to piano for instance; lately I have been studying one of Prokovious’ symphony’s so with that I will do some analysis, listen to the music and keep my mind active. Writers block is always around the corner and it’s kind of scary, you know – even after all these years and the experiences, there is no magic formula”.
We’ve discussed your aspirations for the Australian tour – a trifecta of tours; Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne though do you guys have any down time? “I think what ever time we have off we have in New Zealand, Australia is boom, boom, boom. Perhaps it may get rid of my writers block” [Laughs] And as for 2017? “After Australia we’re back in April – we have five or six shows in Quebec then we are working on something for the US in June. A couple of European festivals in August. After August we will be in full writing mode. I really want to focus on getting a new record together. Hopefully after all these travels I will feel inspired”. [Laughs]
DIRECT UNDERGROUND FEST:
17 March, Factory Theatre - Sydney
18 March, Corner Hotel - Melbourne