with Drummer – Mario Duplantier
@02 Brixton Academy
Interview By Ashlinn Nash
Photography Graham Hilling
Gojira are known internationally as a band with a back catalogue of songs laced with shots of adrenaline in each colossal chord, with stunning live performances to match.
The four piece from Bayonne, Southwest France, who’s musical themes direct from their native surroundings of wildness, the band, with newest album L’ Enfant Savage (The wild child), have gone back to the core of influence and re-discovered the rawness energy of inspiration and created a smasher.
We managed to catch-up with Mario Duplantier; drummer for the band backstage at their Jagermiester tour London show at the Brixton Academy.
Hello and thanks for joining us today! How was the Jagermiester tour gone so far?
Mario : It’s an amazing tour, very new the bill is very interesting. It’s a good challenge because not everyone knows Gojira so we have to show people.
How does it compare to the USA tour you’ve just done?
Mario: it was different because, in the USA it was our headline tour so people bought tickets just to see Gojira, so right now with the concept of Jagermiester tour is that the ticket is very low and we’re not headlining, so it’s a bill with very different bands so the energy is very different, vibes and auras when we played the USA everybody was crazy. Tonight’s a bit different; we have our fans and those that are curious just to see rest of the tour so not the same craziness of the other tour.
How has it been with such a diverse line-up?
Mario: I think it’s very interesting because Ghost and Gojira have this link between both bands they are all mystical, and we love this mystical aspect, I think in Gojira you can find also this not conventional music so it’s good.
In terms of stage show you have a new design, with the projection screen, where did this come from?
Mario: it came from the album L’Enfant Sauvage, it has the head so we just decided to have the same head, it’s a piece of wood and we can project video onto it.
You’ve played small venues such as the Underworld in Camden right up to the Hammersmith Apollo; do prefer to play small venues or big venues?
Mario: Honestly this sized venue is best for us, because we have a show to propose and also we play very loud, so playing in small clubs sometimes you have all the instruments in your face and maybe too loud sometimes. We love all kinds of venue but for us like to play more this kind of venue, we can move on stage and move some hair [laughs] because sometimes you can’t in a small venue.
What’s been the funniest moment on tour?
Mario: I don’t know if we have any fun [laughs] sometimes we have a day off, we’ll go to a restaurant on a beach and just relaxing on a beach. Not the funniest but the best moments. Last time we were in Florida, which was great and also playing in India, which was very exotic and different. It’s not fun but it was exotic and moved us a lot.
Who have been the best artists/bands you’ve played with?
Mario: Probably Devin Townsend, he’s a genius, he’s a big influence we feel very connected to him and up to a certain point very influenced by him.
Who would you like to tour with in the future?
Mario: we would love to tour with Deftones, we know them now and became friends, we spent a night with the drummer in Sacramento, we were very motivated to do something like a Deftones and Gojira, and so we talked about it maybe to dream but maybe.
You’re filming the show tonight, is this for DVD release?
Mario: We don’t know yet, maybe it will be on a DVD it’s us and Roadrunner we talked about it and thought it was a great idea to shoot a video on this run with the head and the stage show and out of France because we’ve done a lot of videos in France. We wanted something outside of that and London is very symbolic, it’s the most famous city in Europe for rock and metal so this reception is very interesting for us, we wanted to do something in London so this was great occasion.
L’Enfant Sauvage, you’ve titled the record in French, what brought this about?
Mario: It’s because we loved how it sounds in French and there is no translation, which was precise enough to describe L’Enfant Sauvage. It’s also because our roots come from France and with all of this international connection. Gojira became an international band maybe we needed to go back to our roots maybe it’s an interpretation. We also grew up very close to a big forest with beautiful trees and sometimes when we think about L’Enfant Sauvage we can image, this child in this woods.
When you were writing what bands were you listening too?
Mario: Each member of the band has different tastes for my part I don’t listen to a lot of metal except Meshuggah, I listen to a lot of electro music. Jean listens to a lot of rock, electro and this guy [points to Christian] doesn’t listen to music [laughs]. My brother loves a lot of music, like Massive attack and hip-hop all kinds.
Very Diverse taste, from the new album what songs do you enjoy playing live? Also what are all time favourite tracks to play?
Mario: probably the L’Enfant Sauvage, I love the drum parts in it, I love the simplicity of the song and I love the emotion into it also. Flying Wales is fun song to play but right now we’ve played this song every night for about five months now. Backbone also, but right now it’s L’Enfant Sauvage for me.
What do you enjoy doing when not on tour?
Mario: When we’re home we have a lot of preparation and we’re always working on this band, when not on stage and on tour we always have to deal with the management and preparation of new tour so we’re always working on a project. We talk to each other all the time via the internet and skype. Personally I like to do sports and try to stay in good health for the stage. I do a lot of art and all kinds of stuff always something creative.
Is there a new EP/Album in the works?
Mario: We have to finally release Sea Sheppard EP and we are working on it on our computer on tour we’re trying to finish the mixing of it, so we will probably release this one during the year. After that we will just keep touring everywhere.
We’d like to go to Japan, that’s our future plan and maybe go back to the USA during the autumn. We are already thinking about the new album and what we want to express and what we want to play.
On tour it’s not easy, for example this dressing room, if I have a drum idea that I’d like to try out somewhere I have to test it on this pad. So it’s not easy to compose, I love to have my drums and go right lets go play something, sometimes I have ideas and I find I lose them, I try to record everything each time there is an idea.
So what festivals do you enjoy playing as well as attending? Which ones would like to play in future?
Mario: we love playing Festivals, it’s always cool it’s a great opportunity to see lots of bands so we always stay on stage or go in the crowd. I prefer to go in the crowd to see the show, I don’t like the sound from the stage I love to have the full show so most of the time I’m in the crowd. We’d like to play download festival in the UK.
We want to play everywhere, we’ve missed a lot of countries, we’ve opened up for Metallica in Italy but we’d love to play there and all of the places we don’t play very often. Australia would be great, some great memories of playing there because of the weather and it’s just so far away from us everything is kind of different so I really enjoy that. I love to play London as it’s mythical.
What have you got planned next?
Mario: Starting the new run of a tour in Europe, so this is the starter tour. Then a lot of headline shows in France, Germany, Spain, we have two shows in Paris which is very important for us. We love playing France but sometimes people feel like Gojira is too much, people have a weird spirit sometimes because now we’re very famous. In France we don’t like people who become famous we hate them [laughs].
When we started to make it outside of France people started to talk shit about us, Only joking, but of course we have a huge fan base.
Many thanks and good luck!