Since the release of their 4th full length, The Way of All Flesh, French heavy metal behemoth GOJIRA has virtually exploded into the international metal scene. Following the release of that album, the four Frenchmen followed METALLICA as the opening act for well over a year, creating a solid fan base all over the world. What really makes these guys unique is that GOJIRA is not your average death metal band. They sing of man’s destruction of nature, loss of connection with the world, and the power of “Love”. Being French, these guys have been on my radar for quite a number of years and getting the opportunity to talk with frontman and guitarist Joe Duplantier was almost a dream come true. I will always remember playing a live video of this band in front of my high school French class and being the only one in the room headbanging to the churning riffs. But I digress, now in New York City recording their long awaited album; the band looks to make a powerful new edition to the GOJIRA anthology. After waking from my turkey coma, I picked up the phone and discussed with the Frenchman the recording of the long awaited new album, what is going on with the Sea Shepherd EP, and his thoughts on the Big Apple.
November 12, 2011. I’m in Long Island City, heading towards Spin Recording Studios, where the mighty Gojira have recently begun recording their new album with producer Josh Wilbur. It’s a big deal because a) it’s Gojira’s first album in more than three years, b) the band has just announced that they’ve signed with Roadrunner Records, and c) Gojira fucking rules, and I’m a massive, massive fan.
I’m still a good block-and-a-half away when I hear it. It’s so incredibly LOUD and metallic, it almost sounds like machine gun fire — but it’s too rhythmic to be a weapon. I decide it must be a street performer, banging on some sheet metal or something… except that I can see the street all around me, and it’s completely deserted. If it is a street performer, he’s very well concealed, and is apparently playing to an audience of no one.
By the time I arrive at the front door of Spin Studios — a large, steel entrance — the sound has become deafening. And as I peek through the small, submarine-like door window, I finally see the source of the sound: it’s Gojira skinsman Mario Duplantier, drumming on the door like the thunder god that he is.
Mario sees me, stops what he’s doing, and opens the door. I introduce myself; he shakes my hand enthusiastically. “Go upstairs to the studio,” he tells me. “I just to have finish this, then I’ll be right up.”
I assume he’s warming up for a take — yes, I know it’s a tad odd to warm up against a door, but who am I to tell to Mario Duplantier what is or is not normal? — until I begin to walk up the steps, and I see microphones strategically positioned all around the stairwell. At which point I realize, Holy shit, they’re recording this.