Gojira have for a while now been at the forefront of the more extreme end of technical and progressive metal. As a follow-up to the much-lauded ‘Magma,’ the band is personally in a better place than when they recorded that album. It was much influenced by the death of Joe and Mario Duplantier’s mother, and the emotional toll it took to tour and talk about that album was exhausting. ‘Fortitude’ is by comparison a more cheerful album, and far more in the listener’s face, and considerably heavier than the last. It is a rousing call to arms in the face of worldwide pandemic and chaos, and it takes no prisoners.
Ahead of the release of the album, Metal Wani’s editor-in-chief Owais ‘Vitek’ Nabi had a chat with Gojira mastermind Joe Duplantier. They discussed the new album ‘Fortitude’, spreading the wings with multiple instruments and vocal ranges, predicting Covid-19 even before it happened, the evolution of Gojira’s sound, environmental issues & more.
Here are some of the excerpts from the interview:
When asked Joe about ‘Another World’ – you predicted that 2020 is going to be a mess. You wrote the song before the Covid era,” Joe replied:
“The one detail that is rather surprising – the line in the video, there is a line on the newspaper that says, ‘The virus is spreading.’
“That was written before the coronavirus. It’s interesting, right? But everything else in ‘Another World,’ we’re just destroying everything. I always say the same thing – we’re destroying everything.
“It’s not new, we don’t need a virus to make that statement, so it only amplifies the feeling and the context. So of course, when we were working on the video, we thought, ‘Oh my god, this is so on-point with what’s happening.’
“But even if it wasn’t, people would’ve understood what I’m talking about. We’re burning the Amazon forest, we’re torturing and slaughtering animals – what’s up with that?
“It’s not about the virus. It resonates very well in the virus context, but it wasn’t that. I wouldn’t want people to get their eyes off the ball.
“The problem is not the virus, the problem is everything else. The problem is burning the Amazon and emptying the oceans, and committing genocides after genocides on all indigenous people of this planet. We need to grow the f*ck up.”
It’s common for bands these days in modern metal to just play astonishingly amazing technical stuff with no sense of restraint, so when I look at the direction, was it like – ‘Magma’ did really well and resonated with fans and you got a bunch of new fans as well, so from this perspective of a sound, what was the mindset that you and Mario and the other members were in when you were writing the album?
“We don’t dissect that much our plans or what we’re trying to do, we’re just basically trying to be ourselves and relaxed, and just play those tunes that are going to make our booty shake.
“We just try to find the groove of the moment – what is our new trend, what is our new thing right now? We always focus on building something powerful, always focus on building something epic and meaningful to us.
“So these are the guidelines. We don’t have too much stress writing songs or trying to outdo what we did before. A lot of people were asking me, ‘How are you going to come up with something after ‘Magma’? ‘Magma’ was the sh*t.’
“I’m like, ”Magma’? What’s ‘Magma’? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just making music here.’
“So, we don’t have too much pressure or expectations, we’re not trying to compete with our past self, we’re just trying to be our best present self at all times, and it’s a bit of inspiration.
“We’re trying to let it happen as a feeling or a vision that we have. I imagine this weird autumn storm with a gigantic rock falling off the sky and it’s shattered the earth into, ‘Yes, this is our riff.’
“Sometimes we have inspiration like that through a dream or through a vision or a dreamy vision, and we try not to disturb that too much, we try to be in touch with this very subtle and exciting vision we have sometimes, but it stops there.
“It remains very poetic and sort of blurry, and then we get together and let the magic happen, but it’s quite simple when you think about it, we just get together and jam and see what happens.”