I recently had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Joe Duplantier, the vocalist and guitarist for French progressive metal outfit Gojira. After our conversation, it became quite clear that Joe is a truly down to earth person who wants nothing more than for people to be happy. You can check out our chat, which includes the critical response towards his album and the recent birth of his daughter, below.
How do you feel about the critical acclaim towards your newest album, L’Enfant Sauvage?
What can I say? I feel great man! [laughs] We do what we love and are satisfied with the kind of life we have and the music we play comes from the heart. We make no compromise. We feel in tune with ourselves. The fact that people get it, and that the press is enthusiastic and all that is a huge bonus. It allows us to make a living with music, which is fucking incredible. Being elected album of the year by Metal Hammer UK and stuff like that is like…YEEAH [insert image of a fist pumping Joe here]. I never even dreamed about this.
I’ve always enjoyed branding Gojira with the term “Lifemetal”, referring to the messages of environmental awareness embedded in your music. Where did this influence come from? Did Gojira originate from a desire to educate the world environmental conditions?
No, not at all. I was born a musician. I was born sensitive to music. My brothers and I started to jam very young, and for us there was no option other than starting a band. We didn’t think we were going to become professionals or make an album or anything, we just…wanted to play, ya know? We didn’t have a plan to conquer the world or anything like that, and the message is just a part of us. It’s just our education. I like to think we’re normal dudes who care about the outside world in general.
I remember hearing news about the EP Sea Shepherd before L’Enfant Sauvage, but I haven’t heard anything about it for quite some time. Is there anything new about the EP that you can tell me about? Is it based off of the anti-whaling ship Sea Shepherd?
The EP itself is not called Sea Shepherd. It’s something that we’re going to release when it’s done to help Sea Shepherd [the anti-whaling ship] raise money. We’re doing this for them and to bring the spotlight on these guys because we think that it’s important. There are controversies surrounding them. Are they terrorists, are they this or that? Who cares!? At least they’re doing something, and that’s very very important. These days, people are so cynical and disconnected with real life, and they’re all about their image and how they can connect with each other through Facebook, but there’s real life also.
I heard you recently became a father. What’s that like? Is it difficult to manage your musical career with family?
It’s very scary to become a parent for the first time. Everyone pushes that as late as possible. I have some friends that say, “Of course I want a kid, but it’s not the right moment!” For me, it was the same thing. There was never a right moment, it just happened, and I’m glad it did. I’m in love with my daughter. She’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in this world. I have a very supportive and awesome wife who takes care of the baby whenever I’m away, but it’s not easy. After 2 weeks of being away from home I’m like…FUUUUCK! There’s always something important happening every day. When she walked for the first time I was somewhere in Eastern Europe. But regardless, it’s magical.
Do you think that will influence your later career?
Yeah, of course. Everything is an influence. Every single moment of my personal life, and the band’s life, is a big influence on the music.
What are Gojira’s plans after the tour?
We’re going to do more touring. We have a lot of new territory to cover. We’ve never played in Japan, for example. Still need to go to Japan, South America, Australia. We’ll do another tour in the States and visit more cities. We like this album and the production that goes with the show, so we want to enjoy this a little more.
Last question and I’ll get out of your hair. What are some of your favorite bands out there right now?
Well I like a lot of English electro-pop rock bands like Massive Attack, Portishead and Radiohead. In England, there are so many good bands! It’s mindblowing! I also like Meshuggah a lot. And Tool. The classics. Of course, Devin Townsend is really cool, he’s got his own little thing going on. The Atlas Moth is fucking incredible too. I’m getting into them as well. But yeah, so many good bands out there. Oh, I almost forgot! I really really like Die Antwoord too. And The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices, I don’t know if you’ve ever ever heard of them. It’s traditional songs from Bulgaria. It’s out of this world. It’s like aliens singing together. They’ve got some really strange tunes with truly remarkable skills.
You can currently catch Joe Duplantier and the rest of Gojira on their North American tour with Devin Townsend Project and The Atlas Moth, ending February 18th in Brooklyn, New York.