French progressive metallers GOJIRA are currently recording their fifth album at Spin Recording Studios in Long Island City, New York with co-producer Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD) for an early 2012 release via the band’s new record label, Roadrunner Records.
When asked how the deal with Roadrunner came about, GOJIRA vocalist/guitarist Joseph Duplantier told MetalSucks.net in a brand new interview, “We really needed a platform for the band to be promoted and distributed properly. We’ve been in touch with a lot of labels lately since we finished our contract with Listenable [who released the band’s three previous albums]. To go on with Listenable was not an option, even though we had excellent relations with them. We really needed a bigger platform, and Roadrunner offered us an amazing deal. They have been super into the band for years and years. They have been… I would not say ‘chasing us,’ but… well, I would say ‘chasing us,’ but they would say ‘interested.’ . . . We’ve known [the Roadrunner] guys for years and years — first as metal fans, when we were listening to SEPULTURA and DEATH and all those bands. I remember buying a CD because the Roadrunner logo was on it. It was a sign of quality. And we’ve known those guys for a couple of years. We’ve known [Senior Vice President of AR] Monte Conner and [U.K. General Manager] Mark Palmer. They expressed how enthusiastic they were about our music in a very intelligent way. They really get what we’re trying to do, so we signed with them.”
Regarding the musical direction of the new GOJIRA material, Duplantier said, “It’s more mature . . . There’s less bullshit. [laughs] There’s more intensity and simplicity at the same time. Drum-wise, for example, Mario [Duplantier] has been serving the music, but with a lot more of his experience in the drumming, and a lot of reflection in the work. His drum fills, for example, are be simpler, yet more technical. For a real drummer to hear [what he’s doing], they’ll go, ‘Holy shit, man. What did you do?’ For someone who is not into drumming, they’ll go through the song and say, ‘Wow, cool.’ There’s more technique and more experience.”
He continued, “Personally, I had a vision of this album, with what I would like to see happening. I was imagining something very organic and very deep, with more natural sounds. Music-wise, it’s something like a dream and a storm… it’s magical. I had this vision with colors, sounds and shapes in my mind. I almost dreamed about it. ‘Wow, I feel like this album is going to be like that.’ But I didn’t know. I have no idea until we see what happens when we get into the practice room.”
On the topic of GOJIRA‘s collaboration with Wilbur, Joseph said, “We were in touch with several producers in Los Angeles. We didn’t know yet if we would use a producer for the first time or not. We mostly wanted to have advice on sound. We usually do everything ourselves. I produced the last album. I was following the whole process: mixing and making sure that the vision of the band was respected in the studio. This time, we wanted to have more help from someone with more experience with producing. It couldn’t happen with a bunch of guys in Los Angeles and other places. No one was available. There were a lot of people who said that they wanted to do it, but it didn’t work out. At one point, I said, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to produce it.’ Mario was like, ‘Yeah, I like this idea. I like that we can be free to do whatever we want to do.’ Not that it would be the opposite with a producer. There are tons of ways to work with a producer. It could just be someone who brings amazing advice, who looks at you and how you play and says, ‘Maybe you should try that amp. Maybe you should jam more, because that riff could be a little stronger.’ I said that I didn’t want to go to Los Angeles because I wanted to go to New York because I loved this city since I was a kid. . . So I decided to find a studio and an engineer or co-producer/mixer or whatever to put the thing together. That’s what I did a month and a half ago when I came here. The first studio I visited was here, Spin Studios. The guys are super nice. I’m alone, and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m looking for a studio.’ ‘Who are you?’ ‘I’m from that French band GOJIRA.’ I visited this one first, and Josh was in this room mixing the new LAMB OF GOD [‘Resolution’]. I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ He was like, ‘Hi, my name is Josh.’ I didn’t know him, never heard of him before. He played some songs from LAMB OF GOD because he was mixing it, and then I asked him to play the drums dry without any reverb or anything, to hear how the drum room sounds here — because that’s the most important thing on the record. And it sounded amazing. He taught me some tricks, like what microphones to use and this and that. He’s young and full of energy. He was bouncing on his chair when he was playing the songs. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was listening on the headphones and on the speakers, and it just sounded exactly the way I was imagining the next GOJIRA. We’re not so far from LAMB OF GOD, but far enough that we’re different genres. So I felt the potential of the studio and of Josh. I called Mario and said, ‘I met this young guy and he’s full of energy and he’s working on LAMB OF GOD.’ Mario said, ‘Fuck yeah, let’s go!’ So we’re co-producing this album — Josh and I.”
The members of GOJIRA have kept busy in between albums. They recently recorded the four-song “Sea Shepherd” EP, with all proceeds benefiting the Sea Shepherd charity. Sea Shepherd is a Washington State-based nonprofit marine conservation organization which employs direct action tactics to protect sea life. One of the songs, “Blood and Salt”, recently surfaced on a Metal Hammer U.K. sampler CD. Release details on that EP, which is loaded with A-list metal guests like MASTODON‘s Brent Hinds, LAMB OF GOD‘s Randy Blythe, SOULFLY‘s Max Cavalera and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD‘s Devin Townsend, to name a few, are yet to be determined.