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Jean-Michel and Christian (Gojira)

Interview with Jean-Michel and Christian from Gojira
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 10 August 2009, 4:22 PM

Paying a visit to the 'Rocking Athens Festival' I couldn't miss the chance to meet GOJIRA's Jean-Michel and Christian in person and have a small chat with them. What I faced was a friendly conversation with two friendly and smiling guys. I hope to see you back in Greece soon mates!

Interview with: Jean-Michel and Christian from GOJIRA

Hello and welcome to Athens! This is your first time here, right?

J-M: Thanks! Yes, it is actually our first time here…

How do you feel playing in Greece for the first time?

J-M: It feels really good. We are enthusiastic about playing for the Greek audience for the first time. It will be awesome!

How is the album going so far regarding sells, reviews, fans etc?

J-M: It is going great, better than we expected. We had to play a lot, we have had to cross the oceans and play everywhere, to meet new crowds, to earn some money of course. The last year we had to do a lot of gigs, about 180. The response is really good and we are really happy about it! We have earned more fans everywhere, it's like a dream!

How is the tour going so far? I guess you have played in many full-packed venues!

J-M: We have managed to play in sold out shows…

C: 20,000 people in each festival. It is also crazy to meet our idols. We met MACHINE HEAD, SEPULTURA, SOULFLY, TESTAMENT

 (Interrupting) And you've also booked some days with METALLICA…

Both: Yeah, we'll play with METALLICA!

How do you feel about sharing the stage with them?

C: It's very difficult to put words to describe it.

J-M: It has been a dream to play with the gods! They invited us so it a really big honor for us!

Back to your last album… In my humble opinion it is a bit more experimental than your previous releases. Do you think that it was a step forward for you?

J-M: After playing live so much we have visited various places, met many people and listened to many different kinds of music. When we were composing the album we wanted to work with the GOJIRA sound and incorporate our new influences, to even add electronic parts! It is interesting to change yourself and not be stable musically.

How would you describe GOJIRA's sound to someone that has never heard of the band?

J-M: Oh, this is a tough one! I guess it is extreme, powerful Rock & Roll!

C: The mix of different kinds of music. Metal, Indian music, world music, Rap…

J-M: GOJIRA is mostly about the emotions. Powerful at times… A mix of different things.

Which bands inspired you to do what you do today?

C: We are huge fans of MORBID ANGEL, METALLICA, DEATH, SEPULTURA, TOOL, PANTERA

J-M: A lot of newer bands, too, but METALLICA is always our number one influence!

The first two bands that come to my mind when I listen to your music are MORBID ANGEL and CYNIC.

Both: Yeah yeah!

J-M: We love these two bands! And MESHUGGAH

Especially when I listened to The Heaviest Matter Of The Universe I was like this is a damn fine MORBID ANGEL tune!

J-M: Hahahahaha! Yeah yeah, exactly!

Why did you choose The Way Of All Flesh as the title for your last album? Who chose it and why?

J-M: Our singer Joe chose it; he is probably the best person to explain that.

C: He always speaks about his personal experiences, using actually poetry. He speaks about the man. Death, development, struggles, how to create a new world, a new society. How someone has to go through difficult situations to be reborn.

J-M: It is actually about the human form, the way of all humans to their death, be it material or spiritual.

Is it too early to be talking about new material?

J-M: We don't have a lot of time to work during the tour, but we have many new ideas to work on when we have time. For now it is not a lot. In 2010 we will probably start composing new stuff for our new album.

Will it be again through Listenable or have you thought about changing label?

J-M: It is the end of our contract so will we have to think about what we are going to do.

Are you satisfied with them?

J-M: Oh yes! A lot! We will think about our future now, to see if we are going to continue with them, sign elsewhere, continue alone…

Most French bands have ended up in Season Of Mist…

J-M: Yeah, I know. We have been working with Listenable for six years now and we are really happy regarding their work, but we don't know, we'll see…

Speaking of French bands, there are a lot of them that have been in the forefront of the Metal scene the last years like DAGOBA, GOROD… Why this sudden explosion?

J-M: I think it is not so new, for us at least. We have a lot of Metal bands for a long time now. Now that GOJIRA is one of the leaders and we play everywhere in the world more bands move forward. People are like you are from France and you listen to Metal! Oh, and you also have a band! Cool! but this is nothing new. A lot of good bands are ready to spread their wings and get outside of France. That's really cool since the world gets to know a new sound.

Really, do you know any Greek bands? Some of them have singed with Season Of Mist, like ROTTING CHRIST, SEPTICFLESH, NAER MATARON…

J-M: I know ROTTING CHRIST, I listened to one of their albums in 1995, it was more Gothic but it was very good. I don't know a lot of bands, only this one.

What comes first for you, the music or the lyrics?

J-M: In general the music. It is like a mix between them but mostly the music…

It has been more than a decade around the scene. How do you feel being around all those years involved in the Metal scene?

C: I feel old, hahahahahahaha! And fresh, too! We have been on the road for 12-13 years and that keeps us active and energetic.

J-M: it has been a very long road, because when you come from a country like France you don't have so much Metal. It has been very difficult being on the road.

C: I am more excited about the future, playing here for the first time, in Japan very soon, Australia. It is crazy!

What are your plans for after the tour except for entering the studio? Will you take any time to relax and see your people?

C: We really need to take a rest before composing. It takes a long time to make a good album.

J-M: Being on tour it is really difficult since you're like one or two days somewhere and then you fly somewhere else. It is also really difficult to compose new material so we need to take our time. We need inspiration, something you can't have on road since you don't even have a life!

Have you managed to make a living out of music?

J-M: During the first years I had a job, but since 6 or 7 years now we are only into GOJIRA. We don't actually live, but we survive! Hahahaha!

C: We have to compromise. The important thing is that we get help for friends, like now that some friends help us play in USA. If you see my car you'll understand how much money we have, hahahaha!

Who chose the name GOJIRA for the band in the first place and why?

C: Joe (Duplantier). We loved the power of the monster. It was also created by a human being and the monster destroyed the human being who actually created it. We loved the movie, the story…

Who designed the cover artwork for the album The Way Of All Flesh?

C: Joe, he writes everything, makes the covers…

Is he something like the leader of the band or do you work all together?

C: Joe is the leader of this band…

J-M: And when we tell him that he's the leader he's like NO! It is the four of us!, hahaha!

C: We are like a family, we love each other… Mario is also a good composer and Jean-Michel and I compose some times…

How do you work when composing music?

C: Someone comes in the studio with a riff he has in his mind and we work on it or we just jam and some ideas come along…

J-M: And when someone does something good we stop and we say try this again, I liked it and stuff. Things most bands do.

How did you all meet and formed the band?

J-M: We had our first bands when we were young…

C: I was in every show Mario's and Joe's bands had, I was a big fan and when they decided to stop their bands and do something together they called me and we started rehearsing. We composed a demo then. Mario knows Jean-Michel and they called me. We started playing classic stuff, METALLICA, SEPULTURA, SLAYER

And how did you end up from classic stuff playing this modern monstrous Metal you now play?

J-M: Difficult question…

C: Actually it just happened. We started playing straightforward, using our influences and it came naturally.

That's all I had to ask you, thank you for your time!

Both: Thank YOU!

Anything last? A message for your Greek fans?

J-M: (Pointing at Christian) You're the best for this!

C: Ready to kick ass tonight! Thanks for the support! We hope to come back for a show with full set! Thanks for everything!



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