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Joe Duplantier Interview

A Chat With The Gojira Vocalist/Guitarist




Prosthetic Records
Chad Bowar: Now that The Way Of All Flesh has been out for a while, are you satisfied with how it was received, its sales and promotion?
Joe Duplantier: Yes. Of course, we can’t help but imagine the potential it could reach. The quality of the album and the kind of tours we’re on, we are satisfied. Of course we could have done things different, or sold more if the music business wasn’t so bad, but it’s good.

Bands are selling fewer CDs now, but the music is still finding its way into people’s hands via things like illegal downloads. Is that frustrating for you, or do you just want your music out there, regardless?
The result of that can be that we get more people at the shows. If 10 people have the CD and only one bought it, that doesn’t mean those other 10 people would have paid for it. At the end of the day more people know Gojira this way. We are more well-known with downloading than without. But of course we sell less. That’s more popularity and less money.

A lot of bands are doing things like including bonus DVDs or having special edition CDs to make it more desirable to purchase the actual CD. Is that something you’ve done or are considering?
Yes, of course. We focus a lot on the artwork and what we give to the fans with bonuses. The labels we work with are picky with that. If you re-release an album, you have to add something.

How did you enjoy working with Max and Iggor Cavalera on their Cavalera Conspiracy project?
I enjoyed it very much. It felt good to be just the bass player instead of the lead singer, guitar player and composer. It was really satisfying because I was hanging out with these guys, who were my heroes back in the day. I composed a few things. I got totally into the songs and couldn’t help myself.

Were you able to play any live shows with them?
I did the first show. It was important to them I was there. They invited me to come to Arizona from France. It was the memorial for Gloria’s son who was killed. Every year they organize a festival. We opened for Soulfly. It was an amazing feeling to be on stage with Iggor on drums and Max singing. We played a lot of Sepultura songs. It was great.

After working with them, do you get the feeling that there will eventually be a Sepultura reunion?
I have no clue. I would love to see that. I saw them live back in the day and it was an explosion of energy. I would like to see that again. I don’t know if it is going to happen. They didn’t talk to me about it.

You play many different instruments. Which one did you start out on?
Piano, for seven years. Then it was classical guitar. I started to play Metallica and Sepultura songs on the classical guitar in my room, listening to the songs and trying to reproduce them. Each time I was able to play a riff, I was on a high.

What was your first band?
I had several bands in high school. But Gojira came pretty early. It was my first important band.

Describe the first show Gojira played.
At the time the band was called Godzilla. We played a fiesta in a little small village. Nobody knew us. We were so nervous, and played cover songs. There was nothing special about that show.

How did you get involved with Sea Shepherd, and what does the organization do?
I saw a movie called Shark Water. In the movie you can see the people from Sea Shepherd show up and help fight shark killers. I thought the energy they had was like a rock band trying to raise the flag of good music. It was so powerful. We care about these things, nature in general. We wouldn’t say that we are activists. We are just normal people paying attention to what’s happening. Whales are disappearing and sharks are getting killed. We got in touch with them and met them on tour. We started a partnership, and give out their brochures on tour and that kind of stuff.

Are you involved with any other organizations?
We did a few things with Greenpeace. They are pretty big in Europe, and in the States, too. They are probably a hundred times bigger than Sea Shepherd. That’s why we like Sea Shepherd. Their fight is a little different. They are considered more violent, but to me it’s more like self-defense.

What’s the best advice someone gave you?
Stick to your dreams. That’s my best advice.

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