This Is the Gojira Song of Which Joe Duplantier Is Most Proud
Joe Duplantier, probably one of the most universally-beloved musicians working in metal right now, recently appeared on that BBC Daniel P. Carter show British people are always talking about, and during this appearance, the titular host asked Monsieur Duplantier which Gojira song makes him most proud. Resist the urge to make an easy Morbid Angel joke — Joe’s answer was actually pretty interesting (transcript courtesy of The PRP):
“I thought of ‘Low Lands’… because it was a challenge when we come up with that weird groove on drums with Mario—we thought that was a fantastic drum thing [mimics drums]. It’s a weird approach. And then we have a riff at the end of the song that is very open that could almost be from a Muse song.
“It was interesting musically, but I had no idea what I could do with my vocals on it. And then I tried, and I tried, and I tried and I can’t get no satisfaction. And then I called my brother and I’m like ‘Okay we’re just gonna drop that song.’
“He replied ‘Yeah but we dropped three already, there’s just five left. We cannot release an EP, there has to be just enough to make an album.’ And we both agreed that we wanted to release a short album, so it wasn’t a problem, but then I’m like ‘OK, I’m gonna try again.’
“So I’m proud of that song because I worked hard to find something. Now I listen to it and I don’t blush when I listen to it. I’m like ‘Hmm, it’s good enough to be on a record.’
“I finally accepted what I was doing, because for those who don’t know the song, the story is that I’m used to screaming a lot. I have always been against cheesy choruses, you know the clean vocals [mimics cheesy singing] I refuse that. I can’t do it.
“I like to have my own approach. It needs to be interesting, original and organic and pure. But then doing it, singing, actually recording parts is very difficult. As a screamer it’s very weird to sing. So it was a big challenge and at some point I’m like ‘Yes, I’m OK with it now.’
“And then I redid it, I re-recorded it maybe six-seven songs. So I spent two months on this song, just for the vocals. But I prevailed, I didn’t give up.”
This is a great lesson for all the young would-be Gojiras of the world: even geniuses like Joe and Mario Duplantier don’t always have all the answers right at their fingertips. Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, look at your Hatebreed motivational poster, and keep at it. Art isn’t always this thing where inspiration just strikes and suddenly everything is perfect. It can be work, like anything else.
ANYWAY, not that Joe Duplantier cares what I think, but for whatever it’s worth, I’m glad he kept at it: “Low Lands” has become my personal favorite track off of Magma. That ending riff — the one Joe compares to Muse — gets me every time… it’s like a mature cousin to the riff from “Flying Whales.” A++++ WDBWA.