Gojira Frontman Explains How Band Has Maintained the Same Lineup for 20 Years
Gojira frontman/guitarist Joe Duplantier was our recent guest on The MetalSucks Podcast to discuss the band’s new album, Fortitude, the evolution from their previous album Magma, how they’ve been able to maintain the same line up for 20 years, and more.
Duplantier detailed the process behind the cover artwork for Fortitude, which he created himself while under lockdown, and how he used a cake sheet for its golden background:
“I was doing a lot of sketches, working until late at night where you forget the time and its a wonderful experience. And I have to scan my drawings with what I have ’cause it was during confinement, I couldn’t really go and buy a scanner. I tried, but all I have here is a shitty scanner [laughs] so I had to break it down in several parts.
“It was a bit difficult to do but there was a second part on Photoshop where I worked on the colors and I scanned a golden paper that I got at a bakery for some reason. It was like when you buy a cake and sometimes under the cake there is a sort of golden cardboard. [laughs] I scanned that and it became sort of the theme of the album because I wanted some gold in there.
“Of course it doesn’t translate when you print it on the vinyl, and even when you look on your computer it could be mistaken with a beige earthy color. But I scanned that and put it on top of my drawing so it’s not a painting, per se, but it’s also a work on the computer after drawing the thing.
“But yeah, I had a blast doing it. At some point I felt, ‘this is right, this is representing the album.’”
When asked how he thinks Gojira have been able to maintain a stable lineup of the same four band members for 20 years, a rarity these days, he replied:
“We had personalities that functioned together. We measured the importance, very early on, of communication. We care for each other; if somebody’s not feeling well, we will [all] feel it. We’re pretty sensitive people so our threshold of tolerance of weird situations is pretty low. We have to understand what’s going on. ‘What’s up man, you look depressed today?’ We’ll listen to each other.
“Some bands want to play tough and ‘Ah, let’s drink’ and they get wasted but it doesn’t really solve the problem. So communication definitely is important I think for the dynamic of the band.
“But I don’t know, Mario and me were brothers. We’re kind of the engine of the band, we work a lot, on every album. We record a lot of demos just the two of us. Sometimes the other guys will show up and we’ll do big sessions together and finish the songs and start new ideas together too. So we have a dynamic, we try not to force things on anybody.”
Duplantier went on to explain that the band’s passion for the music itself has kept them going:
“And also I would say, we are obsessed with music. With our craft. Not necessarily with success, although we’re not turning it down. If we can be successful, sure why not, we’ll play the game of interviews and releasing singles and taking pictures and trying to dress up a little and all that stuff.
“So we’re definitely hoping to be successful too, but the main thing for us is quality of our craft. If we don’t like a song, it’s garbage. Even if people would tell us that song would sell a lot of copies. It’s garbage if we don’t like it. So we have that compass.
“Also our success was very progressive. Every album was a little more successful than the one before so we never went super high all of a sudden, for example with a hit on the radio that would make us lose our minds and start to argue over money.
“The lack of money is also something that is a threat for bands because it’s not sustainable so they end up quitting. When there’s just enough to survive, we split the money and look forward to the next step and somehow [that has] made us stick together because we’re always looking forward to the small progression for the next record.
“So very, very progressive and we’re not going down. We’re only going up all the time since the beginning. We appreciate every step.”
You can listen to our full chat with Joe right here or below.