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"We can change the world." An audience with Gojira - metal's most important band

"We can change the world"

Earth is in trouble. From global warming to crooked politicians demonising the disadvantaged, there’s a lot to be scared about. Heading up our special look at metal bands across the planet who are standing up and encouraging us to make a difference, we talk to a fired-up Gojira about the environment, their new album and how a life-changing loss has made them stronger than ever.

As children growing up in Ondres, a bijou, tranquil town on France’s south-west coast, Joe Duplantier and his younger brother Mario were forever building dens, collecting driftwood from the beach and fallen branches from the nearly woods to fashion rudimentary shelters in which they would hide away for hours at a time to watch the daily rituals of the natural world slowly unfurl. Memories of those innocent, idyllic days came back to the Duplantier brothers as they set to work building their own recording studio in the rather less bucolic surroundings of Ridgewood, in the New York borough of Queens, during the winter of 2014. Day after day, the pair hauled sand, wood and cement into the warehouse, working dawn to dusk with hammers, saws and trowels upon the construction in the harshest of weather conditions. It wasn’t glamourous work – the lack of basic toilet facilities at the outset necessitated shitting into plastic bags – but by the spring of 2015 Gojira’s vocalist/guitarist and drummer siblings were elated that their dream recording facility, now called Silver Cord Studio, was coming together exactly as they had envisaged it.

“When we write and record a record, we need to feel comfortable, like we’re in our own cocoon,”says Joe Duplantier. “Building this space ourselves, we were able to be particular with the materials we had around us, and the textures and visuals and lighting. We’re French, so we’re very poetic and romantic and sensitive, and we believe that everything is connected, and so if we like the walls we’re looking at, then the music we make within those walls will probably sound good when we record it.”

In April 2015, the brothers set up at Silver Cord to begin work upon their sixth album, the follow-up to 2012’s acclaimed L’Enfant Sauvage. Just two weeks into the process, however, the brothers received news from home that their mother was gravely ill in hospital, and their carefully constructed world began to fall apart.

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