| September 3, 2012 | Comments (4,505)

Jean-Michel Labadie, the bassist of the band Gojira met with me for a brief interview on Sunday afternoon at Heavy MTL.  Despite some difficulties caused by a difference in first languages, we managed to have a great discussion about the band’s name, inspiration, and newest album, L’Enfant Sauvage.


Erin: Welcome to Heavy MTL!  How has the day been? 

Jean-Michel:  Very good


Erin: Are there any bands playing that you would like to see later?

Jean-Michel: All the bands are very cool!  I’d like to see In Flames, because they are good friends of ours, and I like the vibe of their music.  I missed Dillenger because they were just after us.


Erin: Yeah, it’s been a great afternoon for that – I’ve been running back and forth between stages all afternoon to see a bit of everything.  I did catch Dillenger, and it was definitely wild!

Jean-Michel: It sounded like it!


Erin: Okay, so first of all, I have to ask.  Why Gojira?

Jean-Michel: Yes, why Gojira.  So, at first, for us, it was Godzilla, you know, the name of the band, but we didn’t have the right to use the name, because of the movie and the rights, and so, we had to change, but we wanted to keep the same vibes, you know – the big monster destroying everything on Earth because of the bad people, and we made a search on the Internet, that Godzilla, it’s an American thing – the name is American.  But the original name is Gojira, so it’s closer to the root of the name, and that was cool.


Erin: How do you find playing with brothers?  Do they communicate in ways that the rest of the band cannot? 

Jean-Michel: Yes, it’s very cool, and normal.  At first when I had a band, before Gojira, and it was a band with my young brother, and I remember in the band it was very difficult for the other members to connect with us, because you have something that is very much the same with this person – same blood, same vibes, and uh, it’s much the same with them.


Erin: You guys have been playing together as a band since the mid 90’s, and Gojira has kept the same members?

Jean-Michel: Well, when the band was Godzilla, the bass player was a friend of Christian’s.  After one year, I tried to play with them, but they had  a bass player, so no.  So it wasn’t until 1997 – one year after the creation of the band.  But yes, all the same.


Erin: That seems to be pretty impressive, one major trend I’ve noticed of everyone I’ve been interviewing is that their lineup changes every couple of years or so.  What’s the secret to staying together?

Jean-Michel: I think communication is very important.  I think a lot of bands are really… like it’s a business, it’s a job, it’s a mix of different vibes, I think you need to speak all the time to express what you want, what you are, what you feel, every day!  It’s what we do every day.  We speak a lot, and the communication is a big key for bands.  Yes.

Erin: I have to say that I would agree, some very good advice.  In being a band since the mid-90’s, you’ve evolved alongside the internet.  How has that affected how your music is distributed?  How has it affected your relationship with your fans?

Jean-Michel: Internet wasn’t really in our generation, so we are not really into the Internet; because we really like to compose just for music, and play just for music… but now people want more.  They want to see your image, to know what you think, so now, we have a better communication with fans, like, through Facebook and Myspace and things, but it is not really for us because we are quiet people, and we just play music to play music, and to give more to that.


Erin: Your newest album, “L’Enfant Sauvage” has had a lot of hype leading up to it, because of the amount of time between releases.  Do you feel like it has lived up to all the excitement?

Jean-Michel: For me, it’s the most interesting album, its progress is what we are now, I am really happy with the response of the people to the album… I’m not sure how to express myself in English…


Erin: Well, speak to me in French, and we can finish the interview that way, I can understand, but my speaking is not so good.

Jean-Michel: I will speak very slowly!  Okay.


Erin: Yes, that would be great, please!

Jean-Michel: Chaque album qu’on fait est une étape de notre vie, et cet album, finalement, nous représente très bien, comme on est, maintenant en 2012.  Et je pense pour l’avenir… on est très très contents de l’accueil.   On peut continuer en Anglais si tu veux…


Erin: If you don’t mind!  My spoken French isn’t very good…  What serves as your biggest influences, musical or otherwise?

Jean-Michel: I think for all the band, it’s Metallica, but for my part… I remember when I was little, I remember when I was eleven years old… and I remember a guy in my class asked “hey, you wanna listen to something cool?” and I said “Yeah, why not!” and he put a Walkman – it was a long time ago- and I listened to Ride the Lightening for the first time, and I felt something very strong inside of me…on my skin and it was… so wow.  And I told him “Give me your tape!” and he said okay… and I copied the tape and for me… it was a revelation.  And Metallica for me is a big inspiration and all the band too.  And uh, for me, I play bass, and I know I play bass because of Jason Newstead, I know he’s the second one, but I know for me, he is the longest carrier in Metallica, and for me, the bassist that I discovered.  I remember seeing this guy on stage, and I thought, I want to be this one!  So, Metallica is the biggest influence… and we also listen to other kinds of bands like Morbid Angel, Death, Cannibal Corpse, and more into extreme music, but we listen to a lot of things too – Pantera is another big influence, and we listen to a lot of music that is not just metal.


Erin: What are your plans for the rest of the year?  Are there any upcoming projects that you’re working on?

Jean-Michel: So, we are doing shows too, in the states, we had a tour with Lamb of God and Deathklok, but it was cancelled because of things with Randy, in Prague.  But I’m very happy now, because he is free.  Cause he is a friend, Lamb of God are super nice guys, so we like to go here in North America, and we are just touring here for ten days.  But as for the future, in November we will be in Europe on tour.  And, I think we go back to North America – in Canada and the USA in January or February.


Erin: So where is it that you guys are stationed now – are you still in France?

Jean-Michel: For three of us, yes – for Mario, the drummer, Christian, the guitarist, and me, we stay in the south-west of France, Joe is living now in New York for one year.  It is a new beginning for us, because three of us are in France, and when we have to tour in the States, we go there, and when we have to tour in Europe, we join him there.  So it’s new things, and we communicate differently, because of the difference of time, and that’s not really easy, but, that’s okay because he is truly happy to live in the States, and so he is passionate about the United States, his mother is American, so I think he has something in his blood that … yeah.


Erin: Do you find that puts a strain on your music, or have you been keeping with it?

Jean-Michel: Yeah, we have been


Erin: Any words of wisdom?

Jean-Michel: Just thank you – to everyone who supports Gojira.  It’s amazing, the support.  We love to play music, and to meet all you guys, so it’s really great.


Erin: Well, awesome.  Thank you for your time!

Jean-Michel: Thank you!



Click below to find out more about Gojira!


Official Site



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Category: Interviews

Comments (4,505)

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