Gorod interview (07/2009)
|Conducted by:||jupitreas (e-mail)|
J: Hi guys, this is Jerry from Metal Storm, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions for us. How are things going?
Mat: Well, we have just came back from the mini tour with Immolation, we're pretty tired but it's a pleasure to take time to talk about us and the new album!
J: To those of our readers that never heard of you, could you please say a thing or two about your band, such as when you formed and what sort of music you play?
Mat : Gorod is a French death metal band from Bordeaux. We are a five piece band, with Sam on drums, Ben on bass, Arno and I on guitars and Guillaume for the vocals. We recorded our first full length called "Neurotripsicks" on 2004, on a small French label under the moniker Gorgasm. Willowtip Records licensed it the next year and we change our name for Gorod. On 2006, Willowtip released our 2nd album " Leading Vision" that received a good response from the media. Our former drummer, Sandrine, left the band last year after a decade of metal worship, and was replaced by Sam by the end of 2008. We recorded our last album "Process of a New Decline" by early 2009, and now it's out via Willowtip for North America and Listenable Records for Europe. Our aim is now to spread our music widely, to perform shows everywhere, and just make the best metal possible. We're into Death metal. Our music is fast, aggressive and melodic. Some calls it Technical Death Metal, but for us it's just a natural way of writing.
Previous Gorod lineup with Sandrine
J: What does your name mean?
Mat: Gorod means a city in Russian. We chose it firstly because it sounds good and, as a coincidence, the lyrics since Neurotripsicks are about a city/machine/god where people gathered after the holocaust.
J: A lot of our readers wanted me to ask you what your influences are. Are there any bands that you feel influenced the way you play? Or maybe some non-musical influences from the world of cinema or literature?
Mat: "Guitaristicaly", I must admit that Marty Friedman and his solo album "Dragon's kiss" is my main influence. Some tracks there are really frantic, others have melodies that could make me cry even after 20 years of listens!! I don't have a huge metal background, except 90's period maybe. Some riffage are inspired by the Coroner style, technically. Rhythms and grooves are most inspired by the 70's music, jazz-funk, prog-rock, while melodies and chords progressions are directly borrowed to latin-jazz artists like Al di Meola or Chick Corea. I rarely realize that when I work on a new song, but it's something I hear later, when I listen to all of the songs. My purpose is only musical, I can't tell you I'm inspired by nature, birds, the darkness of the human spirit, satan or whatever...Music is the only thing that is important to me.
J: How about the current musical scene? Any new bands or new albums released by older bands that you particularly respect?
Mat: I recently discovered Mastodon, which is my favorite band by now, as they mix the different styles I'm into, such as rock, metal, 70's psycho, etc...This band can play intense music, almost "technical" like the song "capilarian crest" but they can also make cool and singing songs. And it's a pleasure to dive in such a universe. Also I really enjoy the last Cynic album "Traced in Air", that I've expected for a long time ! So good to hear new songs from them!! Moreover, the release of the album allowed them to tour again with fresh and talented musicians. I hope they'll make many more records in the future!
J: You are on tour now. Do you like to tour? Do you prefer small and intimate venues or huge festivals?
Mat: Yeah, we just came back from a mini tour with Immolation! It was a great experience for us! Immolation guys are really nice persons and we have learned so many things from them. Although we're not really used to tour because of the lack of promotion done here in Europe, we do love this and we hope that we can cross Europe again soon! I usually prefer to perform at small venues. We can be more close from each other and our feeling as a band is more developed. Often, in these intimate venues, you can take more time to setup and tune everything well before the show. At festivals, it's always a run to setup, there's no soundcheck, you have to get in the show immediately and give everything in 20 minutes. It's pretty hard but at the same time, that results in more concentrated and intense shows, more explosive and there's also many more people to hear you, obviously.
Fun on tour with Immolation
J: What is your take on the current situation with downloading music illegally? Do you see it as something that is killing the industry or are there good sides to it as well?
Mat: Well, as a listener, I'd say that downloading is a wonderful tool to discover new or old stuff, but more like a "try before buy" option. Actually, I only buy one or two CD per year, not because I download, but because there's not more than one or two albums per year that I really dig, or that I really want to possess. The others, I download, listen a few times, and then I generally delete them. As I listen to a lot of old stuff, like 70's music or traditional world music, sometimes those are hard to find or simply unavailable on CD. Internet allow me to search deeply to get what I want. As an artist, I think it's completely disrespectful to upload an album. Our last album was downloadable 2 weeks before the official release... I hope that people who like it will actually buy the CD on the web or at our concerts. Unfortunately, a lot of things depends on how many CDs are sold: the money that can be invested in promotion, the quality of the next album's production, the size of the tours bands can do, etc...It's the hardest thing to make people understand.
J: Let us talk about your new album, "Process Of A New Decline". Does it have some sort of unifying concept that you wanted to communicate or is it a collection of distinct tracks?
Mat: Musically, there's no unifying concept. Songs have been written separately, from winter 2006 to summer 2008, with no relation between them. I've tried to write songs that sound varied, with different ambiances and grooves to make the album the most complete and entire. The lyrics, however, still remain a same theme: Ben and Guillaume have developed a SF story since our second album, Leading Vision, that continues on Process of a New Decline and that will end in the next album! This is a classical SF/anticipation story about the evolution of humanity into which we put an extra terrestrial species who created a secret society in parallel of ours. When mankind will fall after its own destruction this secret society will lead the few who survive to rebuilt a world based on better values with the help of a guide made with the mix of greatest technology and the greatest brains of Mankind. But in fact it's a cover to put the rest of humanity into slavery...
Process Of A New Decline
J: The album sounds both heavy and technical, a difficult combination to achieve. Are you happy with the way the album is produced and is this something you pay a lot of attention to as a band?
Mat: Of course I am! I did it myself so... I guess I knew what should be the best result! We really wanted to get the sound as clean as possible, where the listener can catch every note, and in the same time, we would like to keep the rough aspect of R'n'R. The sound must stay wild and unpredictable, that's why we chose not to use triggers on drums or intensive noise gates or multitracked guitars. Some of the songs are recorded with 7 strings guitars, that gives a true heavy and low tone, which contrasts with the leads and simply gives balls!
J: Do you agree with the statement that "to play great leads you must understand the fundamentals of rhythm guitar". In Gorod's sound we can clearly hear how the leads are carefully structured into the mix. How important is it to have that rhythmic guitar feel to compliment your leads?
Mat: Rhythm guitar, especially during leads, is here to give inspiration and a solid background. The melody can turn around this rhythm, following it or on the contrary complementing it. Often, both guitars are playing leads, so the bass must fill the base of the sound, and the leads are just treated as they were rhythm guitars in the mix.
J: What is more important to you - complexity or groove? When writing material, are you worried that writing too complex compositions can lead to music that lacks fluidity? Do you even think about this at all or is it a natural progression?
Mat: We really try to make our music simpler. If you don't focused too much, you realize that most of the songs have standard 4 beats per bar structures, you can bang your head at every moment, without questioning yourself about where's the pulse etc...You have to listen to the song deeper to make the complexity appear. That's just how I feel, I know that our music looks difficult and "hermetic" but for us it's clear and transparent. It's the natural way for us to play, and maybe it would be boring for us to take it slower or lighter...It looks technical because we play fast... we don't know how to play in other ways. Moreover, Death Metal must be fast because that's the way it becomes aggressive... I think.
J: What is metal music to you? What are its defining characteristics and what does it mean to be a metalhead?
Mat: In my mind, Metal is one of the last sorts of music that still experiments, that is still free from commercial corruption, and that is dedicated to open minded people. Metal music has always a "no compromise" bias. It must be as loud as possible, as violent and evil as possible, and everything tends to improve and grow these characteristics. The sound of metal has evolved a lot since its early days, but never in a softer direction. As I said metalheads are generally open minded people, who don't care about fashion but are still curious about music. They often listen to many different music genres, when the non metalheads are stuck in commercial stuff, and never try to see further what's on TV. Here in France, you'll never see or hear metal on TV or on the radio, so you have to be curious musically to discover new stuff.
J: Do you feel that metal needs to continue evolving and feature fresh ideas? Can metal evolve without crossing over to other genres?
Mat: I hope that metal will continue evolving, even mixed to other genres. The important thing is to keep this metal sound and attitude. It's not big deal if you embellish the music with exotic influences, the point is try to not repeat yourself and look forward. I'm bored with such bands that only want to fit the instant fashion, like the metalcore scene for example. There's a few bands like At the Gates or Meshuggah that have been copied by a thousand artists since 10 years. Most of them can't even improve the work the original bands have done. To be original and interesting, in my opinion, there's no other choice but to take fresh things from other musics.
Current Gorod lineup
J: That is all the questions I have for you guys now. Is there anything else that you would like to announce regarding your future endeavors?
Mat: Well, we have some European shows scheduled for October 2009, but nothing is really confirmed, so we'll let you know soon...
J: Any final words for your fans at Metal Storm?
Mat: Thank you for the support! I hope we'll tour in Europe soon and we'll come to Germany. People, don't be afraid to come and see us live! Our shows are intense and energetic. We really enjoy performing, even playing Tech Death, we are not focused on our hands or static. So, book us!!!
J: Thank you.
Thanks go to Steffie from Listenable Records and Mat from Gorod. Also, thanks to our users CarrionShine, Galar and Deadmeat for helping me come up with the questions.
||Posted on 08.07.2009 by With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.|
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