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“I cleaned the beach and dumped the rubbish in the mayor’s parking lot”: Gojira’s Joe Duplantier remembers his early environmental protests

Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier reflects on the “huge moment” he made headlines with his protests as a young man



Talking exclusively in the new issue of Metal Hammer, Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier reflects on his early years of environmental protest before forming the band.

“I asked my friends and my bandmates to come down to the beach and do something with me,” the singer/guitarist tells writer Stephen Hill. “I had the idea to go and clean up the beach, put the rubbish in plastic bags, and dump it in the parking lot of the mayor’s office. We did that, it was in the 90s, and the next day it was in the news. ‘Someone took all the rubbish from the beach and put it in the parking lot with a note!’ It was interesting.”

He continued: “You understand that everything you do has an impact; even if it’s a small thing, it can inspire someone else. That was a huge moment for me, realising that we have an impact on the world around us – I think 70-80% of our lyrical message is that.”

The French-American musician also reflected on his short stint as the bassist for Cavalera Conspiracy, the band of ex-Sepultura brothers Max and Iggor Cavalera, from 2007 to 2008.

“Playing in Cavalera Conspiracy was unbelievable,” Duplantier said. “I grew up as a huge fan of Sepultura, and getting in a room with Iggor and Max after all those years of them not playing together was incredible.

“I remember Max saying to me, ‘Joe, do you know how to play [Sepultura song] Refuse/Resist?’ Only my whole life, you know? Ha ha! It’s hard for me to really express just how incredible this experience was for me. It’s the type of thing that you dream of in your wildest dreams as a kid, and it happened! I’ll always be really grateful for that experience with those guys.”

Duplantier co-founded Gojira with his drummer brother, Mario, in 1996. The band gained notice in the 2000s by writing about the climate catastrophe on such songs as Global Warming and Toxic Garbage Island. In 2023, they headlined their first European arena tour, and Hammer attended their show at Paris’s Accor Arena to 16,000 people in-person.

“Our attitude, from the very beginning, has been: ‘OK, we’re a death metal band from a little town [Ondres, France], but technically a show this big is possible,’” Joe Duplantier told writer Matt Mills on the day of the concert. “We were always conscious of the fact that a mental attitude can either stop you from something or push you towards what you really want. When you project what you want out there into the world, you make it possible.”

Gojira are still touring to promote their 2021 album Fortitude and will co-headline a run of US dates with Mastodon next month.