– Hello, thanks for taking your time. What’s currently the band up to?
Mat: Hello Sergio, thank you for your interest! Everything is finished now for our upcoming new album… cd is at the factory, artwork is done, we’re preparing for the upcoming tour with Obscura, Spawn of Possession and Exivious next month. It’s now time to promote this new album!
– I guess there may be some people who are not familiar with you yet so; could you please make some history of the band?
Mat: Gorod is a tech Death band from Bordeaux, France. We released our first album «Neurotripsicks» in 2004, and the 2nd «Leading Vision», in 2006, via Willowtip Records. Then our former drummer Sandrine left the band and was replaced by Sam Santiago, who recorded our 3rd full lenght » Process of a new Decline» in 2009, via Willowtip and Listenable Records. At this time we did a small European tour with Immolation, followed in 2010 by a small american east coast tour, that ended up at the mighty Maryland Death fest in Baltimore. In 2011 we released an Ep «Transcendence», self-released, that concur with the lost of Guillaume (vocals) and Arno (guitar) for personal reasons. The same year we did a French tour with Kronos and Benighted, 2 great french death metal bands, and we then tourered europe with The Faceless, Born of Osiris and Veil of Maya. Our forthcoming album, «A Perfect Absolution» should be released in March 2012 via Listenable Records in Europe and in May via Unique Leader Records in North America.
– What are the band’s main musical influences?
Mat: For the Metal genre, the main influences are the bands we used to listen in the 90’s when I started the band years ago: Death, Carcass, Coroner, various guitar heroes obviously! I have a solid background of 70’s music, prog-rock, latin-jazz-rock, like Chick Corea or King Crimson or Mahavishnu Orchestra, and some kinds of traditionnal world music, like eastern Europe music or Asia traditionnal music. Classical composers like Bach, Litz or Brahms influenced me a lot in my early days.
– And why did you pick the name of «Gorod»? Both its origin and meaning.
Mat: In the beginning, Gorod was called Gorgasm, but we have to change it to avoid confusion with the Chicago band, that doesn’t exist anymore, but was well known in 2004. We were looking for a name that sounds like gorgasm, and that fit the history we were developing in our albums, I mean a Sci-Fi tale about an imaginary city where people could meet their own fears. Gorod means actually «City» in Russian, you can see that for cities like Novgorod, Leningrad, etc… This name sounded good to us so we decided to change for it.
– You will soon release your new «A Perfect Absolution», which is another masterpeice into the technical Death Metal genre with certain progressive elements, at the same time is, in my eyes, your most mature and well-cared album ever; what are your thoughts on this?
Mat: Thank you !!… Well, I think I’m not objective…of course this album is better than the previous ones! We always try to make the best music we can do, and I hope there is some improvements that you can hear. Musically, it’s still progressive tech death, brutality mixed with groove and melodies, like a mix of our 2 latest releases, maybe this time we care more about groove and efficiency, and try to incorporate more exotic elements such as clean guitars or orchestral or jazzy vibes, things we didn’t dare to make in a so obvious way before.
Julien «Nutz» : I think that this album contains more different musical influences and is more rich and spontaneous than previous works.
– In fact I’m not the only one who shares this thought as you have always got overwhelming reviews. Does this motivates you to mantain the same level of quality of maybe does it make you feel more pressure just in case you fail?
Mat: Oh, we’re very proud to have such pleasant welcoming. Everytime, I have a lot of pressure when a new album comes out. We like to take risks, musically, and never make the same song twice, so we never know about the reaction of fans, press, and metalheads in general. This was particularly true with our self released Ep «Transcendence». It consists in 2 acoustic songs and a long progressive track, plus a Cynic cover, very far from what we use to do. We didn’t expect such a good welcoming from fans, I think it’s the greatest pride I feel, and the proof that our fans are open minded people!
– Due to this I would like to know how was the songwriting process this time around or how does it use to be in GOROD.
Mat: As always, I wrote the entire songs with the 2 guitars and the drum patterns, record them at home with a drum machine, then made tabs for Nicolas and Ben. Then Ben or I made the bassline, and we started work on this base, improving the song with the magic of Sam and the other guys, adding some breaks and some lead parts. Julien have written the lyrics on his side, and, as always, we incorporated the vocals just before entering the studio. This time, all the songs have been written in a very short period, between May and September 2012. For the previous release, some songs were 2 years old…Actually, many things were decided just before the studio.
Julien «Nutz»: About the lyrics, I needed almost one year to check the slavic funds in french libraries, as I was working for my studies simultaneously. I started only to write the first songs when the whole music was composed in order to choose the right thema for the right song.
– For all those who may be interested; how could you describe this album in just 3 words?
Mat: Mmmm… Powerfull, groovy and original !
Julien «Nutz»: Direct, progressive and Rock’n Roll !
– The lyrical concept on the album deals with the history of Kievan Rus. Would you mind to elaborate a bit on this concept?
Julien «Nutz»: That’s it ! The whole lyrical concept is based on the history of Kievan Rus during the 10th century. In the year 945, Igor, King of Kiev, was murdered when he visited a neighbor pagan tribe (the Derevlians) who lives in the forest. He left a widow : Olga who avenged him in an extremely harsh manner before converting to Orthodox Christianity. All the songs are about Olga’s scheme of vengeance. I invite you all to discover it in A Perfect Absolution, Hehe !
– And what could you comment on the recording and mixing sessions? Where did you record the album?
Mat: For the first time I wasn’t in charge for the production. We decided to work with ElMobo, a famous French producer, that really brings his touch to the Gorod sound. We recorded the drums in the wide living room of a good friend’s house, in the open country, and then we recorded the rest between my studio, ElMobo’s Conkrete Studio and RockSchool Barbey Studio. The recording/mixing process began in October 2011 and finished in December. As we all have regular jobs, we couldn’t make it in only 2 or 3 weeks. As we knew about the tour with Obscura, the album had to be completed for end 2011, and we planned everything to get this done in time. ElMobo have really helped us to make this possible, he has golden ears and always make sure to keep the band’s sound personnal, even if he brings his own mark to the album.
– The cover artwork is just superb; could you please tell us a bit about it (what does it represent, the artist, etc.)?
Mat: The artwork is made by a graphic designer, Yohan «HAÂSH» Huhner (http://haash-art.blogspot.com/), a good friend of us also. As with the sound, we preferred to leave the design of the album to someone outside the band. Yohan did a really good job, and the best art he never did in his own opinion! The art represents Olga, the vengeful queen, in the first plan. In the background, a part of the story developped in the song «Birds of Sulphur» is represented. A village on fire at the bottom and some burning birds flying in the sky, to illustrate when Olga sent birds on fire to destroy a Derevlian village (Fire will fall from the sky!!).
– This is your first album with guitar player Nicolas and singer Julien. What have they both brought to GOROD?
– We can also find guest artists as Christian Muenze (OBSCURA) and Mike Keene (THE FACELESS). How and why did you choose them?
Mat: Christian and Mike are friends of us. We have often met the Obscura guys at festivals or gigs, it’s always a great time to have a talk with Christian, who is a really interresting person. We did last year a tour with The Faceless. Mike and his band just blew us every night. It was natural for us to invite them for a solo on our album, I knew they would fit perfectly well with the music!
– If I’m not mistaken, you released independently the «Transcendence» EP (last year) and this new full-length will be unleashed through Listenable. How was like releasing the EP without a label behind it? And how’s everything doing with Listenable so far?
Mat: Well, neither Willowtip nor Listenable wanted to release the Ep, as I said, I think they were anxious about the reaction of the fans, and didn’t believe in the commercial success of such a release. So we decided to self release it. We’re proud of its success now, because we sold lots of them, without any promotion at all (the thing a label is supposed to do for a band) and the sells allow us to payback advances and tour costs. We will probably make another one like this in the future, because it’s interesting and fun to do, first, and because we now know it can be a very special object for the fans. All is good with Listenale Records ! Really nice people! We hope they will do the same or even better promotion that they did for «Process of a New Decline» in 2009!! Almost no one knew about Gorod in Europe before «Process of a New Decline»…and thanks to Listenable it’s different now. We’re thankful and proud of their job, that’s why we deceided to re sign with them !
– The French scene seems to be really good into the extreme Metal style, specially Black Metal. What French Metal bands could you suggest? How do you see that scene from the inside?
Mat: Many good band have raised these last years. French bands started to be present in international metal community, following Gojira who open the way. I can mention Benighted, Kronos, Svart Crown, Loudblast, and many more… France is not a country for Metal, so these bands had to tour across Europe to grow, because there’s not enough audience here, and promoters are often afraid to book metal shows. Nevertheless, we have 2 big metal festivals, the mighty “HellFest” and “Sonisphere” that gather thousands of metalheads, and there’s lot of small festivals with local bands where people come to listen metal, drink beer and party!
Julien «Nutz»: There many good metal bands in France, but I think that labels and promoters still have no interest for them. Sure, Gojira is still one of my favourite but I would also mention bands like Klone, Comity, Birds in Row and many more who are amazingly talented and deserve really better. By the way you can check my other band Zubrowska ! Free ad 🙂
The french scene is a bit individualistic, but it’s because they have no opportunities to make big tours together (like US bands for example) because of a lack of interest from big structures.
– Well, and finally, you will soon start a tour supporting OBSCURA: what are your expectations?
Mat: I can’t wait for this tour! the line up is almost perfect! Exivious, Gorod, Spawn of Possession and Obscura in one evening!! Yes! It will be killer every night, I’m sure! We all know each other but SOP, so ambience in the tour bus should be good, as far as I know. We start the tour in Stuttgart, Germany and we will finish it 31 shows later at Koln, with no days off at all!
Julien «Nutz» : Rock the stage evey nights and have good time with good people !
– That’s all from my side, thanks once more for your time. Now feel free to add some final words.
Mat: Thanks for the support, Sergio, I know we won’t cross Spain on this upcoming tour, but I hope we’ll come soon in the future, we know that we have some fans there!
Julien «Nutz» : Thanks a lot for everything ! Keep the smile and see ya on the road !