Car Bomb talk about their relationship with “nurturing” Gojira
Words: Phil Weller
Less than a minute into Car Bomb and chill and it’s clear that the band are in great spirits. Bassist Jonny Modell had met me outside in the early spring sunshine around the back of Academy 1, with fans already excitedly queuing on the other side of the venue. He lead me up some stairs, down a long, narrow corridor and into the small room, furnished with a sofa, two chairs a fridge and a coffee table, where the band were hanging out. They crack jokes like they are going out of fashion and their demeanour couldn’t be more relaxed and welcoming. This is, as guitarist Greg Kubacki says, a band which couldn’t be happier to be here in Manchester today:
“For us I think we can kinda say that this is success for us. Two years ago we got asked to tour with Meshuggah, over the fall we got asked to tour with Dillinger [Escape Plan] and now we’re on the road with Gojira. That is enough for us. If we can get on the road once a year and play shows to people who are excited by this type of music then, aside from creating new music, there’s really nothing else we’re looking for.”
“I mean this is pure bliss,” vocalist Michael Dafferner reflects, his fingers toying with his bottle of beer. “To play with bands you idolise and rip off blatantly is awesome…You rip them off and then they go ‘hey, wanna go on tour with us; you sound great for some reason!’” The room erupts with laughter and not for the first time
“With Gojira it’s a special case because we’ve been friends for about 10 years now. Especially with Joe producing our record, he moved to Brooklyn were we all practice and Elliot [Hoffman, drums] shares the Silver Cord Studios with Joe. It’s just great being around them as friends.”
“Gojira are some of the nicest fucking people,” says Kubacki. “They are really nurturing to bands. There is no ego.”
"Joe Duplantier is a very spiritual person he brought a lot of energy and guidance to the band"
On their latest album, Meta, recorded at Silver Cord and with Gojira’s Joe Duplantier at the helm, their nurturing nature has helped this band evolve into a different beast. It is a record which thrived on the close knit relationship between the bands.
Dafferner : “Over the last few records we’ve always done things ourselves. Having Joe there really took the pressure off. There was no rush having to get stuff done in a certain amount of time with a certain budget because they own the place. Joe didn’t really do much to the music, but it was cool having someone from the outside bring their energy and their guidance.”
Kubacki: “Joe is a very spiritual person; everything comes from a real place. When we were trying to count things he suggested it was more a matter of feeling it, it just needed to be darker here, heavier there; he was really open with experimenting.
Dafferner: “There’s a lot of Joe on Meta, he often just pressed record and made noises in the background. It was fucking perfect.”
Kubacki: “In the first chorus of From the Dust of This Planet there’s this weird vocal effect which is just Joe making animal noises.
“We also got a sneak peak of Magma, which they were just wrapping up for mixing at the time. Even just seeing the layering in Pro Tools; there is so much shit going on in Silvera its’ not even funny. There’s detuned guitars, chants, drum shit and weird wooden stuff. We didn’t even know you could do that. It inspired us to make the record we did.”
Musically, Meta is a much more explorative record than their previous output; it’s more aggressive yet more meditative all the same. There is an ebb and flow which takes you reverently through mathematical riff work, hinged on chaotic drumming and an abundance of jarring, obscure sounds, through to moments of reflective calm. The contrasts compliment one another. So much happens across the album, with lashings of Meshuggah, Deftones, Gojira and more piercing through the mix, yet it is their own musical identity which comes out strongest. It truly is a stunning record, but behind this incredible music are four even more incredible guys who simply couldn’t be happier to do what they do.
This is a band that has had the same line up since their inception 18 years ago, which is almost unheard of in today’s society. There recipe for success is that there isn’t one. Dafferner says that they’ve “learnt to love each other,” but in reality it was much more natural than that.
Kubacki: “Me and Jonny [Modell, bass] have been friends since high school, Michael and Elliot have known each other since about 1993, so it’d be hard if anyone leaves. I don’t think we’d be able to continue, it’d be a different band.”
“Yeah,” adds Dafferner, “we’d have to call it Car Bomb II.”
Once more room erupts into laughter.