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Progressive Rock Interviews

Gnô

Interviewed by Gary Hill

Interview with Christophe Godin of Gnô from 2011

MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of Gnô?

 Gnô was not supposed to be a band on the long run, as we were three mercenaries booked for a couple of shows in Moldavia for the French Alliance. Gaby (bass, vocals) was in charge of finding the right persons and gave me a call that day. I love the guy and I was available! Then he asked me if I knew a good rock drummer, as well as an easy going person. Puke was my only option!

We worked out some covers but also all dropped in some ideas we had. We ended up with a set of 50% of originals and 50% of covers. We got along so well, we decided it would be worth going on, and started the band "for real.” After the release of our first album, Trash Deluxe, the band toured a bit in France and split two years after. The record company has gone down, and we would not get any support, which kind of killed the band.

We re-banded one year and a half ago after listening to ideas we had recorded at the time, and thought it would be cool to give it another try. We all grew up, we have better networks now, and we know what we want and what we would not accept.

MSJ:

If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?

Drawing cartoons. It was my first job. I still do a bit, but for friends and relatives only!

MSJ:

How did the name of the group originate?

It's a reference to a famous French cartoonist named "Gotlib." He is the Frank Zappa of cartoons!

MSJ:

In what ways are Gnô and Morglbl similar?

They are quite different, but I'd say, both trios drop humour in their music, and though we are goofy people, we definitely pay attention to the quality of the music we compose. We never go to the most obvious option and try to find some clever ways to take our music to the next level. And both bands are intense live!

MSJ:

In what ways do they differ?

Gnô is playing pop metal oriented songs, with vocals, and gives some hard core flavour to the riffs. Mörglbl play music you'd call jazz/metal. The harmonies are probably a little more sophisticated, and the overall style is a bit trickier. Plus it's all instrumental. You'd call it more music for musicians.

MSJ:

What does Gnô allow you to do that Morglbl doesn't?

To write lyrics and compose vocal harmonies, which I love to do! To play a little more "in your face" riffs and direct songs.

MSJ:

Who would you see as your musical influences?

Pantera meets the Beatles, add a Zappa flavour to it! But I love so many things. My Ipod is full of 13000 songs from the punkiest hard core to the more sophisticated classical music!

MSJ:

What's ahead for you?

The release of Mörglbl 5th album, Mörglbl's first ever live DVD, and an acoustic guitar duo album with my buddy Olivier-Roman Garcia, who is the most unbelievable guitar player I've had the chance to work with!

MSJ:

I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?

Goofy jazz metal!

MSJ:

Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?

I am blessed with the guys I am playing with, but I'd love to jam with drummer Vinnie Colaiutta, Primus' Les Claypool and take a guitar lesson with Brian Setzer!

MSJ:

Do you think that illegal downloading of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?

I think it all depends on how famous you are, but it's a complex problem, and I probably don't know enough about it to give an appropriate reply.

MSJ:

In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them?

I am okay with this. It puts pressure on us to deliver the best performance every night and propose something new each time they see us live.

MSJ:

If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?

Any accordion player : they are virtuosos and I admire their technique, but I'd kill at the sound of a single note they'd be playing!

MSJ:

If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?

Collaiuta on drums

Claypool on bass

Jeff Beck and Brian Setzer on guitars

Mike Patton on vocals

Music arranged by Joe Jackson (who would add some piano layers)

MSJ:

If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?

That's a terrible question! Most of my favourite bands don't exist anymore...

I'd say I would have dreamt to see the same night Kevin Gilbert, Joe Jackson, Pantera, early years Kansas (Kerry Livgren era) and Zappa.

MSJ:

What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

A good friend of mine found everything recorded by Kevin Gilbert (Toy Matinee), and I am into it almost all the time those days.

MSJ:

Have you read any good books lately?

 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

MSJ:

What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?

Brian Setzer Rockabilly Riot, last week!

MSJ:

Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”

Listening to really cheap pop music with easy melodies...

MSJ:

What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

Running on a stage with a too short cable and having the big amp falling down as I am falling at the same time!

MSJ:

 If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?

Sorry to be such a down to Earth person: my wife and my two kids!

MSJ:

What would be on the menu?

Here is the problem: we cook so bad! But at least, I am sure there would be extremely good red wine!

MSJ:

Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?

I am extremely honored to reply to your fine questions, and I am always floored some people from far far away would be interested in my thoughts, my un-commercial music, and would ask me questions about it. When I started, it was not even an option. So my deepest thought at that very moment would be: “Thank you!”

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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