Gorguts Front man Luc Lemay Talks The Decibel Tour And Lineup Changes
Canada's biggest death metal export, Gorguts recently undertook one of the best extreme metal tours of 2014. Sponsored by Decibel Magazine, Gorguts joined Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder and Noisem. After a mind-blowing set, band founder and guitar shredding extraordinaire, Luc Lemay joined me for an interview in Mohawk club's green room. In the following video interview we discuss this massive tour, the band's new drummer and the influence Death imparted upon Gorguts. Video by "The Montopolis Thrasher" Victor Guerrero (The Black Dahlia Murder plays in the background).
Rex_84: How is the tour going so far?
Luc Lemay: Amazing! Good stuff.
Rex_84: How do you like touring with these other bands? This is the first time you've toured with all of these bands, right?
Lemay: Yes. Everything is great. It's been super fun. Everybody is nice. It's perfect. I can't complain.
Rex_84: How do you feel about the difference in style for each band?
Lemay: Killer! You have Noisem who brings this grindcore aspect to the tour. You have us (unintelligible). Black Dahlia has this...(grabs a handful of air) very heavy stuff. They bring the hardcore fans. And then you have Carcass. They've been around for so long. It's perfect. There is something for everybody.
Rex_84: And Gorguts is in the middle spot on the bill. Is this the placement throughout the tour?
Lemay: Yes, we have the second spot.
Rex_84: How do you feel about playing this spot?
Lemay: It's perfect. Whatever spot, we get to play. We get to be part of this.
Rex_84: Carcass is a legendary band.
Lemay: Dude, yes! They sound awesome!
Rex_84: Was Carcass an early influence on Gorguts?
Lemay: Well (shows hesitation in response)...we always listened to their music. Did they influence our stuff? Maybe when we started, even then, I don't know because I had "Reek of Putrefaction" and "Symphonies of Sickness," but I don't think Gorguts ever sounded like Carcass. But I was always a fan. I have those records on vinyl. I have the Peel Sessions on vinyl. Do you remember those Peel Sessions?
Rex_84: Earache reissued those a couple of years ago (I was too young to have bought the original pressings), so yes, I have those.
Lemay: Wasn't that a radio show in England?
Rex_84: Yes it was with John Peel.
Lemay: Anyway, I've always been a fan, but to be an influence on us is hard to tell.
Rex_84: What do you see with their fans and Black Dahlia fans. Are you making new fans from them?
Lemay: Totally. I run merch every night. I like meeting the fans and sharing with them. Then you have these young fans who weren't even born when our first record came out. Of course, we are getting new fans. That would be a yes.
Rex_84: That's good that you're bringing in the new crowd, the young crowd, to get into some stuff.
Lemay: Ah huh, and (excitedly pats me on shoulder) isn't that amazing. We're an old band to tour and look at all the people who are coming over to listen to heavy stuff like this. This is great! This is amazing! There's hope for extreme music (laughs)!
Rex_84: That's fantastic!
Lemay: It's in a great position, I think.
Rex_84: Going back to the early days: You guys came out in what, the late 1980s?
Lemay: The band formed in '89. We did the demo in '90. Our first record came out in late '91. The first tour, '92.
Rex_84: That was twenty-two-years ago. Is it (touring) more of the same or do you see a big difference now?
Lemay: Big difference. Huge difference. That was the first wave of death metal, you could say, but yes and no. Around '93 or '92 there was a big buzz. Before us, there was the first generation, so to speak, of death metal. You had Obituary, Sepultura "Beneath The Remains." They were still death metal. Death. The first Morbid Angel. We came after that, but the scene...that was the beginning. We hadn't been on the road this much back then, so I couldn't recall having this type of turn out every night. This is different. It's not just us playing. We wouldn't draw this amount of people just ourselves. This is a different avenue, so it's a different angle. You know what 200 people, 150 people, 1000 people: we give the same energy. We have the same appreciation for people coming over to share the show with us.
Rex_84: I wanted to talk to you about the last and only time I saw you play. That was when you toured with Deicide and Marduk. What were you guys doing back then? It seemed like you played mostly stuff off of "Considered Dead."
Lemay: Back then?
Rex_84: Yes, because you did a re-release of this early album.
Lemay: No, that was from "From Wisdom to Hate," so we performed mostly stuff from "Wisdom To Hate" and "Obscura." Of course, we had a couple of songs from "Erosion" and "Considered Dead," but that was the set list back then. And considering the early stuff that was going to be re-released was from our demos. These were pre-productions from "Considered Dead," "Erosion," the original demos as well.
Rex_84: What's the set list like this time? You're mostly concentrating on "Colored Sands," right?
Lemay: Yes, we played half the record tonight.
Rex_84: Plus "Obscura" (the track).
Lemay: Yes, plus "Obscura."
Rex_84: You played the full record on the tour before, correct?
Lemay: Yes, in December we did. John [Longstreth] was playing with us. I really wanted to have the album's original lineup performing because with time every song deserves to be part of the set. Back in the day we would put out a record without a strong title. There are always a few songs left in the corner that never even make the set list. This time around, I didn't want to do that because the record is a concept record and I wanted every song to be there. Every song is important.
Rex_84: How does it follow conceptually when you're on the stage? Do you play the album in chronological order?
Lemay: We play the album like you would listen to it. It's the same thing. The order is important as well. Let's say you read a book and you read the chapters randomly. It probably won't work the same or it probably won't work at all. A record, to me, is the same thing. It's suppose to sound this way.
Rex_84: This tour, though, you're not playing as long of a set.
Lemay: No, that's why we play the first four songs up until the strings section, so to speak.
Rex_84: (The Battle of Chamdo) That's your outro?
Rex_84: Speaking of John, he left the band recently.
Lemay: It's not that he left, he's busy with Origin. We talked about that a while. I posted a little letter or something.
Rex_84: Yes, on Blabbermouth.
Lemay: It was just to explain the situation. There is no bad blood because you know Patrice (Hamelin) ended up filling in for John for a long time. We ended up playing more shows with Patrice than with John. Patrice lives an hour, an hour-fifteen from my place. We can get together to practice like two days a week. It's not even a matter of talent, bad blood, or whatever. It's a matter that Origin is a massive touring band. They go on a touring stretch for a year-and-a-half or two years. Also Patrice is very solid. He plays in Beneath The Massacre, Cephalic Carnage, he plays with us.
Rex_84: Doesn't he play with Quo Vadis?
Lemay: That's back in the day. Those guys are done. The thing is he'll get offers to play on this band's record or that band's record. To me, from the relative perspective of no relevant records being released this year (that he's on) and 2014 will be a touring year for us. I saw that coming and with John being busy, I'll start to get a replacement for everybody. So that's it. For a longer thing, it will be easier for me to push the band by having a drummer that is more available. I'm not going to ask John to put Origin to the side to play my music. That's always been rule number one for me. The boys, Colin [Marston] and Kevin [Hufnagel] in last November we had an offer to do a U.S. tour, but they had a tour with Dysrhythmia. I turned it down out of respect. But at the end of the day it made since to replace John because he was the busiest member with his project.
Rex_84: Have you thought of one of your musicians doing double duty?
Lemay: John did it in December because Origin played with us. He played with Origin and right after he did the Gorguts set. It went off perfect.
Rex_84: What's going on next? I understand you're playing Maryland Death Fest.
Lemay: We're doing this tour, but before Maryland we're going to Europe for about ten or eleven shows with Misery Index. That's going to start in Portugal and end at the Neurotic Death Fest. Two weeks after that, we come back and do MDF. Two weeks after that we go to Europe again. We plays shows around Denmark for about a week and then we have a stint with Death To All in Europe.
Rex_84: Are you involved in playing any of the Death songs?
Lemay: We're going to open for "Death To All" in Europe. That's great.
Rex_84: You should enjoy that.
Lemay: I should.
Rex_84: You have the Death shirt on ("Death To All"). Gorguts has that progressive death metal style like Death, but it's still different.
Lemay: It's because of Chuck. He was such an influence on me. That's why I got my new guitar made with the chain. That was because of Chuck.
Rex_84: That's about it for our questions. Do you have a message you would like to relay to your fans?
Lemay: The biggest thanks you can imagine, you can go 100 times that. You're just amazing. Thanks to everybody. People are so nice! They're happy about the music. It makes them smile, it makes them (grabs air). That's what art should be about. Gather people together having a good time. This is great!
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