Gorguts’ Luc Lemay: The Gun Shy Interview
On September 3, technical death metal masters Gorguts will release Colored Sands, their first new album in more than ten years.
For fans who waited with bated breath for the new LP, Colored Sands does not disappoint, as its an atonal, aggressive monster marked by hypnotizing guitars, impeccable bass, and punishing drums.
Recently, Luc Lemay — Gorguts’ leader — sat down to answer some of GunShyAssassin’s pressing questions ahead of the album’s much-anticipated release.
Gorguts are the kind of band that immediately illicit some sort of reaction. Whether you love it or hate it, you know within seconds. There’s no in between.
“We provoke something in people, and get a reaction out of people,” Luc explains at the start of our chat. The album’s certainly gotten a reaction out of me — and that reaction was headbanging.
Interestingly, as we speak, Lemay reveals that both Porcupine Tree and Opeth are major influences for him, which might not be so evident listening to Colored Sands.
“I love both of those bands,” Lemay starts. “That was a big shock on me, when I discovered Steven Wilson’s work. A friend of mine got me into his music, and I spent an evening there having dinner, and he’s a music freak. He’s very much into prog music, and me? I am not that educated when it comes to progressive music.
“He was like, ‘You have to hear this band, Porcupine Tree, blah, blah, blah,’ and that was before The Incident came out. He plays Deadwing for me, and wow, I loved his voice, I loved the guitar work, the atmospheres. Then, dude, the day The Incident came out, I went to the record store. It was a big revelation for me.”
Later on, Lemay actually reached out to Steven Wilson, only to discover that Wilson was just as much a fan of Gorguts’ work.
“I was really flattered,” says Luc. “Just to have an email from him, you know? I was lucky enough to meet him in Montreal, and we spent some time together, just talking music. That was very memorable for me. It totally made my day.”
In fact, it turns out Wilson was introduced to Gorguts’ Obscura album by his pal, Opeth frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt.
“I met Mikael a few years ago at Heavy MTL and I brought him a copy of From Wisdom to Hate and he said, ‘No, no…you can keep it. I have it at home already.’ I feel really lucky that he took a minute out of his day to listen to a riff I wrote.”
Lemay’s love of Porcupine Tree and Opeth is so intense, he wanted Wilson to produce Colored Sands, but Steven was too busy for the gig, unfortunately. That would’ve been fucking cool as shit.
Even without Wilson’s input on the new disc, Lemay says he loves what Gorguts have accomplished. And he should be. The record’s easily one of the year’s best, and will likely net such accolades once December rolls around.
Lemay says it is also an honor to have a band like Obscura name themselves after one of his records.
“Those guys are very nice people,” says Luc. “That was the feeling I was left with after meeting those guys. It’s very flattering that they’d take that as their name.”
Obscura, of course, is a metal classic at this point. With bands hitting the road in droves to play full albums for their fans, I had to ask Luc — would Gorguts ever consider touring and playing Obscura in its entirety? The answer may surprise you.
“Ah, no…because back in the day, when we wrote this record, we were not writing down our ideas on paper. It was from physical memory. To go back to Obscura, and we wrote it just by ear or physical memory, I forgot those ideas. I could not remember even a fucking note I was playing on some of those songs. I would have to bust my ass to relearn my stuff.”
Recently, when relearning material from From Wisdom To Hate for Maryland Deathfest three years ago, Luc admits that he had trouble with certain riffs.
So, he turned to YouTube.
“I started watching guys that play my music in their bedroom, and this one guy…he got this riff right,” says Luc. “So I relearned my own shit from videos of fans, playing my songs at home.”
That’s kind of awesome.