My initial reaction, the overwhelming thought that consumed me when I gazed down from the air, on the sheer size, the staggering, sprawling metropolis that is Mexico City, was how sad I felt that I wasn’t going to be able to explore a little more than I’d like. But then it hit me, I was here for a completely different purpose. GOJIRA.
The excitement building up to this moment is something I cannot contain. It’s not often I get to combine the three things I love most on this Earth. Work, travel and music! I generally let my images do all the talking but here now I feel compelled to write a few words.
First and foremost, I must extend my thanks to Gojira’s Tour Manager, my friend Taylor Bingley, for his ceaseless efforts and hard work in helping make this happen. He is the nuts and bolts that hold together this Heavy Metal train and keeps it rolling. And, to the incomparable Paul De Maio, whom I met on this day, ever grateful am I for his hospitality and kindness, sage like and earnest, friendly and engaging, kick-starting the cultural exchange with the brothers Duplantier wandering freely through an historic part of the city on show day. Arriving into Mexico City late the first day meant there was just enough time to meet everyone, have dinner, then retire to our respective rooms after a manic day of travel and sleep deprivation. This is the consequence though, the exhaustion. It matters not, the sense of purpose of being here in Mēxihco with Gojira and the crew keeps my mind sharp and my senses alive.
On show day, Paul took us to Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitución), the Metropolitan Cathedral, and Plaza de las Tres Culturas annexed by the Ancient Aztec City of Tlatelolco, Aztec ruins on which these buildings were built. Truly fascinating to be standing there, observing such profound history. We strolled the seemingly endless streets that were a cacophony of shouting, car horns, hordes of people, army, police and every colour and smell one could possibly conjure up in the mind.
Imbibing the vibe along with the magnificently clear lighting and warm sun rays we chat and stop for the odd photo opportunity. It really is great to see everyone again, and to be doing some work together in a place we are all experiencing for the first time.
After a tasty lunch of local authentic Mexican eats like tacos and spicy tamales, hosted by Paul, we head back to the venue as it’s nearly time for soundcheck. Regardless of the people involved, we’re all here because of that one thing we all have in common, the MUSIC. The very instant those first notes jump out at me from the PA and already I can’t wait for later. Gojira create a sound that connects with my soul on a level not many things I’ve encountered in my life have or ever will. I’ve come a long way to find myself standing here in Mexico with these artistic behemoths.
See, one must realise, whilst I am a huge, huge fan of what Joe, Mario, Jean-Michel and Christian create, I connect with these guys on an artistic level where there is a mutual respect between us that is something one cannot put into mere words. It truly is one of the precious things in my life as it doesn’t happen often for me. So, for this child from Africa, all the way, way away from Bulawayo and my years growing up in Matabeleland, it is all the more special for me to have a medium with which to translate some of my experiences with other people who love this music, this band. To find myself standing there, imbibing it, soaking it up and pouring it back out through my camera… A tool that helps translate my mind’s vision.
It’s never enough, but, I hope it’ll do for now.
Here’s to Gojira, all their people, and all of us, the fans.
Credit goes to my friend Joost van Hasselt for his assistance and amazing wordsmith skills.