of CAVALERA CONSPIRACY
Max and Igor Cavalera are coming to Australia in September to play their seminal album, Roots in its entirety. We speak to Max Cavalera about the album, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy….and holding hands in circle pits.
For so many people, Roots was one of the seminal thrash metal albums and an inspiration to a whole generation. Do you feel that it stands the test of time?
I think so, I mean, those songs are really powerful – especially when you play them live. It was a ground-breaking record. I think it was a really, unique record as it was full of new ideas that had never been done before with the tribal stuff and the world music/metal communion and even the simplicity of some of the songs going back to more of a simple approach was really kind of, more powerful.
We play them live now and the reaction is fantastic. We get a brilliant reaction from those songs so I think it has stood the test of time and I think, even more powerful today than when it came out. I think to date, the album sounds even better than before so we are very happy that we have been able to present the album live like we have been doing on the Roots tour for the fans. It’s great.
Did you ever imagine at the time that the album would become as big and as influential as ever?
No, you know when you are making records, you’re not really thinking about whether it’s going to be influential or not. You’re just trying to make a good record and that’s what we were always trying to do. We were coming off Chaos A.D which was a big record for us and we wanted to just make a good strong record.
We had a lot of ideas. I had the idea to go to the tribe and have the centre-piece of the LP surrounding our trip to the tribe witnessing their rituals and the paintings of their ceremonies and everything.
I think it’s influenced everybody from System of A Down to Slipknot. It was great to hear that it has influenced so many people. I’m very proud of that you know but when you’re making the record, you’re not really thinking about that.
How’s the tour going?
The tour’s going great. You know, it’s kind of a world tour now because we’ve done Europe and America a couple of times and South America. Now, we’ve just come from Iceland – we played Iceland last week. It was a great show; a big festival in Iceland and we are doing some more festivals next week in Europe – Wacken and some other ones and then it’s off to Australia.
I think it was a great idea to start it last year and it went so good that we decided to expand it and it’s going great. A lot of people really like it and a lot of the shows are packed and a lot of people at the shows and they’re seeing something different.
For me, it’s different to play an album that’s 20 years old and it’s a really special record and for the fans, I think it’s something that they didn’t expect to be able to see it. It ends up being special for everybody so that’s a really cool feeling.
Cavalera Conspiracy have a new album coming out at the end of the year. How is the recording process coming along? Are you happy with how it’s sounding?
It’s pretty much done. It’s going to be mastered tomorrow. The record’s got 9 songs and it’s a great combination mix of thrash metal, death metal. It’s a real powerful record and I’ll put it neck to neck with everything I have done in the past, like Arise and Beneath The Remains…Nailbomb.
The production is being done by our friend, Arthur Rizk who really got great stuff out of me and Igor. A lot of my favourites came out and made it on the record. I even get to do a solo on the record which I have never done before and a guest song with Justin from Godflesh.
I’ve always loved Godflesh and it’s so cool that he’s on this record and he sings like street cleaner so I’m very excited. It’s a beast of an album that I can’t wait for people to hear.
I think they will be surprised when they hear it because it’s not just that it’s a thrash album but it’s a really good thrash album; really well made so I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people.
In Soulfly, you now have your son Zyan, playing with you. How is that going?
It’s going great you know. We actually have a tour booked for October in America and Soulfly are playing Nailbomb and the whole Point Blank album and then we have an American tour with Nile and then we are going to start working on our new Soulfly album which is gonna come out next year.
Next year is 20 years since the release of the first album in ’98 so it’s a great date and we are planning to do…it’s a bit of a return to the tribal sound and I am gonna try and make a record that is a little mix of heaviness, stuff I listen to that’s heavy, underground combined with some really cool tribal stuff that I have not done since early Soulfly and then continue my world music adventures – going to different places to record.
I think that’s gonna be the key factor on the Soulfly album that’s gonna make a really cool record for a lot of people.
With both Zyan and Igor in a band together, Lody Kong, what was the most valuable piece of advice that you gave them?
I’m a big fan of them. They play a great style. It’s punk metal so it’s like Fudge Tunnel meets The Melvins. It’s different to the stuff I do which I think is great because they’ve got their own path.
I don’t really interfere on the music side much. I let them do whatever they are gonna do but they are very talented. Zyan’s a great drummer and Igor is becoming a really good singer, he’s a good bass player, writes really cool lyrics and they are gonna be on the Nailbomb tour with us every night so it will be good to see them every night.
So it’s great! I love the fact that the family’s carry on so hopefully, even when I’m not here, when I’m not around any more they will still be doing music and carry the name to the future you know. It’s great.
You would have seen a lot of crazy things happening on tour. What are some of the crazier things that you have seen? Or indeed, done?
Like, a lot of real big mosh pits on some of the big festivals like Download. There was one time in China for Soulfly, there was a circle pit but they were holding hands! It was bizarre! I’ve never seen anything like that and it was huge! There must have been 500 people in the circle pit but they were all holding hands. It was SOO insane but so cool! A really cool thing to see.
We’ve seen a lot of crazy things. We play a lot of different shows. Soulfly played for the marines at Camp Lejune in America – it’s a marine base and they got a circle pit going between the marines and that was cool.
We also did a show for the Navajo Indians in America – it was all Navajos’, the whole crowd was Navajos Indians and the banner for the show; it was like someone’s shit from the bag spray-paint ‘Max Cavalera Soulfly here tonight’. It was so underground but so fun and so cool.
A lot of stuff like that. So for me, everything that’s pure, so honest and pure like that, has the spirit of metal that we love.
I got goosebumps while you were telling me that. It’s those kind of things that I love about music so much!
One of my favourite memories is when Soulfly played the Big Day Out in ’98. That was amazing because we went on really early in the day and didn’t expect anybody to be there but it was packed.
Everybody was going ape shit and for me, it was really important because Soulfly was a brand new band that I didn’t know was going to work out or not but the Australian fans were kind of like, the approval stamp on my band. I got approved by the fans. It’s gonna work. This is gonna be cool now. So that was really important that that festival went so good for us.
I was in one of those pits as well!
Yeah it was insane. It was awesome.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the music world, who would you want to work with? Whether in the metal genre or something completely random?
Well if I could do a real random song, I would love to do a song with Willie Nelson. I think that would be insane. It would be a crazy punk-metal, country song. That would be really cool. Something off the wall.
In the metal world, there’s a lot of people that I like that is on my bucket list like Tom Warrior from Celtic Frost, of course James Hetfield from Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne of course but I would even love to do a song with Tommy Iommi from Black Sabbath. I think that would be just as great having Tommy Iommi write a riff for me because he’s the riff master of the universe – something like that would be just as cool as having somebody big just singing on the album. Having Tommy Iommi would be just as great.
What else do you have coming up?
Right now we just have a lot of shows that we have booked til the end of the year. We have the Nailbomb tour after the Australian shows. We have another Roots tour at the end of the year in Europe with Overkill, the tour with Nile in America.
Then hopefully, the Cavalera album comes out in October. We are gonna have to tour for that next year and hopefully have time to write another Soulfly record and then eventually at some point in the future, I would love to make the second Killer Be Killed record.
A lot of people liked the first album a lot so it’s just a matter of getting the guys together, me Greg and Troy – we are always busy with our own projects but at some point, we are gonna find the time and we are gonna do a second record and it’s gonna be even cooler than the first one and that should really be a lot of fun.
What was the best advice that you were given when you first started out? And what advice would you give to someone who was starting out now?
My advice would be stick to your guns – even if nobody likes it, if you believe in it – just go for it, keep practicing, keep trying and eventually things will happen. We started out as being the worst band in Brazil to become one of the most famous bands in Brazil so it just shows that nothing’s impossible.
If you believe in you, you will get there. A lot of sacrifice is required and a lot of hard work but it’s all worth it in the end so my advice is to have that strength, that inner faith to believe in yourself and go on forward.
Thursday 21 September: Eatons Hill, Brisbane – Lic A/A
Friday 22 September: Big Top, Sydney – Lic A/A
Saturday 23 September: Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 18+
Sunday 24 September: HQ, Adelaide – 18+
Tuesday 26 September: Astor Theatre, Perth – 18+
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- Karen Lowe