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Interviews   

News from Max Cavalera


Max Cavalera can be proud of his new baby. Omen, Soulfly’s latest album, is a damn fine album which shows – if it really needed showing – just how much Max has a knack for finding killer riffs. And he isn’t about to stop, since he’s working on the follow up to Cavalera Conspiracy’s album, due next year, bringing him back together with his brother Igor. Given the quality of the first album, needless to say, we can’t wait to hear the next one. And Max’s excitement isn’t gonna tame the fans’ impatience.

With so much going on, we wanted to check in on this iconic musician, as prolific as he is talented, to know what’s up with him. Max Cavalera has lent Radio Metal a few minutes of his time to answer our questions.

Here we go.

(About the new Cavalera Conspiracy album) « I can’t wait for the fans to hear it, because I think it’s gonna be a really good follow up from the first album. I prefer the second record; I think it’s more together, you can feel more of the energy between me and Igor on the new album than you feel on the first album. We’re playing better together now than we were before, because we spend more time together, so I think it’s gonna be a great record.« 

Radio Metal : The departure of Bobby Burns from Soulfly was apparently very friendly, but we don’t know too much about the reasons that pushed him to leave the band? What are they?

Max Cavalera : It wasn’t really working anymore; we got really distant from him on the last tour. He was pretty much separated from the rest of us, and we felt really weird. He was also drinking a lot, really heavily, getting drunk every night, kind of acting stupid, missing notes and fucking up the show. We can’t have any of that. If you want to stay in Soulfly, the show is really important, so you’ve gotta play good, and he wasn’t taking it that seriously anymore, so I friendlily asked him to leave, it’s best for all of us if he just goes his own way and we get a new bass player, and we’re working on that right now.

Is Johnny Chow meant to become a permanent member of the band?

No, he’s just doing the European tour. He’s just helping us out because we couldn’t find anybody that fast, and Johnny knew a lot of the songs, he offered his help so we could continue the touring without having to stop to look for a bass player. He’s really helping us out a lot: he’s doing the European tour, we’re now in Russia, then we’ll go to the rest of Europe, and then we have an American tour, and then hopefully after the American tour we’ll have a bass player I can announce to the world.

When Joe Duplantier was in Cavalera Conspiracy it was a great pride for the french metalheads. Unfortunately he’s not anymore in the band. Do you think it was inevitable considering his heavy involvement in Gojira?

Yeah, unfortunately, because of the touring schedule, he couldn’t do both bands, and we needed a bass player that could tour with us. Because of all that, we ended up getting Johnny Chow to be the bass player, but I love the work that Joe did on the first album, it’s great to work with him, he’s a great musician, a great friend, and I understand that he’s busy with Gojira, it’s his primary band. So it’s understandable from all the sides that that happened, we had to find a bass player that would stay with the band, but I’m very proud of his work on the first album, I think he did a great job.

Apparently the upcoming Cavalera Conspiracy album will be pretty brutal. What else can you tell us about it?

The new album is all finished; it’s a very exciting album. I don’t know how to explain the sound of it, it’s brutal but it goes beyond that. There’s something behind it that’s pretty cool and exciting. There’s also a collaboration song with Roger (Miret) from Agnostic Front on a song called « Lynch Mob », which turned out to be really cool, it’s really like old school thrash/hardcore, Agnostic Front meets Slayer in a Cavalera Conspiracy kind of vibe. But the album is really exciting. It was really done in a great way, it was recorded in L.A., we’d use Logan (Mader) for the co-production, I produced the album, co-produced by Logan and he did a great job. I can’t wait for the fans to hear it, because I think it’s gonna be a really good follow up from the first album. I prefer the second record; I think it’s more together, you can feel more of the energy between me and Igor on the new album than you feel on the first album. We’re playing better together now than we were before, because we spend more time together, so I think it’s gonna be a great record.

If the Cavalera Conspiracy album ends up being so brutal, can we expect on the contrary the next Soulfly album to be more laid back as a kind of counter reaction?

We’ll see, it’s too early right now, I don’t even know what I’m gonna do with the new Soulfly album. I’m on tour now in Russia, going to Europe next, I’m gonna be busy touring until next year. When I stop touring that’s when I’m gonna start thinking about the new album. The one thing I’d probably like to do with it is, somehow, some kind of going-back-to-the-roots idea, and have some part of the album recorded in some other country like when I did “Roots” in Brazil, and have that be part of Soulfly would be really cool. Maybe some place in Africa, where you have some kind of tribal vibe going on. That would’ve been kind of cool, so that’s something that can happen.

« I always felt like it’s always good not to forget your roots, where you come from. You know, I’m a metal guy, I come from metal and I thought it would be good to go back to more of a straight forward metal formula with Soulfly.« 

Soulfly have had a very special evolution. You pushed it toward a more thrashy and old school musical style compared to its beginnings. Overwhole, it looks like the opposite evolution compared to what you did when you were in Sepultura. How can you explain that?

It’s just a natural thing to happen. I love the stuff I did all these years, I love all the albums, but I always felt like it’s always good not to forget your roots, where you come from. You know, I’m a metal guy, I come from metal and I thought it would be good to go back to more of a straight forward metal formula with Soulfly. So it started with « Dark Ages », and went on into « Conquer » and now « Omen », it’s heavier. I like when bands get heavier. When they get more popular, they get heavier. I always thought that was cool, so I thought we should do the same with Soulfly, we got bigger and more popular but also, we got heavier in the sound.

What’s your opinion today about the very firsts Soulfly albums, which, in the end, seem rather linked to a special time when neo metal was king?

I like those albums, they’re very good. In fact I play a lot of that stuff live, like « Eye for an Eye », « Tribe » and « Primitive ». They’re really exciting albums, it was an exciting time in my life, they really were special albums, and they got me through a lot. If it wasn’t for these albums, I wouldn’t be here right now, in Soulfly, so they’re really special records and they carry a special place in my heart. But you know, as time moves on, it’s time to do new things, and every album is different, so I’m now in a different level than I was in the first album.

You’re a very productive man: this year we had Omen, next year we’re going to enjoy the new Cavalera Conspiracy, and then I’m sure that in 2012 a new Soulfly album will be out… From now on, can we expect a new Max Cavalera album every year?

I hope so, I’d like to keep it like that, I keep the music coming out. It’s always good to be doing something, being active. I hope every year we have some new music to offer to my fans. That’s what I like to do.

The figures that represent the seven deadly sins on the Omen artwork look like the Tusken Raiders in Star Wars. Why did you choose this representation?

The artist’s name is David Ho, and he did some illustrations for Star Wars, that’s how I found him, in a book, in America. I was looking for a book and I found some of his illustrations and I really liked them, and I was talking to him about the album cover, and I told him this was my seventh album with Soulfly, and he proposed to me « why don’t you make seven sins? » each album being a sin, so I thought it was a cool idea, kind of a fun way to mess with the imagery. And I really like his work, I think he’s a great artist, I like how dark the album cover is, I like the gas-masked prophets that he made for the album cover, and in the end I think it’s a cool idea, even though there’s no really big meaning behind the seven sins, it’s just kind of a play with the idea of seven albums.

You always have prestigious guests on your albums with Soulfly. Who would you like to invite for the next one then?

It’s kind of early, you know. I haven’t really thought about a new album yet because I’m not doing that until next year. I don’t know… from the top of my head, somebody I’d like to work with would be Ozzy. He would’ve been really cool to do a song with, but we’ll have to see what happens.

You recently tried to reunite Sepultura but with no success. Do you think it is worth insisting on a reunion just to please the fans? Kiko Loureiro, another Brazilian musician who’s in a similar position with his band Angra, told us that things shouldn’t be forced, that it must come naturally. What’s your opinion about this?

I agree. I think if something’s gotta happen, it’s gonna happen, so let it take its course. It’s normally for the best because when you force something that’s not supposed to be, and you try to do it, people see that it was not meant to be forced, and became fake, and that’s not good. So it’s better to be natural.

Now, to end this interview, here is a stupid question. Phonetically, in French, « Cavalera » sound like « who swallows rats » so Max Cavalera sounds like « Max who swallows rats ». So, do you often eat rats?

Just for breakfast! (laughs)

Interview conducted in november, 2010 by phone
Transcription : Stan

Myspace Soulfly : www.myspace.com/soulfly

Myspace Cavalera Conspiracy : www.myspace.com/cavaleraconspiracy



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  • You know , Max just wanna play some songs under the band that he made it and that guys took him out, he wanna just to play to his sons and fans, but Andreas and Paulo are not worried about it, they want to throw the name Sepultura out from the window with their shit records, even Musica Diablo a self project from Derrick is better than Sepultura, they are digging their grave (which means Sepultura in portuguese, hehe), and I can say that because I saw than back in the late 90s…

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