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Interviews   

Some news from Igor « Who Swallows Rats »


In his words, Igor Cavalera is just like his drums playing on the Cavalera Conspiracy’s last album: straightforward and without any ornamentation. This interview is really the proof that you don’t need to be excessively talkative to deliver an interesting speech.

It’s with a respectable sincerity that he answered our questions about the recording of the last album, the evolution of his way of playing as well as the tricky question about the relationship with Sepultura. You will notice the character’s composure, a quite unusual characteristic within a metal scene crammed with communicative people. From time to time, it is good!

And it is exclusively across these lines that he announces the creation of a new project with his brother, a revolutionary project related to the circus world presenting in particular a very dangerous show dealing with swallowing rodent.

 » It’s almost like playing a concert and trying to recreate it in an album »

You played the new album during a concert two weeks ago. Isn’t it a bit risky to play so many unknown tracks to an audience? how did they react?

Yeah! I mean, it was fun, actually. I like to do something different, you know.

The album was recorded in three days. Was this done in order to keep the spontaneity?

Yes, that’s something that Max and I tried on the first album, « Inflikted ». We really liked the idea of doing something that is like raw power. Like you said, it keeps the spontaneity but it also allows us to get the same sort of energy you get when you play live. It’s almost like playing a concert and trying to recreate it in an album. That was the idea behind doing the album so fast. We really enjoyed it when we tried it for « Inflikted » so we repeated it on « Blunt Force Trauma ».

Were you afraid that you might lose this spontaneity by staying longer in the studio?

No, no. It was just something that we tried, and it really worked. We’ve been doing this for many years, we know what we want. A new band could get lost very fast, but we’re old bastards, we know what we want!

The album is razor-sharp, punchy and the lyrics are about violence. However, it seems that there is a sense of enthusiasm and a bit of a rock’n’roll aspect behind the aggressiveness. On paper, the album is similar to the first one, but this aura makes it completely different. Do you feel the same about it?

For me, it’s hard to compare. But I do think it’s aggressive. If I have to compare, I think this album is more simple than the first., especially in the writing process. On the first one, we wanted some of the songs to be a little longer. On this album, the songs are shorter and more direct. I think it’s the main difference between these two albums.

What I meant is that the album is very straight to the point, very brutal and aggressive. But there is actually a sort of enthusiasm; we can feel that you really enjoyed playing these songs.

Yes , but I think we also did on the first album, so I don’t really see so much of a difference between the two albums, when it comes to this « enthusiasm » thing. The only difference that I can see is that the band is tighter from touring together. It’s easier to enjoy yourself when you play for a long time together.

« That was my idea drum-wise behind the album. I tried to keep it minimalistic, in a way. It has nothing to do with what other drummers are doing, it’s more something between me and my drumming, a sort of battle in my mind. […] =That’s also part of the joys of playing music: having the choice of doing anything you want. You can play fast, you can play super fast, you can play slow, it’s just a matter of choice you know. »

In the album’s making of published by Roadrunner, you state that you wanted to play the simplest drum set that you could. Do you find that drummers or metal musicians in general overdo it?

No no, it’s just that I set this challenge to myself. I always fix myself a challenge when I prepare an album. For example in my old band Sepultura, for « Roots », I wanted to do something very percussive. So I always have those secret challenges before doing a new album. For « Blunt Force Trauma », I wanted to keep it as simple as possible in my mind, I tried not to do too much, like drum rolls… I tried to hit the cymbals as little as possible. That was my idea drum-wise behind the album. I tried to keep it minimalistic, in a way. It has nothing to do with what other drummers are doing, it’s more something between me and my drumming, a sort of battle in my mind.

Max said that this album is what music needs today. That is quite a big statement, was he serious or did he say that as a provocation?

Max is a very provocative person, in a way, because he’s really passionate about his music: the way he writes his lyrics, the way he writes his music… He really loves what he writes, so… when he says something like this, he really believes it you know! (laughs) Of course, not everyone is gonna agree with him, and that’s also fine with him. He doesn’t say that to please everybody. Of course, there’s gonna be a lot of people who’ll say he’s wrong, but that’s also fine! (laughs)

Do you agree with him, that this album is what music needs today?

Yes, if I didn’t agree with him, I shouldn’t be playing on this album! (laughs)

Well you can play with him without exactly having the same opinion on the album…

Yes, but I do have the same opinion.

Don’t you miss the tribal aspect of the percussions? Besides from Cavalera Conspiracy you are part of many non metal projects. Have you ever thought about including this tribal aspect in Cavalera Conspiracy in order to have both worlds?

No, I think we did too much of that. I think it’s been done a million times. It doesn’t need to be done again, and again, and again… It’s amazing to experiment, but it’s also amazing to do different things. Like I said, now I’m really into doing more minimalistic stuff with my drumming. I really love the tribal stuff, but right now I’m dealing with drums in another way. Maybe in the future I’ll try something else, like bolero, samba or other stuff. But it’s just something we had done in the past, so…

What would you answer to those people who pretend that if you’re playing in a minimalistic way, it’s because you’re not able to play complicated drum-parts anymore?

That’s ok (laughs), because I can play anything I really want. That’s also part of the joys of playing music: having the choice of doing anything you want. You can play fast, you can play super fast, you can play slow, it’s just a matter of choice you know.

Joe Duplantier is very busy with Gojira, which means that he was not able to take part in the tour that followed the first album of Cavalera Conspiracy. However, you seem to have remained in good terms. Is it possible that he might join you on stage on day?

Yeah, but he’ll also have to join together with Johny Chow, because we found in him an amazing bass-player. I think we’re very lucky, because we found Joe Duplantier to play on the record, and he’s an amazing friend, but we also found someone to play with us on tour, who then became part of the band, and that is Johny Chow. Now he’s part of Cavalera Conspiracy. With this experience, we found two really good friends. If we had a chance to be on stage, then it’s gonna be with our two friends. So I think it’s very positive in the end. We have two good friends and two amazing musicians being part of the Cavalera Conspiracy.

[NDLR : about an original Sepultura line-up reunion] « I don’t care. The only thing that I care about is playing together with Max. […] If it doesn’t happen, I’m ok with it, I’m still gonna live my life. « 

The biography that we received with the album from Roadrunner Records ends saying that « Blunt Force Trauma » is the perfect album to make people wait before a reformation of the original Sepultura line up happens. Are you still hoping for it to happen? It looks like the label is convinced that it will happen someday.

I don’t know, I think Roadrunner is trying, it’s not me. If they wrote that, you’ll have to ask them… because I didn’t write it. I had no idea, I didn’t even see this statement.

Ok, but do you want this to happen?

I don’t care. The only thing that I care about is playing together with Max. It’s the most important thing. The whole Sepultura thing for me is like… I don’t care.

Even if you don’t care, do you think that it is possible?

If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t happen, I’m ok with it, I’m still gonna live my life.

Sepultura felt the need to record a video to make it clear that there won’t be any reunion and that they were angry at Max for what he said about a hypothetical reunion. How did you and Max feel about this video?

Like I said, I have really no time for gossip or for paying attention to that kind of things. I put all my energy in playing music and positive things. I have my other projects, I have Cavalera, that’s all I pay attention to.

« I could be a new French solo artist. I could do a circus show in France where I eat rats on the streets. « 

Now, to end this interview, here is a stupid question. Phonetically, in French, “Cavalera” sound like the French for “who swallows rats”. So Igor Cavalera sounds like “Igor who swallows rats”. So, do you often eat rats?

Are you serious?

Yes absolutely (laughs)

Wao, that’s really cool! I did not know that. That’s a new one. That could be my solo project. I could be a new French solo artist. I could do a circus show in France where I eat rats on the streets.

(laughs) We told this to your brother a few months ago, and he told us he eats rats for breakfast.

See? He’s already part of it. He eats rats for breakfast, and I do the show at night…

Interview conducted by phone on march, 2011

Transcription : Sandra & Isa

Cavalera Conspiracy’s website : www.cavaleraconspiracy.com



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