Radio Metal: Max, Welcome on Radio Metal! You are here (Saarbrücken, Germany) tonight to promote the latest Soulfly album, that’s named Conquer. How was your tour ?

Max Cavalera: Long (laugh), but very good ! As you can see, those are the dates (showing an arm-long sized list) : it’s something like 58 shows… But a very good tour, with many sold-out shows, and we got a great response from the fans for our Conquer, but also for older Soulfy stuff. We played some Cavalera (Conspiracy), some Nailbomb, some Sepultura… It’s like a big metal party with Soulfly ! It’s been really cool.

You’ve been already touring with Cavalera Conspiracy this year. Are you tired yet ?

Ow no… It’s new ! You know, playing with Igor again was amazing. It’s something I’ve been waiting for ten years… So not at all. I’m looking for actually coming back for summer festivals, with both bands. So I’m not tired, I’m excited ! It’s good to be playing music, you know !

What did you want to conquer ?

I think it’s an open title ; when I made it, the album was about fear, whatever the kind of fear you have… Conquer fear… it’s a very deep subject. It’s very difficult to conquer your fears. But I think also it has changed : you can conquer music, you can conquer obstacles that’s on your way, problems… You can conquer Metal (laughs)… It’s an open title, like Arise was… What’s arising ? Who’s arising ? I don’t know… It’s just a name, you know. An open name. It’s better to do like this ; a lot of fans have their own idea of what is Conquer and what is Arise.

(Max) : « You know, playing with Igor again was amazing. It’s something I’ve been waiting for 10 years… »

Your music and your life seem to constantly refer to the idea of tribe. How do you conceive it with Soulfly ?

It’s one of those things that develops, and develops… gets bigger and is still growing. It’s a growing process, next year and next year… We always gonna grow : the live show, the crowd, this collective feeling like a tribe… I see many reviews of the Soulfly shows, and I liked the last one, it was in England, and the journalist make this same comparisation : Soulfly fans come to the show, it’s like a tribe, with tattoos, a lot of brazilian flags, camouflage pants… like our own Tribe of people. I like that. It connects all of us. I think that’s very cool.

Within Soulfly, how can we retrieve this idea of tribe ?

It’s everywhere… It’s the songs. Soulfly has – even more than Sepultura – songs that talk about this. Like the song “Tribe”, it’s the perfect song for that : it talks about this feeling of tribalism, with the fans. But the song “Last Of The Mohicans” says “our tribe raise everywhere”. I think that they know what it is. They feel it. From the minute that the shows starts, you can feel, from the atmosphere, it’s perfect. It’s a connection. For the people that have seen it before, they are really expectative ; and people that are watching it for the first time, I can see them – it’s pretty cool – like surprised on their faces, like “This is something new I’ve not seen it before”… and eventually they become fans on that exactly moment. It’s actually exciting to see somebody become a fan in front of you, that wasn’t a fan before. All these things are very exciting to me.

There are many guests on every album of Soulfly. Is it important for you to multiply this kind of musical experiments ?

Yeah, the guest idea… to me, it’s a part of being something… you’re giving to the fans a little extra of what normally you just get. I like to see it as a kind of friendship, non-competition. Musicians must be more friends than competitors, like all kinds of music always competing… I thought about metal, being more something that you share with your friends musicians ; and I have many friends in many bands, so I decided to work with them. I’ve been doing it for a long time, it’s great, I met great people, I’m fan of these guys : Slayer, Morbid Angel, also the brazilian guys like Chico Science… I’m fan of their music, and I think it’s great to work with them. You learn a lot when you play with other musicians… you learn new things for you, and they learn something. It’s a good exchange of influences. I’m very proud of it ; especially on the new album, the song with Dave Vincent (Morbid Angel), “Blood Fire War Hate”, it’s one of my favorite songs. I find it powerful, it’s the song that starts the show. I would probably have guests forever, it’s something that I really like.

Since the album “3”, you’re the producer of Soulfly. How did you decide this, and how does it influence you in your writings ?

It came out of a frustration, actually, because “Primitive” was the last album that somebody else produced… at this time some people tried to change Soulfly, and Max too much. The final raw was that the producer tried to correct my english, you know, my accent… to me it was like “oK, this is not right. This is me (with the accent), this is Max, if you correct the accent, this is not Max anymore”. I thought that maybe it was time to produce, so that I can stay more true to the roots of Max, and what I do. That’s the real reason behind why I started producing. I’m not even a producer ! (Laughs) But I felt this was an obligation to the fans to maintain myself true to the music. So I did it. And it seems that people like the production, so I continue doing it…

We were talking about other musicians… How did you propose to Joe, from Gojira, to work with you on Cavalera Conspiracy ?

It was very simple… it was not my idea ! It was Gloria’s idea (my wife and manager). She has really great hearing and a good vision of people I should work with. I remember I told her when I was making Cavalera Conspiracy, that I would like to have a member from somewhere else… Marc is already from America, Iggor & me from Brazil… it would have been cool to have somebody from Europe, for example. And Gloria suggested Joe from Gojira and I think it was a great choice. I really like the band, I think that Gojira is one of the best new bands all around, and Joe is a great guy. He did a lot for the album, it’s a great job on the Conspiracy record.

Did you hear some Gojira’s other works ?

Yup !

What do you think about it ? What makes the difference between Gojira and other bands ?

The lyrics, Joe’s lyrics are different. The subjects, the name of the songs are different. It’s quite cool, how he mixes some other influences : I heard like Morbid Angel on the riffs, but they do it their own way… not a copy, just influence. My favorite song is actually “Backbone”. It’s a great song !

You’re very attached to your country, its culture and past. Why is it such an important part of Soulfly’s music and inspiration ?

Well… I think it’s different from the rest. It’s unique. We are the first Metal band… metal musicians to come out of Brazil. It’s something special ; a special feeling. And because of that, I feel, through these years, kind of brazilian ambassador of metal and rock, spraying the world of Brazil outside… But not with patriotism, more like a different kind of pride… Just the things about Brazil, that I think it’s interesting to show to Europeans and Americans… that they also feel curious about Brazil. So, that’s the way I do it.

If I tell you “Ordem e Progresso”, what does it represent to you ?

It’s the line on the brazilian flag… I wish it would be more like that in reality… you know, “Order and Progress”… it’s a difficult thing in Brazil (laughs), because it’s very chaotic ! It would have been better as “Disorder ans Regress” ! (laughs) But that’s all reality… Chaos.

Do you think something has changed since the arrival of Lula ?

Little by little, it’s better than it was… We’ve had some really bad presidents, Collor was the worst (NDLR : President from 1990 to 1992)… We’ve had Dictatura in the 70’s, the military people. Lula comes from the Working Party, I think he’s more of the people… but in Brazil, there are so many problems, that it’s gonna take a long time to become a really strong country. But I believe, in about two hundred years – we’re not gonna be here – or Three hundred, Brazil will be a great country. We’re gonna be one of the best countries in the world… but it’s gonna take a long time (laughs).

Hard question : what’s the future of Soulfly ?

Soulfly is a very disciplined group, that keeps going and going. We don’t care about what’s happening in the music, like what’s happening in the pop music. We just carry on like a mission, some kinda military idea. We’re gonna carry on, playing… (laughs)

Do you consider it as your main project ? Or is it Cavalera Conspiracy ?

Yes. Soulfly is… I love Cavalera Conspiracy too, but Soulfly is the main band.

For the conclusion, I’ll give you the last words…

Thank you to the fans, for Conquer, and thanks for the interview…

NB : Radio Metal thanks Theresa, Alex, Trixi and Cyril.

Interview conducted February 25th, 2009 in Saarbrücken
MySpace Soulfly : myspace.com/soulfly

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