Interview: Max Cavalera
Founding members of Sepultura and the most famous and legendary brothers in metal, Max Cavalera and Iggor Cavalera are coming to Australia this September to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic and diverse album Roots, which will be played in its entirety every night. The Cavalera brothers have become pioneers and legends among the heavy metal community and they've paved the way for many new acts to this day, solidifying themselves as an integral part of metal. Roots is still a classic album and it's going to be absolutely incredible seeing Max and Iggor play those songs together on stage once again. We got the opportunity to speak with Max about the Return To Roots tour, the new Cavalera Conspiracy album, new Soulfly album and so much more.
G'day Max, it's great to talk to you again. How's everything going in the Cavalera camp right now?
Yeah very good, things are going great. Right now we're in Phoenix, AZ and soon after this we will be getting ready to go to Europe for some festivals and then we will be coming to Australia in September for our Return To Roots tour. Everything is good, we are just really excited to be back on the road and playing, it's fantastic, I love touring and I love playing with Iggor and so far it's been a very successful tour for us. We are celebrating the anniversary of an extremely special album to us and we're just really enjoying the moment.
Yeah that's great to hear. So how have the shows been for yourself and Iggor lately? Are you guys having fun on stage together and playing some classic, old school tunes for the fans?
Oh yeah, it's been a great time and we're also working on some new stuff. We've got the new Cavalera Conspiracy album out in October, it's called Psychosis. It's a really exciting time in our life because it's so much fun to play the Roots album because it's such a big album for us. It's really fun going back in time and playing the entire record from the beginning to the end and it's been a real success and an incredible tour with sold out shows everywhere and people are really loving it. But we also have to look towards the future, with the new Cavalera Conspiracy album and a new Soulfly album next year, we are looking at the future at the same time while we play Roots.
Roots is such an iconic album. are you excited to be playing some songs that you haven't played in a long time or perhaps never before?
Yeah, a lot of the songs we haven't played before, you're right about that. So it was really cool to learn the record all over again and revisit the songs. Most people are already familiar with a couple of the big songs from the album like "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Ratamahatta", but there's also a bunch of other songs on the album that are really cool and fun to play also. Songs like "Attitude", "Breed Apart", "Born Stubborn" and "Ambush", you know it's a deep album and those are all great songs, we are having a lot of fun playing them. It's a really big sounding, kind of exotic record and it shoots in every direction and then you've got short, fast and hardcore sounding songs like "Dictatorshit" on the same record, so yeah it's really fun man. Myself and my brother are both on really good terms with each other, we have a great relationship and we are really enjoying going out on stage together for this whole Roots thing, it's amazing.
You've mentioned the new Cavalera Conspiracy album which sounds exciting, can you tell us a bit about that and what we can expect?
Yeah it's called Psychosis and it's brutal record man. We worked really hard on this album, I was obsessed, especially when writing the riffs, I wanted them to sound as heavy as possible. I really think that they are some of my best riffs ever and Igor's drumming is just fantastic. We had a really good producer, our friend Arthur Rizk who did a great job. There's 9 tracks on the album and we also did a collaboration with Justin Broadrick from Godflesh on a song called "Hellfire" and most of the album is just a really good mixture of thrash metal and death metal. Our guitarist Marc Rizzo does an incredible job and he does some amazing solos. I'd actually put it neck to neck with records like Beneath The Remains and Schizophrenia, you know? It's that kind of thrash. It's really creative and also really energetic and really heavy. It's different from everything else that CC has done before, there's something about it that's sort of hard to describe in words, but some albums have it and some albums don't. This new record definitely has it and I'm very excited for everyone to hear it.
Wow. That really does sound amazing, I can't wait to hear that. I also wanted to mention one of your other projects, Killer Be Killed, that 2014 album was one of my favourite releases from the past decade. It's an incredible group of talent, is there anything new in the works for the future?
Not yet, I mean things are just so busy right now and it is a side project that has taken a backseat with everything else going on. We managed to bring the band over to Australia for a few shows as a part of Soundwave Festival and it was the only real tour that we did with the band. It's really just a timing sort of thing, whenever myself, Troy (Mastodon) and Greg (The Dillinger Escape Plan) have some time off then we can sit down and discuss what we want to do with a second record. But right now, everything is about this Roots tour, then we have Cavalera Conspiracy out in October and Soulfly next year. It will be 20 years since the first Soulfly record, so we will be celebrating that with a new album and I want to make it really great and work with a big producer and maybe go back to being a bit more of a tribal sound. I definitely see a second record happening though, I mean it's just a really cool mix of singers with myself, Troy and Greg. We are all so different sounding but it works well and I definitely want to do more of that at some point.
Have you started writing the new Soulfly record yet or is it still early days as far as that is concerned?
Well at this stage it's pretty much just a couple of riffs and a few lyrics that I've come up with. This is going to be my son Zyon's third record with me on drums so that is exciting. A lot of people really liked Archangel so I was really happy with it, but I want to go back in time and start recreating some of the earlier tribal stuff from Soulfly. It's going to be really heavy and raw sounding but also having that tribal element in there with it. I think it would be really cool to make a new album similar to what we did with the first Soulfly record back in 1998, it's going to be really exciting.
Awesome! So much to look forward to by the sounds of it. You're bringing Skindred with you on this Return To Roots tour, are you a big fan of them and their work?
Yeah, I love Benji (frontman) and I've been following them since their first album Babylon, he was also on the first Soulfly record for a track called "Prejudice" which a lot of people may not know. We might try and get him up on stage with us and do some vocals for "Ratamahatta" when we're down there in Australia. He's a great guy and Skindred is a great band. I couldn't think of a better band to bring out with us for this upcoming tour and I'm really happy about it. It's great for the fans also because they get to see a really energetic performance from them.
Being on tour a lot and playing with a lot of different bands, are there any bands out there that have caught your ear lately that you think people should check out?
Well I've been listening to some heavier stuff and I've been going back in time listening to some classic stuff like Dismember and Grave. But also some newer stuff like Bolzer and Gatecreeper. There's also a lot of great thrash metal being made these days from bands like Toxic Holocaust, Power Trip and Cannabis Corpse. There's a lot of really good metal right now. I love the new Origin album and the newest Suffocation record and also Decapitated, those are all really good albums that have come out this year. 2017 is a great year for metal.
Definitely. Some great bands mentioned there. So with the Return To Roots tour, were you surprised at all by the incredible response from the fans that have anticipated these shows and how much people are wanting to see this tour?
Yeah the response from everyone has been really great. When we decided to do this we didn't really know what was going to happen, we thought maybe it would be a small thing that wouldn't last long. But now it's pretty much just been like being in a new band, with all of these shows and the touring, it's crazy. It's just awesome to see, it's such a big record for us and we are doing it justice by playing it in full at all of these sold out shows. I have a good feeling about this Australian tour and hopefully fans will enjoy what we do, I know for a fact that there's a lot of hardcore Sepultura fans there so they better come and check these shows out.
What are you most excited about for this Return To Roots tour of Australia?
Mostly the fans, you know. I've got incredible memories of Soulfly playing Big Day Out back in 1999. Some of the biggest shows that I've ever played have been in Australia, and definitely the most memorable also. Australian fans are some of the best in the world, and even on stuff like Spotify, the Aussies are always mentioned as being one of our biggest listeners. So I always look forward to coming back to Australia. I like the culture there and the cities are always fun to explore. I can't wait to eat some pies from Harry's Cafe De Wheels, so hopefully when I'm in Sydney we can get some Harry's pie (laughs).
Yeah that would be awesome. We can't wait to have you back here and thank you so much for taking this interview. Do you have any words for your Aussie fans before you say goodbye?
I just want to thank them and I look forward to seeing everyone on the Roots tour, it's going to be great. We aren't doing this tour next year so this is pretty much the only chance you'll get to see it. If you call yourself a metalhead then you better be there, and I want to thank all of the Australian fans for all of the support over the years. Thank you very much.
Written by Steve Jenkins
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+
Tickets on sale now!