One of the most legendary frontmen in extreme metal, Max Cavalera of Sepultura, after leaving the band in ’96, has found his brother once more in 2008 and ever since he embarked on his own musical vision with Cavalera Conspiracy. The band has reached its 3rd record “Pandemonium” and Metalpaths caught up with Mr. Max Cavalera to discuss various issues concerning the Cavalera Conspiracy, its connection with Sepultura, and much more. Let’s enter the pandemonium…
I’m very happy with the record! I think it’s the record I wanted to make with Igor. Went on a more brutal direction, the songs are faster, it was influenced by grindcore and stuff. I love playing fast with Igor, I proposed this record to him and he liked the idea. And we just went on and did it, and it came out really good. I think also the presence of Nick on bass also made the album a little better, Mark Rizzo’s playing really good. I have to say Igor is in great form his drumming on the record is amazing.
Where would you spot the differences between this record and the your previous works?
“Inflikted” and “Blunt Force Trauma” are pretty much the same record, they’re very similar, more Thrash metal. And I think “Pandemonium” is more brutal in every way. The songs are lower, heavier, more aggressive and the base of the record is faster. But I think that says a lot, the attitude of the record has something to say, you cannot ignore it, you know it comes and hits you in the face. It really comes at you fast and hard and we wanted to make that on purpose. If they wanted to hear something from the metal brothers Max and Igor this is the perfect record. Because “Inflikted” and “Blunt Force Trauma” are more Thrash and this is more brutal. It fits in really good you know? Now we’ve got 3 records, we waited 3 years between the records, which I think is a good time between records, I’m very pleased with how “Pandemonium” came out, I love the album cover, I think the songs are really strong and I can’t wait to play it live.
The new album title “Pandemonium” seems like a reference to the situation of the world today. Something that is made evident through your new video. Was there something you wanted to point out with that title?
I think that it’s a really powerful title, the state of the world today. “Pandemonium” is a very strong word and I wrote the song “Babylonian Pandemonium” the first song on the album and the video shows Brazil, the ugly side of Brazil, the rotten side, not the typical tourist stuff, but the more brutal side that people don’t get to see. I think that the title applies to the state of the world right now. If you look at the news, what’s going on in the Middle East, Ebola, Ukraine, the world’s in pandemonium. It’s a perfect name.
The Cavalera Conspiracy lyrics ever since the first record of 2008 “Inflikted”, deal with politics, death and destruction. Where do you, Max, as an individual, draw influence from when you write a new song for Cavalera Conspiracy?
I get influence by many different things. Mostly from the music I listen to, I’m a fanatic of metal, I listen to metal all day long. I love the classic metal of the 80s. Stuff like Entombed, Napalm Death, Carcass and I like a lot of the new stuff, Hour Of Penance, Misery Index, Aborted, you know I like a lot of Septicflesh, it’s stuff I listen to and it comes to my work. First, I like to be active, that’s why I have 3 projects, Cavalera Conspiracy, Soulfly and Killer Be Killed, so I can do a lot of things with this music. I jump from one to the other. For me I think it’s the best way to lead my life, staying busy, staying active, playing music, writing music, touring, it’s the way I want to spent my time with my life so for me it’s perfect.
Do you as a musician prefer being in the studio recording new material more or on the road?
I like more the road, I’m not a big fan of studios. It’s important to make records, but I don’t like closed places, when I’m in such places I gotta get out, even when I’m making a record, I cannot stay there for too long. Even when I’m recording I record for a couple of hours and then I ask them to go outside, walk and clear my mind. So, for me, I was born to be on the road, touring, the bus for me is comfortable as home, being in a different city and seeing different people every day is so exciting. And of course the shows, you know it’s the best part of the day. For me my favorite moment is when I’m on stage sharing the music with my fans, there’s no better feeling than being on stage and playing music for your fans. The best feeling in the world.
“Pandemonium” is the third album where you are playing with your brother Igor. What brought you two back together back in 2008?
I love playing with Igor and it was really hard that we had 10 years when we didn’t even talk. It was hard for me, hard for my mother, I’m sure it was hard for Igor. And I’m so glad that when he called me in 2007, he wanted to make up for the lost time and be my brother again, so that my kids can see his kids and we can all be brothers again and have our families connected again. And then of course I decided to create Cavalera Conspiracy, cause I wanted to play music with my brother, we grew up playing music as kids. When we both got together, we found music. It was a way out of Brasil, out of poverty, out of all the shit that we were living. Both me and Igor really loved to play the music really loved to play together. In Cavalera Conspiracy, we split everything in half and half, sometimes he works more in artwork department, I do more of the riffs, the lyrics and he does all the drumming. We have ideas for the stage, but we do it all together, you know the cool way to do it. It’s a very special project, I like very much what Cavalera brings to the metal world, and I’m very proud you know, that me and Igor are back again doing that and being brothers again.
Which is the most important step on your career?
Most important is to be in love with what you do. For me playing metal is not about work, it’s life. Being a metalhead is something that I’ve been since I was a teenager, I love wearing my black t-shirts with my bands, I love discovering new bands, then contacting them, getting them to send me t-shirts. And I love listening to music, making music and playing music. It’s perfect life for me and I feel now more metalhead than ever before! Kinda like I found metal again. I love what the music really gives me, it’s like salvation. I came out of Brasil which isn’t the most famous place for heavy metal, we put Brasil in the map with Sepultura, that’s a beautiful life and that’s why I’m excited, cause there are still so many things I wanted to do with the music.
Which record from the ones you’ve played in is your favorite?
The record I had more fun making it was probably Nailbomb “Point Blank”, because it was really free we didn’t have any commitment or pressure, we were just free to do whatever we wanted it was just me and Alex going nuts on the material and really really going off. The most important one I think is “Soulfly I” and I’ll tell you why: at that time I was coming out of Sepultura, my career was on the line. I didn’t know if this was gonna succeed or not, everything could have gone really wrong if the album wasn’t good. If nobody liked the album, my career would be over. So “Soulfly I” is a very very special record.
And one pick from the classic Sepultura stuff you’ve played in?
It’s hard but I’d probably have to say “Arise” because I love the song itself, I think it’s a really strong song, really powerful song, I like the name. It was just a really powerful record, kind of everything was starting to fit in together. We were becoming more of our own selves, have our own identity. It felt really good.
What do you think of the Thrash scene today? Which bands separate themselves apart from the rest of them?
I love it, I think it’s really exciting, you have great bands coming from many different areas of the world. You have Nervecell from the United Emirates, Psycroptic from Tasmania, Rotten Sound from Finland, America’s got some really good bands like Goatwhore, Septicflesh from Greece. It’s becoming more and more international. The scene is not just about America and UK anymore, it’s everywhere in the world, Italy has Hour Of Penance, Belgium has Aborted, I love all this new heavy stuff that’s coming out. I try to follow what’s going on in heavy music and follow these bands. And I really think it’s a good time for metal right now. I really like Aborted, Hour Of Penance, Nails from America, I like some of the grindcore stuff too like Nasum, Pig Destroyer, All Pigs Must Die, you know most of the stuff I listen to is heavy and brutal. Some of the deathcore stuff too I like Acacia Strain, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Declare War. So I like Death metal, Deathcore, Hardcore, Grindcore, it’s all good music man.
You’ve been around in thrash metal as one of the firt ever to come out since 1985. Did you ever expect things would get so big not only during your time in Sepultura but also with Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy?
We never thought we’re gonna get big playing music, but we thought it was special and from the heart. The path I choose for me is very special, it’s not the easy path, no no1 radio song, being in the cover of all the magazines. At the same time, I feel really good to be part of something that’s real, to be part of the metal scene. And now I see a lot of people are influenced by me by my work in Sepultura. I’ve influenced many bands and many people around the world, and it’s amazing I couldn’t imagine that. Sepultura just wanted to write and play, we didn’t think about we’re becoming legends or anything like that. It was on the moment, just trying to write cool shit and write cool records. I’ve been through a lot of the ups and downs of music, I’ve survived the grunge, we did “Chaos AD” at that time, survived the nu metal era, I was with Soulfly at the time. We are survivors we survived this stuff and it feels great. I’m extremely proud to be part of something that is real, that is powerful, nobody can take that away from us.This is our metal they can’t take it away from us, it’s our weapon we use it on a daily basis. Being on the cover of Rolling Stone, having a no1 hit on the radio, that doesn’t mean shit to me.
After all these years is there something you’d like to achieve and haven’t achieved yet?
I’m still searching for that masterpiece, the one that you say to yourself “this is a masterpiece”. I think I got close to it with some of the records, but none of it it’s entirely what I would call a real masterpiece. I’m workin’ on it, it’s due to come. Definitely working on that on my future projects. It’s my dream, that masterpiece record.
What are your memories from the last time you played in Greece?
I love it I think it’s awesome, the crowd reminds me of Brasil. Very energetic, very loud, very chaotic. The passion for the music’s in the air. They love metal music, it’s weird because I never thought Greece would be like that. When I think of Greece I think of the Acropolis, Alexandrer the Great, Zeus and all that stuff. But you have great metal fans, I’m very excited and I wish we could play more, Greece is a beautiful country. It’s one of my dreams and my wife’s dreams is to have a place in Greece in the summer, somewhere in the Mediterrenean, that I can do some writing, spent half of the year in Greece, the other half in America. It’s a dream I’m working on and hopefully it comes true one of these days.
What are the future plans for Cavalera Conspiracy?
Tour, tour and tour man. Non-stop touring, even though Igor doesn’t like to tour that much, next year I’m going to have to force him tell him that “we have to get on tour” cause this is really a powerful record, and we have great material from all the albums, plus all the classic Sepultura stuff that all the fans want to hear, Nailbomb and all the covers like “Black Sabbath”, “Orgasmatron”, stuff they always wanted to hear from me and Igor so I think we can make a really cool setlist. We gotta try to tour a lot, I’ll try to tour a little with Killer Be Killed, maybe for festivals in summer, and then working on new Soulfly which is my tenth record with Soulfly, it’s very special, I’m gonna try and make a good one a very powerful one, and that’s basically the whole year laying in front of me.
That was about it Max. Thanks a lot for the interview it’s been a huge honour. The final words are yours.
Thank you for all the support, I can’t wait to be back in Greece playing my metal for the fans, I love Greece and I want to come back very bad!