Mike Bax of Lithium Magazine recently conducted an interview with Max Cavalera (SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY,ex-SEPULTURA). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Lithium Magazine: You’ve been recording some of the heaviest music around for a long time now. Do you worry your fans ever think that your best material came twenty-plus years ago?
Max: I don’t really worry about that at all. For me, it’s just about being happy with what I do. I don’t really compare the stuff. What was done back then is different from now. I’m proud of what I did years ago, but I’m also proud of what I’m doing right now. I think’s its dependent on how you feel. What’s important is to keep going and keep motivated and keep making records, until you get old and you can’t do it anymore.
Lithium Magazine: Do you ever listen to your old stuff then?
Max: I do sometimes to research songs to play live. We are thinking about playing stuff from the first [SEPULTURA] EP right now. “Bestial Devastation” was done, I don’t even know how many years ago now, and we are thinking about doing a song from that EP on our new upcoming tour. So I’ll go back for fun, put it on my iPod and just listen to the songs again. I get to remember the recording and the times we had making those old records. It was pretty fun. Normally, I’ll just listen to other people’s music.
Lithium Magazine: Did you have a game plan for “Enslaved” — something you wanted to try and achieve to make it stand out compared to the past seven SOULFLY albums?
Max: I just really wanted to make a really extreme record. I have a really good new band giving me the chance to work with Tony [Campos, bass] and David [Kinkade, drums]. David is a death metal drummer and he can play some really cool double bass and blast beats. He brought a real death metal sound to the record. I remodeled the album around this idea that I had to make a death metal-sounding record without being satanic. It has enslavery lyrics and political lyrics, and it’s cool because of that. I think it’s quite original right now to have this kind of record. It’s pretty extreme; I think it’s SOULFLY’s most extreme record to date. Out of the eight SOULFLY albums this is the most extreme and most brutal one. I’m happy about that. I think it’s cool to have this kind of a record right now, with it being the eighth record and this being fifteen years for SOULFLY’s career we are commemorating it. This is a great time for us, and “Enslaved” is a great record for us to be touring now.
Lithium Magazine: How would you compare the creation and recording process of this album compared to past SOULFLY releases? Was it a quicker process creating “Enslaved”?
Max: It was a little bit different. I was working Zeuss, who is a different producer for me. Every producer is different. I’ve worked with Logan Mader in the past — Ross Robinson, Andy Wallace and Scott Burns — all of these guys are different from each other. Zeuss had a system which was really interesting. Once we’d get a song done, like completely finished, he only needed one person to play guitar in order to record the drums. That’s all that was needed, so most of the time Marc [Rizzo, guitar] would stay in the studio and play rhythm. Dave would record the drums through Marc’s rhythm and then we built everything on top of that. It was cool to record this way — it was really clear and clean sounding drums. You can hear every little nuance in the drumming on “Enslaved”. If you made one little mistake on the double bass you could really hear it. That meant that Dave really had to be on his toes recording this album. He needed to be perfect on this album, and he really did meet the challenge on “Enslaved”. The drums sound amazing on the record; he really did a great job. I really like the guitar work on the album as well. Me and Marc really wanted the crunchy thrash sound in our guitars, like early EXODUS and the old METALLICA stuff — really heavy and crunchy. You can hear the chugging of the guitar work on this album, with all of that, and the death metal riffs… this record is full of really cool sounds that I dug out of my metal roots. Its stuff that I have listened to for so long now, I feel I came up with some really death metal-styled riffs and they are all over the record. So it was really fun to create this record. I really enjoyed the process. I think it’s a good way to make records like this. I think Zeuss has really got a good technique and I really enjoyed working with him.
Read the entire interview from Lithium Magazine.
“Gladiator” audio stream:
“World Scum” video: