Max Cavalera on Rock Overdose: “I would love to play the whole “Arise” on a tour”

We are very honored to present you the interview that Max Cavalera (Cavalera Cospiracy, Soulfly, ex- Sepultura) gave to Rock Overdose and Zisis Petkanas. Enjoy!



Rock Overdose: Hi Max! This is Zisis, from Rock Overdose in Greece. It’s great to talk to you again.


Max Cavalera: Hi! Great!


Rock Overdose: Something our readers would like to know is if you decided to play the entire “Roots” albums for this tour, instead of playing another Sepultura album, let’s say “Arise”.


Max Cavalera: Yeah, it wasn’t really my idea. It was my wife’s idea – you know, she manages us -, probably a great idea. She approached me and Igor [Cavalera, drummer], and asked us what we think about playing the whole record, because it’s the twentieth anniversary of “Roots”. We talked about it a little bit, and said, ‘Yeah, sure! Why not? We should try that, it sounds like a great idea’. We went into some kind of rehearsal, played all of the songs and it sounded great. And we’re just trying to take it on the road, and now we’ve just finished the American tour, and it was amazing. And now we’re going to Europe and I think  Europe is gonna love it, because we’re playing the whole record, from the beginning to the end. Everything, we’re leaving nothing out.


Rock Overdose: I suppose you don’t play songs only from this album.


Max Cavalera: We play a little bit, um, because the album is about an hour and two minutes. So, for some headline shows, we need to play an hour and fifteen to twenty minutes, so we play some stuff from around the era. We do a Celtic Frost cover – from the B-Sides – called “Procreation (Of the Wicked)”, we did… Uh… We did a Black Sabbath cover, called “Symptom of the Universe”. We also do a Motörhead cover, “Ace of Spades”, because the name Sepultura comes from a Motörhead song, and it would be kinda cool to do a tribute to them, as well. Um, we do a new version of “Roots [Bloody Roots]” at the end of the show, which is really cool, because it’s the original idea for “Roots”. You know, “Roots” was recorded on 4 July, when I first created [the] fast ending. It was never used. And it was like, ‘We’ll do it like that now’. So, we do the beginning the same as in “Roots”, but then it goes into a fast song, fast thrash song. It’s amazing and it’s a great way to end the show with it.


Rock Overdose: Great! So, what about Greek people, the show in Greece? You have visited our country many times. What is your opinion about the Greek audience?


Max Cavalera: I think it’s gonna be a great show. I mean, judging from what I saw in America – because some of my favorite shows were done in this American tour –, it kinda brought me back to 1992. You know, all the intros… [The audience] was going crazy on every song, it was very energetic. I’ve been to Greece many times, and I remember the crowd going crazy. A lot of the times we’ve been there, you know, from the early Sepultura days. We did four shows at the Acropolis once. I always loved Greece, I always loved to come to Greece. I think the crowd… they remind a lot of the South-American crowd. It is very passionate, very energetic, you know, very wild. Kind of a really wild crowd, and I always love that.




Rock Overdose: Great! And we’re looking forward to seeing you again here! So, some say that the album was a little inspired by ‘corse’ music, if I’m right…


Max Cavalera: Oh, it was a thing. We were always looking for something different to do with our music and, at that time, we were listening to a little bit of different stuff, as well as the stuff we always listened to. We had some curiosity – I remember – about some of the early Deftones, Korn stuff. We were kinda curious what we would sound if we used some of that influence into our stuff. And we did some testing in songs like “Roots Bloody Roots” and it came out really good, because it does really sound like Korn. I mean, that’s what’s interesting. We borrowed the tuning that they had, but our playing style is totally different form theirs, you know? I think that’s what makes “Roots” an interesting album, something that is kind of an experiment. An experimentation, you know. Like when you’re in a laboratory, and you try different fusions, and see what comes out of it. What’s interesting about “Roots” is… same you can say about “Chaos A.D.”, because then we were listening to a lot of Biohazard, and Type-O-Negative and a little bit, you know, Black Sabbath. That music. We slowed down on “Chaos A.D.”, and the result was also really interesting. You know, stuff like Territory and Nomad.


Rock Overdose: Max, when you started a band with Sepultura, what was your main purpose? How did you think Sepultura would be like in twenty years, in your mind?


Max Cavalera: Um, we started playing music because we wanted something to do with their lives, because our friends were getting wasted, [they] were getting drunk and getting drugged out. We didn’t want to do that with our lives, and we wanted something more, something else. Me and Igor, we just started playing music, so that was our way to get anger out. We were really pissed off, because we were bored. So, we started listening to aggressive music, like Omen and Hellhammer, and we wanted to play like that. That’s why Sepultura sounds like that. That’s why “Bestial Devastation” and “Morbid Visions” have that black metal influence, which I think is great. Even the recordings. I still love those records, those are really cool records. It was never for money or girls, we did have money and we did have girls, you know. [Laughs] That never came into the picture. We were considered ugly and dirty, coz we didn’t play for many people. The beginning was very bad. A lot of people accused us of being the worst band in the world, those kind of accusations. But we did what we wanted, you know. We had to find a way to get the aggression out. It felt great. I personally felt really empowered on stage, really possessed… I could become somebody else on stage, that I was not in my private life. So, even today, I’m very normal, very mellow off the stage. But, once I get on the stage, it’s a transformation. You become something else, you know, which is great.


Rock Overdose: I see. And I won’t get tired of saying that Sepultura was you and the original members, not only Andreas [Kisser], as it is now. And it’s really strange that you started the band – you and Igor started the band – and you’re not in the band now. It’s really strange, and bad, in my opinion.


Max Cavalera: That’s just how it turned out. I’m not in control, it’s just how it happened. I think, the spirit of Sepultura, what we had, is really with me and Igor and what we’re doing right now. So much more, what we have right now. I mean, they’re using the name, but it’s not the same, what we were doing. I don’t think the records ever achieve anything, or given me what… The records, when I was singing, had that kind of power. So, I think a little bit of the story is about showing the people what is thunder like, because we have an amazing band with Johny Chow and Marc Rizzo – the great players – and me and Igor – amazing on drums. I mean, he’s playing now better than I’ve ever seen him. It’s crazy, he’s like on top of his game. I think you’re going to be impressed by Igor’s drums. And I’m just trying to do my best, singing the songs the best I can and perform the best I can. But I think what the people come to see, when they see this return to “Roots”, is the causeway to what it was like in our, er, Sepultura days. And I think that’s attractive to people. That attracts people, the notion, why we are doing a return to “Roots”. You know, it could be something a bit similar to, like… Igor told me to see Flag… It was Black Flag… There was a band playing Black Fire songs called Flag. It’s not entirely with the original members, there’s some people missing. But the main people that you want to see are there, so it’s worth it. You know, because the main people are there for people to see.


Rock Overdose: I see. Are you planning to do the same with other records?


Max Cavalera: There’s a possibility. We can do all kinds of stuff now. I think that’s what is cool about now[adays], how ‘open’ everything is. I still have a lot of things on the table for the next year. Because next year is twenty years of Soulfly. It’s a special date and we wanna make a record to celebrate that. We also want to do another Killer Be Killed album. We only did one, and we would love to do another one. I think we can make an even better one. The guys are better now. But, yeah, I would love to do “Arise”. Especially “Arise”! Out of all the Sepultura records, the one that I would like to do the most is “Arise”… [Laughs] That record, it’s just exciting from beginning to end, and I think the live will be a monster. It would be amazing to play all that thrash death metal shit live.




Rock Overdose: It is one of the top metal albums in thrash music, I believe.


Max Cavalera: Yeah, I think it is. It was well-done. The “Arise” tour was the longest Sepultura had. We went everywhere: Indonesia, Russia… We really broke out with that tour. I think that would be great. Judging by this adventure we had with “Roots”, I think it really worked and I think fans really love it. They don’t mind that it’s not the entire band, I don’t think they mind that. What they want to see there is me and Igor playing together, the voice and the drums. Um, so I think it would be excellent, you know. I just think we’ve got to wait for the right years.[Laughs] That should do it!


Rock Overdose: That’s so exciting! So, anything else, regarding your musical careers?


Max Cavalera: Yeah, you know, I have… In January, I’ll start writing the new Soulfly, which is… I think it’s going to be a great record, because I’ve been listening a lot of extreme metal right now. Like, a lot of Polish stuff, like Inferno War and Batushka… I’ve been listening to a lot of that. And a lot of Full Of Hell… So, I’m excited right now, music is exciting. I’m writing like a maniac, and all my shit sounds like that. I think it’s gonna be a very interesting Soulfly record, the most extreme of all the Soulfly [stuff] we’ve ever done. But also the most strange one, because of all these influences coming out. So, I’m looking forward [to that]… I’m gonna start working with my son in January. He’s doing the drums and I really want to explore his drumming, too, because he’s a very unique drummer. He has got a lot of energy, so I wanna explore the raw energy that he has, on the new Soulfly record.


Rock Overdose: You must be a really proud father.


Max Cavalera: I am! He’s doing really good. Plus, Igor saw him playing the other night, my brother. He told me he thinks he’s playing amazing. He said he’s got a long way to go, he’s gotta learn a lot of stuff, you know. But I think he’s on the right track. What I like is his intensity, his raw energy, and that’s what I want to capture on the Soulfly album. There will be a lot of fast stuff on the next Soulfly [record], influenced by a lot of extreme metal. So, I think it’s gonna be a very interesting album.


Rock Overdose: Great! So, would you like to leave a message to the Greek fans?


Max Cavalera: I just want to thank all the fans. I can’t wait to see all the Greek fans, it’s gonna be great! I’m gonna have two days off in Athens, and I wanna go everywhere. [Laughs] I’m gonna visit everything, go have lunch in cool places, visit the Acropolis… I really enjoy my time in Greece, you know. And we have a friend in Greece, who offers us a house to stay in whenever we want to write some stuff. So, I might do that next year. I might be spending more time in Greece next year.




Rock Overdose: Next year? For holidays, or for writing?


Max Cavalera: Maybe for writing, for a couple of months. A trip in Greece, for a couple of months, just for writing.


Rock Overdose: I suppose you will write something inspired by Greece?


Max Cavalera: Yeah, I like a lot of Greek bands. I like a lot, Septic Flesh and Rotting Christ, you know. I love what they’re doing with their stuff. Sounds amazing, you know. Hopefully, I’ll get influenced by that a little bit as well. Put some of that on the record. [Laughs]


Rock Overdose: And maybe a collaboration with a musician from Greece…


Max Cavalera: Yes! Why not, right?


Rock Overdose: Rotting Christ’s Sakis Tolis, let’s say… Thank you very much for your time!


Max Cavalera: OK, I’ll see you in Greece.





For the Rock Overdose Webzine,

Ζisis Petkanas

Tapescript: Gkoutsidis Stergios