MAX CAVALERA – Sepultura Soulfly Cavalera Conspiracy
Max Cavalera needs no introduction. He’s after all one of the founding members, together with his younger brother Iggor Cavalera, of Sepultura. After leaving Sepultura in the mid 90’s, he formed Soulfly and a few years ago reunited with Iggor Cavalera, forming a new band: Cavalera Conspiracy. On the 10th of June, Cavalera Conspiracy started their European tour here in Tampere during the Sauna Open Air festival, promoting their latest record Blunt Force Trauma, which has been getting a lot praise from media and fans. Just a few hours before Max went on stage with Cavalera Conspiracy, he was kind enough to talk about the new tour, some plans for Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly, Brazil, Finland and other things.
Interview by Petri Da Costa
Tell us how the tour for the new record, Blunt Force Trauma, has been?
It’s good. The first leg [of the tour] was in US…actually the first gig was in Brazil with Iron Maiden, which was the opening for Iron Maiden in Morumbi [N.: the soccer stadium in São Paulo]. It was fucking cool, there were 60,000 people, we did a kick ass gig, it was very cool to be in Brazil after such a long time. Then afterwards it was the US tour, which was very quick, 3 weeks, we didn’t play all the places, we just did most of the big cities, like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Texas. After this [European] tour we’ll go back to US, do more cities which we didn’t do. But everything is cool, people liked the new record, the new record is strong, the songs are cool when we play, so everything is well.
About the gig with Iron Maiden, how did that happen? Did the invitation come from them?
It came from them, an invitation from them, they wanted us to help the São Paulo gig, to be more strong. They added us and the cool thing is that it helped a lot with the tickets, it sold a lot more after they added Cavalera, it became a bigger gig. It was cool, we were threated well, their crew is really cool, the guys in the band are also really nice people. I had already played with them, in Argentina with Soulfly…I think even here in Finland we openned for them with Soulfly a few years ago, it was cool…it was a cool experience.
Is there a possibility of a tour in Brazil or even a South American tour?
There’s a tour which is with Soulfly, a Brazilian tour, which will be 5 gigs and I think it’ll be…in September. It’ll be cool, I think it’ll be Belo Horizonte, Rio, São Paulo, Curitiba and Fortaleza, I hope that happens.
How long since you were in Belo Horizonte [N.: the city where both Max and Iggor grew up and formed Sepultura]?
It’s been a really long time. The last times I was in Brazil was in 2002, in [the festival] Abril Pro Rock, and in ’98 with Soulfly in São Paulo and then went back…last year, in SWU, the festival in Campinas, which was really cool, a kick ass gig…and then with Iron Maiden. But I haven’t gone to Belo Horizonte in more then 15 years.
Yeah…long time. Gotta visit the family.
Do you still have any contact with some people in Belo Horizonte, like old friends?
No contact, but I think everybody is there, I have family there…I have uncle, aunt, cousin. A big family. Everybody in my mom’s side of the family is from Belo Horizonte, so everybody is still there. Sometimes we call during Christmas to say hi to everybody and check how’s everybody doing.
So there’s no tour plan for Cavalera in Brazil?
But are you guys trying to negotiate that to happen?
We are trying, have to see if it’ll happen. Maybe after this Soulfly one, if it’s cool, if things go well, we can even do with the same crew, with the same people and do one with Cavalera maybe next year.
How do you guys come up with the gigs’ set lists? Is it something between you and Iggor or does everybody give a suggestion?
Mostly is between me and Iggor, we are…to tell you the truth I’m the one who does the set list since I have more experience, I have been doing for many years, I kinda know what needs to be played to get the crowd wild if there’s 1 hour. There’s a moment that needs ”Refuse/Resist”, there’s a moment that needs ”Inflikted”…you have to do a cool mix. Also now there’s more Cavalera tunes, so we are playing less Sepultura, playing more Cavalera…there’s a lot more Cavalera songs to play.
But do you feel that in a way is ”obligatory” to play Sepultura?
We like to play because it’s part of the history…so it’s cool. My point of view is that, for a lot of metalheads, a lot of people that grew up with us, seeing me and Iggor together, they want to hear some old stuff like ”Refuse/Resist”, ”Troops of Doom”…And when they hear that, it’s emotional, it’s cool.
I believe that many didn’t see during that time.
There are many that didn’t see back then, there are some that saw and are reliving so…The cool thing about playing the old songs is that the songs have more history. I think it’s cool, I like to play…I like to mix the Cavalera tunes with the Sepultura ones, I think it’s cool to do that.
Is there any Sepultura song that you guys haven’t played yet, but are planning to play?
I wanted to do with Iggor…I wanted to do ”Morbid Visions”, do stuff like that (laughs). Stuff that we haven’t played much.
It would be good.
Or even from the ”Bestial Devastation” EP, to play ”Bestial Devastation” would be so crazy after so many years.
I think many would be surprised.
They would…I think that many people wouldn’t even know what’s that (laughs). ‘What are they playing? What’s that? Sounds like death metal’ (laughs). It’d be cool.
Is it difficult for you to handle these 2 bands? Both Cavalera and Soulfly go on tour, release cds and I heard that you are planning a project with the guy from Dillinger Escape Plan [N.: Greg Puciato]. How do handle all of them?
It’s kinda like…you have to give time for each one. For example, this year I’m dedicating more [time] for Cavalera and I took a break from Soulfly. I talked with Iggor, gonna do a lot a of things with Cavalera this year, I really wanna be a lot on tour this year and I said to him that I’m taking a break from Soulfly to do all these Cavalera gigs and he thought it was cool. I also have this project with Greg, we started to talk and it came from an idea, actually from him. He loves Nailbomb and wanted to do something similar to Nailmbomb. He conviced me to to this project because I wasn’t ready for that, I said to him that I was very busy with Cavalera and with Soulfly already (laughs). A full plate, but he conviced me, we did couple of songs in my place, wrote some stuff, it was really cool and I think in August we’ll record. But it’s going to be only a project, there won’t be any tours.
So kinda like Nailbomb.
Just like Nailbomb. Just a project.
And is it coming out this year or?
I think next year.
Let’s talk a bit about Finland. Like we were talking before [the interview], you have been coming here since the early 90’s, during the Sepultura era, and with Soulfly you have been a lot here too, and I think this is the second time for Cavalera here. Do you like here?
I think it’s nice, there’s a cool crowd and the gigs here have always been good, since the Sepultura era. We played here with Sepultura in the early 90’s in a festival with White Lion(Ed note it was Winger), that poser band (laughs). The guys [in White Lion] played after us and got hit with glasses, some guys threw garbage in their stage.
I think it was a festival in Hämeenlina if I’m not mistaken.
Yeah, during the day too, the sun was burning and…it was cool. Since then I always thought that it was nice to come here in Finland, which is a place that I didn’t know a lot about, that you don’t hear a lot about it in Brazil. Then I came back with Soulfly, started to do more gigs, festivals too, headlinning too, and there has always been a loyal crowd here, very cool. So I think it’s nice to come here.
And what about the bands here? I know that you and Iggor listened a lot to the old punk/hc from here, like Rattus, Terveet Kädet, Kaaos. Do you still listen them?
Well I like it man, I still have this kind of stuff…got my vinyls.
How did you get to know them? Because they were already underground here and I can imagine that in Brazil, especially in the 80’s, it would be even more difficult to find…
[Interrupting] We found it man, don’t know how, searching…on tapes, recordings. I never found a LP from Kaaos, still today I only have on tape. The record’s cover is a van upside down on fire, which is very cool. I even had a t-shirt with that picture, which I used for the ”Arise” video. I never got that on vinyl, it’s impossible…
Nowadays is even more impossible.
Yeah, probably it doesn’t even exist anymore. I met the guy from Terveet Kädet last time Cavalera was here, I think he was the guitarist, Äijälä [N.: actually he's the singer and only original member of the band], he came to the gig and brought me a lot of vinyls too, and it was very cool. I had already met the guys from Rattus during the Sepultura era, I had done…I wrote something that came out in one of their cds, which was about their influence on our sound, because Sepultura had an influence from hardcore. One of the bands I had mentioned was Rattus, I thought that their energy was perfect for a an angry kid from the third world, and their sound was perfect, really crazy, really raw…really cool. I don’t even know if these bands still play…
Some still play sometimes, if I’m not mistaken Terveet Kädet and Rattus still play sometimes, but I’m not sure if Kaaos still plays. Here close to Tampere there’s a punk festival that sometimes brings these old bands from the 80’s to play [N.: Puntala Rock in Lempäälä, about 25km from Tampere].
Oh really? Cool…
But it’s rare that they play…
It’s underground and the guys must be old (laughs).
In this new record, Roger (Miret) from Agnostic Front sings with you in ”Lynch Mob”. Do you still keep in touch with the guys from Biohazard, Sick of it All? Do you still listen to these hardcore bands?
We are their friends, of all these bands. Sick of it All went to the Cavalera gig in Holland, in Amsterdan, all of the guys were there. We, Soulfly, also played together in a festival last year, and also Biohazard, Cro-Mags…I played with Cro-Mags, the guys dedicated a song for us, it was really cool. I like a lot hardcore, me and Iggor always liked, Black Flag, Sick of it All, Madball. Agnostic Front was one of New York’s pioneer bands, I think one of the first. They started in the early 80’s and were releasing fast records, a fucking fast hardcore, seemed like tharsh even, it was already flerting with thrash even before S.O.D.
It was already crosssover…
Yeah, they were mixing with thrash. The guys that listened to thrash started to like hardcore and the guys who listened to hardcore also liked thrash. It was Sepultura that took Sick of it All on tour, and Napalm Death, which was the New Titans on the Block, it was a very cool tour and mixed [the styles] also. In New York there were a lot of punks, guys with the mohawk in the metal crowd and it was fucking cool, it worked, it was a mixture that worked. So when I went to work on the new Cavalera cd, I spoke with Iggor that it’d be cool if we’d ask Roger to do a song. For me he’s a pioneer of New York’s hardcore history, he’s kinda like ”The Godfather” of New York hardcore. I have his phone number so I called him, asked him and he thought it was fucking cool. He was even surprised because a lot of people invite his brother to do guest apperances…Fred [N.: Fred Miret, Madball's singer], but a lot of people don’t call him, he said he’s old (laughs).
And have you thought about asking him for a live jam?
I think it’s gonna happen, some place where we’ll see.
Speaking about the new record, there’s the special edition that has a live dvd, do you guys have any plan of releasing a blu ray/dvd/live cd of this new tour?
There’s nothing planned, but we’ll see. A lot of these festivals film [the gig] and send to us, this is how the France one happened [the live dvd on the special edition]. The guys sent to the office, we watched and thought it was fucking cool, it was filmed with 10 cameras and [there was] 50.000 people, a cool gig. So we decided to put in the special edition.
What are the other plans after these Cavalera gigs? Are you guys gonna take a break and afterwards record another cd?
Well, for now nothing, we have to do more tours. After Europe, Cavalera will go back to US, do another tour in US and there’ll be a gig in Puerto Rico with Mötörhead, we’ll open for Mötörhead, it’ll be cool. Then I have 3 gigs with Soulfly in Malasia and Indonesia, the last time I was there it was with Sepultura, so it’ll be cool too.
And about Soulfly, if I’m not mistaken next year the band will be celebrating 15 years, do you have anything special planned to celebrate these 15 years?
I didn’t even know that it was 15 years.
Yeah, if I’m not mistaken it’s 15 years…wasn’t it in ’97?
Yeah, it started…
So next year will be 15 years.
We’ll do something then (laughs). Plan something, it’d be cool.
Well, thanks for everything!