Max Cavalera Talks New CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, Addresses SEPULTURA Reunion - "We Should Be Playing In Different Groups, Having Fun With It And Doing Some Shows Together From Time To Time"

April 18, 2011, 6 years ago

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By Mitch Lafon

Max Cavalera is best known for his work with SOULFY and SEPULTURA, but currently on the singer’s mind is CAVALERA CONSPIRACY (a band he formed with his brother, Iggor). The band’s latest album, Blunt Force Trauma, is a metal tour de force that should establish the band as a true metal headliner rather than an after-thought side-project. Max recently sat down with to discuss all things Cavalera. Over the years, you’ve been part of a variety of musical outlets including Cavalera Conspiracy. Why not just have Soufly?

Max Cavalera: “Most of the reason for that to happen is that I reunited with Iggor. We were playing and creating music together, so we decided to make a band. He came and played two songs at a Soulfly show and the crowd went totally nuts and I knew at that time that we needed to create more music together. We should make a new band, we should make new music, we should go in the studio and be creative like we were twenty years ago. Something inside was telling me to do this and it shouldn’t interfere with Soulfly. Soufly is completely on its own – it’s its own element. Soulfly survives no matter what. I change members from time to time, but it continues. It’s something that’s always there. It’s always there for me, so I thought I could do Conspiracy with Iggor and still have Soulfly. I could have both bands. I’ll take the challenge and it’ll be fun to make metal with my brother again and go back to some of those thrash vibes and thrash ideas that we started in the ‘80s, but we didn’t continue because the band broke up so we will continue them now.” Will you include Sepultura songs in your live set with Cavalera Conspiracy?

Cavalera: “We’ll do a couple. Some of the ones that people really want to hear me sing with Iggor like 'Refuse’, ‘Roots’ and older stuff like ‘Arise’ – it’s been twenty years since it came out. I’ve been talking with Iggor about playing some really obscure songs that not even Sepultura play anymore. That would be really fun to bring out to the set list.” It’s been three years since the band’s last album, Inflikted. What can fans expect from the new album, Blunt Force Trauma?

Cavalera: “It’s based on the same concept as Inflikted, but it’s got more to it. I think the band got more connected, we play better and we know each other better. I think there’s a growth inside the music and we got to experiment more. Killing Inside came from an experimental riff that gave the first idea of the song and it grew from there. That kind of surprise was really cool to have on Blunt Force Trauma. It’s something new that wasn’t there on the first record and it’s really exciting. Material like 'Ghengis Khan', 'Killing Inside' and 'I Speak Hate' were really fresh and new. The other stuff is a continuation of the kind of thrash songs that we had on Inflikted and then there’s fast stuff like 'Torture, Target' and 'Thrasher.” The songs on the album are relatively short. Almost all are three minutes or shorter…

Cavalera: “A lot of them are. The first half of the album we did with the idea of doing short songs. It was a way to break the ice. We came to the studio and said ‘what are we going to do?’ I said, ‘I have an idea. Let’s write a bunch of fast songs… short songs,’ and everybody liked that. We did half the album like that and it felt really good. It was really powerful, energetic and awesome, but I knew it was going to need more. That’s why stuff like Killing Inside came aboard – with a groove and a different kind of tempo that was needed for the album to be complete. Warlord is a great opener for the album. It’s got a really strange tempo for an album opener. I’ve never opened an album with a mid-tempo song like that. It’s groove oriented and it’s great to play live. The people go crazy right from the first note. It’s awesome and it’s really powerful live. We didn’t write 'Warlord' to be the first song, but everyday in the studio when we’d come in to do a new session – the engineer would start with that song. It grew to be an opening song. We didn’t know it when we did it. I thought the opening song was going to be a fast song, but that didn’t turn out to be the case.” I also like the fact that the album is only thirty-five minutes long. I grew up in the ‘70s with bands like KISS that all had thirty-minute albums. I love the fact that I can put on Blunt Force Trauma and have the whole album experience in thirty-minutes.

Cavalera: “That was a conscious decision. It’s back to albums like Beneath The Remains and Arise that were both about thirty minutes. I think most people can only experience that. If it’s longer than that most people aren’t going to finish the record. I noticed that with even some of my Soufly records – people can’t finish the record because they’re too long. People get half way through and just leave. They never come back to finish the record and that’s very frustrating for me. I wanted them to listen to the whole record, so I thought if we make a shorter record people are going to be able to stick with it. They’ll listen from beginning to the end without having to go to the bathroom and without ruining their day because it’s going on too long. It was done with that in mind and I think it’s the perfect time for a record.” I agree. People always say that digital downloads killed the music business, but I think it was the CD. I remember listening to those thirty minutes album in the ‘70s and loving them then going to those seventy-five minute records in the ‘80s and getting the impression that it was a job. Albums were simply too long and there was too much filler. The music experience became boring.

Cavalera: “Right.” What’s next for the band? A long tour…

Cavalera: “Right now, we’re going little by little. We have a US tour that starts at the end of this month. It starts in L.A. – which is really cool and I have my sons’ band, MOLD BREAKER, opening the first three shows. I’m really excited about that because they’re new, young and super excited. I like to give them this opportunity to play for a bigger crowd. It’s going to be awesome. Then we go to New York, but we won’t cover all of the US right now. We’ll have to come back and do that (which is cool). We go to Europe to do a lot of the summer festivals. We’re playing with everybody from OZZY to METALLICA. We’re doing Sonisphere, Hellfest, Grasspop (in Belgium) – which is huge. After that, we have stuff in Australia…” What about Canada?

Cavalera: “Hopefully, we can do that too. I’ve always loved Canada. We have a great following there… a great fan base going all the way back to the Sepultura days. I know I have a lot of fans in Canada and I’ve always liked playing there and there are great crowds there.” What are you personal plans after the Blunt Force Trauma album/touring cycle is done? Do you make another Soufly album or another C.C. album?

Cavalera: “My idea is to re-group Soulfly.” You just finished a tour with Soulfly…

Cavalera: “Yeah – Soulfly just finished a huge world tour. We went to China, Israel, Australia, Siberia (we did ten shows there) – it was amazing. Let’s me ask you about Israel. Given the political climate in that region – was it a scary experience?

Cavalera: “It was my second time in Israel. I went there to do a video for 'Territory' with Sepultura. We were in the airport for three or four hours getting searched which was really crazy. I did not expect that. This time the airport check was a lot faster. We were there with Ozzy. It was Soulfly opening for Ozzy and KORN. It was a big show some 15,000 people and it was great. The day before, I visited all the sacred places – the place where Jesus was crucified and I got to do some of that sightseeing which, to me, was one of the best parts about being in Israel. I couldn’t do it when I did the Territory video because we were not allowed to shoot in all the Holy places. We were not allowed to go there, so we did a lot of shooting in the desert and most of the video was done outside of Jerusalem. This time I got to visit all those places and we had a really killer day off. The day of the show was great. I got to see Ozzy and he was really happy to have us there as a guest of his show. He was friendly as always and as he’s always been to me. He came to the dressing room to say hi to us. That was really cool and awesome and we had a really good show.” So, after this album/tour cycle – you’ll start work on a new Soulfly album?

Cavalera: “Yeah. I hope to do some things a little bit different with Soufly like maybe record in a different place.” Do you mean a physical or musical change of place?

Cavalera: “A bit of both. I think it’s time for Soulfly to try something really really new and, for me as an artist, to create something that’s really shocking to some of the fans. From time to time I need to do that to really shake my own head and create…” Is there a danger in doing that?

Cavalera: “There is, but there’s also excitement. When you feel right then you’re doing the right thing like when I did Roots. That was a risk taker kind of an album and it was criticized by a lot of people, but also really loved by a lot of people. Now, it’s considered one of the crucial moments in our career. It’s a really groundbreaking record. Now, that it’s done and it was this groundbreaking record; I feel we did the right thing even though we took a risk.” It was adventurous and it was a good move…

Cavalera: “Right and it was dangerous, but it was also exciting. I like to put myself into that kind of situation where I feel kind of cornered and I have to do something to recreate myself as an artist. I feel the need from time to time to do things like that.” What’s next for Cavalera Conspiracy? Is this it or do you see yourself continuing and making more albums?

Cavalera: “Oh, yeah we are going to make a third record. I love playing with Iggor. It’s a part of me that was a void that I really felt…” How is it to be playing with him?

Cavalera: “It’s great, man. It’s something that was missing from my life. When I didn’t speak to him for ten years it was a really low point in my life. It was a low time in my personal life. I felt a big void and when I had a chance to be his brother again and I decided to make music with him again (which is something I really like and he enjoys it too). I really dig the stuff we’re doing with Cavalera. It’s not just a job or something we have to do. It’s something that really gives me a lot of joy. To play with Iggor again, to me, is something really fulfilling and it really makes me happy to go on tour with him, to talk to him, to be near him, to hang around him and to be brothers again. It’s also cool because we do these tours and go back home and we don’t see each other for a couple of months, but when we do see each other it’s exciting. That’s the secret and that’s why it works.” I think Metallica discovered that as well. They used to do three-year tours and everybody hated each other. Now, they do two weeks on – two weeks off…

Cavalera: “You get burned out if you do those huge tours. Those long tours… It gets to you. When I created Cavalera, I told Iggor we are not going to do any long tours. We’ll do a couple and then come back home and re-group. We’ll spend time with the family and go back out again and it’s been working  - just like it’s been working for Metallica. It’s a great way of being a band, but also of having a family life. You can enjoy both parts of your life – your professional and family life.” It’s got to be nice to be able to be home for your kids.

Cavalera: “It is man and they need you too. As a parent, you need to be there for school stuff…” Well, just to be dad – you need to be there.

Cavalera: “Yeah – to go out with them and do stuff. My two young kids have a band, so I’m really connected to them on their music. So, I take them to guitar shops and buy them a proud dad I say, ‘let’s go buy strings’ and we get in the car and go. I jam some tunes with them because we like the same kind of music.” So, they’re not listening to JUSTIN BIEBER…

Cavalera: “NO, no – they are metal heads!” You’ve raised them well…

Cavalera: “They are full-on metal heads. The drummer liked rap for a while which really had me kind of scarred, but I said ‘c’mon man – rap is shit. It’s fake. It’s stupid with its guns and bling-bling. You’ve got to get back into metal man’. So, I got him back into metal and now he loves metal so everything’s cool.” That’s very cool. What web sites should we plug and any last words?

Cavalera: “Cavalera has and Soufly has Let your energy out and come see us. Have fun with us on the tour. I’m really excited and the new album speaks for itself. It has a lot of energy and it was created with that in mind – with the energy of the fans in mind. When I wrote the songs, I actually closed my eyes and imagined huge circle pits. It was created with the fans in mind and I can’t wait to see everybody at the shows.” Before we go may I ask you a question about Sepultura?

Cavalera: “Yes.” You’ve made peace with Iggor. Do you think you might ever make peace with Sepultura and maybe play a show with them again? Or is that simply not possible?

Cavalera: “I’m totally cool with that. I don’t have anything against those guys. We were good friends for many years. We grew up together. I’d love to see it happen… to be friends with everybody would be really cool. This kind of war is stupid, you know. After, spending ten years not talking to Iggor and to see how stupid that was. Ten years without speaking to each other, but now we’re back again. We could have solved it years ago, but nobody did. I wish this Max-Sepultura press war was over. I wish it would finish and we could just be friends. We should be playing in different groups, having fun with it and doing some shows together from time to time. That would be great.” I think fans would love it…

Cavalera: “It would be cool man.”

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