Soulfly (Max)

Soulfly (Max)

You just released your third album with Soulfly “III,” how would you compare it with your other albums?

Max Cavalera (vocals/guitar) – I think it is more focused, more solid, I like all of the different stages, but this one shows more of a solid band, more direct songs, a little bit experimental, but not as much, it’s more like straight to the guys that really like Soulfly, it’s probably his favorite album is going to be this one because there’s no bullshit, it’s like to the point.

Do you think it’s important to progress from album to album?

Max – Depends on which band you are talking about. Some bands like AC/DC I don’t think it doesn’t matter, they can do the same shit over and over and it’s still good and it’s still the AC/DC style, for a band like Soulfly I think it’s important to keep the roots, but change as well, we have to do both, you change but don’t change too much, but make sure you don’t stay stale and don’t become repetitious.

A lot of fans kind of wanted you to “return to your roots” on this album, do you feel like you did that or that it was even really necessary?

Max – No, I felt that everything that is on the album is because it is supposed to be on the album, and the funny thing is people ask about that afterwards, so the album is already made, but with or without the wish of the fans for me to return to some of the heavy songs, it wouldn’t be there anyway, it was preordained by my mind before I even talked to anybody, there’s no such thing as I wrote this album because of the pressure of the fans, like “oh yeah, you gotta write something hard,” there’s no such thing, but I’m happy that I’m back to some of that stuff, like a song like “Last Of The Mohicans,” I really like playing that song, mainly live you know? So I’m glad that subconsciously it worked out that way, you know in a crazy way, the fans wanted that and I gave them that, but I didn’t do it thinking I had to, it just happened like that.

You actually worked with Christian from Ill Nino on another song on the album, what was it like working with him?

Max – Yeah man, it’s been cool, and just good vibes in the studio from all the primitive sessions, the first album, working with Christian was great, I love what he did with “One,” the melodic voice, with a drum machine, it’s kind of a strange song, for me it is a little bit experimental in terms of, it’s a little bit of Godflesh with that condensed with Soulfly, with Ill Nino man, it’s a weird mix.

That’s actually my favorite song on the album.

Max – Oh yeah? Cool. Yeah, I worked with Christian, I had never worked with him before and I was really happy with how well we ended up doing it.

Soulfly (Max)

Is it cool for you to see bands like Ill Nino that are obviously influenced by Sepultura and Soulfly and you in particular with their latin influences showing?

Max – Yeah, hell yeah, I think it’s, I mean I was looking it at the thing that like the most influences as a metal album, “Roots” (from Sepultura) was there, and directly System Of The Down afterwards, and right on the System Of A Down thing it says “directly influenced by Sepultura,” and it’s true you know before Sepultura there was no such thing as Armenian-American metal, metal taken from different parts of the world, Sepultura was one of the first, so I’m glad I am part of that, and still proud that I have influenced bands like Puya and Ill Nino and stuff like that, hopefully influence more and more.

Do you think it is important to incorporate your roots into your music like that?

Max – Yeah, and I do it because I like it, it’s not like I had to do it because I like it, it’s not like if I don’t do that I am betraying my country or anything like that, because I don’t feel like that, but I enjoy doing it, I think it is unique to sing in Portuguese, it’s unique to have those strange instruments, it separates Soulfly from other bands.

So you’ve got Roy Mayorga back behind the kit, how has that been so far?

Max – Great, it’s the way it’s supposed to be I think, the transition he was out for a while I think was just a learning experience for him to get his shit together, he had to get out of Soulfly and miss it so much to come back and realize “wow man, this is where I belong,” this is the kind of music that he is supposed to be playing, so he’s back and better then ever, this line up is really my favorite line up of the band ever.

Roadrunner is actually releasing a live album for your last show with Sepultura, what do you think about that?

Max – I think it’s cool because Pantera, Metallica, all those classic bands have live albums out officially, and there’s many bootlegs of Sepultura, but most of them don’t have a good quality, so for a fan to actually, really, mostly like a young guy, a new guy that never heard that, he should listen to Sepultura, how powerful that shit was, because I’m proud of it, I think that show is a double CD, we played 20 some odd songs, it’s got pieces of Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, we’re doing all these little jams, so it was cool, so I think for a fan they should check it out.

Now your wife was actually telling me that tomorrow you’re going to be playing and acoustic set for XM Radio, how do you think Soulfy acoustic is going to go over?

Max I think it’s going to cool because it’s something that is like different, and it’s actually our own songs so we’re not covering anybodies stuff. I don’t feel that, I mean it’s not unplugged in terms of, I mean we’re not taking a song that was heavy and making it into an Unplugged song, what we’re doing is mixing the three Soulfly songs, which they are instrumental anyway, and they are melodic, and just playing them live together as one. I can’t tell you how it’s going to turn out, because I was doing it right here with Marcello (Rupp, bassist) before you got here, we were jamming it, but I think it’s going to be cool. I think it’s going to show a side of Soulfly that exists, and like I said, it’s not like an Unplugged thing, like we’re not going to make an acoustic version of “Eye For An Eye” or something like that, that wouldn’t go down well (both of us laugh).

So for the fourth time in World Cup history, Brazil is the best soccer team in the world, how exciting is that for you and your country?

Max – For me it’s cool because I love soccer you know so I watch it, but for Brazil I think it’s really good for young kids, because it’s their role models you know? And some of those kids are going to look up to those guys and instead of turning to drugs and crime they’re going to turn, hopefully one day they can be as good as those guys and make it into the world of sports, so I feel happy for them because of the fact, you know a country like Brazil is a poor country, that is very positive and very good, a lot like music, the music I am making reflects on all the young kids in Brazil, and they want to be like “let’s work hard and we can be like Max and travel the world, and see he made it out of Brazil, we can too, and soccer does the same thing for the young kids.

So when will we see you get in line for your Renoldo haircut like everyone else in Brazil?

Max – I hate that haircut man, it looks stupid (both of us laugh), he plays good but he should get rid of that, it looks like some pigeon just shit on his head, I don’t know what was up with that shit.

So who would win in a fight between the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus?

Max – I think Santa Claus, probably Santa Claus, more experience. Who knows what he’s carrying around in that bag? He’s probably got a fucking chain saw in there (everyone laughs).

Any new bands out now that you’re feeling?

Max – I will still Will Haven, still one of my favorite bands. Their album is a year old now but still, it just rips, it’s killer. These guys over here (points out window to downthesun’s RV) they’re real good, downthesun. Killswitch Engage is good, I like those guys….

They’re from around here.

Max – That’s cool, I think Hatebreed is good, but you know hopefully there is more of that and less of like Papa Roach and that kind of shit, it’s like enough of that, even with this new Soulfly album, there was really nothing comparison to nu-metal, it’s like people that have heard this album were like “there’s nothing of this nu-metal stuff on this album, because you know the pop metal thing, like the Linkin Park and the Papa Roach and stuff like that, I think people are getting really tired of that. People need more stuff like Soulfly and Killswitch Engage and more like the real pain.

You’ve tour with tons of awesome bands over the years, who are some bands that you haven’t toured with that you would like to?

Max – This is one of them, Slayer. I’ve played with Slayer in South America, Argentina, in Europe, but doing a whole tour with them is awesome, I mean I grew up with Slayer, and they are cool guys and it’s just a killer fuckin site, we go there and kill, then they go there and kill (laughs), and it’s like double kill in one night.

Are you guys doing “Terrorist?”

Max – Not yet, eventually hopefully it will happen at some of the main shows, but it’s something like, I know how it is for Tom (Araya from Slayer), he’s got to sing for an hour and a half, and I respect that, so I give him the space. If it happens it will be awesome, if he doesn’t it’s still cool.

Soulfly (Max)

As you just mentioned, you’re out right now with Slayer, In Flames and downthesun, how has this tour been so far?

Max – It’s been great, it’s kind of like it’s an event more then anything, because we think Soulfly will bring in a crowd that probably wouldn’t see Slayer, and some of the Slayer fans turning their head to Soulfly and saying “wow man, this is some cool shit here that I didn’t expect.” So it works both ways, and it’s like an event, like we have our own show, the crowd is like “Soulfly, Soulfly” but they are also ready for Slayer, so everybody wins, and the end of the day it’s not a competition, it’s an event. I wish the tour could go longer and go to like Europe and South America. This tour in South America kids would just kill man, I’m not even joking, it would be brutal.

Do you have any tours lined up after this?

Max – We’re doing our own headlining tour, I don’t know who is on it, we are looking at that right now, Will Haven is going to be on it and then two other bands, and then we are going to keep touring, we’re going to go to Europe and Japan, and just stay on the road, for Soulfly that is the best thing, to stay on the road.

What do you do to keep busy on the road music?

Max – (points to guitar), music (points to CD player), movies (points to TV) and more music (points to CD’s) and then there are different things like tomorrow is cool, it takes your mind away from the normal, just do something different. I like to do more of that stuff but sometimes the politics kind of like, I’d like to get on top of that truck right now and play (points out window to downthesun’s RV), in the middle of the day for free, but it’s not always you can really do all that, but we still keep trying.

What keeps you motivated on the days when you’re sick and just don’t feel like playing?

Max – Family, friends, the music itself, you know everything I dreamed to is here for so many years, coming out of Brazil and all, and the music and what I do for a living, it’s my dream, even when I am in the sickest, worst condition, I always find some strength, like it could be worse, I just look at it and say “man, you could be in another part of the world doing nothing but crime or whatever,” fucking throwing your life away, so I always find strength, even in the worst moments.

How would you sell your new album “III” to someone who has never heard of Soulfly before?

Max – Ah shit. (editors note: this answer is hard to make out because of Max’s accent, so parts are a little choppy) Godzilla told someone… something with experimentation, or Bob Marley wouldn’t sound like this, because it’s got a lot of percussion and stuff, but it still hasn’t … it’s the monster version of war music.

Any last comments?

Max – I want to thank all the people behind me and that have always supported Soulfly, this means a lot to me, even sometimes you get to only see in the CD’s and in interviews, but I really mean it, because coming out of Sepultura was a big struggle to make this, to make Soulfly strong, and a band that makes a big part of the music scene, and I couldn’t have done it without them, I thank the fans a lot for that, I couldn’t have done it without them.

Editors final note: After the show my friend Eric had a chance to meet Max and while they were talking, Max told him nice shirt, since he was wearing a team USA soccer jersey. When Eric was leaving Max asked if he wanted to trade jerseys. Max took the shirt off his back and exchanged it for Eric. I really thought that was a classy act. Very, very cool of him.

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