Interview conducted March 07 2016
Interview published March 25 2016
"I feel more comfortable
here than I do at home."
Metal Covenant met up with Max
Cavalera of Soulfly in the band's tour bus before
their show in Stockholm. Last time we talked, in August of 2015, we talked
a whole lot about the new record Archangel and therefore I now set focus
on touring activities and his sons' contribution to heavy music instead.
Max's sons, Zyon and Igor, play with Lody Kong and Richie [Max's stepson]
is the lead singer of Incite, making this whole European tour seem like
almost a family gathering, even if Lody Kong in fact didn't take part
of the final few dates of the tour.
Tobbe: There's only a few dates left on
this European tour and has everything been quite the same as usual for
Soulfly coming over here?
Max: It's been the same, but at the same time
a little bit different. It was a very exciting tour. I think it was
a really cool package, having the kids, in Lody Kong, and Incite, and
King Parrot was a very different opening band too, you know wild grindcore.
So it was really fun. Good guys and we had a lot of great shows, like
Prague, Poland and Belgium. For me this tour has been one of my most
successful and exciting tours I've done in a long time, so it's very
satisfying to be able to do that. You know, come over here and having
so much people coming down for the shows.
You're heading to Latin America soon after this current tour. You've been
around for a long time now and how much more dedicated, in a live environment,
are actually the fans in South America, comparing to North America and
Max: Well, similar. You know, metal fans are
quite similar everywhere. Just sometimes in Central and South America
they get really, really excited and really passionate. I think Nicaragua
is gonna be like that. It's gonna be an insane show. And I think Dominican
Republic too, because we've never been there. Anytime I go to a place
that I've never been to, and I've been doing this for 30 years, it's
always exciting. But overall it's pretty much the same feeling. Metal
is metal and the fans are very similar all over the world, you know.
Tobbe: And almost instantly after the Latin
and South American tour you're going to a 4 week tour in the US, so is
extensive touring an absolute necessity to keep a metal band floating
Max: Oh, for real, yeah. I mean, you can't survive
from record sales, 'cause you don't sell that much, you know. So it's
very important. Plus we like it. You know, we love the touring and we
love bringing the music to the people.
Tobbe: Even if you've been residing in the
United States for a long time now, is it very important for you to always
come back to South America, and especially Brazil where you were born
Max: Yeah. You know, the fans really appreciate
it. I'm some kind of a figure there. You know, from being the first
South American [metal] artist. I think they really like that and they
really respect that. I think there's a lot of really, really nice connection
with the fans there. And we try to play different places on this run.
In Brazil we're playing some different cities, like Ribeirão
Preto. Like I said, these places where you've never been before is always
really cool and really exciting.
Tobbe: So what made you go to the Dominican
Republic for the first time?
Max: We were pretty much talking to the promoter
and saying "Where can we go, that we've never been before?"
and he looked at the map and "Okay. Dominican Republic.".
So maybe in the future we can go to Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica? What the
hell, you know. Why not? And the Middle East I think is like the next
frontier for metal. And hopefully we can go to India. I know a lot of
bands are starting to go there, you know.
Tobbe: Do you have any festivals planned
for the summer-time?
Max: I hope so. We're doing this Roots thing
with Igor, you know, Cavalera Conspiracy. Return to the Roots, you know.
Playing the whole record and there's a lot of excitement around that.
Hopefully they're gonna book some stuff for Europe, so maybe some festivals.
I'd love to come back, either with Soulfly or Cavalera, and do some
festivals, 'cause I love the festivals. The festival season is amazing.
It's always great. Even the smaller festivals. I think they're even
cooler than the big ones.
You've been here in Europe since late January and does it become harder
to stay away from home as you're getting older?
Max: Not for me. I love it, you know. I feel
more comfortable here than I do at home. I love the tour bus and different
cities every night. Different food, different people. I'm a road warrior.
You know, I was born for this. I still enjoy it. It's fun and you get
to see a lot of cool stuff from the cities. You know, you walk around
a little bit and that's really special. And then what we're here for,
the show itself. We've had so many great shows on this tour that it's
been unbelievable and for me it's just amazing to be here.
Tobbe: Let's talk a little bit about your
sons' bands or actually your personal view of them. So do you think that
your sons have chosen wisely by devoting much of their time to a band
that plays heavy music?
Max: It's hard, you know. A lot of competition,
but I think they've got good things going for them. They have a good
label. Mascot Records is gonna put out their album. And hopefully they're
gonna get some other tours that they can do on their own and not with
Soulfly. And Richie just got the Devildriver tour in the US, so I think
that's gonna be good for them. Yeah, it's a tough life, a rough life,
but they chose that and they've seen me do it and enjoying it. So I
think they are looking at me and "If he likes it so much, I think
we have a chance to like it as well.".
Tobbe: You have personally had plenty of
success already, but in this day and age music is consumed in a totally
different way from what it was back then when you first started out, so
do your sons actually know more about adapting to today's musical climate
than what you do?
Max: You know, they got computers and all that
stuff. I don't really do that stuff. I go as much as just Spotify. But
the albums I really like I end up buying them myself, 'cause I wanna
have the physical copy, you know. I'm just old school like that. But
you can't really fight technology and you have to go along with it,
Tobbe: So in what way do you try to adapt
Max: I'm having some ideas for kind of the near
future. I'm talking to a headphone company and maybe they can make Soulfly
headphones and then we can put that out together with the next record.
That's something that the fans may like. A whole package. You know,
there's stuff like that that you can do. It's original and helps you
sell more records. But the reality is that you don't sell as much as
you used to and that's why we need to be more on tour than before, you
Tobbe: For your sons it's gonna be really
hard to reach your level and what you've accomplished through the years.
Do you believe that they maybe will be a little bit disappointed if they
can not reach their old man's level?
Max: I don't think that they really are looking
at it like that. They look at what I did, like "What he did was
almost impossible.". I think as long as they have fun with it it's
great. I told them, and that's really what it comes down to, like "Enjoy
what you do. Love what you do. It's better than if you have a job that
you hate. So just look at it like "You can be on tour and on a
stage or be working in some fucking office and hating life and really
working for someone that you don't believe in.". At least music
you believe in and you're doing something that you like. You don't really
need to do all the stuff I did, so just have fun with it.". So
that's kind of the advice I give to them, you know.
Tobbe: Was there ever a question whether
they would play heavy music, just like you do, or like completely distance
themselves from what you were doing and perform something completely different?
Max: I think what they do is different, you
Yeah, it's different, but it's still heavy.
Max: Yeah, it's still heavy, but it comes from
different influences. They have listened to different things than what
I do and it's a whole different mentality. But they are enjoying it.
It looks like they're having fun, so it's good that they do something
that they like. For me, I see their bands quite different from ,especially,
Soulfly. It's still heavy, but very different still, you know.
Tobbe: Is it kind of an odd feeling to have
your sons out on the road, together with you, and everything that comes
Max: It's normal. I mean, they grew up like
that. They were coming on tours before they had their own bands. When
they were born, they were born on tour and they've been on tour forever,
so for me it's no difference. The only difference is that they play
and are part of the show now. Apart from that it's not very different,
'cause they've always been around, you know.
Tobbe: They're still pretty young and, like
any parent, are you sometimes worried what they might be up to when you're
Max: Yeah, as always, as a parent, you have
to worry, but I think we really gave them good structures and good examples
and I think they follow that quite well. I mean, I look at them and
what they do and when I was their age I was way worse, but I don't tell
them that of course. They do a lot better and they have their feet on
the ground, which is good, especially with drugs and drinking, you know.
They don't do much, of any of them. So hopefully it will stay like that
and it will be more about the music than the drugs or the drinking.
Tobbe: Let's change subject here. If you
look back at Archangel now, is there anything that you might have done
differently if you were doing it today?
Max: Not really. I really like the way the album
came out. I think, for me, it's a very interesting album, especially
on the biblical stuff and I think it's got some really good songs, like
Archangel, Sodomites, Bethlehem's Blood, Ishtar Rising and We Sold Our
Souls To Metal. They are really powerful songs and I think they are
gonna be part of our setlist for a long time. So I think it was the
right album to make and I'm very happy with it.
I love the fact that the fans really liked it,
you know. I don't know if the media like it very much. I'm not sure,
but it doesn't seem like it. It didn't appear in many lists of "Best
albums" and stuff like that. But I never really cared about that
anyway. I don't make records for that reason, you know. I think the
album itself is quite cool and if I was to do it again today, I probably
would have done the same record.
Last time you told me that you were gonna start with a new Killer Be Killed
album during 2016 and that you already had some ideas back then, so how
deep into that process have you been able to go so far?
Max: Right now, just riffs. I'm just collecting
riffs now. I think it's gonna be a really great album. It has the potential
to be a really big album. I think Nuclear Blast also is gonna be really
behind it, so I think we can build something quite big with that and
make a really cool record. We're gonna work on it this year and that
means that it will come out next year.
Tobbe: You also told me that these last
couple of years have been quite intense for you and that you eventually
might slow down a little bit in the future, but honestly, don't you like
to have your hands full most of the time?
Max: Yeah, but I think it doesn't need to be
so much. That's why I think we're gonna tour most of this year, which
I think is really good. We haven't really done that in a long time,
like a whole year of touring for one record. We're already soon on our
3rd US tour, you know, and hopefully we can come back to Europe one
more time with it. So yeah, I think that eventually we will slow down
a little bit and I will have nothing out 'til next year for sure.
Tobbe: You started out when you were very
young. You were merely 17 years of age when the first Sepultura album
came out and do you remember what your goal was back then?
Max: I just loved the feeling that metal gave
me, you know. It was a feeling of different things, like rebellion,
anarchy, but also freedom, and anger. And you can direct your anger
through the music to the songs. Even today, it's still the same, even
though it's a bit more entertainment today, with the crowd, but still
there's a lot of anger and a lot of energy and adrenaline and I think
that's what moved me into metal. I really like the power that metal
Tobbe: With internet and stuff. When did
you personally figure out that the musical climate would change forever?
Did it take some time to realize that things were to become different
than what they used to be?
Max: It was a little by little, you know. I
just hope that people don't stop making records. I like the format of
a record. It's sacred. I hope that doesn't die and that it never becomes
out of style.