To most metal fans Max Cavalera needs no introduction at all. The Brazilian-born musician is the man behind bands such as Sepultura, Nailbomb, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and Killer Be Killed. You name it in the metal industry and Cavalera has been there and done that.
He is also the man behind one of the most influential albums in the metal genre – Sepultura’s 1996 album Roots. When you ask enough thirty-something musicians during interviews to name what the bands and albums were that influenced them to become a metal artist and at least half of them will name Sepultura and Roots on their list of influences.
One of the biggest surprises of early 2017 was when that Max Cavalera was once again teaming up with his brother Igor for the Return To Roots Tour which would see the band re-create the “Roots” album in its entirety on stage. Heavy Mag decided to sit down and have a chat with Max about the tour, which has sold out right around the world, and he also decided to tell us a few things about the brand new Cavalera Conspiracy album that will be released later this year.
We start by talking about the Return To Roots tour and the excitement is easily heard in Max’s voice as he passionately tells me what it means to him. “It has been really fantastic,” he says. “It is a really cool celebration of this album. It was massive for us and we are playing the whole thing, we’ve never done that before so to me it has been a fantastic experience. It has even made me appreciate the album more, I think Roots is even more amazing now than when I first wrote it. I look at it differently now because of time, the time has gone by and those songs have really become part of a lot of people’s lives. The tour has been a huge success right around the world and I think that is great because it has been cool for me to take a break from all the other projects that I have, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy and go back and do something old and show people this record in its entirety. There is all this energy, we’ve got a great band, great players and Igor is playing his balls off, so it’s great, man. I’ve been really surprised by the turnout because it has sold out everywhere – everybody wants to see this thing. It’s really amazing that this album is so relevant in so many people’s lives and that makes me really excited to go out and play.”
One thing that has come through this year as bands like Grinspoon and Spiderbait have also decided to re-create a classic album on stage has been the fact that each band has talked about how hard it has been to go back and put themselves in the headspace they were in twenty years ago and of course play tracks live that have never been performed on stage before – Max agrees that they have had some of the same issues but a fun issue. “That has been the most fun part,” he says chuckling. “Getting to play songs that we have never played live before. It’s been exciting. Of course, you have the classics like Roots Bloody Roots that everybody wants to hear but then you have the underground stuff, stuff like Ambush, that we have never played live before. For me, that is fun because it means that I get to re-discover the album, and to be honest some of those songs sound better live than what they do in the studio so that has been a fantastic experience. A track like Istari is just Igor with the drums, it is very tribal and a very powerful part of the show and then during Ambush, we have this part where we just do a drum session – it is just Igor and I doing the drums – it’s a jam… it’s really, really cool. I think it is fun to show people just how powerful the record was and I think that we are doing real justice to the album by playing everything from the beginning to the end – we don’t leave anything off of it. It’s the whole record and then after we come out and play around with some cover songs and some of the shit that we like.”
So how does Max choose what cover songs the band are going to do on the night? “We love to play the metal anthems that everybody loves,” he says. “We’ve been doing Ace Of Spades as a tribute to Lemmie, he was such a legendary man in metal and we’ve done some Celtic Frost and we’ve done some Venom because they were a big influence on the early Sepultura stuff. There is also some stuff that I do just with Igor that is like going back to our garage or our bedroom back in Brazil. It’s just me and him jamming and we might even do some even older Sepultura stuff as well – just little pieces of riffs, with vocals and drums. That part of the show is very fun because people get to see how Igor and I warm up. That’s how we warm up, we play our own stuff you know. It’s a really cool intimate part of the show and the audience gets to be part of our world and how we warm up to write songs or to jam. All together, that with the cover songs and the whole record, which is like an hour – it’s a full experience – it’s a full night of metal – it’s great.”
Max’s other big love at the moment is the brand new Cavalera Conspiracy album that is due out later this year. “This is a really exciting record, man,” he says the smile clear in his voice. “This thing is crazy we have been working on it for the last couple of months – and it’s finally all done. We had this producer who came in and really dug in with myself and Igor and he awoke the beast that had been dormant. He made us wake up and remember what we were. We put it all on this album – this record is going to be a crazy fucking record. It’s like a really well-done mix of thrash metal with death metal… the best way possible. We have one song that features Justin from Godflesh, it really does sound like a mix between Godflesh and Sepultura. Everything is almost ready and I can’t wait for people to hear this thing – they are going to be so surprised because songs like Chrome and Impalement Execution are some of the heaviest songs I’ve done in my whole life. I can’t wait for people to hear that. There are some songs about the state of the world right now. There is some terrorist shit, stuff related to terrorism and the terrorist attacks that have been happening in Paris and England – all over the world. There is some history stuff, there is a track about the Roman Empire, there’s a song about the movie that I am a big fan off – Conan The Barbarian – and there’s a song called Insane which is about the world at the moment. The world is insane – with Trump and everything – this crazy president and dictators and everything – just the madness of the world at the moment – North Korea and all that shit. The first line of the album is ‘insane mankind will be revealed.’ which is where we are right now – we are in an insane world. It’s a powerful record that I can’t wait for people to hear.”
GET TICKET TO SEE IT!
“RETURN TO ROOTS” TOUR DATES
Tickets go on sale Thursday 6 July, 9 am local.
Thursday 21 September, Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane – Lic./All ages
Friday 22 September, Big Top, Sydney – Lic./All ages
Saturday 23 September, Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 18+
Sunday 24 September, HQ, Adelaide – 18+
Tuesday 26 September, Astor Theatre, Perth – 18+