It is going to be a big year for Sepultura who have just released their fourteenth album Machine Messiah which is the first in three years since The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart. The main source of inspiration is the robotization of society and the concept of a God Machine who created humanity now seems as if the cycle is closing itself returning to the starting point. Sounds deep but on the phone from Brazil Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles spoke to Andreas Kisser who is enjoying the break before touring starts this month.

Has the band had much opportunity to take a break before the onslaught of 2017 takes control?
We’ve just been enjoying the holidays here which has been great, enjoying time with our families and recharging ourselves to prepare for the new album and touring this year. We’re very excited and very happy with the results so far with the album. I think we’re all feeling really positive about the album which is out.

It sounds like everything will start building up in to a big year for Sepultura with the release of Machine Messiah which is gaining great reviews everywhere?
Yeah it is great, we have the tour in Europe with Kreator in February going through to March. In April and May we’re heading to North America and hopefully later in the year we will be able to get down to Australia. We’re excited by all the possibilities which we are working through now but hopefully August or September we can lock in. Hopefully sooner than later we’ll be ready to announce the tour.

How would describe Machine Messiah and how does it compare to the rest of the discography?
Well, it feels like a new chapter especially in the last thirty years. The last two years we have spent touring playing lots festival and visiting new places and it felt like we had been celebrating the last thirty years. We played a lot of songs that we haven’t played in a long time and it is great to look back and see how beautiful our career has been. It feels great now that after the celebrations it felt like the time was right to do something new.

That is why we changed producers and really use our musicianship at the highest level to the best that we can. We incorporated a lot of new elements in to the recording and it was exciting with everyone bringing in new possibilities in to the mix. The band tried a lot of things and explored everything. I think that is the secret to Sepultura and why we are still here. We have a great set up with the label and the album release and it is hard not to be excited with everything that is going on in Sepultura.

Can you put the change in sound down to anything in particular? Experience? Influences? Or is it that the way it happened organically?
I think it is an actual evolution, we are almost on stage every day and if you look at how many shows we have played in the last three years and the places we have visited gives us the opportunity to collect new information, interests and ideas which is really motivating so when we go in to the studio we can try out a few things.

Every time that we perform the old songs we tackle them with a different attitude to push them to higher limits. I like to think of it as the artist Pablo Picasso. If Picasso followed the rules to go a certain direction because of tradition and everything would that have given him new possibilities? I don’t think you can never be afraid to risk your own art or otherwise we would be copying or producing something that would have already been done before.

What sorts of problems did you encounter in making Machine Messiah?
Nah man, it was great and we didn’t have any problems that stopped the recording. We didn’t need any psychiatrist in the studio or anything! We were all very focused and heading in the same direction. It was a lot of work but also a lot of fun, it was never easy as it was a very demanding album to record. That was one of our biggest challenges but we did prepare ourselves physically and mentally to be ready to record, to express, to enjoy which is very important. To be in the studio for five months and to get a point of view across it was important for us to be happy and on the same page. Recording in Sweden and having full support is amazing and preparing ourselves for the hard work made the process easier.

Did you feel that when you finished recording that you nailed it?
We felt really good about it and wanted the album to be able to tell a story and what we see today in society with all the iPhones, computers and GPS’s. I think we really took things to a new level and felt happy when we left the studio to then start mixing. Listening to it afterward it is hard not to be excited about it and couldn’t wait for the album to come out.

Was it a deliberate decision to record in Sweden?
We had a few option and we wanted to work with someone different. We’ve worked a lot with Ross Robinson and a lot of other great producers over the years but Derrick was the one who suggested Jens Bogren. He’s worked with Moonspell, Kreator and Opeth and we thought he could take our music to a new place. Jens was the perfect choice and he was excited to be joining us to be putting all his know how and energy to work. He was a big help and we’re very happy.

He knew our previous albums and he understands our music and our style. It didn’t take him long to pick up the direction we wanted to head in. The connection and chemistry we had was immediate and great. He had empathy, strange thing but if you don’t have that it doesn’t work. It is so important to be travelling in the same direction particularly with the demanding recording sessions that we had. I think we ended up better by working with him similarly with all our other producers who had the same hand in what we are today. No doubt about that!

Interview by Rob Lyon

Sepultura’s new album Machine Messiah is out now and available through Nuclear Blast.

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