Max & Iggor Cavalera

The question and answer you’ve all been waiting on. Will Max Cavalera consider doing a Sepultura reunion? Yes. Will the guys in Sepultura. No. It’s a question asked, and answered, repeatedly for the last twenty three years and I’m not going to ask now.Max Cavalera Interview.

So, that’s done, lets get chatting with Max, the Brazilian metal legend who’s list of bands reads like a who’s who of the most influential metal bands ever. From his beginnings with Sepultura, he has also created Nailbomb, Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, Killer Be Killed and most recently ‘Max and Iggor Return To Roots’, an ode to arguably Sepultura’s finest moment, 1996’s Roots.

Now he’s back with a similar concept, cranking up the thrash metal with Beneath The Remains and Arise, Sepultura’s two thrash-er-pieces from 1989 and 1991.
It’s a new concept that we’ve done in Russia and South America already. It’s a combination of both records with the best of BTR and Arise, with a couple of other things for the end. We change a few things to make it more interesting, so some songs are longer, make it a bit more exciting. It’s definitely a powerhouse, I think people are gonna love it. Already people are freaking out! If they liked the Roots show, they will love this. It’s better than Roots even!

While that may be a big call, Max did write all those songs involved so he would know. Talk turns to why Max and Iggor Cavalera, his brother and drummer also from Sepultura, are doing this. 
Those records were really cool. Speaking as a fan, that was the golden era of thrash metal and those two records were recorded in that era. They’ve become part of our DNA. Playing that stuff live, it’s better now, it’s hard to describe in words but the nostalgia vibe is very strong. You get to go back to that time and remember that era. It’s great man, it’s a special feeling. I don’t know how many of these we will make man but to me it’s even stronger, more powerful, than Roots.

Playing songs from thirty years ago highlights how a whole generation hasn’t heard this voice sing those songs before live. Working with brother Iggor must always be special?
Iggor’s drumming is incredible. He’s an amazing and unbelievable drummer. I do my best, I’m hanging in there! The vocals are still there! It’s just a fun show. We worked very hard on the set list, we rehearsed for a really long time. Now we’ve got it down to precision, it’s the perfect setlist. It just flows from one song to another. It transitions from BTR to Arise and because those songs were recorded one after another, when you play them live, you feel the record getting better. BTR is awesome but when Arise kicks in, it gets even better with Dead Embryonic Cells and Desperate Cry. That’s when the real fire starts! 

Dead Embryonic Cells, for the uninitiated, it’s the second blistering track on ‘Arise’ with a breakdown of biblical proportions before breakdowns were the norm in metal.
Those parts are really fun, we used to do those parts a lot. It was always like ‘what can we put in the song to make it more exciting, what can we do to make the crowd crazy’. DEC is one of those that you play the whole song just waiting for that breakdown. They were born for that necessity, for the insane breakdown part. We live for that! It was the art of making songs that had those parts in it. When we play them live we lose our minds! Phenomenal transition when you get to that part, it’s really great! Doesn’t matter how much time has passed, the crowd always get into it.

We both agree that the production from those days has made some of the golden era of music sound a little dated, Max though is naturally upbeat.
That’s the great thing about this band. We have great musicians like guitarist Marc Rizzo and Mike on bass, me and Iggor. A really solid band, so it sounds even better than the record when the production wasn’t great in those days. The sound when we play live, it’s really loud, it’s heavy as fuck! It’s so killer, it’s like a new birth, a new meaning to those records.

The concept is not a widespread ‘tour the world’ concept. As touched on only Russia and South America have been played thus far. 
The cool thing, we don’t do it all the time. We’ve never done it in America. They are begging for it. They’re literally on the knees begging! Australia though is confirmed! We have great fans and we’re so excited to do it there.

Max appeared on six Sepultura albums and while this tour covers two of their earlier works, and last year’s tour was the epic Roots album, the question lingers about the one album that pushed them to the next level in between those albums, Chaos AD.
Eventually we will get to that. There’s no hurry. We’re just rolling with it. Even the older ones, ‘Morbid Visions’ and ‘Schizophrenia’. That would be the same as BTR and Arise. Chaos AD would be on its own as it a very special record.

Max is one of the busiest guys in metal, so naturally the future is discussed and one project that hasn’t been mentioned, the cult classic Nailbomb.
Kinda like the same thing. It’s a special event. It involves both of my kids, Zyon on drums and Igor on keyboards, doing Alex’s part. We did like twenty shows in Canada, and that was like the tour. It was a lot of fun, so eventually we could hopefully bring that to Australia, but we have no solid plans. That Point Blank record is again one of those you can play at anytime, anywhere in the world and it’s really great. We keep the options open. A lot depends on planning. I have a tour with Soulfly, with Ritual having just come out. Eventually we will do some more Killer Be Killed.

There are not many musicians, and especially metal, who have come out of Brazil and become so influential. Is Max the Godfather of Brazilian heavy metal?
I go to South America a lot, I really appreciate the fans there. They show their appreciation of everything I have done for Brazil and SA music, putting them on the map. It’s an honour and I don’t want to let them down. I love metal, it’s a passion I have, I just want to be involved in as many metal things I can get my hands on. It’s so cool being able to have fun and play for the fans.

With that Max departs onto another interview where he will probably be asked ‘that question’ again. Let’s be honest though, for a man who constantly delivers time and again with each of his projects, let’s just enjoy this month’s Australian tour and go crazy when those breakdowns start, we are after all, one of the few countries to be treated to this special event.

Interview By Iain McCallum

Catch Max & Iggor Cavalera on the following dates, tickets from Destroy All Lines

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