INTERVIEW: Max Cavalera (SOULFLY)
Levi: You’ve got a new album, I was lucky enough to get a pre-release of. It’s called Archangel, it sounds great, probably my favourite Soulfly album since Dark Ages. How did it go recording? And are you excited about this one?
Max: Yeah it was done in January, we work on it for last year. Spent all of January recording, came out really good, I’m really happy with it. There’s some really cool guests, Matt [Young] from King Parrot and Todd [Jones] from Nails and there’s a singer from Iran in one of the songs with my kids. Ritchie and Igor [Cavalera] sing on the song ‘Mother of Dragons’. Yeah, it’s a really cool album, a lot of cool stuff, it’s really different from Savages. It’s like a very exotic, wild kind of record with a lot of cool stuff. Even though it’s the shortest record I ever done it’s got a lot in it. It’s not about the timing it’s about the content you know, inside of it there’s a lot going on. I’m really happy with this record and I think a lot of people are going to like it.
Levi: I’m a fan of short albums, there’s some brilliant long albums like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, but I do find long albums can be hard to listen to, I’d rather listen to Slayer’s Reign In Blood because it’s 30 minutes and there’s no boring bits…
Max: That just came out like that, I didn’t plan it. I wasn’t really timing the stuff, it just kind of came out like that you know. I think today people have short spans, they find it difficult to hear a longer record, so I think it’s better to have shorter records. Just because people listen to too much stuff on the internet anyway, you give them something short and they might be able to stick around and listen to the whole record and actually enjoy the whole thing you know.
Levi: It’s almost like a family band now, this is the second record Zyon has been on and you’ve also got Igor’s son on bass guitar. You must be proud of Zyon, did you always expect him to get into music or is the path he chose for himself?
Max: Yeah that just happened, he was born into this life. They’ve been touring with us since they were kids and they learn from touring and learned to play instruments on tour and they got really good at it. Right now on tour I’ve got two of my kids playing with me, Zyon and Igor and they’re doing great you know. People are really liking it and I think Zyon is great on Archangel, his recording was awesome. Matt Hyde worked really hard on him, I think it was kind of like boot camp for him but he came out a soldier, he came out marine out of it.
Levi: Yeah he’s very talented. I know when he joined Soulfly he’d only been playing 3 years but it sounds like he’s been playing for 10 or more…
Max: We’re getting tighter and tighter every night. With a band like Soulfly it takes time to get it right and the best way to get it right is to play every night and just kind of like you know sharpen your musicianship, the more you play the better you get, the sharper you get. But I have to say for their age, he’s only 21 and Igor’s 20, they’re doing great, they bring a lot of energy to Soulfly, a young energy to the band and new blood in Soulfly that was needed. It feels like a new beginning for Soulfly, even Archangel feels like a new beginning.
Levi: You’re so busy doing Killer Be Killed, Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly, do you ever get time to just relax at home? Just sit on the lounge and watch some TV…
Max: A little bit between tours, I’ll go home for awhile in between the tours. But we are very busy, very booked, we have a lot of tours coming up. US tour, there’s a long one coming up and then there’s a European tour next year. It’s great, I like to be on tour, stay busy. Killer be Killed you know we played Australia at the Soundwave, apart from that we haven’t done anything else apart from that unfortunately. I have the hope that we’ll be able to do something next year to contine Killer be Killed because it’s another project that I really like.
Levi: Have you got any plans to comeback to Australia with Soulfly?
Max: I hope we come to Australia with Archangel because it’s a great album and we’ll have some kind of cool setup for the stage. It would be great, I love Australia, Australian fans have always been very good to me, they love my stuff and I hope next year Soulfly can come down to Australia and do a big tour you know. A lot of shows, a lot of cities. For me that would be the perfect thing to do.
Levi: Is it hard to pick a set-list? You’ve got so many songs to choose from, I know you’ve got to play a few Sepultura songs and you’ve got so many Soulfly albums to choose from…
Max: Yeah, we’re down to only 3 Sepultura songs right now. ‘Arise’, ‘Refuse/Resist' and ‘Roots’ and the rest is all Soulfly which is great. We have 10 albums to choose from and so many songs, there’s so many classics people want to hear; ‘Eye for an Eye’, ‘Rise of the Fallen’, ‘Prophecy’, ‘Primitive’ and we’re playing the new song ‘We Sold our Souls to Metal'. That’s coming out great, people are loving that song. It’s a good set-list, it’s an hour and a half right now. We are touring through Europe right now and people seem to really love the set-list, the songs, the order of the songs, nobody is complaining, everyone is enjoying it and everyone is leaving the venue happy they heard a lot of great music on one night.
Levi: I know you don’t talk to the guys in Sepultura very much these days, but I was wondering if you listen to their albums when they put new stuff out?
Max: Fuck no!
Levi: You don’t?
Max: I don’t give a shit about Sepultura or what they’re doing, you know I just heard from fans that people don’t like their albums and they’re shitty and the band’s just going down and down and I don’t know, I really can’t care, can’t care less what they’re doing. It don’t concern me at all, I’ve got my things going and for me it’s just so sad to see a band that was so important and special in the 90’s turn to shit like that so fast. But you know, whatever, that’s what they’re doing, but I got my things, I’ve got my things to do and you know I’m proud of what I did with them. We did great records and we did cool stuff and that’s there forever you know and I’ll leave it at that.
Levi: Would you call them friends still?
Max: Not really cuz there is a lot of animosity and you know, bad vibes in that camp and a lot of bad things happened between us and them. So yeah, I wouldn’t man. You know I really don’t care, like you know, life goes on. For me it’s like I’m more focused on the moment, what I have in front of me and I have a lot in front of me. A lot of projects, I’m super excited for this new Soulfly record, I’m excited for another Killer be Killed record, and it’s going to be great… So you know I’ve got to move on forward.
Levi: You mentioned Matt Young from King Parrot is on your new album, they’re from Australia and doing really well at the moment, when did first you hear about King Parrot?
Max: First heard of King Parrot, I discovered them on tour, somebody told me about them on the US tour and listened and I liked their album a lot and then we met them in Australia on the Soundwave festival, Matt came to the show, the headline show we had with Lamb of God and he came to the show and he was super nice, real cool guy. We had a show in Phoenix and another show in L.A the next day. I set up the recording, I picked the song for them, got Matt’s vocal idea set up, told him what to sing, how to do it and he did a great job. The track’s called ‘Live Life Hard’, I’m really proud Matt’s on the album, and I love King Parrot. You know crazy, crazy Australian guys, really cool dudes, it was awesome having him on the record.