“…it’s like nostalgia a little bit and kind of takes us back in time a little bit but kind of cool also, a lot of bands make an album and go out on tour but this is a bit different, it’s an album that’s twenty years old so it’s had a chance to be heard by a lot of people for many years, so the minute that the first note of ‘Roots’ comes out it’s all excitement…”
From Release: Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the legendary album ‘Roots’ – to be played in its entirety each night! Max Cavalera says: “Metalheads. It’s time. Twenty years ago, we released the Roots album and changed the face of metal forever. Now, we’re returning to ‘The Roots’ to show everybody the magic and inspiration of the Roots live experience!” Iggor adds: “I am very proud to play Roots again – to reaffirm that after 20 years, it still moves people. We hit the stage again with Roots to destroy everywhere we pass by.” Twenty years later, set beside a new crop of metal bands–groups who have pioneered new soundscapes, redefined heavy, and brought a new integrity to heavy metal –‘Roots’ still stands tall, a high water mark for metal.
At home in Phoenix, we gave Max Cavalera a call to talk about the ‘Return To Roots’ Australian tour, the legacy of the ‘Roots’ album, new Cavalera Conspiracy music, working with Body Count, the future, and more!
It’s been almost six years since we last chatted, so it’s good to talk to you again!
Nice to talk to you again.
You’re heading back to see us on the ‘Return to Roots’ tour, tell us how will this run of shows will shape up?
We’re very excited, we’ve been on the road doing this Roots tour non-stop, we just did Iceland, Europe a bunch of festivals, Download, Graspop, American tour and since last year we didn’t stop. In fact the tour is so successful we decided to continue this year and doing more shows and now we’ve got Australia in front of us. Everybody loves the Roots record, we’re playing the whole thing beginning to end, it’s a massive record and was a massive record for us twenty years ago and it’s just fun to play that live now. Me and Iggor are just enjoying it and giving it to the fans and it’s really done from the heart for the true fans and I think they’re loving it everywhere we go everyone loves the show and we’re just really excited.
It was such an important metal album twenty years ago what’s it been like watching the reaction especially when you open with ‘Roots Bloody Roots’, it must just go from there
It’s a great feeling, it’s like nostalgia a little bit and kind of takes us back in time a little bit but kind of cool also, a lot of bands make an album and go out on tour but this is a bit different, it’s an album that’s twenty years old so it’s had a chance to be heard by a lot of people for many years, so the minute that the first note of ‘Roots’ comes out it’s all excitement, pure excitement from that point and we run through all the songs, the tribal stuff, the experimental stuff, you know, ‘Lookaway’, ‘Ambush’ we’ve got the tribal drums, it’s full on, it’s like the whole record we come back and do some other stuff, some cover songs and little things like that for Australia we’re hoping we can play one new song from the Cavalera album that’s going to be out in October.
It is such a rhythmical album, what’s it like playing it again knowing Iggor is behind the kit?
It’s just great, man, even though it’s not my favourite Sepultura album it was massive for us, it was huge and it broke a lot of ground and was a very important album for our career, so we had to dissect the album and learn every song, every little part all over again, especially playing all the songs especially in 1996 on the Roots tour we didn’t really play all the songs like right now. So I think it gave me a different appreciation for the album I think I like it more now than I did twenty years ago, the album cuts deeper and it’s quite a cool album and there’s a lot of cool stuff in it, there’s punk stuff like ‘Straighthate’ really classic hits like ‘Roots Bloody Roots’, ‘Attitude’ and ‘Ratamahatta’, weird stuff like ‘Look Away’, hardcore stuff like ‘Dictatorshit’ and it’s full on, I think it’s great to play the whole thing with Iggor now after everything that me and him went through to be back with him now and doing the whole record is the best feeling in the world.
What do you remember about releasing ‘Roots’ twenty years ago?!
It was kind of a turmoil time, things were not really good inside the band. The music side was great we were really doing different stuff and creating real good stuff but in the personal life wasn’t so good, there was a lot of stress, a lot of turmoil and we really didn’t get to enjoy the moment. So now doing this twenty years later with Iggor now that our lives are much better and much easier and there’s less pressure to now so I think we just go out there and play and have fun and enjoy and be happy with the music that we play, it’s a better time now than it was twenty years ago even though it was exciting when the record came out and I thought we really did something new and different we never really got to enjoy it, so we get to enjoy it now which is much better.
So in terms of new music and Cavalera Conspiracy, you mentioned a new record in in October, what can we expect?
The new record is great, man, I mean it was I was obsessed with it, I want to really kick things into different gears with Cavalera, I thought ‘Pandemonium’ was good but I thought it was kind of a crazy experiment and it needed better direction. So I spent two months just writing riffs, that was the first thing I did that was different, obsession with the riffs and found the best riffs possible. Then we found a great producer Arthus Rizk he’s a great up and coming producer that was very exciting to work with and we just went on, man, Iggor’s playing is amazing, the songs are fantastic, it’s a really great blending of thrash and death metal done in a masterful way. We have a couple of crazy things on it, an instrumental that’s really tribal that comes from the Roots touring that gave us inspiration for the new album and it’s called ‘Psychosis’ and it’s really kind of African tribal drums, voodoo drums with some almost really cool prog rock guitars and it’s really a trip. Then we have a song called ‘Hellfire’ with Justin from Godflesh and that came out great and it’s kind of like a Nailbomb, Godflesh, Cavalera type song. The rest of the record is pure thrash madness, songs like ‘Insane’, ‘Impalement Execution’, ‘Terror Tactics’ it’s just relentless it doesn’t let up, I’m very proud of this record and I can’t wait for people to hear and hopefully we get to play one new song in Australia.
What did you say the name of it was going to be?
The record is going to be called ‘Psychosis’ which is the instrumental track and the name comes from just with the state of the world right now with Trump being the president and the blowing up of Europe, the bombings and terrorist attacks, a lot of the stuff on the album has to do with terrorism and songs like ‘Excruciating’ and ‘Impalement Execution’ is a lot to do with terrorism, so it’s psychotic vibe so we decided to call it ‘Psychosis’ so it’s the perfect title for the album, it kind of reminds me of ‘Schizophrenia’ in ’87 the same kind of name.
I was a big fan of your guest spot on the Body Count album this year, what was it like doing that track with the guys?
Fucking great, man, Ice-T is a great guy and we met him on the Ministry tour and Bodycount did a couple of songs and we kind of kept in touch and saw him in Europe and sang ‘Cop Killer’ with them and Ice-T was in Phoenix and invited me to the recording and told me to bring some riffs. So I did, I brought two of my riffs to the studio, he heard it, loved it and then he turned it into a song and asked me to sing on it and ‘All Love Is Lost’ it’s a great angry really hateful song. I really love what ice-T does and what he stands for, he loves metal and he’s not ashamed of it, he comes from hip-hop world but he has a second love which is metal and he goes full on with Body Count which is great. I was really proud to be on that record and to be part of the ‘Bloodlust’ sessions, in fact during the time that we met Ice-T in the studio that ended up being the same studio that the Cavalera record was recorded which is an underground, subterranean, shelter kind of studio in Phoenix and it was really cool, I think the recording of the album really made a difference because it was underground in the middle of the desert like this bunker in the middle of the desert, it was like two hundred degrees outside in the desert and we’re underneath in a bunker making metal, it was great.
In twenty years a lot has changed but what would you say is the one thing that’s stayed the same for you over the last two decades?
I think my passion for metal is the same, if not more now than ever I like to listen to metal more than I ever did before, I love creating, I think touring is also the same, other things changed like internet and technology changed around us but the feeling we get when we play the songs and the exchange from the crowd, those stay the same, those are great things that never change. I love touring and I can’t wait to be in Australia touring for this record, the ‘Roots’ record. Yeah, everything else kind of stays the same, I’m still kind of strapped, I’m gonna be 48 but I still feel like I’m 15 when it comes to metal, I still love my metal and I don’t care what people say to grow up and this sort of shit, I love metal, I listen to it all the time and proud be a metal head, wear my shirts, my camouflage pants like a uniform, it’s a lifestyle, it’s who you are you know.
Lastly let’s look ahead to the future, finish this sentence for me. By the end of 2017 Max Cavalera wants to…
Well, touring and recording more, we’ve got a lot more touring coming for us, this whole year is full of touring, we have the Roots shows in Australia, in Europe, then I’m doing a Nailbomb album in America in October, and then more Roots shows in Europe with Overkill, then hopefully next year working on a new Soulfly record for next year. Also waiting for the release of the Cavalera album like I said, so all the gears are grinding and going to the future.
Thursday 21 September: Eatons Hill, Brisbane – Lic A/A
Friday 22 September: Big Top, Sydney – Lic A/A
Saturday 23 September: Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 18+
Sunday 24 September: HQ, Adelaide – 18+
Tuesday 26 September: Astor Theatre, Perth – 18+
Presented by: Destroy All Lines, Chugg Entertainment, Hysteria Magazine and Heavy Magazine: