Max Cavalera of Soulfly Talks "Maximum Cavalera" Tour, Looks Back on "Lookaway", Discusses New Music, and More
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 09:23:09
Right now, Soulfly is in the midst of slaying the states on the "Maximum Cavalera" tour.
In addition to being led by the legendary Max Cavalera, Soulfly now boasts his son Zyon behind the drum kit for this jaunt. Meanwhile, his other son Igor joins Zyon early in the evening for a set with the ferocious and fiery Lody Kong followed up by Richie Cavalera's Incite in the direct support slot. It's the ultimate metal night from the ultimate metal family. You've got to catch it, if you're a fan of heavy music…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Max Cavalera spoke about the "Maximum Cavalera" tour, Soulfly's next record, Incite, Lody Kong, and so much more.
How do you make each tour stand out?
Every tour is a little bit different. There are things that change from tour to tour. For example, on this new tour, I have my son Zyon playing drums for us, which is super exciting. It's a dream for me as a dad to play with my kid. I've been jamming with him for the whole month, and he got really good at the stuff. It's going to be really cool to have him on tour with his. We already had him with us in South America. We went to Brazil and Argentina, and he played the shows there. He grew up listening to all of my music, and he knows it. I'm excited. That's one different thing. I did a lot of changes on the set list. We're going to do a couple of different songs people haven't heard yet. That's going to be great.
Has Zyon always played drums?
He's always been a drummer. Both of my kids are drummers [Laughs]. My youngest Igor decided to play guitar. I thought it was cool because then he could be in a band with his brother. They do have a band called Lody Kong. They're opening for us on the tour. They're like Fudge Tunnel or The Melvins. It's punk metal, and it's very different from what I do. Zyon has always been a drummer, and he's really good. He's got a lot of energy, and he's really young. The band loves playing with him. It's about that energy young people have. It's killer. We're stoked for the tour. Zyon is doing double duty. It's tough on him, but he says he can do it. When you're that young, you can do it! That's why the tour is called "Maximum Cavalera". It's all Cavalera family bands. It's Incite, Lody Kong, and Soulfly. We did it in Europe, and people loved it. Now, we're taking it all over the states and Canada.
What was your reaction when you heard Incite's All Out War?
I like what Richie is doing. He works hard, man. I really like that about him. I appreciate it. He tries not to drop that he's my son much. He's trying to make it on his own. They remind me of Lamb of God a bit. It's that style. I think the new album is better than the first, and I thought the first was really killer. The second is great. When you want something that much and you work hard for it, it shows. I tell him stories about when I slept under the stage and tours with Sepultura in Brazil when we couldn't even afford a van. We had to ride in buses full of people, chickens, dogs, and shit [Laughs]. It's hardcore stuff. I did all of that, and it's not easy. There will come a time after working hard enough that you'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
What's it like having the whole family on the road?
It's cool! I think it would be great to do a DVD about it. We're not doing that right now, but it'd be great in the future. It's a whole family on tour going from city to city. I'm dealing with stuff like hiding the beer from my kids [Laughs]. There's crazy shit like that on the road. It's fun having them around. It's a different family. We're not a regular family. It's a house full of music. In Zyon's room, people are always jamming. I'll go in there and jam Soulfly songs with him. His band jams. It's a crazy house. There's noise all the time, and it's really loud. It's fun. I love the fact that metal is totally connected to the family. Everything we do has something to do with the band or metal. I think it's great. I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I love this family.
Have you begun writing new music already?
I am! I'm writing for the project with Greg Puciato [The Dillinger Escape Plan] and Troy Sanders [Mastodon]. It doesn't have a name yet, but we've got all the songs. Troy came down about a month ago. We went to a practice room for a week and jammed out. It was fucking great! It was really killer. The music is sounding awesome. David Elitch is playing drums. He's awesome. He used to be in The Mars Volta. The record is pretty much done musically. We just have to figure out where me, Troy, and Greg are going to sing. That's another cool unusual thing we're doing for this record. Then, we're going to hit the studio sometime in August. I'm actually writing for Soulfly now. I'm thinking about entering the studio in April or May. The Soulfly album will probably come out first this year, and the project will come out next year. I'm quite busy with both records. It's exciting to do it like that.
Is it a different mindset for both projects?
With Soulfly, I'm going to continue what I started on Enslaved. I'm going to continue this journey of really heavy stuff on the edge of death metal. I'm going to take it a little further and get even heavier if possible. I like the energy of heavy stuff. I've been listening to a lot of newer bands like Molotov Solution, I Declare War, Acacia Strain, and Suicide Silence. That's what I'm into. There's a lot of influence from the newer bands. It's going to get heavier and heavier and sicker and sicker. I love that about Soulfly. I always continue to have the Soulfly trademarks like the grooves and chants. Those will still be there. I really enjoy the work on Enslaved going on the edge of death metal on songs like "World Scum". That was totally new, different, and exciting. The other project is a little more melodic. Troy is helping write some of it. Greg also wrote some riffs. He's playing guitar. It's definitely metal, but there's some melody. It's really cool and a bit different for me, especially coming from Enslaved which is super heavy. It's fun and different. The most different thing is the three of us are singing on every song. Are voices are totally different. The combination of the three should be really killer. Every jam we did was just music. Now, we're going to go into the studio and start singing. I have a feeling that's going to be really killer and awesome and give people the excitement that they've been waiting for.
Did Zyon suggest any songs for this tour?
Yeah, he suggested "Straighthate" from Sepultura's Roots. He really loves it. I always loved it. It was the first song Sepultura wrote for Roots, and it started as a huge jam. I have good memories of writing it. It's killer to play live. I performed it live with Sepultura a couple times. Zyon is doing great on it. It was a cool suggestion. We're starting with "Plata O Plomo", which is unusual. It doesn't start Enslaved. It's a big song for us. The set has everything. It's a good mix of Primitive, Prophecy, Soulfly, and Dark Ages as well as cool Sepultura stuff—the classics people want to hear. We're playing some Nailbomb. It's a great set list jam packed with songs the fans want to hear. They're going to be stoked.
What's next for Soulfly?
Terry Date going to actually do the new Soulfly! It reminds me of when I did Chaos A.D. with Andy Wallace, and he took care of everything. We're going to Terry's studio in Seattle. I've never done a whole record with him, but I always wanted to. I did the one song with Deftones "Headup" from Around the Fur. When we go to Seattle, he comes to see Soulfly. It should be a great record.
What do you remember about recording "Lookaway" from Roots with Jonathan Davis of Korn and Mike Patton from Faith No More?
It was great! Mike Patton was on the song, and Jonathan's a huge Faith No More fan. He was actually freaking out that Patton was there. He was really nervous, which was actually kind of funny. He kept chewing on his hair the whole time he was in the studio. Ross Robinson teased him at one point and told him to calm down [Laughs]. "Lookaway" came out of a jam. It's a really heavy riff. Patton started singing this Indian chant, and it gave me goosebumps in the studio when he did that. It was so intense. He showed up in the studio with a Samsonite briefcase. I was like, "Mike, what's up with the briefcase?" He said, "It's what I need to record". It had an echo pedal inside for his voice and a bottle of wine. He opened the wine and we drank it. At one point, the three of us were on the floor of the studio going crazy and making weird noises and sounds! Jonathan took it to another level. He's singing about people with a fear of pussy, which is a crazy concept. It came out as a really cool, obscure song on Roots.
What's your favorite Soulfly song?
Photo: Elsie Roymans