Metal-Roos: This is the 20th Anniversary of the Roots album. How does it make you feel these days?
Max Cavalera: I feel really good about it still, man. It’s a ground-breaking record with the Brazilian culture and the tribe influences. I still really like all the songs. When we decided to do this tour, we had to backtrack and re-learn how to play all the songs. It gave me a new admiration for the album. I actually like it more now than when we recorded it. I think it is a really cool record with lots of different stuff inside. Playing them now years later with Igor is so much better now than when the album first came out. There’s less pressure as well and it’s been fun to play… we are really enjoying being together playing these songs. We understand that this is a really important album to a lot of people so we are trying to do it justice.
You seem very passionate about this album in particular, is this the one you always wanted to make?
A lot of the ideas for the album came to me because at the time I was listening to a lot of Brazilian music and a lot of percussive music. We worked with Carlinhos Brown he worked a lot on Ratamahatta with us and did a lot of the percussion with us on the album. Many of the ideas for this album were born during the time around Chaos AD, like Kaiowas and Refuse/Resist but on Roots we got to delve deeper into the sounds more. We got to make a full-on Brazilian metal record that’s never been done before. Call it tribal metal or whatever you want. It was really exciting to mix all those different elements together. We as a band were really excited to be putting all these things together and create a new form of metal.
With the 20th Anniversary of Roots, was this a tour that had to be done? How did the idea come about to embark on a Roots tour after this long?
Well it really came out of nowhere. Gloria had the idea after watching Igor and myself play in London. Igor was there at a Soulfly show and we got together and played Roots and the crowd went crazy. Then she had the idea to play the whole record. So we went back and discussed it. Then we gave it a go in a Canadian festival and the reaction was fantastic. We didn’t stop and the American tour was great. We toured with Immolation. We did new merchandise. New t-shirt designs using Roots stuff we didn’t use before. It has really clicked, the perfect time 20 years later. For me and Igor it was really great. For a lot of musician you write an album and tour a new record but it’s not the case for us this time. This is an old record so it’s really fun, it’s taken a lot of pressure off us and we get to enjoy it more. I think it’s cool because it’s such an important record for a lot of people another reason why this tour is so cool we have a lot of new fans that weren’t born when the record came out. Now they come to the show and love it and want to be a part of it.
You’re touring around playing shows now. Are there any songs that the fans are reacting to more than some others?
The biggest surprise for me is when we play Ambush because there is this tribal part in it that Igor and I play the drums and it’s really cool. We do it a bit differently because in one part I pick up a guitar and we have a jam and the fans sing along with the riff of the guitar. We have changed a few songs around to make it a little more exciting. It’s a bit different from the record Ratamahatta is a little different as well as Dangerous Species. I really like the punkier stuff too like Cut-Throat. To me the heart of the Roots album is Straight Hate the real anger comes out of this song and then there’s the classic stuff like Attitude and Roots Bloody Roots. It’s really powerful playing that stuff live.
What was it like re-connecting with Igor for this tour?
It was great, man. I love Igor, he’s my brother and it is so much fun to play with him again. The Roots album is taking us back in time a nostalgic kind of vibe with Igor. It was in the 90’s when we made that record but we also have Cavalera Conspiracy which we have now too. We have a new album that will come out in October. Maybe we will play one new song for the fans for the Australian tour. Our relationship with each other has never been better. We talk about bands that we like, artist and artwork. It is just like when we were kids in Brazil. The only real difference is that we are bigger and have families of our own now.
You just mentioned your working on a new Cavalera Conspiracy album, how is that going?
It is pretty much done and it went to mastering. It is a beast of an album. I think it is a masterpiece of death and thrash metal. It has the best elements of both styles, death and thrash. It is like we analysed Schizophrenia, Beneath the Remains and Arise put all that stuff together along with the new stuff we like now, Nails and Full of Hell and make a really amazing record. One song we took influence from Godflesh, really industrial type metal. There is an instrumental song and everything else is just full on. Pure aggression and heaviness. Lots of tempo changes, I worked on the riffs for two months so I have spent a lot of time with this new record. I think it will please a lot of fans. Especially those who want something heavy from the brothers.
You’ll be bringing the Return to Roots tour shortly to our shores. What can the Aussie fans expect to see?
Well as I said we hope to play a new song for you we can put at the end of the set. We will also play some of our favourite cover songs like Ace of Spades and Black Metal, I’m really excited who knows we might even throw in some AC/DC for the Aussie fans… who knows. I think the fans will be treated to a really cool metal show.
That sounds like it is going to be awesome. I can’t wait to see you perform again. The last time was with Killer Be Killed at Soundwave.
Yeah, that was the only time Killer Be Killed played. We have never done anything else, Australia was very special. I loved those shows playing for Australia it was great and I hopefully will get to do another KBK album but next year I’ll be working on another Soulfly album. We have a new bass player and we are going to try and get a beat producer. Next year will be 20 years since the first Soulfly came out so were going to try to make the best Soulfly record possible.
Wow, with all that going on do you ever get time to rest and just chill out?
Yeah, there’s space and stuff like right now. I’m actually finishing the Cavalera record, but it’s all stuff like mixing, typing words and art work so it’s kinda like time off. We go on tour in a week from now, we head to Europe with Roots. There is space between the tours and chill and recharge. Then go back to the work but I prefer to be busy and as the old saying goes “you can always rest when you’re dead”. Yeah, I love to be busy and active. It is what I love.
Interview Date: 2017-08-04
Interviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham