Cavalera Conspiracy (Brazil)

Arise was one of the very first albums I ever bought. The ferocious nature of the music scared and fascinated me. You helped launch a new era in heavy music and have been flying the flag of Metal ever since. Your achievements need no introduction, you are literally an institution in heavy music, and it all started with Beneath the Remains and Arise the two albums you are touring with Iggor.

Metal-Roos: I had a quick chat with you a while ago, about the last release from Soulfly, so thank you for taking the time to speak to me…again!

Beneath the Remains and Arise influenced generations of music makers. Beneath the Remains is 30 years old this year, have you ever sat back to reflect on what you have achieved in this business or is it always about moving forward?

Most of the time it’s about moving forward, man. But all the times when something like this happen, when we have a chance to re-visit this record like we did with Roots and with Nailbomb and now with Beneath the Remains and Arise. I found a deeper appreciation for these records. I rediscovered them, I realised how truly good they are because they’re very cool records. We recorded them at a very young age, I was like 19 or 18, but there’s some really good stuff on Beneath the Remains and at this point in my career it’s a blessing to be able to commemorate 30 years of a record and be able to do with my brother. It’s just fun man. We did it last year in South America and Russia and it was phenomenal, there were hundreds of people greeting us in the airport, the shows were all sold out and they’re singing every word. You start to understand those records were soundtracks to people’s lives, you know, people grew up with those records, it’s in their DNA, it’s very powerful. To me it was a question of falling in love with these records again, and I did. I did it with Roots, I did with Nailbomb and now we’re doing Beneath the Remains and Arise. At the same time my career keeps moving on with other things, like Soulfly, Killer be Killed and Cavalera Conspiracy. The last two records Psychosis with Cavalera and Rituals with Soulfly. I just finished an American tour with Soulfly, it was amazing tour, we had a great time, the shows were cool. There was something different about the shows, people were a bit more positive and it made me realised that the Soulfly fans are a bit different, from the other stuff, but all together it’s part of this metal journey that we embark on. It’s a long time ago and we’re still going strong. But you’re right, I don’t really look much on what we did, more like what we have to do, what’s next, next project, next thing, next story, there’s always something coming up.

M-R: After the release of these albums what were the biggest things to change in your life?

Touring was massive, we started touring so much more. We were living in Brazil and we released records like Morbid Visions of Schizophrenia there was a very little touring. We would do a few shows in Sao Paulo and Rio and sometimes to the north of Brazil, but we would only play like five or six shows in a year and that’s just not enough if you want to survive and live off music. Once we started touring Beneath the Remains in ‘89 we went to Europe for the first time with Sodom and we went to America and we never stopped. The Arise tour was the biggest and longest we’ve ever done. It was like fifteen months, that’s when we went to Australia for the first time. Our life definitely changed at the time. We still weren’t totally surviving off music, we had to go back home after those tours and have shitty jobs, but we knew it was coming. We were going to be able to survive on music and make our dream come true, you know, so it was great. Plus, I’m always up for the work, one thing that never bothered was touring. A lot of people complain about touring, musicians complain about being on tour, after three weeks they’re like ‘I wanna go home, I’m tired, fuck this’ but I never got like that. I always try to look at the bright side, that people come to see us, let’s give them the best show we can, I’m very appreciative of my fans, still today, that same spirit is still alive. I always get very excited for touring. I’m very excited for Australia, especially coming from that Roots tour. That was such as such a success in Australia and this is going to be more exciting, so I think fans will like this even more, I’m super pumped man, I’m very very excited.

M-R: When you think about the recording of these albums, how does it compare to the methods of today? What has changed and what has stayed the same, if anything?

The spirit is the same in all of my records, the attitude that I take in to make a record. The attitude I had with Rituals is very similar to the attitude that I had with Beneath the Remains or Arise. I still have something to prove, I want it to be the best it can be, I try hard to do something a bit different, and I try to please me and fans in the same way. I think some of the hardest records we made, to me at least, was Chaos A.D. where we had to re-invent everything. It was really hard to make record, but I think the result is incredible. Also, Soulfly One, was like ‘Can I do it without Sepultura’ and I think Soulfly One is a very powerful record, very full of human emotion. I was subhuman, I was in-human, I felt like supernatural powers was in touch with me when I made that record.

To what has changed, well, technology is a big one. I won’t say it’s easier to make a record, but it’s easier to make a good sounding record, the stuff you do now sounds better than what you did thirty years ago. But we’re not only after sonics of the album, we’re after attitude and energy, the spirit of the album. I still find the whole process magical, making a record is a magical process. To me it’s so exciting when I can make a record like Rituals after twenty years of Soulfly, after all the Sepultura stuff, Nailbomb, and still make a record that is exciting for people to hear. I get excited to make it and I get excited to play it live. I’m looking forward to the new Killer be Killed in the same way, it’s going to be a huge record for us. It’s what keeps me moving, every time I went to the studio always with the same spirit of trying to make the best record I can make. I don’t want to look back on the old records, it’s like a new start, it’s like I’m starting right now. I’m making my first record right now, that’s the attitude I take in.

M-R: In an earlier interview you said that you were still searching for ‘the perfect record’. How close do you think Arise or Beneath the Remains are to perfect? Would you change anything about them if you could?

I’ll admit there’s a couple of fillers on those records, songs that weren’t that inspired, that could have been better. Like Hungry and Subtraction and Meanings Movements to me those songs had the potential to be better, we could have done them better, but you can’t really look at it that way. Every record, no matter how good it is, has a couple of flaws. To keep trying to make a perfect record, it’s a strange idea of the perfect record, like, what is the perfect record? Maybe I already done it and I just don’t know it.  

But the chase is more exciting than actually doing it. It’s almost that the chase is more important than the kill. The idea of trying to keep making records to find this perfect record is what keeps inspiring you. I think in the process of that you create a lot of great records because you’re always trying to out-do yourself, to surpass yourself. Some records I’m super proud of like, Soulfly One, Prophecy, Roots of course, Arise. Beneath the Remains was a trip for us… what a great record that was for us, it opened up so many doors for us, that was the record that really put us on the map. Same as Nailbomb that was a great record, it’s like all this good stuff. But it’s cool that you still have that drive, that you’re still trying to create this really good record. Rather than ‘it can’t be done, I’m just going to give up’ I’m not like that, I’m just going to keep on trying.

M-R: Do you have any favourite songs to perform from these albums?

There are the big ones, that are always fun, you know, Beneath the Remains, Inner Self, Arise, Dead Embryonic Cells those were the songs that we made videos for. To me, it’s really fun to play the stuff that we’ve never really played before like; Slaves of Pain Mass Hypnosis Primitive Future Effective Voice Desperate Cry. Altered State is pretty fun we make it a little bit longer, and I get to jam with Iggor for a bit longer, we extended it make it more fun to play live. But my favourite songs that I really enjoy playing every night are Stronger Than Hate and Desperate Cry, every night was great.

M-R: I am lucky enough to be the vocalist in your support band in Sydney, Carbon Black, do you ever watch your supports? Has anyone ever really made a lasting impression?

Oh yeah, man as much as I can, that’s how I found bands like Eyesburn which we ended up working with on Prophecy. King Parrot comes to mind, even though they never really opened for us, I remember hearing about them in Australia and I got really into it and I ended up working with Matt (Young) on Archangel. It’s always cool to checkout the opening bands and see what they have to offer, it’s always great. I’m a big fan of the underground, I support as much as I can, to me it’s very important to stay in contact with new bands and see what they’re doing and wear their shirts and support the underground metal. We’re all in this together man, you know, we’re all in this together and I remember people gave me a hand when we started out. Then you have to do the same, so I’m happy and I’m glad you’re opening the show it should be great.

M-R: I’ll end on this one, thank you so much for the time today. Do you think the themes dealt with in these albums still relevant in the world of 2019? Are we still facing similar challenges today compared to what you were saying back then?

I think so, the words even more fucked up now than it was back then. You have assholes like Trump and Bolsonaro in Brazil and the world has gone even crazier and more corrupt. I think songs like Mass Hypnosis and Slaves of Pain and Desperate Cry, even Beneath the Remains is an anti-war song it’s very against war. When you look at Syria and Libya, the Middle East all the chaos and terror that is in all these places, for sure man I think it’s still relevant and relative.

When I toured with Nailbomb maybe a year ago, I was really impressed at how the songs of the Nailbomb record mean more now than when we first wrote it. They feel more relevant now than when we first made them, I think it’s a reflection of the times. On the other hand, it’s also nostalgic to play these songs, it takes you back to that time. I think a lot of people love the entertainment value of these songs, they just really want to enjoy them, just to go nuts and rage to those songs. Those records have thirty years of life in them and that’s something that really is impressive and really cool, it’s something that you can’t do overnight. I think some bands kind of forget that, they make their first record and they think they’re already on top and it’s a done deal but it’s not. It’s a long road man, and you have to be on that road for a very long time and experience all the things good and bad. I think it’s really cool that we get to pay homage to these records in a very honest and very truthful way. I promise you if the people liked Roots there going to go ape shit for Beneath the Remains and Arise it’s just out of control good, really aggressive, really heavy and fun. That death thrash that everyone loves, I fell in love with it when I was a kid and I still love it to this day.

Tickets at Destroy All Lines

Interview Date: 2019-03-08

Interviewer: Jonathan Hurley