Sepultura return to Australia after a long 10 years! We talk to Paulo Jr about the tour, his influences and much more.
Metal-Roos: To start this interview, I had asked Paulo a special request: My daughter was with me and she is 7 years old and in year 2. I wanted to teach her about diversity, respect and being grateful for things we take for granted. So what better way to gain a better understanding than to speak to someone who grew up in a different country? So my daughter asked the first questions: What was it like as a child growing up Brazil?
It was very good actually, it was a lot of fun. I had many friends and still have a lot of the same friends now as an adult. I’m sure it was different than growing up in Australia. You guys are very close to the beach. Where I come from, we are not. It was a different type of growing up but it was good…
Metal-Roos: What about having material items? In Australia for example we take some of the things we have for granted. Was that the same for you?
…compared to Australia, in Brazil we are poor. But we are rich as Brazil is a country that grows everything naturally. We have the best fruits and it’s a tropical country so everything grows well.
Metal-Roos: This is Sepultura’s first Australian tour in over a decade. How does it feel to be here soon?
The feeling’s grea,t man. It has taken a long time to get back… we have been struggling and trying to get back to Australia. This is a great opportunity and we are all very excited about it, the only down part is that it will be a short tour. I wish we could have extended it out longer. But we will make it as great as possible for everyone and try next time not to take another decade before we come back.
Metal-Roos: What do you like most about Australia?
A little bit of everything – the country itself, great people, the sights… I became a diver a few years ago, and that’s one of the things I’m pissed off about. I’m not going to have enough time for some scuba diving in Australia. We know it is a very rich and diverse country with a lot of different landscapes. We have been through most of the Australian cities and we have only good memories from your country.
Metal-Roos: Your new album has been released recently. What was the recording process like?
The recording was a little different but still somehow the same like other times. We had the chance to work with Ross Robinson [recorded the album Roots] again. The main difference was this time we actually stayed at his place, dedicating all the time into recording the album. We used a different technique for this album as well. We all played together in a small room… the drum room Ross had built had no air conditioning as he wanted to recreate the stage environment… so he was all sweaty. Altogether it was a bit different but it worked out way better….
Metal-Roos: So was this the first time you recorded like this?
… yeah, it was very different for us but cool. Even Ross was in the room and we all had on headphones and we talked together about all of the songs. He spoke to us and really pushed us to get the best performance… the best sound from us as a band. Sepultura has always been a great live performing band and we wanted to bring that to the record as much as we can – bring the life force on it.
Metal-Roos: The new album has a unique title – how did that come about?
Andreas came up with the idea to use the phrase… you know what I mean, to have a guidance instead of how it was with the last 2 albums… to have more of a soundtrack. Like for A-lex (based on A Clockwork Orange) and Dantes XXI (based on the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri). This time we just used the phrase. We didn’t follow the whole movie idea (Metropolis, Fritz Lang 1927); the phrase is very up to date and very strong even today. Sometimes people forget about the heart and turn into a robot – with this computer madness and cell phones. You see people with headphones walking down the street closed off to the rest of the world… plugged a little device in and turning themselves into a robot, you know…people forget about the heart.
Metal-Roos: When Derrick took over the vocal duties from Max, did you feel any pressure to prove that he was the right person to continue onwards?
No, when we played together for the first time we realised that he was the right guys for the band. He had experience with other bands but we knew he had potential to grow with us. Not only in the musical aspect but also regarding his personality. Everything really fits with us. He is very intelligent, open minded. He has a different way of looking at things.
Metal-Roos: If you wouldn’t have joined Sepultura what do you think you would be doing now?
I have no idea…[laughs] I have never really thought about that before… I started too early with the band. My father was a lawyer and maybe I would have tried to follow that… naturally but I don’t know… it is very hard. But if I had to do something different now, I would like be a professional scuba diver.
Metal-Roos: What was it like to have Andreas stay with you all this time?
Andreas is like family – he is more than just a musician. We have become very close. I spent more time with him than with my own brothers and when we tour the world we spend all of our time together. You have to learn how to respect the time we have and give each other space as well.
Metal-Roos: What do you do to keep yourself busy when you’re on tour but not on stage?
Each of us has different things we like to do. Right now I’m at my mums house relaxing, I like to go to my scuba diving lessons, go to the gym to get in shape… I can’t go to crazy, age is picking up. When we are on the road we like to go sight seeing – see as much as we can of the different places we go to. But really we are there to play – for example in Europe we have been to many countries many times so we know the places. Before we go to Australia we will be going to South Africa and the biggest thing I want to do is go diving with the great whites [sharks]. That’s my big task this time around. I’m trying to convince everybody else to come too but they’re all scared.
Metal-Roos: Sepultura has been around for 30 years now – did you expect to be been playing for this long?
Even though we have had 30 years as a band, I think we still have more years to go. We have a young drummer who has enough energy for all of us, I think… for another 20 at least…
Metal-Roos: The Arise/Chaos AD era was very influential for myself personally but also for a lot of my friends. What stands out about that era for you?
It was a good time for sure… it was a time we really had to explore the world and with both records we came to Australia if I’m not wrong. I have very good memories from that time.
Metal-Roos: Would Sepultura and Soulfly ever share a stage together?
I don’t think so… we have already done some shows where we have been on the same bill… some festivals in Europe, some times on different stages or different days… I really doubt that we will play together because of the circumstances….
Metal-Roos: So have you spoken to a Max or Igor?
No, I haven’t spoken to them for a long time.
Metal-Roos: Do you prefer to play large festivals – in front of thousands of fans – or smaller venues – up close and personal?
I like them both; there’s a different vibe, you know. To have a good stage with good equipment, for example when we played in China to 40,000 people and the next played to 2,000. So for us it doesn’t really matter as long as everyone is enjoying themselves. Next we go to South Africa so I’m not sure how many we will have and I’m expecting the best this time around for Australia. When we play festivals it’s not our full show; it’s sometimes harder to pick the songs that people want to hear and make everybody happy.
Interview Date: 2014-09-08
Interviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham