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SOULFLY (MAX CAVALERA)

Soulfly-2

APART FROM THE BIBLICAL MEANING – WHAT MEANING DOES THE WORD “PROPHECY” HAVE TO YOU? I think the idea of the whole album came a couple of months ago. I wanted to have it, because coming from “Soulfly III” which is our last record, I wanted a name that stands out and is like a powerful name. But also with the cover, with the lion of Judah being in the cover and the name being “Prophecy”, I think it’s a little bit like a mystical name, too, you know, so – I don’t know if all the songs on the album are related to the prophecy. There’s songs that talk about different things. All of them have something to do a little bit with this mystical vibe that this record has. And I’m very happy with the sound of the album, with the ideas on the album, and I think “Prophecy” just fits. It’s just a powerful word. THAT WAS YOUR SECOND TIME YOU WORKED AS A PRODUCER ON A SOULFLY RECORD. DID YOU FEEL MORE RELAXED ABOUT IT THIS TIME? I’m learning more and more. Like when you make a record, I learned so much about finding a good engineer and then having more things like the first recording. First time you play the song is always like the best time. I’ve been analysing those things by playing with people, you know. So a lot of things on “Prophecy” were like: the first time we played the song was like the best. You don’t try to keep doing and doing and doing until you loose the excitement and things like that. And also I learned a lot from the other guys, too, because I was involved with some awesome musicians on this album like Dave Ellefson and Marc Rizzo. They also taught me a lot in the studio. Even after all those years there’s things that I didn’t know, what would be the best way to record the bass, the best way to record a guitar, so it was really cool. THE ALBUM SEEMS A LOT HEAVIER THAN THE PREVIOUS SOULFLY ALBUMS. A LOT OF SONGS ARE MORE IN-YOUR-FACE, VERY STRAIGHT-FORWARD . WAS THAT LIKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO GO BACK TO YOUR ROOTS? It was not a conscious decision, just… I think it feels that way, because the first five songs just come at you like end-of-the-world type of feeling, but it just happened like that.. And then after that, it takes like a little turn and goes into “I believe” and “Moses”, which of course changes the entire record. But then again: that’s not too different from “Soulfly III”. Because on “Soulfly III” I had all these heavy songs and then I had one which is experimental with Cristian from Ill Nino. And then we did “Tree of pain” which changed the whole record, you know. So in that sense it’s similar to “Soulfly III”. WHEN YOU WRITE AN ALBUM, WHEN YOU PUT AN ALBUM TOGETHER – DO YOU HAVE A VISION BEFORE YOU START WRITING OR DO THE SONGS JUST FALL INTO PLACE NATURALLY? For “Prophecy” the only thing I wanted differently , for instance than on “Soulfly III” or in that case my other records, was to have this opening song that was really like catchy and big. Even the guitar that opens the album like a siren, it’s almost like a techno-theme. You don’t know what’s coming, but you feel it. Like something is gonna happen right here in a couple of seconds. And when the whole song kicks in, I was so happy with it. It had this power. I wanted to open an album with this for a long time. I could just never really do it the right way. And I think “Prophecy”, that’s probably what made me the happiest. ON “PROPHECY” WE FINALLY GET TO HEAR GUITAR SOLOS AGAIN.HAVE YOU MISSED THE “OLD SCHOOL” METAL GUITAR SOLOS? It wasn’t quite like that. I think it was more like the fact that Marc Rizzo is on this record, and he has the ability to play both – a beautiful flamenco and acoustic, melodic stuff, but also with songs like “Execution style” or “Defeat U” we had little parts where he could actually put leads there, that were not forced. They felt very natural. Because I wouldn’t put a lead in a song if I didn’t feel it was natural. Perfect example is “Prophecy” – doesn’t have a guitar lead. Because I felt “Prophecy” is a different kind of song. It’s really like a direct kind of song. Really, it wouldn’t add anything to the song “Prophecy”. But you got the second song “Living Sacrifice” that has probably THE most thrash guitar riff and guitar lead, which I thought was great, too. So it depends what song you’re talking about. And that’s what I like about it – I didn’t decide to do a whole album of guitar leads. I decided to have them back, yeah, more than on any other Soulfly. But it’s combined with the songs that don’t have any guitar leads like “Moses” or “Prophecy”. So it was a conscious decision. But I think it is a good balance. BUT MARC RIZZO… HE DIDN’T PLAY GUITAR SOLOS WHEN HE WAS IN ILL NINO, DID HE?! And that was what I thought was cool, because he can play that stuff better than most people I ever heard. Some people try to play guitar leads and it’s just kind of like: “Oh my God… What are you doing?!?”, you know. And with him it was the opposite. He can really make the song stand out with a lead, without overdoing it. That’s what bands do: they put too many leads in it and it becomes kind of like too much. He had a complete awesome understanding of where the lead should go and for how long without overdoing it, but giving the song a really cool vibe by having the leads on. So I’m very happy to work with him. Me and him work really good in the studio. YOU ALSO COOPERATED WITH A SERBIAN BAND ON THE SONG “MOSES”, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING SONGS ON THE ALBUM.. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO MIX DUB AND METAL IN ONE SONG? That’s an old idea, kind of. I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple albums now. People have actually even noticed that, by listening to things like “Prejudice” and “Bring it” and even the last album “Four elements”, I’m flirting with reggae and dub. And now this record is a little bit here, a little bit there. This time I went full-scale, like full-on. I am gonna do it, you know, it has to be done. I’m the one that has to do it, because all the records are on me, nobody’s doing that. So yeah, that’s why I matched up with Eyesburn. They are guys from Serbia. And they can play the dub style, I can play the metal style. So it was like a marriage, like of these two styles. And I’m so happy that I have actually finally done it. And now it’s done. The reaction has been great. First people were like: “Are you crazy? The fans are not gonna understand that!” But it’s not the truth. It’s not like that at all. It’s the opposite. They are actually coming back to me and saying how cool those two things fit together, how cool they sound. So I’m very happy. YOU OBVIOUSLY DROPPED THE CONCEPT OF TAKING A LOT OF GUEST MUSICIANS IN. INSTEAD YOU WORKED AS A GUEST MUSICIAN FOR DAVE GROHL’S PROJECT PROBOT. THE SONG “RED WAR” WHICH IS ON THERE SOUNDS A LOT AS IF YOU WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT. DID YOU COOPERATE ON THIS SONG OR WAS IT JUST HIS IDEA OF HOW AN IDEAL MAX CAVALERA-SONG SHOULD SOUND LIKE? That was his idea of how in his mind a Max-song should sound like. I think he was really close to the right formula in his laboratory, or wherever he recorded that. I really dig it, I think it was great. The cool thing about Dave is, me and him are very similar. We’re from different places. You know, I play a little bit different than Foo Fighters. But as an artist I think that I’m similar. Because I remember I heard he replaced his entire band. That was the first time I heard such thing like that. And it’s not, that I copied his idea. What happened with Soulfly was something different. It was something that started on the tour and actually graduated into a bigger thing. That’s why I decided to replace everybody to make “Prophecy” a different record. But yeah, he replaced his entire band and came with a new line-up and came with a stronger record, when he did that. So me and him… I think artistically we think the same about a lot of the aspects. So I was really happy to collaborate with him on “Red war”. The whole project turned out really cool. IS THERE ANYBODY YOU CAN THINK OF, YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK WITH, OR DID YOU EVER GET REJECTED BY ANYBODY? It’s not that I got rejected. Sometimes you try to get in touch with somebody and it doesn’t work. I was trying to do something, actually it was for this album, with Burning Spear. I played with him in France and stuff. But the people in that kind of music… it’s very different than metal by the way. They don’t deal with things the same way that we do. It’s like a different planet, you know? So after a while I decided to drop the idea. It was telling me it is not meant to be. Everytime that happened I always managed to just get a grip. Don’t even try to overforce the idea. But most people I work with were really awesome. I have done some really cool stuff with a lot of different people. And it’s been really great, and I want to do more in the future. YOU’VE BEEN CALLED “THE BOB MARLEY OF METAL” – APART FROM THE HAIR-DO – WHAT ELSE DO YOU HAVE IN COMMON? I think people connect him more to being from a different part of the world. I’m from Brasil and he comes from Jamaica. And also like spiritual stuff, I think a lot of people connect that, because Bob Marley was really spiritual. He sang a lot about his beliefs. I’m very open sometimes about my spiritual beliefs. They’re on the records, you know. ONE HALF OF THE RECORD IS ABOUT SPIRITUALITY, YOUR BELIEFS AND ABOUT GOD. THE OTHER HALF DEALS WITH WAR. THERE ARE LINES WHERE YOU PUT BOTH OF THEM TOGETHER LIKE “I’M A SOLDIER OF GOD” OR “GOD OF WAR”. HOW DO THESE TWO THEMES FIT TOGETHER? I think that’s kind of like the music. The music can be so heavy and aggressive, and then it changes and switches to the most melodic, spiritual vibe. I think “I believe” is a perfect example. The end of that song is probably the heaviest part on the record. The double-bass is going on and I’m screaming. It’s chaos, it’s apocalypse – apocalypse now is going on. And it drops into the most spiritual, beautiful, melodic outro that goes on for like a minute. So it’s kind of like how the album is. The lyrics reflect the music. They’re both in the same way, in a contrast way. Black and white, good and evil, that kind of stuff. It’s a contrast from spiritual to aggressive, melodic to heavy. I think those two things are elements of Soulfly, and they’re on every album. They’re just a little bit more explicit this time. YOU’VE ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN FOR YOUR ANGRY LYRICS. BUT YOU SEEM TO BE A VERY POSITIVE, RELAXED PERSON. WHERE DO YOU TAKE THE ANGER FROM, WHERE DO YOU FIND “THE MATERIAL” FOR YOUR SONGS? I think music is an outlet. In music I can express what I can’t express in normal life. And I think that’s quite normal. In art some people can write stuff, they can’t say. Like making a book: he can write something he cannot express if he was sitting down with somebody. So to me it’s the same. Sometimes I can sing something in a song, where I can’t sit down and tell you, or talk to you about it. But I can do it with the song. So it is like a special way of communication, that is music. LAST YEAR THE BAND WENT THROUGH SOME MASSIVE CHANGES. WAS IT THE BAND’S CHOICE TO LEAVE OR DID YOU DECIDE TO “LOOSE” THE BAND? WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED THERE? Well, exactly for the record, since there’s so many speculations: what really happened was, that I was unhappy with the fact – that mainly on the last tour – we would play a festival and everybody would play real good. And the next day we would have a show like in Austria for 400 people. And nobody would be into the show, the band would not be into it. And that irritated me personally a lot. And people that were travelling with us, friends of mine, were coming to me and said: “Man… the band really sucked tonight! I saw it and that’s not Soulfly!” Nobody is moving, nobody is into the show. You can clearly see, they are only enjoying the big shows. And that’s not right! You should play the same for everybody. If you have 2 people or 2 million. That’s my theory. Because I think the fans they are there to see you. And if they came into a monday night – 400 people – you should give them the same show. That’s what started it. That’s when I decided to replace Mikey. I wanted a different guitar player, I wanted somebody who would be more into this. I had already contacted Marc Rizzo. So the choice had already been made. When they found out about that, that’s when I had some problems with Marcello as well, from his attitude and this and that. The three of them were kind of like together all the time, so it was kind of like: “I think it is best, if all of you guys leave!”. And I replaced them and I got new people. That’s what I did. So I asked them. I don’t want to say that I fired them, because I don’t like even the sound of that word. It was more like: it was better for both sides. It’s better if you guys go, it’s better if I start over with other people. That was the best thing. SO YOU ASKED THEM TO LEAVE? AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE WORD IS OUT THERE THAT THE BAND LEFT ON THEIR OWN CHOICE, BECAUSE THEY WOULDN’T WANT TO WORK WITH YOU AND YOUR WIFE GLORIA ( SOULFLY’S MANAGER) ANYMORE… The last person I had to talk to was Roy. I already told Mikey and Marcello: “I’m not working with you guys!”. And then Roy was the one to say: “I don’t want to stay, if you’re replacing people!” I said: “OK, then you should go with them!” Because I already told Marcello and Mikey that I’m gonna replace them. And Roy went with them. Which I think is good. Because if they feel that way about themselves, they should stay together. And I should play with other people. Which I think is good, because I give the chance to expose Soulfly-fans to other musicians. Every album had different musicians, and I feel very proud that actually I was able to do that. And I think that… I mean, it hurts me a little bit… the fact, that I found a lot of people. I think they should be a little bit more grateful, instead of spreading rumours about them saying they left the band, which is totally untrue. They should be a little more grateful that I gave them the chance to be exposed, otherwise a lot of people wouldn’t know. Like when I found Marcello and Roy, they were not even playing music anymore. So they should be a little more grateful for what I’ve done for them through the years. WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT LINE-UP? DO YOU WANT TO KEEP THEM – I’M NOT SAYING FOREVER – BUT IS IT GOING TO BE A STEADY LINE-UP FOR AT LEAST A FEW RECORDS? That doesn’t really concern me, although it would be cool if it stayed. But if it changes, I’m gonna keep moving. For me the most important is that the music continues with the vision that I have and continues pure from the heart, honest, truthfully. And I’ll continue with whoever in on board with me. To be true to the fans, to give them the best shows – 400 people or four million. Those are the things I live by. It’s not about who’s gonna stay or whatever. But I hope that they understand that if they stay we get to do Soulfly for as long. But if it changes, I know that I’ll continue, no matter what. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE STILL SPECULATING ABOUT YOU RETURNING TO SEPULTURA. TO FINISH THE RUMOUR ONCE AND FOR ALL: WILL THAT EVER BE AN OPTION FOR YOU, EVEN IN THE DISTANT FUTURE? That rumour has been on for six, seven years now. But what else can I say than: “No, it’s not true!”? And yes – I’m very excited about what’s going on with Soulfly. With “Prophecy” – that has so far reached the maximum excitement for an album that’s not out yet, for me from just talking to people. It’s almost like crazy to even think something like that. So – no!! Soulfly going strong, with a lot of projects and shows and tours for this year.

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