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SOULFLY (MAX CAVALERA)

RECORDED ON THE TOUR-BUS IN BOCHUM, JUNE 17TH 2005 …we really, I think, really, SEPULTURA started changing the face of metal, you know, in many ways. And I continue with SOULFLY. And I love doing it. I don’t… I know, some people don’t like it and get pissed off, but there are thousands more that really enjoy it and really like it. So, that’s why I do it, you know. MAX, YOU JUST SAID THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO YOU’RE PISSING OFF WITH THE MUSIC YOU’RE DOING NOWADAYS. ARE YOU REFERRING TO OLD-SCHOOL FANS WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CHANGED THE STYLE OF MUSIC FROM SEPULTURA-DAYS TO SOULFLY? EVEN THOUGH IN MY OPINION IT’S NOT THAT MUCH OF A BIG JUMP, YOU KNOW… No, not really. I mean, more of like: it’s always been with me. It’s like the times changed. Well, I remember with the – I think, it was „Arise“ – and we went to play somewhere in Brazil. There was all these guys, you know, after the show. It was a cool show in Rio with 1000 kids. It was nuts. But you know, we met these guys outside, and, you know, they were talking all this shit, like: “SEPULTURA is commercial!”, you know, and this and that. And I was like: „Commercial?!“ It was like: „What the hell…?!“, you know, „Woah, you know, it’s not black metal anymore!“, and this and that. But anyway, you know, I just kinda got into an argument with these guys, and I say: „You know what? Yeah, you’re entitled to your opinion. But for me, for me what we are doing it’s very strong and very special, you know?“ So, that was the end of my conversation with these guys, you know. But through the years I sensed that it’s always a minority of people like that. It’s almost like a trend, you know, like it’s trendy to… You hear something that you don’t even know, but you say it because you heard everybody else saying. It’s a trend, you know, it’s a fake. So I just really have to know this exists. And so, when I make records I have to really shut it off and make the record that I think. It’s what I believe in like, in my heart and the attitude, that it’s strong enough to march over those guys. (laughs) And so far it’s been great. I think „Dark ages“ will have no problem with that. I think, it’s gonna march a little harder, actually. RIGHT! „DARK AGES“ IS BY FAR THE HEAVIEST AND MOST AGGRESSIVE ALBUM FROM SOULFLY I’VE HEARD IN YEARS – WITH DOUBLE-BASS, GUITAR SOLOS AND ALL THAT – IT HITS YOU HARD IN THE FACE. WOULD YOU SAY THE OLDER YOU GET, THE HEAVIER YOU GET? Yeah, it’s… it seems that way in that area for sure, you know. But I think, you know, I don’t know, I think it’s cool because I’m involved with very fans in the band. They are fans, just our way. They are my friends, but they are also big fans and when we make songs like this, like this double-bass, it’s… For me it’s just like I was fifteen years ago with SEPULTURA, it’s how those songs were created. I actually don’t really know how they are created. They… I guess, you can say some pop guys have the gift of writing pop songs, you know, I have the gift of writing angry songs, you know, heavy songs, which I enjoy them, but for me that’s not enough. That’s why the record has more. You know, it’s not just that. You can… yes – „Dark ages“ is the heaviest, but once you hear the whole thing, you still notice there is all other stuff also going on which will lead into something else, which is what is cool about music. One thing leads to another into another into another. And it’s amazing for me to remember what led into this song or that song, and I go: „Wow! It’s completely insane!“ But, you know, it’s cool. It’s connected. THE LAST ALBUM „PROPHECY“ STARTED OUT HEAVY AND THEN HAD LIKE A SPLIT IN THE MIDDLE, WHERE THE SONGS BECAME MORE SMOOTH AND MELLOW. WOULD YOU SAY “DARK AGES” IS MORE OF A UNIT? The album doesn’t really get mellow till „Soulfly V“, which is the last song (laughs), so… Yeah, we can say, you know, it’s like, it’s the way it come out. It’s like: „Woah!“, we’re at war, and the war didn’t stop. So we fought all the way, (chuckles) you know. And then in the end „Soulfly V“ is like the only, like, mellow part. There is – like I was telling you – world elements and things like that, but even then it came out, you know, darks in some way. The instruments I’m using, they are like, in some of the songs there are like, things that (are) call(ed) some strange bag-pipes and – different ones from „Prophecy“ but kind of similar – and then some things from… I went to Russia, and recorded some stuff in Russia. And I did some stuff in Istanbul as well. There is a little bit of Turkey in this record, but it’s very subtle, but: yeah! I think everything in the album is heavier and darker, and it fits… yeah, it fits my life right now. You know, it’s… I’m more into that right now. I’m not really into peace and love and all that shit right now. I was never really into that, but I’m more into a… you know, a darker, you know, a darker moment, I think. For music it’s great, because my favourite moments was that explosive anarchy/rebellion thing that I have, that comes out. And when it comes out it’s like a Tasmanian devil, you know. And it can only come out when you write this kind of songs. Otherwise, you know, it stays inside of me, it doesn’t come out. So, I’m glad I’m actually still making songs like this, so, you know, when the situation is perfect: Maaan… It’s the best show ever. It’s like: Phhhhh…. It’s like, you know, the crowd and us, and it’s just insane and intense. And I haven’t seen no other band. I have seen everybody from SLAYER to METALLICA – I’ve never seen anything like those moments. Like, we’re having songs like „Refuse“ and „Last of the mohicans“, it’s like chaos, you know! Great! And full-fast So, that’s…maybe that’s when people ask me when I did those songs, like: „Why are you still doing those songs? They don’t get big, and they don’t get on the radio!“ And I was like: „Really?! Yeah, you’re totally right about that…!“, and then they’re like: „Then why are you doing them? Stop making those stupid fast songs! Nobody cares about it!“ And I was like. „No….! There is people that care, you know! Like, I love it, you know?“ And I love to play them live. They are my favourite songs live, are the fast, crazy insane shit. But then for the record in general, I love all the other stuff, too. The melodic stuff and, you know, like, when you were hearing „Soulfly V“, and you said: „That’s beautiful!“ You know, that part is nice. Yeah, I like that, too. It’s kind of nice to have it both. But this is darker and heavier (chuckles). YOU SEEM TO BE A LOT MORE MAD AT THE WORLD AT THE MOMENT. „I DON’T GIVE A FUCK, WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK!“ IN THE SONG „FRONTLINES“ YOU’RE REPEATING THOSE LINES OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WAS THERE SOMETHING THAT TRIGGERED THAT OR HAVE YOU JUST BEEN FED UP WITH THINGS? Some of it’s that, some of it it’s kinda ironic. That’s „Frontlines“, that’s a song about war. And when I say those lines, I’m acting… The idea was more like for example, Bush would sit at the white house and say: „I don’t give a fuck, we don’t give a fuck!“ You know, get your ass in the frontline. Same with, you know, with the general, or with the prime minister of all these, of all countries, you know. So, it’s a little bit of irony. But then again in the other part I think that’s also the soldier at that moment. Just thinking, like: „Right now I just don’t give a fuck!“ It’s like, he lost that… maybe he lost that reason, that kind of most people have, you know, a reason. And they reason with things. And in situations like that you just don’t give a fuck about reason anymore. Reason becomes obsolete, you know. And then sometimes in my own personal life that happens, too. And you just: „Urggh!“ You’re fed up, you know. You’re just like: you explode. You can’t really hold that. I think it’s better to let it out somewhere. And I let it out in the music. Otherwise I’d be in jail for sure! (laughs) So music is good. It keeps me out of jail. LIKE YOU JUST SAID, YOU WERE QUITE IRONIC IN YOUR LYRICS. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND YOU COOPERATED WITH BILLY MILANO (EDITOR’S NOTE: SINGER OF S.O.D./M.O.D.) IN THE SONG „MOLOTOV“. AND BILLY MILANO IS NOT EXACTLY KNOWN FOR APPRECIATING CRITICAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION OR THE WAR. HOW HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU TO WORK WITH HIM? HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT THAT? DID THOSE SUBJECTS EVEN COME UP? No, no. The song was done completely… I even say when I touched that: „Man, I’m not interested in political stuff for this song at all!“, you know. And it’s the same when I work with Tom Araya, you know. I didn’t have to actually tell him. But he’s in a SOULFLY record, he’s working with me, you know, and by that time – for sure – he knew that Max was a guy that’s spiritual and he believes in God. Yeah, I’m working with Tom Araya. So, it’s not that I had to tell him, you know, like: „Don’t sing something like, you know, „I’m the devil“ and, you know „I worship Satan“, you know. Which… if that’s people’s belief that’s cool with me, too, because I respect everybody’s belief. But we did something else, which I think, that’s the coolest. It’s like, we actually get together and we get to work, and then something beyond all that, you know. And that was the case in „Terrorist“, that was the case in „Molotov“. And „Molotov“ is even further. I mean, Billy Milano’s lyrics, it’s – my God – it’s like…it’s nuts. It’s about appreciating life. It’s really beautiful lyrics, like really cool lyrics. Saying about, you know, life is full of mystery and life is a wonderful…, you know, it’s mystic and free. This is cool shit! I never expected that from him. And it’s like: I let him sing whatever he wants. It was recorded over the phone, so it was like really punk rock type recording, and sing on the phone. And it’s like: „On the phone?! You know, why not get into a plane and go to Phoenix?“ Like: „Naaah, I think it would be more cool and punk rock if you just scream on the phone!“, you know. And he did, and it’s original, too, you know. So I like that. I like that – the fact, that it’s on the phone – I like the fact that what he wrote is completely different and really, really cool. And I don’t give a shit what people are gonna say, you know. I love S.O.D., and I don’t get inside to the lyrics. Same with Slayer, you know. Like, if I take everything too serious to that point, then you should stop listening to music. Cause, you know, music is like people. People have different opinions. And like it or not, we deal with it, you know. Maybe you don’t like my hair – but we’re still talking, you know. Maybe I don’t like that person’s accent – but you’re still talking. You know, you don’t… You know what I’m saying, you don’t stop talking to people. At least that’s the way I am, you know, that’s my way of life. And so yeah, Billy Milano has songs like, you know, „Fuck the middle-east“, Tom Araya has songs like „I’m an antichrist“, you know, „I worship Satan“. Yeah, we work together and make something completely different and new. And I think that’s great, and I really love that. For me it is more of a fan, to hear his voice in that song, it brings me back to S.O.D., which was like SEPULTURAs favourite band of the era, that kind of project band. Oh man, everybody! Not just us, everybody loved S.O.D. when it came out. It was that metal-hardcore thing. It was so great, you know. Yeah it was great. It was a great time. I love… they never play in Brazil. If they would, it would explode, like the stadium would go to the ground. Yeah, it was like, it was one of the albums I listened to for that kind of, you know, intensity a lot. And it’s really cool. So I’m happy to work with him. I love the record. I think, it’s… I love the humour on it. The people don’t get it. And I say, you know, people don’t need to be that serious about everything, you know. Of course, you know, some of the stuff, he get kinda weird. But you kinda have to have a little bit of, I don’t know, like humour, you know. Even when you’re writing crazy music like S.O.D. or SEPULTURA. SEPULTURA has always like had some humour somewhere. And it’s like maybe dark, you know, hidden, but it’s, yeah, we were punkers, you know, we were punk rock, metal-kids… we were not, or not, yeah, we were not Norwegian black metal people. But we were not California happy punk people, you know. We were something different. We were like something else, you know. (laughs) SOULFLY HAS ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN FOR BEING A REALLY EXPERIMENTAL BAND. ON THE FIRST SONG „BABYLON“ I NOTICED BAG-PIPES. WHAT OTHER INSTRUMENTS HAVE YOU USED FOR THE ALBUM? I KNOW YOU’VE GOT A PREFERENCE FOR CRAZY, CRAZY INSTRUMENTS… Yeah, there is a lot of instruments all over. No, in „Babylon“… sometimes it’s Marc. Marc – and that’s one of the reasons I love having him in the band – it’s a lot like, he can make his guitar sound like different things. And the only guy that I know that did some kind of like that is the guy from Rage against the machine. He made it sound more like hip hop samplers and stuff, you know. Marc is not into that. But Marc would make his guitar sound like keyboard, he makes his guitar sound like bag-pipe. It’s like crazy. I don’t know how he does that, you know. I don’t wanna know, actually. It’s just cool that he does, you know. ARE YOU SURE THAT IS A GUITAR? Yeah, in some parts of the record. But that’s what’s cool. The mix is so… we have all that that Marc does, and then you have twenty instruments that I use myself, you know. So there’s sitar, there’s didgeridoo, there’s balalaika, there’s accordion in this record, if you can believe it. It’s all there. I think, it’s funny as hell. You know, when you say that, it’s like: „Accordion?! Balalaika?!??“ (laughs) Yeah, it’s there somewhere. And then, yeah, it’s all there. So yeah, I think it’s part… A friend if mine told me: “If you take all those things out of SOULFLY, you’d…“, you know, for him it would loose the special element. And it would be good, but it would just another good, you know, heavy band. Nothing more, nothing less. So, he was really happy that I was doing this weird shit, you know DO YOU LISTEN TO TRADITIONAL MUSIC AT ALL? I RECKON, YOU MUST BE LISTENING TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT MUSIC TO COME UP WITH THOSE STYLES, A BALALAIKA OR EVEN THE BAND FROM SERBIA YOU WORKED WITH AGAIN. No, not really much in my spare-time. But I like the idea to go work with them. And I like the idea of not, of not actually be trained in the music and just communicate in a music way, which I think is the best in a way. You don’t really need to know music. You make it work. You draw your…, you know, you make it signs like those gypsies in Serbia. Nobody speak English, you know. We made hand-language in like (starts to gesticulate), you know. But, you know, it’s in the album, and it’s cool. It’s across. I think that’s better if – for me at least – better if I was, you know, pretending that I was like really a professor of music, that I knew everything like…. No, I don’t know anything, you know. Most of those, for me that kind of music, I’m actually discovering them while I am recording them, which is really cool. WELL, YOU’RE NOT A PROFESSOR IN MUSIC. BUT NEVERTHELESS YOU TOOK THE TURN AGAIN TO PRODUCE THE ALBUM. AND I HEARD THAT YOU HATE PRODUCING RECORDS. WHY DO YOU EVEN TAKE UP THE STRESS THEN? DO YOU WANT TO STAY IN CONTROL TO THE BITTER END? Yeah. I produced but… I don’t know, like what I do is… it’s produced but it’s very, very, very different I think from the standard producer kind of stuff, you know. I’m not conc-, really not worried about… Like a lot of producers when they get high about a band they have all these things like: „Yeah, you gotta make a hit single!“, and: „Oh, you gotta make the singer sing some more!“ All this label bullshit, you know. „Oh, you gotta…” Even like: „If you can’t make them look a little better, you know, give ‚em some hairspray!“ It’s like, it’s insane, you know It’s like all this bullshit that has nothing to do with the music, you know. So I decided just producing my own stuff, because I was actually just interested in the music and the attitude, yeah, in the heart. So once I produced the first „Soulfly 3“, it felt really cool. Then „Prophecy“ was a, it was a big step, cause a lot of people really enjoyed the way that was produced and mixed. And now „Dark ages“ so far it’s… People like it even more than „Prophecy“. So, I’ll do it because of that. I know I’m gonna deliver something good. But you’re right, I hate it and I don’t like it! I don’t really have interest of spending days and weeks in the studio drinking coffee. It’s not my gig. I have to have my guitar and be in front of people and spit and throw water and shit like that, you know. (laughs) So… But, you know, I do it. I love, when the album is done, I love the sound. And that’s the way I was… that’s what I’m there for, you know. THE ALBUM IS CALLED „DARK AGES“ AND I JUST HAD A CHANCE TO LISTEN TO THE TITLE-TRACK. ACTUALLY IT’S NOT REALLY A TRACK, IT’S JUST AN INTRO. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE AN INTRO OF JUST 40 SECONDS TO BE THE TITLE-TRACK? WHAT DOES IT REPRESENT FOR YOU THAT YOU GAVE IT THAT MUCH WEIGHT? Well, you know, I think it’s kind of a special… For SOULFLY especially, we had intros in the past… We also have intros in SOULFLY, but there had never been an intro like this. And you’re right – never with actually, with a name. So I’m always looking for something that’s, you know, a couple of things that are different. So when you look through the record there are the things, they are, you know, they are trademarks: like „Soulfly 5“, the rage of the song, my voice. And then there’s things that… you look through the other SOULFLY records. You’re like. „Ok!“ You know, there is no intros, this is the first one. So I kinda liked that idea. The other reason is I that like the keyboard I used is called „Prophet 5“. And it’s an old keyboard. It’s very dark. It’s used mostly by people like Peter Gabriel, you know. I don’t think in metal, they don’t even know what it is. Rock bands… I mentioned it around the studio even. Nobody in the studio even knew what I was talking about, you know. They right thought that I was joking or something like that. „No, I’m not joking. There is a real thing called Prophet 5! Trust me, you know!“ And they made some calls and we found the one and we rented it. So yeah, it was cool. I like, I love to work with that keyboard. It’s my favourite keyboard. It’s very dark. MAX, YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY A VERY DEDICATED METAL HEAD. BUT I BELIEVE – IN YOUR POSITION, BEING MAX CAVALERA – YOU’RE BEING RECOGNIZED RIGHT AWAY BY A LOT OF FANS. IN HOW FAR IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO „LEAD A METAL LIFE“ IN THAT WAY THAT YOU CAN GO TO SHOWS AND HAVE A GOOD TIME THERE? Yeah, it’s cool. I talk to the fans, and – yeah, they get kind of shocked first – then later it’s cool, you know. I sign their stuff and it doesn’t really bother me, you know. I think that my fans – the real fans – they’re from the heart. They know what’s going on. And they have a different attitude and they have like, there is a huge respect between me and them which is great, you know. The other people? I don’t know. You know, you end up meeting them, whatever. You know, but I know when a real fan is from the heart. You can feel it, you know. You have like sensors, you know. Special sensors, like: „Sssssuuuushh!“ (imitates an alien with antennas). Like: „Yeah, are you for real or are you bullshit or no?“ (you know) The same with them and us. They sense when a band is bullshitting them, you know. So, for me it is always like a struggle to make a good record and go and play live and be as natural as I can be. But at the same time still deliver, you know, a professional show, because people want that. They wanna hear an hour and twenty minutes. SOULFLY (has) always been under the criticism of only playing less than an hour, because I don’t talk. So, I don’t talk between songs. So we end up, when I play twenty songs which for most bands is their whole show. Twenty songs for me, it’s about 40 minutes. So you still got twenty minutes, you know. It’s like: What am I gonna do with twenty minutes? I already played twenty songs. And they are not RAMONES songs. they are like, you know, good-sized songs. But I’m working on it. So I’m trying to make the shows still natural, it’s still me, but it’s professional and it’s long. My promises that I try to do is, when people leave the venue, they are sweat-drenched and they let all the energy and aggression out and they’re happy, you know. So they got this feeling, like: „Cool!“, you know, like satisfaction, you know, which is my goal for every time I play. YOU TOURED WITH BLACK SABBATH THIS SUMMER. IS THERE ANY MEMORABLE MOMENT WHICH STICKS OUT IN YOUR MEMORY? OR DID IT FEEL JUST LIKE A NORMAL TOUR? No, it’s not… We’re here in between festivals, headline and Black Sabbath. So those three things are very different from each other. The headline-shows are for me like the real thing, you get to see SOULFLY as this full element. The Black Sabbath shows were really interesting. For me it’s like, it’s a challenge, but it’s also an honour to open for them. You know, I look at things like, when I was one year old, they were doing BLACK SABBATH „I“. So, you know, that’s the way I see it. It’s like: Great, man! This is such a respectful thing. And I love the fact they asked us, you know, to be part of it. It’s not my first time. Like actually, I did more than a lot of people, you know. But when I heard about it I was like very happy. Like, eight shows with SABBATH in Europe, like: Yeah! So it’s been very cool. And then the festivals also, it’s like amazing. We did one in Austria, we played before Prodigy. And, wow, man! There was 30.000 people going crazy for SOULFLY. it was like amazing, you know. And I was like really happy to see that, to see that fire, you know. They didn’t like fade, they are actually stronger then ever. So I’m looking forward to the festivals. There is Metal Camp, and there is actually some festivals with Slayer, I think. Unfortunately I think there is none in Germany. But next year! WOULD YOU SAY THAT THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER YOU HAVE ALWAYS FOLLOWED YOUR INSTINCT AND YOUR HEART? OR HAVE THERE BEEN BUSINESS DECISIONS YOU HAD TO UNDERTAKE? For the most important things – yes! Which is like, the things that decide in music if you are gonna make it or not. Those things I follow my heart. You know, even when there’s three, four ways to go, you know, I just follow my heart. Kinda close my eyes and just let it go and see what happens, you know. I think that’s the best way. Maybe not the easiest way, but that’s for me the best way. And it keeps the integrity. WITH FOUR SOULFLY ALBUMS IN BACK-HAND – WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS MAINLY CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS? I love the fact that it’s progression and not just like all the other records. But like, we were saying, I’m getting older and getting heavier. So, you know, that’s good. That’s the opposite of what most people do. I don’t know, it works for me. So, you know, but I do what I wanna do anyway. I love to do… I’m not doing this… It’s not heavier because people told me: „Oh, you should get heavy now!“, you know. It’s heavier because I love to play this kind of stuff, you know. But yeah, very happy with SOULFLY, you know. I feel it’s got a lot of potential still.

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