Soulfly : Interview with Max Cavalera

BW Soulfly iiSoulfly’s main man, Max Cavalera, took some time out to chat to whilst on their recent UK tour. He took us through the many projects he has underway at the moment and also let us in on his World Cup predictions. You’ll never guess who he’s tipped to win!


Thanks for talking to Another year, another Soulfly tour, how’s it been going so far?

It’s been fantastic, the shows are packed…a lot of people. We are playing longer, an hour and forty five minutes, which is 25 songs. It’s the longest set I’ve played in my whole life. So it’s really cool, we decided to play longer which we tried out in America and it felt really good. There’s a lot of powerful songs, one after the other; almost two hours of metal! So we’ve decided to stick with the long set formula and it makes sure people get to hear what they want to hear.

There’s been four UK shows so far and they’ve been great, really exciting.

The venues you’ve been playing recently have been quite small, but they’ve been selling out night after night. Do you think Soulfly will be back in the bigger venues next time around on the back of this?

If that happens it will be great but I love the small shows. The energy is there man, the vibe is there you know. Sometimes a big show doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good show. You can have a big show with a lot of people in there and it can be shitty. Then you can have a show with just 200 people and it can be a great fucking show.

So it’s not an issue you worry about?

Nah, I was never one of those musicians. Even after Sepultura split up, when we were playing big places, I went straight back to the clubs with Soulfly, it never bothered me. It doesn’t depress me! The dressing rooms are more fucked up and dirtier but apart from that the shows are great and that’s all that matters.

So you’re out here on the back of the ‘Savages’ album. There’s some pretty cool guests on this one…Neil from Clutch, Mitch from Napalm Death…

Ha yeah! I know England LOVES Clutch right?

Yeah, we sure do…

Can you tell us how you go about getting all these guests on albums? You always seem to be able to come up trumps in that department.

Just call them! Simple as that. People that I love, some of them I know like Neil and Mitch. I’d never met Jamie from I Declare War, he’s on the song ‘Fallen’. I only talked to him on the phone, because I’m a big fan of his band and lots of new bands, but I wrote ‘Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla’ with Neil in mind for him to sing that. So it was custom made for him, that song. There is actually a studio version of that song where I do an imitation of Neil, It’s never going to be released. I wrote some redneck lyrics and did my imitation of Neil, but when he put his version down, we didn’t use that anymore, ha ha!

You mention you’re still a fan of new bands. You have Savage Messiah out with you on this tour. Do you like the new generation of Thrash bands?

Oh, I love it! I love Toxic Holocaust, Warbringer and heavier stuff like Trigger The Bloodshed, Burning Skies, Man Must Die…yeah I love it! Savage Messiah are great guys, they’re really cool. I like their stuff, the sort of Thrash with melodic vocals thing really works good for them.

Back to the ‘Savages’ album. You have your son Zyon in as a proper member of the band now, what’s it like working with your son?

Well, it’s changed the band. He has young energy and blood. It’s made Soulfly seem younger. We’re all almost forty. I’m 44, Marc is almost forty and so is Tony. So we have a twenty year old kid playing drums which creates a contrast, but it’s cool. It’s good because of that.

You always seem to have had your family around you on tour…

Yeah, I make them work!

Have you always thought your kids would one day play with you onstage?

Yeah, I always hoped so you know. Never thought it would happen that quickly, but he is and I’m very happy. He also has his own band Lody Kong with his brother, they’re making a record this year. Richie has Incite  and they have a new record on the way, so it’s a house full of metal.

Do you think you’ll ever make an album just made by Cavalera’s?

People have asked me that, you know, it could happen in the future, we could pull it off.

Have you got any guitarists in the ranks? Has Marc got to watch his back?

He’s safe for the moment, yeah.

Speaking of family ties. You have a new Cavalera Conspiracy album coming up this year, which I believe is already recorded?

It’s recorded. It’s going to come out in October.

So Soulfly is your main priority over the summer then?

Yeah the tour is going to be Soulfly and I’m also doing this thing called Metal All-stars with Phil from Pantera, Joey Belladonna, Zakk Wylde. It’s mostly Eastern Europe, each person plays five of their main songs, I think I’m doing three Sepultura and two Soulfly ones and it’s going to be great. Then Soulfly are going to Russia with Korn, opening for them in Russia, Siberia and lots of weird places.

You’ve already been announced for HellFest, that looks like a great line-up?

Yeah it is. I wish we could do more festivals but we are playing Hellfest which will be great! But it’s going to be a little bit of Soulfly and a little bit of Metal Allstars this summer.

BW Soulfly iYou’ve been the face of Roadrunner Records for as long as I can remember. Now you are working with Nuclear Blast and Napalm Records. Has this changed the way you work at all?

We try to carry on as normal. For me it’s exciting to be on a metal label again. They are both big labels and seem excited to have myself and bands working with them.

I’m releasing Killer Be Killed on Nuclear Blast and then Cavalera Conspiracy comes out on Napalm in October. I also have the book coming out, so I have a full year. There’s a lot of stuff. We get along with everyone, they are a bunch of cool people and we know a lot of them from the Roadrunner days anyway. They’ve ended up moving too. It feels like home, it’s not changed too much really.

Killer be Killed comes out in May. It’s with Greg from Dillinger Escape Plan, Troy from Mastodon and Dave from Mars Volta. It’s a great record, 12 killer songs with the three of us singing on every song and it’s really exciting. It’s more melodic than most of the stuff I’ve done…forever, you know, it’s a big change for me. Nuclear Blast think it’s their record of the year and they’re pushing it very hard with a big campaign.

I imagine this one will be hard to tour though?

Yeah, Mastodon is just coming out with a new record. We’re busy but we’ll have to see when we are all free.

So you are considering it then?

Yeah, just a couple of shows. You have to do it, just for the metal!

I wasn’t expecting you to say it was melodic with a name like Killer Be Killed!

It’s got a lot of Melody.

You’ve mentioned your book. Have you been approached a lot in the past to pen your autobiography?

No not really. Out of the blue Joel McIver wanted to write it. We decided to write it and he (is) a good writer. He sent me some books that he did about Cliff Burton, Randy Rhodes and he’s really good. I decided to go with him and I got Dave Grohl to write the intro to the book and we had some great musicians get their opinions on me into the book and it’s really cool.

It comes out April…

You have a lot of projects on the go. Are you busier now than you’ve ever been or are you always busy?

Well, I’m busier now than ever. I wasn’t this busy about 5 years ago as I didn’t have Cavalera Conspiracy, just Soulfly, but I don’t mind. I like to be active. That’s why I did Nailbomb back in ’95. The Sepultura guys all went to the beach and I didn’t want a vacation so I did Nailbomb with Alex, who is from here (Nottingham). I prefer to stay busy, it’s better for me mentally. Musically too…I learn a lot from these projects. They have taught me a lot; music is a never ending learning process, you are always learning something new…a new trick or a different way of recording.

I’ve just read your letter to yourself that came out this week and you say you are approximately half way through your musical career. So what is the other half of your career going to involve?

Hopefully just a bunch of…noise.

Soulfly or something completely different?

Nah, it’ll be metal.

That’s good to hear!

Yeah, probably continue to try and make that perfect record…you’re always striving to do it, you know. It’s a never ending chase to get the perfect one.

Okay, CB have taken up enough of your time. Along with all your projects this year there’s also the small matter of the World Cup. Any predictions, who’s going to win?


I thought you might say that…

Yeah, they’ve got a good team they got a good chance! They better win because it’s at home with the crowd there. If they don’t they gonna get beat up!

Will you be on tour and watching on the TV like the rest of us?

Yeah on TV. I wrote some music for the ESPN coverage. They asked me to write some two minute riff songs so that’s cool, I was honoured to do that!

Okay thanks for talking to us!

Thank you.