Max Cavalera: Exploring Savage Territories

Human kind, so sophisticated yet we are still killing each other, going to war, committing atrocities, these are savage acts...

Soulfly are soon to release their highly anticipated ninth album Savages this October and Max Cavalera is adamant that it will have the bands earlier fans rejoicing. The album encompasses all that is prodigious and primitive for the Brazilian native with both the traditional traits of Soulfly and some rather unexplored territories. With a guest rota longer than the VIP list at the Golden God Awards, we are in for something extraordinary. Metal As Fuck talks in depth about the latest album with Max Cavalera recently and his tenacity to stay in those camo pants for as long as he can…

A previous statement from yourself - “We’re still savages”. This theory had a lot of emphasis on the album. When you think about it - there actually would have been quite a lot of subject matter to write about in the topic of savages – was there any that you focused on primarily throughout the album? “Yeah the idea is human kind; as we’re called, so sophisticated yet we are still killing each other, going to war, committing atrocities, these are savage acts. Savage is a very powerful word; it’s really meaningful and has a lot of connection to the world still”. The latest album Savage’ is impressive, what was the journey like for its particular sound? “Well Savages is a continuation from Soulfly’s last album Enslaved, where as Enslaved was very extreme, this new album is a lot more traditional with some slower yet more brutal songs. I didn’t want to make another extreme record this time around. We thought of the fans who love the older albums of Soulfly, so this album has a lot of killer grooves and there are a lot of differences that we haven’t attempted before you know, we have a lot of southern rock influence with songs like Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla with Neil [FallonClutch] he has the most brutal vocals and it really fits the song, The skull on the album cover, yeah I know that the skull is the most recognized symbol in metal, I just asked to have the most brutal one we could, it really is aligned with everything we wanted to achieve with the album and I’m glad we decided on it. I am just so proud of the album and it was such an amazing thing that we were able to; even after nine Soulfly albums, do something new”.

You assemble some pretty amazing collaborations on Soulfly records, how do you choose musicians? “I just go with the flow, I’ll go through my iPod and hear a song from a band I really like and be all “oh man that would be cool to have them on a song” [Laughs] so I have my little wish list book. Fallon is an old friend from the nineties, I’ve followed his career, I love Clutch! It’s a really cool thing, like when we were in the studio recording KCS we had Mitch from Napalm Death with us, I really love Napalm Death, and that was a really cool thing to happen. I like listening to bands, I like to get into the underground bands, it keeps me grounded, I seriously am still like a fifteen year old listening to music, I wear all the shirts and still have my camo pants, I’m not ever going to change, I love to promote music and promote the aspiring bands, there are some really great bands out there, like Acacia Strain and Psycroptic I’ve really been into them for a while, so I really try to keep up with it, I do it every chance I get, it’s important to keep up to date with the metal”.

How was working with your son on the album? “It was great, Zyon [Cavalera – Drums] toured with Soulfly on our South American tour last year and he was really good, he brought a young spirit to Soulfly. Marc [Rizzo – lead guitar] was impressed and mentioned to me like “Max he is really good”. Zyon asked if he could record the drums for the next Soulfly album and he was really persistent about it, I was a little apprehensive about it, you know, ‘it’s a big deal, I don’t know if you’re ready’ but we jammed a bit at home and he really blew me away, he proved he was ready and he took it very seriously, he brought the young hunger to the band as sometimes it can go missing from time to time. As a dad you know it’s a really cool thing to share metal with your kids, I am really proud of him and it also brings a lot of inspiration to the dads as well as the kids”. What positives were running through your head after you made the decision to have Zyon in Soulfly? “I think it was mostly the fact that I got to jam with him you know in our home, usually I’ll write the album, do the ground work then off to the studio but it was nice to be able to stay at home through a lot of the process – it was a way to record an album that I haven’t done in a very long time, we got a chance to really work the songs with Zyon in the beginning and it was just great, it has made the band into more of a tight unit now, can’t complain with that”.

I think one of the ultimate missions for Savages right now is to tour, what touring plans do you have in place for the album over the next 12 months? “Hopefully we will hit out with a world tour, starting in the USA and then heading over to Europe in early 2014, then maybe Australia! I don’t care how we come to Australia, be it festivals, whatever we are coming one way or another!”.