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What's Max Cavalera Conspiring to?

Interview and Photos by: Brandon Marshall 


  Metal Maxxx Cavalera has been a pioneer in the metal scene for over 25 years, and he has fronted some of the most influential bands, as well as composing some of the most influential songs, while garnering international success and attention along the way. Fusing sub-genres from Groove Metal to Death Metal, Max has gone on to set the template for many of the artists of today. From his beginnings in Brazil, to forming Sepultura at the age of 14, Max has been a true metal warrior, with a passion for not just the music he plays, but a true passion and interest for metal in general.


  After his departure from Sepultura in 1996, Max went on to form Soulfly in 1997. During a period from the late 1990ís to the early 2000ís, some of the music he wrote with Soulfly was questionable, but, in present day, Max is like a fine whiskey only getting better with age. We had the chance to speak with Max, in an honest and candid interview, while he was on tour with Soulfly and preparing for his second release with Cavalera Conspiracy, along side his brother Igor Cavalera.  



 SONIC EXCESS: You have been on a worldwide tour in support of SOULFLYís eighth studio album OMAN. What have some of the highlights from the tour been, and what have been some setbacks?

 MAX CAVALERA: Some of the highlights have been the show in China that we did. It was the first time for me in China, and it was a festival with over 10,000 people. It was so cool because they did the circle pit holding hands. It was one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen, and it was so cool. It was ďRing Around the RosieĒ metal style. Israel was really cool. We opened up for OZZY OSBOURNE there on Ozzfest in Tel Aviv. We also did a ten date Russian tour, and we went to Siberia. Seven of those shows were in Siberia, and we were the first international band to tour Siberia. The crowds were just amazing.

SE: How was it to perform in Brazil after so many years, and meet the Brazilian fans again, were you overwhelmed by the response you got?


MAX CAVALERA: AMAZING! It was so good to go back. It was a great festival, and to be honest, I was nervous because it was my first time in Brazil since 2002, and it was my first show with IGOR CAVALERA (Maxís brother and drummer for CAVALERA CONSPIRACY,  EX- SEPULTURA) in Brazil since I split up with SEPULTURA. The minute the first note was played, the crowd just went crazy. I heard from some people that the show got really good reviews saying, ďOur show was one of the best of the festivalĒ.  So, I was really happy to hear that.

SE: I have seen YouTube footage of it, and the crowd had a lot of energy. It seemed like a really cool vibe. Do you miss that South American style?

MAX CAVALERA: Yeah, but the metal crowd vibe is like that in general. Even here in the states, itís still pretty damn good, but they were really excited to see me and IGOR play together again after ten years or so, on the same stage. So, it was cool for them.

SE: Members of SEPULTURA (ANDREAS KISSER and PAULO XISTO) were in the audience for the show in Brazil. Did you have a chance to talk with them, or did you see them in the crowd?

MAX CAVALERA: No, I saw pictures. It was actually kind of funny. One guy wrote underneath, ďHow cute, ANDREAS brought his father to the showĒ. It was PAULO, and I guess PAULO looks really old these days (laughs). But, I did not see them, even though I was walking around backstage. I saw some other friends from Brazil, from my old times from when I lived there, but I didnít see those guys.



SE: Will SOULFLY or CAVALERA CONSPIRACY be going back to Brazil?

MAX CAVALERA: I really hope so. It would be really great to have SOULFLY down there, because the last time we played Brazil was in 2002 in Recife. It was a great show. We went on at around 2:00 AM, and people went fucking nuts.

SE: CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is set to release its sophomore album entitled BLUNT FORCE TRAMA in March. Will it follow the same template as INFLICTED, and will JOE DUPLANTIER of GOJIRA be playing bass on the album?

MAX CAVALERA: Joe is not on the album, because he couldnít stay with the band. So, we found a bass player, and thatís JONNY CHOW. We recorded the album with JONNY. The album is more brutal than the first one. In terms of metal, itís more Death Metal. MARC RIZZO (guitar) said it sounded like CANNIBAL CORPSE at times. Itís more brutal, and it has a song with ROGER MIRET from AGNOSTIC FRONT. They are one of my favorite hardcore bands, and he (ROGER MIRET) is a legendary person. We did a song called LYNCH MOB, and itís a really cool thrash-punk, hardcore song. The rest of the album is really aggressive and full of metal. My priority is to keep CAVALERA CONSPIRACY as metal as possible. So, my goal is fulfilled.



SE: Any other guests on the album and who you would like to work with that you have not had the chance to yet?

MAX CAVALERA: Thatís it for this album (BLUNT FORCE TRAMA). We only had ROGER. As far as people that I would like to work with, a lot of time I think OZZY OSBOURNE is somebody I would really like to do a song with. I think it would be really cool to record with him, maybe one of these days. We all know each other and get along really good with them, and they know our family. I just never had the right time to ask him.

SE: When SOULFLY debuted over 12 years ago, the first few albums had a lyrical content that was very spiritual, and the sound was more experimental. and Nu-Metal. Now, the SOULFLY has become darker and heavier with each release. Is this what you are compelled to write?

MAX CAVALERA: Itís how I felt with the band. It started on PROPHECY when MARC RIZZO (guitar) joined the band, and it started getting heavier. MARC is a big fan of thrash; he loves SLAYER, SEPULTURA, DARK ANGEL, POSSESSED and a lot of those bands from the 1980ís. When I started to play with MARC, I wanted to go into that direction. I love that era of music, and it was a big influence on me and SEPULTURA.  I wanted to bring it back. I decided to write heavier songs, and then DARK AGES came out and it was even heavier and darker. CONQUER continued in the same way. We did a song ďBLOOD FIRE WAR HATEĒ with DAVID  VINCENT of MORBID ANGEL, and that was just like pure metal madness. I like the fact that I had a chance to do it with my own band. When a band gets more popular, they get soft. I did it the other way around. I had the chance, so why not? 


SE: You recently departed with BOBBY BURNS (bass). Why was that?

MAX CAVALERA: He (BOBBY) just wasnít feeling it anymore. Even though I think he regrets it now, because he sent some emails about how much he missed the SOULFLY camp and the activities. He wasnít there for us anymore. He was very distant and not feeling the same way that we felt. When youíre in SOULFLY, itís part of a family, itís a hardcore routine. If itís a show with 10 people or 10,000 people, I want them to play the same, with no rock star bullshit. BOBBY started drinking and missing notes, so that became a problem. All that accumulated into, like, enough was enough. We thought it was better if he left, so we could get someone in this band to make it more powerful.

SE: But JONNY CHOW is working out great now, right?

MAX CAVALERA: For the moment. He plays for CAVALERA CONSPIRACY. So, he knew all the songs, and he was available at the last minute. We took him to Europe, and now to the states, but we are meeting with some more base players, and we hope to have someone by the beginning of next year.



SE: The classic SEPULURA line-up reunion is always a subject, and it almost happened. Why did it fall though? I also heard that you will join SEPULTURA for Rock in Rio III. If this is true, will IGOR be joining you?

MAX CAVALERA: I have not heard anything about that, as far as trying to get SEPULTURA back together. I did call ANDREAS, and I had a real good talk with him. It sounded like he wanted to do it, and I had IGOR onboard for the reunion. I think the only person preventing it is PAULO. I donít know why, but I think PAULO is really against the reunion. People should ask him why he is so against it, because I think it would be a great think for the fans to see the original line-up. SEPULTURA was one of the most important bands in the metal scene, and it would have been really cool to do it. I donít need a reunion, because SOULFLY and CAVALERA CONSPIRACY are doing great, but I would like to do it for the fans to show them we had this kick ass band. We can do it again, but people should ask PAULO why it doesnít appeal to him.

SE: Have you listened to the new SEPULTURA CDís? If so, what is your opinion on them?


MAX CAVALERA:  No, I never felt like I wanted to. I never got the chance, or the albums, not even the stuff that IGOR did. I never got to hear that. I donít know, not familiar with it man. To me itís really weird, SEPULTURA, to me, has a name. It was something I created in high school, and it was like my baby for all these years. I came up with the name, and I wrote a lot of the songs. When I left, it was really hard for me to go and listen to something called ďSEPULTURAĒ.

SE: Do you think itís appropriate, with you and IGOR not in the band anymore, for it to still be called SEPULTURA?

MAX CAVALERA:  The original band is not in the band anymore, me and IGOR are out. IGOR was original, because he was there in the beginning. But, now that we both are out, I donít see the credibility. 




























































































































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