Max Cavalera Is Blessed to Be Among the ‘Last Brothers in Metal’
Sepultura co-founder and Soulfly frontman Max Calvera has announced that he and brother Igor Cavalera will be embarking on a tour celebrating and performing tracks from Sepultura’s classic records Beneath the Remains and Arise.
As the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program, Max discussed his excitement for the tour, as well as the importance of his connection with his brother Iggor.
“We’ve seen many crazy things happen when me and him are together on the stage that I sometimes I don’t see with my other bands. So it’s a very unique Max and Igor thing. It’s so cool,” said Cavalera. “I think we are one of the few surviving bands that still have brothers. Unfortunately many of them are no longer with us, you know, Dimebag and Vinnie [Paul] and Eddie van Halen and Alex [Van Halen] are just a few to mention. I feel very, very lucky that I’m still here and Igor is still here and we can still do this for the fans and for ourselves.”
Read the full interview below.
Max, why is it important for you to stay connected to those early Sepultura albums?
First of all, to me, those are almost like twin brothers, they’re twin records. Out of the whole Sepultura discography, those are the two that were born not at the same time, but they are from the same era. They’re a part of something very unique. So, we decided to do a hybrid version that just becomes a power house because you have Beneath the Remains, which is already a strong record, then you have on top of it, you have Arise and that just makes for even more energy, more power, more adrenaline.
So it becomes really unique and cool. And I loved it. I think was Iggor’s [Cavalera] idea to do both of them together. I loved that cause I always felt they actually could have come out as a double record. If you would’ve release them at the same time, it would have made perfect sense. Nobody would have complained.
It would have just been a big, long record of just badass songs. I don’t know, at this point in my career, I really just want to enjoy my life and enjoy the fruits of it. And this is part of the fruits of the work that you did here. Those records are 30 years old, and sometimes I’m lucky enough that I get to play them, and I get to pay homage to them.
But I also do it because they’re fun. They’re just, it’s just fun stuff to play. It’s like the best therapy ever to play those songs and they have aged really well with time — they’re like fine wine. Those songs are timeless. We’ve already done those tours in Europe and in South America and people lost their shit, they lost their minds.
It was incredible. It was one of the best shows we’ve done. I love the fact that I have both feet. I have one foot in the future with new projects like Killer Be Killed and new Soulfly and one foot in the past. Then I get to do a homage to these older records.
It’s like the best of both worlds, I guess. It feels great to be able to do that. I loved the excitement that was created when this tour was announced. There was a lot of excitement happening when we announced this tour, and I think those shows are going to be just amazing.
Sepultura made an impact on metal by introducing elements of world music to the genre. What surprises you most about the effect your music has had on other heavy bands?
Through the years, these records are still influencing young bands, and I think that’s a testament of a good album, good music. I’m in contact with a lot of the new generation of bands. All of them I talked to really, really worshiped those records.
And some of them even say if it wasn’t for those records, their band would not exist. So I loved that. I loved that those records were so powerful and that they did that because when we did those records we had no idea that we were making such a special record. We were just trying to make the best music we could make, but nobody thought we were making a legendary record or we were making a masterpiece.
None of that crosses our minds ever. But to hear all the praise that these records get through the years, it’s awesome. I think you can see the beginning of our war music, curiosity, started with mostly Arise. I say that because Beneath the Remains was the last record that we did while we were still living in Brazil, and we did a world tour for Beneath the Remains. We went to America, went to Europe for the first time, went to Australia. I think that kind of peaked my curiosity about this world music element. You can hear the beginning of it in especially stuff like “Altered State.”
There is the beginning of tribalism in Sepultura’s music. It kicked in real hard on Chaos A.D. and it reached the pinnacle on Roots. Without those records, we wouldn’t have a Chaos A.D. or Roots, if it wasn’t for Beneath the Remains and Arise. So I think that’s why those records are so important and it’s amazing to pay homage to them in such a way. They’re just very unique, and I’m very proud of the legacy that those records left behind.
The two of you [Max and Iggor Cavalera] have played together since you were teenagers. What do you admire most about the way each other has developed and evolved as a musician?
There’s a couple of things that stands out between my relationship with Iggor musically. One of them is almost like telepathic. He doesn’t need to tell me what he’s thinking. I know what he’s thinking. And the other way around, he knows what I’m thinking. We read each other’s minds all the time.
That can be a good or bad thing, it depends on the occasion. The other thing is, a lot happened when we are together, especially when we were together on the stage. There’s something that happened between the audience and me and Iggor. It’s almost like it’s a license to get fucked up, a license for people to go wild.
We’ve seen many crazy things happen when me and him are together on the stage that I sometimes I don’t see with my other bands. So it’s a very unique Max and Iggor thing. It’s so cool. I think we are one of the few surviving bands that still have brothers. Unfortunately many of them are no longer with us, you know, Dimebag and Vinnie [Paul] and Eddie Van Halen and Alex [Van Halen] are just a few to mention. I feel very, very lucky that I’m still here and Iggor is still here and we can still do this for the fans and for ourselves.
It’s a very unique relationship we have, since we were very young little kids in Brazil, we never lost that fire for metal. Even the way we hang out, it’s still the same as we did when we were kids, which is great. We talk about what we listen to. He shows me bands and I show him bands.
We talk about books that we’re reading, movies that we’ve watched, and we go to record stores together. Those things have never changed through the years. So it’s a unique relationship that I have with him that is just very pure and very beautiful. I love the fact that it’s unbroken.
It was almost broken for a while. When I left Sepultura, we didn’t speak for 10 years, but we’re back now stronger than ever. I always looked forward to touring with and spending time with him. It’s always amazing.
Aside from being brothers, what keeps bringing you guys [Max and Iggor Cavalera] together musically?
Well, I think we do different stuff all the time and I love that. I love the fact that we both keep always busy collaborating. I’m working already on new Soulfly which is gonna come out in July. And right now I’m working on new Go Ahead and Die stuff, getting a little work on Kill or Be killed in there. There’ll be Kill or Be Killed stuff a little bit later.
I just heard Iggor’s project Absent in Body. I remember when he showed me that was in Europe about a year ago, he showed me those tracks and, and it was really cool to see him playing very slow. I never saw him play that slow. I said to him, must it be a challenge for you to play that slow, because Iggor is always going fast.
It was good to see him playing very doomy, very slower tempo material. But the reason why me and him get together is because we made a pact when we’d got to be brothers again, after 10 years of not talking, we made a pact with each other, that we are going to eliminate all the negative stuff out of our life.We flushed all that out and everything that we do was going to be just for the enjoyment of it with zero frustration and zero drama.
It’s so far been good, you know, all the tours that we did. So far, either the records that we recorded, the Cavalera records or the homage to the Sepultura tours, they’ve been smooth, smooth sailing, man. People love that stuff, they love those songs, I love to play them. I get to enjoy some time with him and like I say, being one of the few brothers left in the metal world that are together we’re very, very lucky and in a very blessed position that we’re able to do this. We don’t know how long we’re going to be here, but at the moment right now, especially coming out of this pandemic that we all been through this two years of hell that everybody’s been through.
I think now, more than ever it’s time to go out, enjoy metal and really leave the moment and let your anger, frustration, energy — let it all out at the metal show. And I think these records are real relevant now, especially stuff like Beneath the Remains which is anti war, you know, with all the stuff that’s going on in Ukraine and in the world.
I think that the lyrics of Beneath the Remains are more relevant now than they have ever been. You know? It’s great that we get to sing stuff like that now, and really make people think about these issues again. Apart from that is just the pure magic of those records. They’re unique.
They’re very one of a kind and it was a moment in time that I think the stars line up the planets aligned and we found the magic combination of mixing death metal and thrash metal in a very perfect way to mix both together. And these two records to me are the pinnacle of this mix of this death metal and thrash metal mix.
It’s really fun to play this stuff. It’s like I say, it’s timeless that they don’t get old. They actually get better with time. The more they get older, the more exciting they are. We do really try to play them as good as we can. You know, they’re not easy songs to play. There’s a lot of parts involved, especially for Iggor. I think the drumming on those records is really powerful. It’s a powerhouse of drums. But he’s up to the test and we are just super true to that. We get to bring this out to the states. It might be a little short, I think we’re going to have to do a part two sometime in the future, we’re going to have to do another run because a lot of cities are pissed off that we’re not going there. It starts with this one, and I couldn’t be more excited for that.
Sepultura, “Beneath the Remains” — Live in 1991
Max, you were talking earlier about when this big tour was announced and how you were hearing about it from some fans who you weren’t coming to their market. Isn’t that funny when you announced a tour, the first thing you get is fans posting: “What? No, Seattle, no Dallas?” And you’re like, really?
I’d say there’s, there’s a lot of that I saw. I even mentioned to Gloria [Cavalera] is I have, you know what, I think we’re going to have to do a little more of that in the future. We’re going to have to do part two even part three of the tour, which is fine by me because I’m a nomad. I live on the tour. I sing about that in many songs like “Filthy Vagabond” on Kill or Be Killed. The bus is my home, and I love it. Something happens to me when I go on tour. I don’t know. I haven’t talked to other musicians if they feel the same way, but I actually get road sick.
Most musicians get homesick. I get road sick when I’m home. The first three, four days, I feel like an alien in my own house, I don’t know what’s going on. And I miss the road so damn much, but that’s just me. I’m just nomadic with a nomadic warrior type mentality.
Max, the last Cavalera Conspiracy album was released over four years ago. More recently, there was talk of maybe recording a new EP. What’s the spark that usually gets the two of you together in a studio?
So there’s plans for an EP sometime in the future. We’ve always been a big fan of Slayer’s Halting the Chapel EP and that’s kind of like the influence for this EP that we want to do. I’ve never done an EP in my life so it’d be the first time. It’s funny to think that during my entire career, I have never done an EP. So many years and so many records and it’s crazy to think that it’s something that I actually have never done.
I’d love to do that with Iggor at some point. We don’t know when, we need to figure out the logistics and all that. Sometimes the hardest part is just in logistics. That’s how it is with like, Kill or be Killed. The hardest part is just to get us together in the same room. Once we’re there, it’s easy, smooth sailing. The songs just come out on their own.
It’s crazy that it’s been four years since Psychosis came out. Many things in the world has changed in those four years. We have a war, we have so many crazy things that it feels crazy to think that Psychosis is even older than that for some reason. Eventually we’ll get to do it. We will do an EP at some point. I think that doing Cavalera Conspiracy to me is also a lot of fun, just like it’s a lot of fun on all the projects that I’m part of either Go Ahead and Die or Kill or Be Killed or Soulfly.
I get really engaged and really involved when it’s time to make new stuff. I do have a new Soulfly record that’s coming out in July. That record is finally all done. So we’re just kinda waiting on the date sometime in July it’s going to come out and hoping he would get you to do a tour for that as well.
But yeah, eventually I will get together with Iggor and create our EP and then there’s all the other Sepultura records that we would like to do at some point in the future. Chaos A.D. eventually, Morbid Visions at some point we’re going to do, we will get to do all of them because it’s just fun.
It’s really cool. It’s something that is a part of our life. It’s part of our legacy. And we don’t shy away from it. We actually embrace it. But at the moment, we are just very focused on returning to Beneath the Remains and Arise.
We are very proud to be headlining the Maryland Death Fest, MDF. I always look up to this festival and to be part of it, to headline, that’s even crazier. So many great bands I want to see. But yeah, just really focused on this tour first and whatever comes after that would just let it happen naturally, everything will fall into place, into order somehow it’s like, it’s chaotic order. Somehow we just make it work.
We don’t really program events that early, you know? That’s why this tour was actually announced out of nowhere. I think it was a little bit before the Soulfly tour started that we announced this tour was happening. We actually didn’t really know that we’re going to do this tour and all the pieces fell into the right places and we got the ball rolling. I’m very, very thrilled about it.
Thanks to Max Cavalera for the interview. Follow Soulfly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Spotify. To find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program, visit here.