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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world





with a new album 'Savages' out Soulfly is back....



Max Cavalera is the walking embodiment of creative energy, of all of the diverse layers of urgency that are possible from that select few whose artistic output defines genres. Mystic shaman, protest singer, revolutionary hero, everyday metalhead, furious consumer of heavy music of all shades, husband, father, leader, songwriter… Cavalera reigns as the adoptive tribal chief of a generation of fans, stretching from the roughest slums of South America to the coldest confines of Russia. Anywhere that people are disenfranchised, the songs of SOULFLY serve as their anthems.


Armed with Cavalera’s four-stringed guitars, unmistakable growl and instantly recognizable riffage, the muddy tones and constant rhythmic bounce of SOULFLY has retained its gritty edge while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in metal. »Savages« represents a career-defining moment, solidifying the lineup with longtime lead guitarist Marc Rizzo (who has been in SOULFLY almost as long as Max was in SEPULTURA), bassist Tony Campos (Static X, Ministry, Prong) and Max’s 21 year-old Zyon, who splits his time between drumming in LODY KONG and now SOULFLY


We talked to Max about the new album earlier in the week - here's how it went...




Andrew: Hi how are you?


Max: Good, how are you doing man?


Andrew: I'm doing very good thanks! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, been a big fan of all your work over the years and it's an honour to be speaking to you so thanks for doing the interview for us.


Max: Your welcome man.


Andrew: I wanted to get straight into your upcoming album "Savages", I have been listening to a preview of it and I must say this sounds like a really big album for Soulfly. It has a lot of the elements from previous albums, tell us a bit about the idea behind this album?


Max: Savages is definitely a surprising album for us in that it's the 9th album for Soulfly and the first album with Terry Date producing the album, he's a great producer. It's the first album that my son plays drums on it, Zyon did a great job and we have some real nice guests like Neil (Fallon) from Clutch, Jamie (Hanks) from I Declare War and Mitch (Harris) from Napalm Death are on the record. I really like the record, I think half of it is extreme like "Enslaved" was and the other half is really super groovy like early Soulfly stuff like "Prophecy" and "Soulfly 1". Stuff like "Bloodshed" and "Masters Of Savagery" and "Spiral" are killer groove songs so I think it's a great combination of this extreme and groove together which makes "Savages" a very powerful record.


Andrew: Yeah I think a lot of Soulfly fans will absolutely love this album and the title "Savages" sums it up pretty well. Where did the title come from?


Max: The idea of the album is actually related to the human condition, of us the human race. We got the technology and the internet, mission to mars and going to the future but we are still decapitating each other, we are still chemical gassing each other and blowing up marathons so in fact the reality is we are still savages. That's kind of the point I wanted to make with the record so the songs are related to savages like in "Cannibal Holocaust" and "El Comegente" which is about a serial killer who was a cannibal and "Fallen", "Bloodshed" they are all connected to the title Savages. I also think the album cover is really cool, designed by Paul Stottler. It's just a big skull right in the middle of the record, just a skull screaming and the word savages behind it is very powerful and minimalistic. I'm very, very proud of this record and I think a lot of the fans are gonna really like it.


Andrew: Yeah it sounds really good. The cover caught my eye because the colors are very vibrant with the skull, it looks really cool. The album has a fairly big family element to it as well, as you said your son Zyon did the drum parts to it and your other son did vocals on "Bloodshed". How was it working with them?


Max: It was great! I worked with Zyon first for a month and dialed the songs with him. I worked really hard with him actually. We worked really intense for a month and a half and every day I was going into his room and beating on the drum kit and with an amplifier and just jammed riffs with him all day long. We did that for about a month and a half and prepared the whole record and when we went into the studio he was pretty confident about what he was going to play so he felt very good about it. Terry Date also ensured that the recording of it was going to be smooth because he's such a good producer and such a cool guy. And then I also had my other son Igor, he got him to sing the chorus for "Bloodshed" because that song needed a punk rock voice for the chorus and I don't have that kind of voice and I know that my son Igor has that voice so I invited him to do it. I think that he did a great job, I love "Bloodshed", I love the way it came out. I'm happy it's the first single off the record, we did a video for it too and it's going to come out soon. I'm glad that it's the first taste people are getting of "Savages" from "Bloodshed". I think there's a lot more of the record than "Bloodshed", that's just a teaser really from what's to come from the record.





Andrew: Oh yeah very much. "Bloodshed" is not really a song that captures the whole album. I mean every song has it's own element to it, as I said it has a bit of everything that Soulfly has done with some new elements in there as well.


Max: Yeah the new stuff is like..."Ayatollah Of Rock ‘N’ Rolla" is the craziest song on the album I think. It's 7 minutes long, it's got a southern rock beginning with a slide guitar. Neil did some amazing talking vocals in the beginning and then it goes to this Queens Of The Stone Age type groove and then it goes into the Soulfly heaviness that people love. I think that together with "Fallen" is so heavy and brutal it sounds like it could be a death metal song, it could definitely be on the "Enslaved" record together with "Cannibal Holocaust" which is another powerful, brutal song. "Cannibal Holocaust" could actually be from old Sepultura like "Beneath The Remains" you know! Such a thrash song, it's full on thrash with killer thrash riffs so there's a lot of cool stuff like that on the record, I think people are going to really dig it when they hear "Savages".


Andrew: I wanted to ask you about the song you mentioned "Ayatollah Of Rock ‘N’ Rolla""which was one of the first songs that caught my attention, just from the song title as well. What's that song about?


Max: The name came from the 2nd Mad Max movie and there's a part in the movie where they are introducing the outlaws and the guy says 'Here's the Ayatollah Of Rock ‘N’ Rolla' and I have always loved that part of the movie. My lyrics are actually based on Hunter Thompson's writings like "Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas" and "The Rum Diary", a lot of my lyrics for Ayatollah came from that kind of point of view and I think Neil's lyrics are also really cool. He would say stuff like cold daggers and Jinn which is a demon from the middle east, he's using references to demons from the middle east and things like that. So I think the combination of all of that together makes Ayatollah just an amazing, crazy, wild song. We are looking at it right now and it might be the 2nd single from the record, I hope we can make that into the next single of the album because it's so different from everything that Soulfly has ever done that it would surprise a lot of people. It's definitely a good, strong song.


Andrew: It's definitely one of my favorite songs, it caught my attention straight away when I first heard that song. You have a guest singer on that one, Neil Fallon from Clutch. How did that come about?


Max: Yeah I love Clutch, big fan. I toured with Clutch in the mid-90's with Sepultura. We did an American tour with them and then we took them to Europe and we kept the friendship going through the years. I love the Clutch music and what they do on their albums, I think they are a great band, just solid and they keep releasing good record after good record. The idea to work with Neil was kind of an old idea, I always wanted to do a song with Neil. I just never found the right time to ask him and the right time was now and I think I wrote the perfect song which is Ayatollah which has this southern rock beginning. It has this killer groove, just a different kind of groove and I think it had a lot of room to put different kind of vocals which he did. He put talking vocals in the beginning, the typical Clutch vocals in the middle of the song and I did the rest. The chorus is only me, it's a good collaboration, the song is certaintly powerful and I'm very glad that we have this song on the record.


Andrew: Terry Date who you have worked with before, you decided to work with him again, this time he produced the album. Why did you decide to work with him?


Max: Yeah I worked with him on "Around The Fur", the Deftones album from 1997 I believe and I met Terry at that time and became good friends with him. He used to come to Soulfly and sing "Policia" all the time and he mixed 2 of my other records, "Dark Ages" and "Conquer" I believe and we kept the friendship going through the years and I always said one day I'm going to record a whole record with you and you are going to produce and when the time came for this one I called him up and said 'Are you ready to do this man?' and he was ready and it was the best choice possible because I love the sound of the record. I think Terry did an amazing job on the sound, the drums sound fantastic, the guitars sound fantastic and it was such a pleasure working with Terry. He's such a good guy, such a mellow guy in the studio that made everyone at ease and gave everyone good confidence to make the best record possible. So I love working with Terry, I would definitely work with him again in the future.


Andrew: One of the things that I have noticed with Soulfly over the years is that each album is different, especially after Marc Rizzo joined the band. How much of an impact has he had with the changes over the years?


Max: Yeah Marc is a big part of it, he's been with us since 2004 and he's a really killer guitar player. He adds his own real guitar accent and of course shredding because he's an amazing shredder. He's just a great guy but I think part of the motivation of Soulfly going forward comes with the idea that Marc's in the band and we do a lot of things together. A lot of times I will do a riff and Marc will grab my riff and make it better, like update my riff. Make it a little cooler, a little more exciting and that's a great way to work when you can do it like that with a guy in the band who can do that. We have a system that really works and he loves being in Soulfly, he's one guy I don't want to change in the band. That's why he's been with us since 2004 and I don't think we are going to change for a long time. I hope he stays with me for a long time because I think we have some kind of magic together that's really killer. I love the fact that he's in the band and that he does so much for Soulfly.


Andrew: Yeah he's a great player, he's amazing to watch live and is so energetic on stage. At the moment what are your plans for touring, any plans to come down to Australia sometime soon?


Max: Yeah we hope to bring Soulfly down there next year for the Savages world tour, it would be great!


Andrew: Awesome! Thanks so much for talking to us.





By Andrew Schizodeluxe, September 2013




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