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

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


Max Cavalera is not someone who seems to want to rest on his laurels. From his time with Sepultura to his formation of Soulfly which has gone on to great success and even with his side project with his brother Igor in Cavelera Conspiracy, Max likes to keep busy, rolling from one project to another. His new band Killer Be Killed is a supergroup project comprised of Greg Puciato from Dillinger Escape Plan, Troy Sanders from Mastodon and Dave Elitch from The Mars Volta and their debut self titled album is looking to be one of the best metal albums of 2014. We managed to have a chat with Max about the new project and how the members got together to make the music.

Andrew: Hey hows it going?


Max: Good man how are you doing?


Andrew: Yeah good thanks. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, it's much appreciated. I know you are a very busy guy with this new band Killer Be Killed plus with your other bands Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy plus your new book, how do you find the time to do all of this?


Max: I just roll with it. I don't really have a massive plan, just kinda jump from one thing to another and have fun with it as much as I can. Right now we are just waiting for Killer Be Killed to come out but I'm also going out on tour with Soulfly next week in Russia with Korn. And the book is coming out anytime now next week. It's good to keep busy and keep rolling, I'm very excited about Killer Be Killed of course. I love the record, I think the record came out excellent and is very different from everything that I have done. More melodic, a big mix between thrash and melodies, it's very, very exciting. I'm digging that people who heard the record are really liking it. It's getting good reviews from everybody, I can't wait for the whole world to hear it. It's finally coming out next week and be able to hear from everybody what they thought of it and hopefully Killer Be Killed can play live.


Andrew: Yeah definitely! We have been listening to the album a few times now and we did a review of it and we think it's one of the bext albums so far this year. People are already saying it may be the best album for 2014 so how happy are you with the end result?


Max: I'm very happy! I hope that it will be album of the year. It's not why we did it, was not our intention. Our intention was just to make a good record, a strong record with the combination of all these killer musicians. I'm a big fan of Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan so for me to play with Troy (Sanders, vocals & bass) and Greg (Puciato, vocals & guitars) was a dream come true. And to make the record with them was really fun man, it was like some of the best memories in the studio that I had in a long time was actually making the Killer Be Killed album because it was such a thrill. Everyday was something new and different and exciting and it just kept building and building on top of it to the point that we had the whole record and it was really, really exciting to hear. I think it's a really fun record to hear. Once you start listening to the album, one song kind of captures you more than the other and has a different surprise from the other that didn't have it be it a vocal line, a chrorus or verse or guitar hook. Something different from each song and I think that kept happening through-out the whole record. I think it kept the album from being boring, became very exciting to make the record and now it's fun to listen to the album.

Andrew: Yeah there's a lot of energy on this album. I remember when I first heard about this project, the first thing that I thought about was Nailbomb but obviously this is a different project from that, a different kind of band. So how did the idea for this band first come about?


Max: It was actually born from Nailbomb because Greg is a big fan of Nailbomb and when Greg got me to do the project, he used Nailbomb as a reference for me to be a part of this. He tried to tell me how much fun it was going to be like Nailbomb. And in fact if it was me and Greg, if we did everything that way it started, because it started with just me and Greg and a drum machine...we wrote 15 songs in one week here in Phonenix when Greg came over and we had songs that were really different from the record, much much harder...And if it were just me and Greg, it could have easily been like a Nailbomb record. We could have done that and it would have been really cool but we chose to do something different too so we involved other people, we involved Dave (Elitch, drums) and Troy (Sanders, vocals & guitars). And they brought more to the table and I think what we got is even bigger than what we had before. We had the chance to do a Nailbomb kind of record and we had the chance to do something quite different, we opted to do something quite different. And I'm glad because I already did Nailbomb and it was fun but it's done and having KIller Be Killed be different from Nailbomb for me is a victory. I like the fact that the album is different, there's more melody, different vocal lines and the mix of the 3 voices for me is the biggest secret of the Killer Be Killed success, the 3 voices coming together in different parts of the album and doing different things and I think that's really what made this record very exciting.


Andrew: Yeah the thing about the 3 voices as you mentioned, yourself, Greg and Troy doing the vocals, how did you decide to do the 3 vocals, how did that idea come about?


Max: That was my idea. I thought of it when I had the chance to get Troy in the band and I knew Troy could sing because he sings for Mastodon and I thought it would be really great if the 3 of us sing. Because I'm a fan of a project called Transplants which is a kind of punk project which is 10 years old and it's some of the guys from Rancid and some other guys. I don't remember who exactly and they did a project and had 3 singers and I thought it would be really cool to do a metal version of that, having me and 2 other metal singers involved and that being Troy and Greg. I think that is killer because they are such different bands - Dillinger, Mastodon and Soulfly barely have anything in common. Dillinger is more mathematic and crazy, hardocre metal, Mastodon is almost prog rock, Soulfly is more thrash and because of that, the difference between us is so huge that when you put us together, something kinda cool has to come out of it. And it is and I think that is why Killer Be Killed is so different and so cool because these bands normally don't mix but we got in a room and mixed all of them together and see what happens. What came out of it is that kind of mix that you are not supposed to have but you do it anyway and you see what happens and the end result is very exciting.

Andrew: Yeah a lot of fans, especially fans of Mastodon and Soulfly will hear a lot of that blend in the music. But musically what really inspired this album?


Max: Well I think we started with a Nailbomb idea so a lot of the early songs (like) "Face Down", "Set Fire To Your Flag", I.E.D.", they are kinda more like Nailbomb/thrash kind of songs and then later on came songs like "Save The Robots", "Dusk Into Darkness", Forbidden Fire" were more trippy kinda more Mastodon vibe kind of thing. Altogether the direction was just to make a fun, cool record and for me it was to play with the guys that I like. I like Troy and I like Greg and Dave (Elitch, drums) and I respect them as musicians and I thought something cool was going to come out of it because we were coming from such different bands from each other that it has to be cool to come out of this. We didn't know what was going to happen with this record when we first got together so it was always kind of a risk making a record like this. It could easily have failed and just be a failed attempt at something good but I don't think that's what happened. I think it's a good record that has just ended up being good because we were there and wanted to make a fun, cool record. And we put any egos aside, no rockstar egos in the studio, everybody was really down to earth. It was just to make a good, fun record and everybody worked really hard. I remember in the studio, I worked really hard in the studio, on the guitars, on the vocals and I saw the other guys working really hard too trying to make the best they can to make this album as good as possible. I think that's good, it's inspiring when you see other musicians in the studio trying so hard to do something good. Trying hard to come up with killer bridges and killer choruses and different verses and really to do something different and powerful. And I think we achieved that, I think at the end of the day the album is full of awesome choruses all the way through-out the record starting with "Wings Of Feather And Wax" which is one of my favorite tracks on the album, I love the chorus on the song that Greg does. Through-out the whole record we just kept up the intensity, kept the melodic vibe going and kept mixing melodic and heavy all the way through the record and it was fun to mix all this stuff.


Andrew: It's a great album, the mix is really great. My favorite song so far is "Snakes Of Jehova", it has a great intro, a nice heavy riff and a killer thrash ending. You mentioned "Wings Of Feather And Wax" but do you have any other favorites on the album so far?


Max: The heavier parts of the album is what I like the most so I like "I.E.D.", "Face Down", Set Fire To Your Flag". Those are probably the closest to my heart, those songs are more faster, more aggressive, more thrashy. But I also like the trippy stuff like "Save The Robots" which is a Troy song that he brought, "Forbidden Fire" which me and Troy wrote together which is about MIddle Eastern kids not being able to listen to metal. I also really love "Twelve Labors", it's a very trippy song which has a middle part that reminds me of Tool and it was cool to have a part that sounds kinda like Tool in the middle of the song. So yeah overall it was a fun record to make but "Snakes Of Jehova" is also one of my favorite songs, I love the thrash ending. Troy's voice almost sounds like Lemmy!


Andrew: Yeah a little bit!


Max: Yeah he's got that Lemmy kind of sound to it and it's really cool that he does that with his voice. It's really wierd that he doesn't know how he does it. When we wrote that whole thrash part I was like we need somebody very different to sing this, it cannot be me and maybe not Greg because it would be too much like our own bands. Troy was the candidate and we said 'Can you sing on this part and make it totally different from what we are expecting?" So that was cool too, to have a whole thrash part that was really made for Troy to sing on top of and make it as different as possible and he did it and it was really killer. We actually did 2 videos on Saturday, one video was for ""Wings Of Feather And Wax" which is the first single. The second video is for "Snakes Of Jehova" and I don't know if that's the second single from the album but hopefully it will be, I would love for it to be the second single.


Andrew: Yeah "Snakes Of Jehova" is a great song so I would love to see that as the second single. So for the rest of the year, I know you will be busy with Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy but do you have any plans to tour Killer Be Killed at all?


Max: Yeah we finish the touring in Europe with Soulfly next week, opening for Korn in Russia and go to continental Europe to do some festivals and then I have a U.S. tour with Soulfly and I do Calvalera Cponspiracy in South America. Hopefully next year Killer Be Killed can do a tour, we are trying to put some time aside just for Killer Be Killed. We can do a mini-world tour and that will be America, Europe and hopefully Australia.


Andrew: Cool yeah I get the feeling listening to the album that at a live concert, these songs will sound great and the fans will really get into it.


Max: Yeah we already kinda talked about it and I think we might try to play the whole record from beginning to end. I mean that will be the coolest thing that we can do with this kind of project, is to play the whole album. The album is about 50 minutes so it's long enough that you can do in a concert, especially if it's a festival setup. You can add maybe 2 cover songs and be like an hour set and that's perfect for a festival time. So hopefully Killer Be Killed can come out next year and do some.


Andrew: Yeah hopefully! Thanks again for chatting with us and good luck with the new album and tour!


Max: No problem man!



Max spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe April 29 2014





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