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Andreas Kisser Sepultura - Interview
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Sepultura are one of those metal bands that have fans divided when it comes to certain eras of the bands history. The albums the band made with Max and Igor Cavalera are considered classics from their early thrash stuff to their later hardcore/nu-metal stuff while their later material with Derrick Green on vocals have been dismissed by many despite the fact that the band have forged themselves a sound all their own. Their latest effort is "Machine Messiah" which continues where 2013's "The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart" left off but with some cool, new elements added to the mix. We speak to guitarist Andreas Kisser about the new album and the concept of man verses technology.



Andrew: So hows things at your end at the moment?

Andreas: It's all good! Ending the year, I'm at home here in Sao Paulo so no shows until next year. Just getting ready to release the new album, it's exciting.

Andrew: Yeah I just had a preview of the new album and it's sounding fantastic, it's a great album! You must be happy with how this has turned out.

Andreas: Thank you! Oh yeah definitely man, everything from the composition to the recording, working in Sweden with Jens Bogren and everything was amazing. Definitely very happy with the sound, Jens produced, mixed and mastered everything so I think it was a perfect choice of a producer to do the type of album we wanted to do like really explore the musicianship and try to break our limits all the time so it was great. It feels good to listen to everything now, ready and in order with the cover and everything so it's a great feeling.

Andrew: Yeah one of the things that I like about Sepultura over the years is you incorporate a lot of different elements into your music and obviously this album is no different, you have a lot of different stuff happening. One of the songs that stands out for me is a song called "Iceberg Dances" which is the instrumental which has a flamenco guitar in there which is really cool.

Andreas: Yeah the genesis of the song was the idea to use a classical guitar more interactive with the song because I've used a classical guitar in songs many times but just for intros and acoustic songs and stuff like that but I really wanted to try to use it together with the band and everybody. So the instrumental song started with that idea and of course we used more different Brazilian rhythms, Brazilian melodies and something that's more traditional of North Eastern Brazil. North Eastern Brazil is very rich regarding different rhythms and even the gastronomy and stuff it is like a kind of small country in itself so we could really explore different things that the culture of North Eastern Brazil can offer. And then I'm really happy that the classical guitar fitted really well with the purpose of the song.

Andrew: Yeah it's good to hear that kind of thing because obviously in traditional metal they don't incopororate a lot of cultural stuff I guess which is something that stands out in your music which is something that is important I believe.

Andreas: Oh definitely! It's not only ourselves that really incorporated a different sound like using the Brazilian music as a reference, especially the percussion using different instruments here and there to try to create new elements and new feelings with the music. But metal in general is like that, it only survived to today because really it goes different ways. Rock music is a big influence and even Metallica bring in their music as an influence and you see Scandinavia have a certain type of style. We went to Russia last year to tour and we went to 16 different cities inside Russia and we saw so many different mixtures, people using accordions and different, weird instruments from their own culture to make heavy music. I think metal is the most popular music style in the world, Sepultura has 32 years as a career and 76 countries that we have already visited with our music and playing and stuff. It's amazing regardless of the politics and religion and all that stuff, heavy metal has really opened the doors everywhere and it's great to see that this kind of weird mixture and collaboration with different artists and stuff, it really kept metal alive and well trying to do different stuff without losing the characteristic of metal, it's cool. Of course radical people and fundamentalists are all over the place nowadays, it doesn't matter if you do journalism or music, you're going to have your haters! That's inevitable so it's great to see metal is versatile like that, it's diverse and it's able to really go different places and maintain the spirit of metal and always bring in new possibilities. It's awesome.


Andrew: Yeah it's the power of music that it keeps things positive. Speaking of those detractors that we always hear about on the negative side of things and especially with Sepultura and the departure of Max Cavalera all those years ago, how do you deal with those negative vibes from people for so long like that?

Andreas: Well it's their problem, it's not my problem. I hear many criticisms, people saying good stuff, people saying bad stuff. This is part of our life, like I said it doesn't matter what you do in life, you're going to have your haters, people who think they know better than you of what you do and stuff like that and that's normal. I think we learn how to live with that and how to deal with that, I respect every type of opinion, everybody is entitled to have an opinion but of course I don't agree with them all. But I have to respect that and many times a criticism or something bad that we hear from a fan or from a music critic, sometimes it helps to show a different possibility or a different way to follow anyway. It's good to keep the ears open but at the same time the decision to do the stuff will be ours, it's the band's decision to go to different place and try different things. We still keep the Sepultura spirit very well alive and strong, we like to live in the present and what we are doing now. We respect our past so much, it's a beautiful history and everything and we doubt that history wouldn't be here now but we like to live here today and it is a very special moment for Sepultura with our new album and a great lineup, the label is doing a great job so it feels good to be here now.

Andrew: Yeah absolutely. Tell me a little about the concept of the album because as far as I can tell, it's kind of continuing from where you left off on "The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart" where it's about the technology and the way we have almost become like a man and machine intertwined together.

Andreas: Yeah exactly it is kind of touching the same subject as we did on "The Mediator". Having not to lose our heart which is our human ability to question, to protest, to say no and to not only receive information and act according to that without that human process of questioning. "Machine Messiah" goes a little further but it's more than a sci-fi futuristic idea, it's what we see today. I mean our main source of information and influence to write this album was it is what we see today, we have the privilege to travel the world and go to so many different places and see countries that are more dependable or use more technology than others and you see how this affects the country and the people and stuff like that. It's cool that it's a subject that anyone can relate to because it's so alive and so real what we see today, having smart phones, computers, GPS, google glasses and all that kind of stuff that instead of helping us to develop our human capability and develop our brain further, robs are doing stuff for us and we are getting lazy and dumber [laughs]. So the album touches that subject, where is the right balance to live together with machines without losing our human ability and without losing that capability of developing and growing. It's not a conceptual album but every subject we touch that is on the album is inevitable that we are going to talk about some type of robot.

Andrew: Are you the kind of person who embraces technology with the whole social media thing and that kind of stuff?

Andreas: Well I try to find that balance. I think it's kind of impossible to deny technology today but at the same time I still like to read books. When I go to a concert I don't waste my time filming the concert instead of fucking enjoying the concert [laughs]. I try to pay attention to that kind of stuff and try to police myself, try to have a type of discipline but it's something that's [getting] harder and harder because it's going in the direction that it's going to be more dependable on robots for everything. Even today to get a girl you need a fucking tinder [laughs] instead of going to a bar and having a conversation and try things and have the eye to eye contact and that kind of stuff which is so exciting. I mean people are losing that, it loses all the meaning of going there and having sex, it's just like a robot act [laughs]. So it's the kind of stuff that people don't pay attention and they are kind of losing themselves to a virtual world.

Andrew: Yeah it seems like some of the human spirit is getting lost along the way especially with the internet and that kind of thing which is a little saddening in some ways I suppose.

Andreas: Yeah it is because we should be able to interact more with nature and the universe in general. There is so many different frequency's and energies around that we cannot explain or cannot connect or interact, this kind of stuff is more the natural way I see. Even to cure diseases and that kind of stuff, I think our own body and mind could be more capable of doing that but otherwise we are too busy on stupid stuff. Just money itself like paying bills ad having that rhythm of work and so many people in the world they don't do what they love for a living, they just do stuff to pay bills and that's a very robotic type of feeling and very sad. So if we were able to develop our brain further, we wouldn't be that kind of stupidity I believe. At least I think it's something that would be much more possible, it could be more natural.

Andrew: Yeah I definitely agree with that idea. Before I let you go I have to ask as a lot of people are asking when is Sepultura coming back to Australia. I know we saw you two years ago, is there any plans on this album cycle for you to come back down under?

Andreas: Hopefully sooner than later because of course we have the tour with Kreator in Europe and then in April and May with Testament and Prong in the States and the summer festivals in Europe again so hopefully in the second semester of 2017 or early 2018. So far there are no plans confirmed but with this album we really want to go everywhere and do as many cities as we possibly can and Australia of course is one of our goals!

Andrew: Well hopefully we will get to see you very soon then! As I said it's a great album, congratulations and thanks for your time today.

Andreas: Thank you very much man, hope to see you soon!

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on December 23rd 2016