Max Cavalera Of Soulfly Talks New Album "Savages"
Band Photo: Soulfly (?)
The groove masters in Soulfly only took a year from the release of “Enslaved” to come back with a new full-length, this time titled “Savages.”
With the album now hitting stores, it seemed fitting to chat up the iconic front man Max Cavalera himself to find out more about the short time frame and what went into this latest metal assault.
A transcription of our talk is available below, in which Cavalera discusses how the passing of his father impacted his life and his decision to get into music, the many people involved in “Savages,” and a teaser of when fans can expect new material from Cavalera Conspiracy.
xFiruath: How did the material for this new record come together?
Max: We started writing right after the “Enslaved” tour. We went home after that tour and it was time to make some new music and I had some ideas I was excited to work with every day. I was excited to be working with Terry Date on a full record. I worked with my son Zion as well. I think the difference between “Savages” and “Enslaved” is that I only had two weeks to prepare for “Enslaved” before the studio, which is cool because I like how “Enslaved” turned out. But “Savages” is more of an in-depth, prepared, solid Soulfly record. I really enjoyed working with Terry, it was an amazing job and it’s my favorite sounding recording of all the records I’ve worked with in my life.
xFiruath: There was only a year between the last album and this one, which is probably the shortest length between albums for the band. What brought about that short length of time?
Max: That just kind of happened, it wasn’t planned. It is a short time, but it doesn’t feel like that to me, I’d been working non-stop since the release and touring of “Enslaved” writing and recording. I’m in the studio right now making another record that will come out next year, which is a project with the guys from Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan. So I’m always writing, creating, recording, working. I don’t even keep track of the time, I just keep making music and try to make the best I can. What’s important is quality and not the time between. You can spend 10 years between records and write a shitty one, or spend one year between records and write a great one. The quality is what matters.
xFiruath: I just watched that interview that recently came out where you talked about your childhood a bit, and that was pretty interesting to me because I also got kicked out of religious school and my father passed away when I was young. How do you think that sort of upbringing changed you as a person and a musician?
Max: It had a big impact. The death of my father was a big one, because I think if my father hadn’t died I probably wouldn’t have become a musician. I probably would have been a diplomat like he was and work at an embassy like he did. My life would be totally different. I think things have a reason for happening, and so I have to think maybe the reason for these things was so I would go into music. Of course I don’t like the fact that he died, that sucks and I wish he was still here, but at least something good came out of it.
xFiruath: Now I understand your son actually appeared on this album as well. Who were all the guest musicians?
Max: My son Igor sings on “Bloodshed,” it’s kind of a punk thing and I knew he could do that because he has killer vocals. Apart from that we have Jamie Hanks from I Declare War, one of my favorite bands out there. It was so cool having Jamie on there with big brutal vocals. Then we had Neil from Clutch, that’s a big surprise for everybody and Soulfly’s never had anything like that. We had Mitch from Napalm Death, he’s very brutal and killer on the record, he’s got this killer high pitched voice. On Napalm Death he sings mostly on fast parts but here it’s a slow song. Tony Campos, our bass player, also sings with me on “El Comegente.”
xFiruath: Tell me about the artwork and your interpretation of how it connects to the music.
Max: I love the artwork on “Savages,” it’s old school real design, not a computer, it’s really painted. It’s a big old skull right in the middle of the album, I love the simplicity and the minimalism of the skull and the tribal markings. What’s inside is even cooler, they created all these different images of bones, they are almost like altars put together on each page, and it goes with the lyrics. I really think the artwork and the package altogether will look really killer. It’s instantly recognizable as Soulfly.
xFiruath: Where is Soulfly headed to tour in support of the album?
Max: We have a tour in October with Havok in America and Canada. Then we tour America again in January.
xFiruath: You mentioned earlier another project you are working on, but I’m wondering, is there anything happening with Cavalera Conspiracy in the near future?
Max: Not till next year. It will be a special record, our third album, and I want to make it very powerful one, so we’ve got to take the time to write it really good. I’ll get together with Igor and we’ll make it happen.
xFiruath: Are you a regular show-goer and what’s happening in your metal scene?
Max: I went to see my son’s band play and next door I was doing an autograph session where they are opening a metal store. It sells a lot of vinyl and CDs and I was invited to do a signing session. I got to see Suicidal Tendencies in Brazil and that was a great show. Apart from that, I’ve been in the studio a lot and haven’t had time to go out much and catch shows.
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