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Max Cavalera founding and only permanent member of international tribal-metalers Soulfly doesn’t seem to have many past time activities apart from playing his guitar. Within as year, he released an album, played a sold out world during which he cut down a full concert DVD and now he serves us his latest release “Dark Times”, his most metal-esque output in years. Much to talk about to STALKER.
Photo: Jason Campbell
Hi Max, seems like you’re pretty busy these days with all the releases coming out.
Oh yes, I am damn busy at the moment. But I also am at a good spirit right now. You know, I recently stopped drinking and I have much more energy now. I really should have stopped 20 years ago. Anyway, I really enjoyed working on “Dark Ages”. While the DVD was more of a record company thing. They wanted so we just did it, you know.
Is Soulfly still a band with all these (complete) line-up changes in the past?
It is – sort of. But that is what Soulfly is all about. It’s a whole different Idea of a band. I did that “band” thing with Sepultura for ages and I just got tired of that. I always want some new fresh blood. With all these exchanges it’s like a constant evolution.
I noticed tat the new album sounds much more like old Sepultura stuff than the ones before. Is this due to the fresh blood?
I think so. It’s like the “Roots of Max”. We all get together to work the stuff out. I write like the skeleton, the basis of the songs and the rest fills it out. But it’s always my very own attitude as I also produced the album. I just do what my heart feels like. The others are what I call my “military architects”.
How did the title “Dark Ages” come about?
You just have to look around. We live in the dark ages right now.
Like the death of your stepson?
Yes. The name of the album was already there before he passed away. But especially that it scary real. I never wanted it to be so real but it just became. It really freaked me out.
Did you use your music as an escape from that?
Music can be an escape from a lot of things. With my music, I can say a lot of things I’m unable to say in real life. Many artists express themselves through their art.
How important is your homeland Brazil for your music?
Well I was born there so it will always be in my heart although I live in the states now. I guess the music would be different if I still lived in Brazil. I relocated to Phoenix because of my family. Brazil is a dangerous place and it’s really scary. They put me to jail twice for reasons I still don’t know. I didn’t want my kids to grow up there. But I love the music and the influences of Brazil and I’m sure that if I’m old I will get back there.
I learned that a lot of people there especially in Sao Paulo (Sepultura’s hometown) are pissed of at you because you quit Sepultura and went to the States.
It’s really strange. The very minute you do something someone gets pissed off. You can’t allow yourself to get influenced by that. You know, the irony is: Everyone hated Chaos AD and years later people come up to me to tell me how great that album is. So I don’t waste my time. I always believed in the music I wrote. But of course everyone’s free to confront me: Bring it on!
You are known to have a strong connection to your family. How does that get along with spending a lot of your time on the road?
Of course I spend big chunks of my life away from home compared to others. You know, lawyers stay at home all the time. But that’s the price you gotta pay. Luckily I have a very understanding family which is very cool. But it’s still a sacrifice. You just can’t have both things. You know, I haven’t seen my mother since 1999. But I’m spiritually connected to everyone of my family. But on the other hand: I really need to go on the road.
Tell us about the incident at the airport in Russia.
Well, we did 10 shows I Russia which went really well. There’s a big Max following over there. But when we were about to fly to the last gig, some guy tried to grab my daughter at the airport. I heard it was some mafia guy. He thought he could get away with it. What an asshole. Of course my daughter got scarred and we cancelled the show which really sucked for the fans. But it wasn’t our fault, you know. I don’t fuck with anybody and I expect the same respect that I give.