Max Cavalera: The Roots Run Deep

"It was a fearless record".

Roots…. Bloody Roots. If heavy metal were pepper, Roots is the salt. Always on the table, always used to bulk up a repast when the palette of metal is a little dull… We all know this album, I am pretty confident when saying – we all valued and respected this album and after twenty years the album is touring in full by the two men who assisted in the creation of this monster for Sepultura back in 1996. Metal As Fuck caught up with Max Cavalera last week to discuss the impact Roots has had on its creators twenty years later….     

Twenty years of Roots you have been touring of late, now let’s just clarify this shall we - I’m getting this number right yes, 20 years?! Unbelievable! “It’s exciting, I mean it’s exciting when a band gets to tour a new album but this is not the case – we’re touring an album that is twenty years old! So it’s a bit different also the fact that we’re playing the whole album is something we’ve never done before so it’s very exciting and we started out of nowhere – it was Gloria’s [Cavalera] idea and we tested it out at a festival in Canada and it went over great, we made a run in America – it was great, then followed by Europe and then some festivals so really the idea just snowballed and turned into this really big event that a lot of people are excited to see it. Like even kids who weren’t even born when Roots came out are coming to the shows because they love the record. And it has also made me appreciate the album more. I look at Roots in a whole new way, now that I’m playing it live like this. I see that it is a much deeper album than when we wrote it – even cooler actually. So it’s cool, we’re really enjoying it. We haven’t stopped any projects though – we still have new Cavalera Conspiracy stuff in the works and Soulfly next year but it’s kind of fun to take a step back and do something different like this in the middle of your career, and being able to do it is really amazing for me” 

The tour has been so successful that you have extended it immensely and it is good to hear that you both are enjoying it because we are all definitely looking forward to seeing it in Australia – so playing the album from start to finish, what songs had to be relearnt and how has playing songs from the album that have never been played live before? “There is a few, stuff like Ambush and Born Stubborn. There are a lot of segments that have Igor playing drum solos, really emphasizing the tribal drumming in parts, then there is stuff like Lookaway – the song we did with Mike [Patton] from Faith No More. I think it flows really well all together, the order of the record is perfect to play live, song after song – they’re perfect with each other and it gives the set some real dynamics – the beginning is really powerful; as the crowds are singing with Roots and Attitude and Ratamahatta, and then there is more punk stuff with Straight Hate and Spit – it’s fun, it’s a fun record to play for sure”. And I understand you are more privy to the punk songs of the album? “I am, those are my favourite songs to play live – there is just such energy that I draw from those songs, you can’t stand still. You just gotta move and jump; you just wanna fuck shit up when those songs come on. But I’m also a big fan of the wild stuff like Lookaway and Ambush because those songs showed the more experimental side of Roots and the big songs are also great – everyone gets into it, so when you put it all together it makes one great show that is cool from beginning to end – and we don’t stop there we do songs from Sepultura and we change it every night going back to Morbid Vision days [1986] – we also so some covers like Ace of Spades [Motorhead], Procreation of the Wicked, [Celtic Frost] so it’s a full night of metal – everyone who comes to the shows are going to love it”.

Nostalgia for everyone! This album set such a benchmark for so many bands to build from over the years – and yourself Max, with so many projects and so many creative outlets over the years - what would you say has remained consistent over the last twenty years in your music? “I’m excited to always create but it’s also fun to do stuff like this – because it’s a look back at your early work and time has made these songs even better. I am always inspired, like the new Cavalera album – out in October – I am very excited with this one – I am putting it neck and neck with the stuff we did in Arise’ days. That’s how proud I am of the album and how bad ass the album came out. Our producer, Arthur [Rizk] really awoken the beast and Igor and I and really dug deep into our old influences and sounds – that for some reason haven’t come out before – so this one is a beast of an album; people are going to be surprised when they hear this one”. I understand all of the previous Cavalera albums have been self-produced? “Yeah, pretty much. I produced Pandemonium (2014] I decided to go really underground with that one. I really love that album. Some people didn’t like the production so much, because it was really dirty [Laughs] the second one we had help from Logan [Mader - Once Human, ex-Machine Head] – but this time is the first time we’ve worked consistently with a producer – especially on the vocals. It was really funny because Arthur would play stuff to me from my own catalogue, like from Morbid Visions and be like ‘this is how you’re singing on this song, and I want to you to sing like this but do it different, do it with the Max of now, but be inspired by the Max of this time’ [Laughs] it was great and definitely an experience. There was a lot of stuff that he got out of me that normally wouldn’t come out so a lot of the riffs and the vocal patterns on this album are very old school. Igor is great on the drums, the drumming is fantastic. We have one song with Justin [Broadrick] of Godflesh on the album as our guest, I love Godflesh so I am so glad that he is on the album because it is a beast of a record and I can’t wait for people to hear it. Now is the worst part though, because it’s all done, I just have to wait, I hate that part”.

Well, until October arrives, Australian fans can enjoy the Roots tour which is heading down very soon – all in all, what do you believe you will take away from this tour and this experience? “The best of it is actually is just how exciting this record really was, it was a fearless record. It was created in a very weird time in music – everyone was going grunge and we were the opposite – we made our sound more rough; more simple and punk – we also showed a lot of the Brazilian culture so I think when people come to the shows they will feel that; how proud we are of this record… Still. And we are playing it as close to the original as we can get, minus a few changes here and there. All in all, it’s just a great celebration of heavy metal and I mean Skindred are coming with us! So that’s great, I love that. I am very excited – Australia is going to get a great dose of Metal. After the Roots Australian tour we start our Nailbomb tour, played by Soulfly – so that was another great idea that hopefully takes off as well. Then Europe again with Roots at the end of the year and hopefully next year with the new Cavalera album we’ll head out again”.





        Thursday 21 September - Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane – Lic A/A

     Friday 22 September - Big Top, Sydney – Lic A/A

       Saturday 23 September - Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 18+

          Sunday 24 September - HQ, Adelaide – 18+

         Tuesday 26 September - Astor Theatre, Perth – 18+