Max Cavalera: A Rock And Roll Fables Conversation

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There is no doubt that Cavalera Conspiracy’s latest album, and first on Napalm Records, is their heaviest one yet.

“I just think Pandemonium is a really cool record. It came out really cool. It’s really underground kind of sounding. Nate (Newton) did a great job on the bass. Out of the three, it is the heaviest right now and people should check it out.”

If Max Cavalera’s seal of approval doesn’t convince you then you might want to skip to another blog. Sitting in the back of a tour bus before Cavalera Conspiracy’s first ever appearance at the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest in Worcester, MA, Max elaborates more on the chances of working with Doomriders/Converge/Old Man Gloom’s Nate Newton in a live setting:

“We talked to Nate and it looked like he was going to do it and then something came up. We keep our eyes and ears open and hopefully something will happen. I played with his drummer (Converge’s Ben Koller) in Australia for Killer Be Killed and that was real fun and I had a blast playing with him. Great drummer so I look forward to playing with Nate, too, in the future I hope.”

Back to Pandemonium, Cavalera delves into the reasoning for taking a different vocal approach this time around:

“I like experimenting with my voice and I like trying different things. Every time I have a chance to try something I haven’t done before, I take the challenge. This album was going real low in some of the songs. We did a test run for the first song we did called “Scum” and it sounded really good. John Gray (Producer on Pandemonium) was worried that people were going to think it was pitch reverse, y’know, and I was like ‘Well, we did it right here and you saw that it wasn’t so I have you as my testament’.”

Pandemonium is CC’s first for Napalm Records and, like Soulfly (Now on Nuclear Blast), sees Max firmly stepping away from longtime label home Roadrunner Records:

“We want to be on a metal label that loves metal like Roadrunner was in the ’90’s and then Roadrunner got bought by Warner and it all went to shit. They didn’t care anymore. I delivered records like Enslaved and nobody got excited so fuck you guys then! If you’re not gonna get excited about something like Enslaved then I’ve gotta find a label that does! We found Nuclear Blast for Soulfly and Killer Be Killed and I think it’s kind of cool to keep Cavalera separate (On Napalm) from Soulfly because they’re two different things. Those are the two best metal labels in the world right now. It was a move for us to be happy on a metal label again and we are. When I delivered Pandemonium, they called and were all excited. So it’s cool to be on a label again that feels excited for what you’re doing, you know?”

Of the hundreds of riffs and words Max has written over the years, the elder Cavalera admits that sometimes it’s tough to remember EVERYTHING while on the road but luckily, he has a solution for that:

“It’s tough but when you go on tour you go on what I call a ‘tour mode’ and your brain becomes formulated to think about it….it’s almost like instinct. I don’t have too much trouble with the riffs, it’s more the words and sometimes I forget a couple but that’s okay. We come from metal/punk rock backgrounds and I was never interested in bands that were super perfect anyway. For me, it’s more about the energy and adrenaline and attitude more than being super perfect and perfect sounding. If you want perfect, go see Rush. I kinda like fuck up’s. It’s kinda fun! You get to laugh especially when you know who did it. You actually get to pick on the guy who did it. We’re actually thinking about buying a sombrero and whoever makes a mistake gets to wear it all the next day.”

Moving beyond Cavalera Conspiracy, Max also found time to put out an autobiography last year (My Bloody Roots, available here):

“I never thought I was going to write a book of my life. My wife thought it was  a good idea and we found this guy, Joel McIver (Who worked on Dave Ellefson and Glen Hughes autobiographies among others), and we started talking to him and he said ‘It’ll be really easy, you just do a bunch of interviews with me and I’ll set up everything else. I’ll make the order and I’ll work on your book. You don’t even have to do much’ And I was, like, ‘Alright, cool!’ because I’ve never done this stuff. So we set up all the interviews and we got really cool people involved like Dave Grohl who did the intro for us and Mike Patton who doesn’t really do a lot of interviews so it was nice that he decided to be interviewed for the book. The book has a lot of funny stories and passages and for people who don’t know me you get a real deep sense of the kind of person that I am. For me, it feels good to leave something like that around if I die tomorrow. I’m glad it’s done but my main thing is music.”

Getting back to music, Max touches on his recent collaboration with Greg Puciato and Troy Sanders in Killer Be Killed and the chances of another album and the possibility of a US tour:

“There was a chance of doing something in November but I guess Mastodon just got booked so that chance just went to shit so now I don’t know. I think we’re going to have to wait until next year. I’d like to [tour the States] because the Australian shows went really good. The crowd there loved the shows and I thought it was really fun because it was real different. Different from what I normally do. Lot of energy with Killer Be Killed. We’re definitely going to make another record at some point. I think we can do a better one than the first one if we really put our head’s together.”

And then the conversation inevitably shifts to Max’s main band, Soulfly, and their upcoming record on Nuclear Blast:

“The record’s gonna come out August 14th I think on Nuclear Blast. It was produced by Matt Hyde (Monster Magnet, Slayer, Project 86) who did a great job and there’s a couple collaboration songs. There’s one with Matt (Young) from King Parrot on a song called ‘Live Life Hard’, a really cool song, and Matt did an awesome job. I love King Parrot! There’s one song that all my kids sing on, Richie and Igor, and a girl from Iran sings on it who’s from the movement called Masters of Persia. It’s called “Mother of Dragons” inspired by Game Of Thrones. There’s a really cool opener which is a fast, thrash, kind of grindcore song called ‘We Sold Our Souls To Metal’ that came out really good and I think it’s kind of a perfect opener. The record might be called Archangel. As of right now, that’s the name we’re gonna go with. I think it’s more artistic for Soulfly. It’s back to really cool riffs and really cool ideas and different lyrics. It’s a different kind of record for us. It’s still very heavy  and very aggressive and a lot of fast stuff on it, too, so it’s gonna please a lot of people.”

Cavalera Conspiracy is currently in the middle of a North American trek with Death Angel, Corrosion Of Conformity (Blind-era), and Lody Kong. For tour dates, head here. Pandemonium is out now through Napalm Records.




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