An interview with Max Cavalera
by Aaron Manogue
February 2012



Max Cavalera is a name that is synonymous with metal music. Name basically any type of metal and Cavalera has not only done work in that type of metal, but perfected it. His music has transcended decades of an ever changing music industry, where it seems like what is deemed as metal changes each and every day. And here we are, in his third decade of being in the metal business, and Cavalera and Soulfly are about to release their heaviest metal ever. “Enslaved” is about all the crazy shit that has happened in our world in the past century. Maximum Ink’s Aaron Manogue sat down with Max Cavalera to talk about Soulfly’s new record “Enslaved”, having his son tour South America with him, and what it was like having Dez Ferrara of Devildriver do some guest vocals on the record.

Maximum Ink: Tell me about your first single and the song you just released “World Scum.” When I first heard it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s so dark and just musically raw but it’s weaved together so perfectly it works great.
Max Cavalera: It all started with a death metal riff that I wrote that and it’s really cool. It’s kind of a Possessed and Dark Angel kind of style which really grew into a great song with the lyrics that talk about the last hundred years. All the fucked up shit that’s happened in the world like Auschwitz and the gas chambers, J.F.K. getting shot and that conspiracy, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, assassination of Czar Alexander II, all of that. Then the last scene is the final battle between Jesus and the anti-Christ in Israel. It’s kind of a concept song about the history of the last hundred years, the Bloody Century as I call it in the song.

It has a ton of dynamics with a slow part in the middle that I do some kind of talking voice and then goes into a really cool solo that Marc did. It’s got guest vocals from Cattle Decapitation, which is a band that I really like and one of my favorite new bands that has come out lately. Travis did some really awesome heavy vocals which were really death metal oriented. I really like the energy of the song because it’s really powerful. It should be awesome to play live. I’m really excited about this one.

MI: The entire album has the dark, ominous feeling of the all the fucked up shit that’s happened around the world in the past century. It has a slavery feel to it all too. Where did it all come from?
MC: Yeah, the idea of the record is mostly about slavery and it’s about old slavery and new slavery. I’m surprised more bands have not touched on the subject because it’s a real heavy topic and it’s easy to mix with metal. It makes a really combination. I decided to make a record that sings about it with songs like “Legion” and “Gladiators” which is like Roman Empire enslavement. You get stuff like “Chains” which is about black slavery and a bit of the slavery that goes on in the world right now. There’s a song called “Intervention” which was inspired by all the riots going on in Egypt and all the stuff that’s going on in the Middle East. Like the riots and taking out dictators is about interventions and stuff. So there’s a little bit of everything in the record with a lot of heavy subjects that go good with metal music. I decided to make the album more on the death metal side. This album has more metal riffs than any other album than I ever did so it was really exciting to me to make this record.

MI: There’s been a rumor that your son might possibly be a guest drummer on your upcoming Brazil tour. Is there any truth to that?
MC: Yeah. I’m bringing him to Brazil to some of my shows. We got three shows in Brazil, one in Chile and one in Argentina and I am bringing Zyon. I’ve been practicing with him for three hours a day and go through the whole Soulfly set. He’s doing killer and he already did a show with us in Belgium where he did really good. People really liked it. And then after that David (Kinkade) comes in because he’s the drummer on the album and then we get back to normal, to the real lineup of the band. That was just something I wanted to do for South America. Something special, kind of a special guest thing for the South American tour and it’s actually been pretty cool.

MI: You talked a little bit about your new lineup with Marc Rizzo , Tony Campos(Static-X, Ministry) and David Kinkade (Borknagar) coming together on the new record. You guys seemed to really create kind of a new feel, but still with the Soulfly signature sound on it.
MC: It was great, man! Tony is really professional and is a wicked awesome bass player. It was exciting to play with him because he was really into my riffs and every time I put a new riff out onto the table he really liked it. I played with David before we even entered the studio. David came here and spent two days jamming with me and we went onto the songs and I was blown away by how good his double bass was. Real precise, real solid, and like a machine. It reminded me of old Fear Factory, Morbid Angel and Gojira. It got me inspired to write stuff that he can use. I told him to really use and abuse the double bass on the album and that there’s no limit for it. Just kind of go for it and go crazy and he did. Almost every song has double bass in it.

I really like the new lineup. I think we have really good chemistry between the four of us. Marc did some great guitar stuff on the record. My favorite thing he did is on the song “Treachery.” He created this middle part that sounded like “Diary of a Madman” (by Ozzy Osbourne). Even when he did it in the studio I said, “Man, that’s fucking awesome!” And he added a solo that sounded like Pink Floyd with slide guitars that sounded like David Gilmore. I was like, “Whoa man. You’re going to a whole new level!” On “Plata O Plomo”, which is a song Pablo Escobar from Columbia, Marc did some amazing Flamenco. It just blew me away. We got a really good combo man. We got a really good group of musicians and really awesome guys who are ready to fuck shit up.

MI: You guys featured former Coal Chamber vocalist and current Devildriver vocalist Dez Ferrara on “Redemption of Man by God”. What was it like working with him?
MC: It was really killer man. Dez is a great guy and we’ve known each other for a long time and I’ve just been waiting to have a chance to work with him on a record and the chance came now. I was in the studio and I found out that Devildriver was going to be close to me playing in Phoenix so I made a date for him to come to the studio. Dez came and I played him the song and it really had this like Egyptian kind of Middle Eastern guitar intro and had this classic thrash, death metal thrash vibe. There was a preacher that came out of Tony’s bass cab and was talking about biblical stuff in Egypt and killing of the first born babies and the death angel and blood on the doors and all this crazy shit. Our producer Zues recorded this guy talking and he put it at the end of the song. Then Dez listened to it and got really excited and wanted to do a song about it. Dez also told me that his dad was a preacher in the south and I guess it had something to do with the snake cults. He added snake type stuff to it like “venom of snake” and kind of rituals with the southern religious groups that deal with snakes. It was great. We had such a good time in the studio and we sing back to back in the chorus. It was fucking awesome. I love working with him and we had a good time and the song came out great.

Enslaved will be available everywhere March 13, but you can pre-order it now and get three digital bonus tracks and the first 400 orders get a CD booklet autographed by all four members!

(3264) Page Views

Soulfly Online:
Facebook Wiki

CD: Enslaved Record Label: Roadrunner Records
Purchase Enslaved on Amazon
Download Enslaved on Amazon