Overdrive caught up with Max Cavalera ahead of Soulfly’s Dublin Show on July 11th

Posted on by Oran

Last Friday (July 4th) Soulfly took to the stage in Hyde Park to open the day’s proceedings for the mighty Black Sabbath. This Friday they will take to the stage in Dublin’s Whelan’s for what can only be a gig to be remembered for the years to come. Overdrive caught up with Metal icon Max Cavalera ahead of the Dublin show to find out what’s in store for us.


OD – Can you talk a little about the new album “Savages” and how it came about that you decided on the name of the album?

Max – I was going through different ideas for a subject for the record and was thinking themes and stories and the last record and that was about slavery and I was thinking mostly about the human race and how we are constantly talking about the change in technology and how far we have come but in actual fact we are still killing each other like savages and that’s where the name came from. It is a simple name but very powerful, I really like it and the fact that it’s a one word name is cool. I wanted it to sound simple and powerful in the same sense, it’s also very tribal which is something that has always connected with me.

OD -When you were writing the material for the album, did you have in mind the guest vocals parts of Neill Fallon (Clutch), Mitch Harris (Napalm Death)?

Max – I actually wrote “Ayatollah Of Rock ‘N’ Rolla” with Neill in mind! It was kind of a Country and Western song with a Dead Kennedy’s type of title. At the start and was joking that it sounded kind of like Clutch and then I began to think that it would be very cool if I could get Neill for it. We have been friends for a very long time and I’m a huge Clutch fan. We got him and he just kills it on that song, I mean the talking bit at the start of the song is great. Also, with “Fallen” I wanted someone from the new era of Metal that is coming out with bands like I Declare War, The Acacia Strain and Man Must Die.

I Declare War are one of my favourite new bands, so I got in touch with Jamie (Hanks, vocalist) and it was great because I wanted some brutal vocals and Jamie was exactly what I wanted. He was really killer and just fit in perfectly. On K.C.S I had Mitch (Harris) of Napalm Death come in and we go back a long way and I just love Napalm Death so that was awesome! He was touring with Cannibal Corpse at the time and had a day or so off, so he came into the studio to visit me and we just laid down the vocals then and there. We had just a small window of opportunity to do something together and it came out great. K.C.S was not actually not written for Mitch, it was just one of those songs that had been laying around and I just knew it was going to work.

He does a lot of backing vocals for Napalm Death, the really high pitched stuff and it just working out so well. I really enjoyed having the guests on the record and hope to do it again.

OD – That’s really cool how it all worked out with Mitch and you got a killer tune from it!

Max – Well, it’s not been the first time that I recorded like that. When I was recording “Primitive” I knew that Cory (Tailor, Slipknot vocalist) was in town with Slipknot and I came to see him at sound-check and I just took him to the studio and we recorded “Jump The Fuck Up”!

OD -You had used Terry Date in the past in a “mixing” capacity with “3”, “Prophecy” and “Dark Ages” but never in the producers chair, what made you choose Terry to produce for “Savages”?

Max – I really wanted to work with Terry and enjoyed his mixes from the past. When I recorded with Deftones back in ’97 for “Around The Fur”, Terry was working on that album as the producer and I love that album. I was looking through his back catalogue and he had The Bronx, Metal Church and loads more. He really is an amazing producer and we I just wanted to get him more involved with the recording rather than just mixing. Actually, this record (Savages) is my most favourite sounding Soulfly record. He did such a great job on it and it sounds amazing. It was a great experience and he was just great. He was so great working with Zion (Max’s son and current Soulfly drummer) and just reassured him that he had to just relax and he (Terry) would look after everything. Zion was quite nervous on the recording of the album and Terry just helped him to relax and got the very best from him in the end.

We have a really good friendship going with each other and I actually recorded the vocals right there in the control room next to him, which I have never done before as I had always done by vocals in a vocal booth.

OD – The artwork for the new album was created by Paul Stottler (Sacred Reich – Surf Nicaragua). Did you give Paul 100% creative freedom or was there a vague idea of what you wanted from the start?


Max – First of all I wanted him to create the album in a very old school way of actually painting and not done on a computer. We were talking about the concept of the album and I wanted a really Metal looking bad ass skull on the cover and he got really excited about. He then decided to do the tribal marks on the skull and add the feathers which added more to the aesthetics visually. I really love what he did on the inside of the album where he scattered the bones through out the inlay cards of the album. It’s amazing what he accomplished by just using animal bones. It was really great to work with Paul as he is a good friend.

I feel that the album cover is very powerful and has an impact from a short distance away. Artwork is really important to me and I like working with people that understand us like Michael Whelan, Neville Garrick who was Bob Marley’s artist and created Soulfly’s  “Primitive” and Soulfly “3” albums.  Android is also fantastic, he did our cover for “Conquor” album and Paul is doing this one, so who knows who is going to be creating the next Soulfly album. I really like the idea of the old school Thrash albums. I mean, just look at the old Sepultura as well as Slayer, Voivod, they are all paintings, just really cool Metal paintings that are created by people and that’s just another thing I really love about Metal music, it keeps that tradition alive.


OD – Your new autobiography “My Bloody Roots; From Sepultura to Soulfly and beyond” was co-written by Joel McIver, I read that you did something like 1000 interviews how long did the overall process take from the first initial ideas to put this all together?

Max – I was kind of crazy. It took something like three years to do. He was interviewing everybody else like Mike Patton (Faith No More), David Vincent (Morbid Angel) Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Sharon Osbourne and Dave Grohl (Nirvana & Foo Fighters). I think it’s great really. There are some great stories in there, some really funny stuff as well. There was around one thousand interviews that took place over three years. It sure makes for good reading for everybody. It’s totally worth it, because I really like the book. Joel did a great job on it. I read the Portuguese and the English version and it just comes across really well.  It’s just really exciting for me to have a book out and makes it even more better because I think it was done so well.

Max book

OD -This must have been a very challenging project to work on as you would have to have dug up some demons and memories that you would have rather forgotten, did you find any kind of closure from the whole experience?

Max – Yea, it felt really good. I wanted to finally put a result to the Sepultura thing and why it all happened. It’s a really complete book that deals with a lot of things in my life. I have had a very exciting life, coming from Brazil as a kid and trying to get into the Metal scene and all the events that took place. I had all these dreams when I was a kid and to have the opportunity to tour the world and meet all of my hero’s, is just amazing to me.

I hope to possibly do another book about the next twenty years of my life (laughs)! I don’t think my kids have read the book yet but the good feeling that comes from this is knowing that it’s going to be there for ever and they can understand new things in it as they grow older.

OD – The new Killer Be Killed has been very well received since its release, is there any talk of a possible tour or a second album?


Max – We are going to try to tour next year. Mastodon have just released their new album (Once More Around The Sun), so they will be touring the hell out of that now and Dillinger Escape Plan are in Europe right now. So next year will be the time that we can get around to getting it out on the road. We would like to do some festivals next year and possibly some other shows. It’s a great record and people deserve to see it live.

OD – You will be taking the stage in London on Friday July 4th, with Sabbath and Motorhead for the Hyde Park show, it must feel like a family get together when you get to do shows like this. Even thought you have probably seen the bands a hundred times do you still make a point to catch the other bands?

British Summer Time

Max – Totally, we always try to catch their show and say hi. Ozzy and Sharon have been great friends of ours for a very long time. They have been very good to us and are just solid friends. We know all the guys in the bands and it’s gonna be a great day. Igor will be there also and he is going to jam a tune with us, which is going to be great. We are so grateful that we were asked to do this show as it really meant an awful lot to me to be included. It’s going to be such a great day in Hyde Park.

OD -On this recent tour, have you been mixing up the set list with stuff from you back catalogue or have you been concentrating mostly on material from Savages?

Max – We are playing a little bit of everything. We tend to focus on a lot of our back catalogue with songs from all of our albums. Some other bands concentrate on playing new material but I like to mix it all up with some classics. I try to change the set list every show to keep it fresh and not so robotic for us. We change from night to night but we make sure to keep in the classic “hit-list” songs with Eye For An Eye and Rise Of The Fallen.

OD – The Soulfly show in Dublin on July 11th will be a very special one as the venue is very historical and intimate. Do you prefer to play a more in your face show as opposed to the larger venues?

Max – I really like the small shows better. To me that’s where the real spirit of Metal lives. Your close to the artists and you can feel the sweat! It’s more energetic and defiantly a better show for us. We like to connect with the audience and we are really looking forward to this Dublin show. Ireland has been good to us and we can’t wait to get back there!

Soulfly’s new album “Savages” is out now. Get your copy here.

Soulfly will perform in Whelan’s on Friday July 11th with support from Lody Kong. Tickets for the show are now on sale and priced €24.00 but are very limited. To purchase a ticket go to this link. This is an 18+ show.

This is your chance to win a pair of tickets for this exclusive intimate Soulfly show. Simply email mail@overdrive and answer this question?

What was the name of Max Cavalera’s former band before Soulfly? If you want to win some free passes to the show, then send your answer to mail@overdrive.ie with the subject matter “Soulfly”. Good Luck!


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