Overdrive caught up with GAAD brainchild, Igor Amadeus Cavalera from his home in Florida, to find out all about the album, the line-up, recording, touring and if given the chance what era in Metal history he would most like to visit.
Dig in …
OD – So, how long has ‘Go Ahead and Die’ been in the making, as I’m sure you’ve been toying with the idea for quite some time?
IGOR – I’d say, it’s been an idea since as far back as 2018. I performed with my Father [Max Cavalera, ex-Sepultura, Soulfly, Nailbomb, Killer Be Killed] doing the Nailbomb album, ‘Point Blank‘. And that was sort of when we thought our voices sounded really cool together. So, that was when the idea originated from.
We started actually writing songs and recording loose demo stuff back in April/May of 2020, and that’s really when the whole thing became a solid project.
As far as the sound we were striving for, it’s really a mish-mash of lots of different types of heavy, extreme alternative underground stuff, or whatever tag media want to put on us. [Laughs] But you know what I mean. It’s heavy and very aggressive.
OD – There is no question that this is a pissed-off, angry collection of songs, with particular reference to crusty knurly trash with grind-punk overtones. Was this the concept from the outset, or did it just turn out that way?
IGOR – Yeah, definitely. Max and I are both huge, extreme metal and hardcore fans. So, you know, he got into it back in the ’80s, when it was fresh and new, and I really embraced it when I became a teenager, back in the early 2000s. So, we’re both fans and that’s really where the whole idea for GAAD came from. [Laughing]
But we really wanted to go totally over the top when it comes to the screams and the production… stuff like that. That’s why the album sounds super crunchy, but it also has a real “DIY” vibe about it also. That was the intention. We wanted it to be just as raw and unfiltered.
OD – Now, I can understand Max being part of this, but how did it come about that Zach [Coleman, Khemmis] ended up being part of the band?
IGOR – Yeah, a lot of people ask about that [laughing] and they’re like: “He’s in Khemmis?” He’s [Zach] also got a much more underground band, that project that he’s in called Black Curse, and that’s actually kind of what Max and I heard first from him, so, I guess it makes a little more sense. [Laughing]
Black Curse is really chaotic…it’s kind of hard to describe that album, but when we heard it, we really liked the overall vibe and knew that Zach would be a good fit which was really cool.
OD – How did you come across Zach in the first place?
So, as we’re working on the tracks for this project, we started to consider drummers for the recording, and Arthur [Rizk] who mixed and mastered the album hit us up and was like “Hey, man, there’s this dude Zach. He lives close to you guys, he’s safe and doesn’t have COVID. He’ll get a test and can make the sessions if you’re interested.”
As soon as Max heard his stuff, he was like: “Whoa, this dude… he rips on the drums and you know, why not?“. So, we hit him up, and soon enough, things just clicked. It was one of those just completely chance encounters that really worked out for all of us.
OD – Was it an instant connection when you all finally got into a rehearsal room together?
IGOR – Yeah, totally! When we jammed, it was awesome. I remember Max saying: “This feels like 1986 all over again!” [Laughs]. I guess it took him back to his childhood and that’s a good sign in my opinion. We all just knew it felt right. And we just ran with it. You know… like kids in a candy store.
OD – With the majority of the writing coming from yourself, did you feel any kind of pressure with reference that there would be a lot of eyes on this project from day one because of who your Dad is, rather than say, a brand new obscure band starting out?
IGOR – I’d say it was a little bit of both. I had some nerves at the start, that’s for sure. With my Dad being who he is, I was concerned that people would just expect GAAD to sound like old Sepultura, or Soulfly, or whatever, you know the usual: “Why doesn’t this sound just like [enter band name my Dad was in or is in]?” How boring would that be?
Once we started writing, I just knew we were on the right track and the worry melted away, and I just concentrated on making the best record I could.
OD – I understand that all of you approached this album with a raw attitude to everything with no click-tracks, vocal overdubs, etc. Of course, that’s what makes the essence of the albums sound.
Was there any temptation to smooth over some aspects, or did you give strict instructions to Charles [Elliot, Engineer] and John [Aquilino, Platinum Underground Studio owner] to just keep it as “raw” as possible?
IGOR – I think personally, we had to kind of “crack” that into them. When we did show up, Charles wanted to try click tracks and a couple of other things, to obviously, you know, make it a little easier on the producing side, for when he sends it to Arthur. I think we did two takes to click, and we were just like: “No, this isn’t gonna work!” These songs are not meant to be perfect.
Both Max and I stated: “There were no click tracks in ’85, so, we’re not using them.” There was none of this shit. [Laughing] Back then there was no quantizing, perhaps just a little bit of delay on the vocals or something but overall, there wasn’t much you could do back then and we wanted to stay true to the sound we were trying to capture, despite being in a nice modern-day studio.
OD – That must have been an intense few days trying to work out a sound that everyone was happy with…
IGOR – Yes it was! [Laughing] We tried to do everything we could to implement that. Those first few days were kind of chaotic. Now looking back, we were really just trying to figure out that specific balance that we were searching for.
Once we did find that sweet spot, everybody was on the same page, and it really worked out well. It just took a little game back and forth.
We didn’t want to leave the engineer with a nightmare to piece together, you know, but you also don’t want to lose the natural vibe of the sound. Thankfully we just all met in the middle.
OD – I understand that Jeff Walker [Carcass] designed the logo for your guys. How did that come to be was it offered or did you approach him?
IGOR – To be honest, I nearly shit a brick when we got sent back Jeff’s design because that was not something we asked for or even had any idea was happening. Some of the folks in Nuclear Blast pulled some strings, and the next thing you know, we’re staring at this awesome logo.
OD – So you guys really had no idea whatsoever that Jeff was designing the logo?
IGOR – Yeah, neither of us asked for it. When I first saw it, I was blown away and then I saw who designed it and my jaw just dropped! I couldn’t believe it! I don’t think he’s [Jeff] designed a logo or anything since as far back as that iconic Earache logo, so, it really was an honour.
OD – Bearing in mind the fallout from the pandemic but are there plans to tour this album one day and if so, how is that gonna be possible, as Max has so many projects on the go, not to mention the stuff you have going on with Healing Magic and of course Zach’s commitments to Khemmis?
IGOR – I can happily say, yes, we have plans to bring GAAD around the world with as many shows as we can despite everybody’s other commitments.
The reaction that we have received so far has been a great confidence boost with regard to the prospect of touring. We’re all very excited to play perform these songs live and are looking forward to getting a really old-school vibe at the shows.
The chance of live shows really comes down to the pandemic at this point, so, fingers crossed.
As much as I would love to play anywhere right now, I would not feel right risking a single person’s life, so as soon as it’s safe for people to start attending live shows again, we’re gonna be hoping to get on some stages.
OD – Has there been any talk of doing an online event to celebrate the release of the album?
IGOR – We’ve had talks about certain plans if things are not open. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves, but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
OD – From day one, you’ve been exposed to all kinds of music thanks to your Mum and Dad. The family is famously known for leaning towards the more extreme side of things, but is there any other different styles of music that you like?
IGOR – Oh man, there’s so much I listen to on a daily basis. Obviously, we’ve already talked about a lot of heavy music that I like but I also really love Post-Punk and Goth, etc.
New Wave and stoner stuff is a big influence for me, especially with my other band, Healing Magic. I actually draw a lot of influences from electronic Dark-wave and stuff like Joy Division and stuff like that.
There’s a really cool kind of resurgence in that genre which I’m really enjoying at the moment. Bands like Cold Cave and Ritual Howells, I really dig the moody, dark melodic side of their music. I like electronic stuff as well. Yeah, to be honest, I used to not like country, but the early, outlaw stuff is amazing. That is some heavy stuff right there, like early Willie Nelson, etc.
I grew up in Arizona, which is completely out in the desert. So, for me, some of that music really struck home with me.
OD – Tell me how you feel about the coverage that media are giving extreme music these days. America has an abundance of ‘Rock’ Radio platforms but still manages to play the same stuff over and over again. Would you agree?
IGOR – Yeah, personally, I think any music genre will be more popular if younger people are getting into it. However, the global Metal community, unfortunately, has a lot of elitism embedded in it, and all that does is hurts the overall genre.
People are always gonna complain about how a certain genre or timeframe was better than what’s happening now and in some cases, yeah, that’s correct but things were very different back then.
People have to understand that there were vital platforms that received a lot of attention like Headbangers Ball, which was a huge tastemaker for masses of people. Also, there were street teams, fanzines, magazines, radio shows, etc…that’s all slowly disappeared over the last few decades.
The fact of the matter is, popular metal bands are getting outdated! I don’t like to say that but it’s true, you know. You either need to reinvent yourself, kind of like what my Dad did with Soulfly, Nailbomb, Killer Be Killed, and now, Go Ahead and Die. He’s jammin’ with other musicians that are in their ’20s and early ’30s. He’s always looking ahead and trying new things.
Music is always evolving, regardless of what genre it is. I really believe the point is to help up-and-coming bands and to encourage young people to delve a little deeper into the sub-genres. We need to make rock stars cool. [Laughing]
Most of the bands that are on the radio today are actually promoting a more unflattering side of things to the younger generation. If you’re are a bigger band that has the means to do it, then bring younger bands on tour and give them a chance. Don’t force them to do stuff like ‘buy-ons‘ to reach bigger audiences, because you’re that’s just crushing their hopes and dreams, essentially.
OD – When you look back on the older bands’ do you wish that you had been around during any particular era of metal, say Florida for the rise of Death Metal, or perhaps the Bay Area, for the Thrash Metal explosion, what era and location would that be?
IGOR – Ahh man, you just mentioned Florida Death Metal. I actually moved here [Florida] two years ago. I moved from Arizona to the South of Tampa. So, I’m actually right in the heart of all that Florida Death Metal location as we speak!
To go back in time and see that whole genre blow up would be awesome. The whole Floriday DM scene is our biggest influence with Go Ahead and Die. Bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide and Obituary, etc.
I would also like to experience the ’70s to see performances from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, or, you know, to see Black Sabbath back in their prime, or something like that.
I’m a pretty big Rocker, as much as I am a Metalhead. But yeah, for Metal I’d probably go back to Tampa, circa 1988. And then you know, maybe for more classic Hard Rock, I’d like to be in Ireland back in the day, for those early Thin Lizzy shows.
I’ve been listening to a lot of classic Rock n Roll lately. We listened to so much Death Metal last year while we were making the album. I’ve taken a calmer approach to music this year [Laughing]. But, knowing me, that won’t last for long!
Go Ahead and Die debut album is due for release via Nuclear Blast on June 11th. Place your pre-orders here.
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