When they played together in the metal band Sepultura, singer-guitarist Max and his brother, drummer Iggor Cavalera, who currently play together in Cavalera Conspiracy, explored their Brazilian heritage on the 1996 album Roots
For the current tour, Cavalera Conspiracy guitarist Marc Rizzo and bassist Johny Chow will join the Cavaleras as they play the album in its entirety. We spoke to both brothers via Skype and asked them about the tour.
Talk about what made you want to revisit this album?
We thought it would be a good time because it’s been 20 years from the Roots album and we haven’t done anything like this before. It’s really something different in our lives and in our careers. Everyone got really excited about it. We tried it out in Canada, and it was killer. The crowd went crazy. We wanted to do it for real for a whole tour. We got backdrops and merchandise and it’s rolling now. I love the show. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.
The cool thing about it is to do something different that we haven’t done in our whole career. At the same time, we have a special relationship with this record. As a drummer, I got to explore different styles of percussion and drums. To try to recreate this now as a live concert is a real challenge. There is stuff we’ve never played live before. As a musician, it’s amazing when you have a strong challenge in front of you. That’s what keeps us hungry to do more and improve.
Take us back to the making of the album. What prompted the band to explore the indigenous music of Brazil with the album?
We’re always looking for something different. It was evident on all the records that there was growth. I think the seed was planted on [1991’s] Arise. We did some intros where we mess around with tribal rhythms, and it continued heavily on [1993’s] Chaos A.D.
We started to listen to old Brazilian acts like Chico Science. I had the idea to spend some time with the Xavante. That was in the middle of the record. That provided the imagery and concept came from the trip we did to the tribe. That’s never been done before by a metal band. That’s very unique. There’s something special about this record. It surprised everyone and it was a game changer in the metal world.
It seems like we were moving in that direction naturally. Even before Chaos A.D.
, on Arise
, we tried some intros that had different sounds. That sent us on the way to Roots
. It was a natural progression of ideas. By the time we did Roots
, it became logical to explore as much as we could from the tribal beats to playing together with the tribe and exploring their music.
You recorded “Itsari” with a native Brazilian tribe. Talk about that.
For us, it was amazing. No one in the rock or metal world had tried anything like that. It was quite magical. We had to record with car batteries because there was no electricity. Things like that made it so special not just for metal but for Brazil too.
I think that’s the coolest thing. We went back o the deep roots of Brazilian music before samba. We went back to the original Brazilian music before anyone was there. It was important to us that if we call the record roots, we go back to the original music. It was important to go back there. People in Brazil at the time didn’t care much for the Indian values and all their values. Our grandmother was a native, which is very cool so we have some native blood. The trip was amazing from every angle. We spent three days with them. They were so nice and open minded and so friendly and everything went so smooth. They wanted to play our music so we played a song for them. There were 300 people sitting down and they started making this noise, and we asked the translator what they were saying and they were asking for more. Getting painted by them and experiencing the way they live, for us, it was awesome. We were involved in their rituals, and it was very magical. It was a one of a kind experience. We were blessed to be part of that. In metal, nothing like that has been done. I love stuff like Paul Simon’s Graceland
for which he went to South Africa and recorded and Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ
, which used the Eastern rhythms. I wanted to do stuff like that. There are no rules. The record is groundbreaking, and I think that’s why the record was so well received.
The two of you had a falling out at one point. What’s enabled you to work together again?
The most important thing is that we decided to start making music again. The cool thing about it is that the second Max talked about making music again it was a new thing. It was to write new music together. That was the most important thing. We’re super proud of our past. This Roots tour is a special thing. I’m more excited about working on new music. We want to be influenced by new bands right now. Those things are a way to motivate me as a musician. There’s a way to try new things. We want to do something for the future.
I really love when I got back with Iggor epically after ten years of not talking. It was very hard on all of us. When we got back together it was great just to be back together. We wanted to do something new with our life. We created Cavalera Conspiracy, and it was super, super killer. I love the record Inflikted
. It was really awesome. There are some great things on it. I remember when we wrote “Sanctuary,” I was so happy about the song. The main refrain is “everybody die tonight.” It’s a heavy angry phrase. I felt so alive to sing that. The song just kicks ass. People love Pandemonium
too. It’s a cool underground record. Like Iggor said, we’re excited to look for the future and the Roots tour will influence us to come up with better stuff when we do the next Cavalera album, which will be our fourth album. I hope we’re inspired and can do something different to create a Cavalera Conspiracy album that people haven’t heard before.
Max and Iggor Cavalera Return to Their Roots Tour, Combichrist, All Hail the Yeti, Oni, 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, Agora Ballroom, 5000 Euclid Ave., 216-321-5588. Tickets: $20 ADV, $25 DOS, agoracleveland.com.