Back with their forth album, Cavalera Conspiracy are on a roll since their formation a decade ago. Featuring the once estranged Cavalera brothers Max and Igor, the Sepultura founders are continuing their tradition for uncompromising music. The brothers have come a long way since the fallout from the 1996 Seps split which left them at odds, but it was a family connection that came first, and not the music. We spoke to Igor about the road to reconciliation, the 'Return To Roots', and new album 'Psychosis'. Inflikted; Eamon O'Neill.
Hi Igor, how are you today?
I’m good, man. I’m looking forward to this last leg of the ‘Return To Roots’ tour, and quite excited for the release of the Cavalera record.
Has it been difficult to strike a balance between ‘Return To Roots’ and Cavalera Conspiracy?
Well, the thing is, we didn’t know when the album was going to be released, so that’s one of the reasons that we booked the final shows from now all the way to Christmas. Of course it’s a bit disappointing that we’re not already touring with the new record, but I think it’s going to be fun; it’s a good package [the MTV Headbanger’s Ball Tour 2017 with Over Kill and Insomnium] with a lot of bands. But next year we’re going to focus 100% on Cavalera Conspiracy, so that’s where we’re standing right now.
Finishing up with the ‘Roots’ dates, is it inspiring for you to go into something completely fresh and new?
Yeah. I have to say, it went a bit longer than we expected with the ‘Roots’ anniversary. A lot of people wanted to see it, which is fine with us, but at the same time, to be honest it’s fine to finally go forward with a new record. That’s why we’re really looking forward to next year.
You’re already on the forth Cavalera Conspiracy record in ten years; does that amaze you?
I have to say, looking at the way my brother works, I can totally expect that. He’s such a workaholic in the sense that when he’s not on tour, he’s working on new material for various different projects. To be honest, I have to hold him back a little bit, otherwise we would now be on maybe the fifth or sixth Cavalera record by now!
Do you enjoy having the chance to do other things whenever Max is off doing Soulfly?
Yeah, I mean that’s one of the reasons why I think also Cavalera Conspiracy is very special; it’s because we do jump back and forth between different projects, and then every time we go back to the Cavalera, it’s always a pleasure, and it’s not something that we’re overdoing all the time. So, we have little breaks in between tours where we jump back into our projects and then do different things. That for some reason keeps us really fresh every time we hit the stage with Cavalera.
Is that the result of the musical climate we live in these days, where outside projects aren’t the issue they might have been back in the early days of Sepultura?
I think it’s a combination of a lot of different things. Of course, they were different times, and I think things are moving a lot faster in music nowadays. You can release more music with the speed of the internet and things like that. In those days, like in the days of ‘Chaos A.D., it took a lot longer for an album to be released; they had to do all this extensive promo and because of the magazines, you had to wait a certain time for them to come out. Then whoever was pressing the records, you needed to get in line. Now in the digital age, it’s a lot faster; we’re talking about a matter of weeks you can have something out there. So, I think now, what we do with these projects moving back and forth, it fits a lot more in the world we’re living right now. Luckily, me and Max, we’re still very productive, and still very full of energy to do all projects, so that’s great.
Letting go of your music a lot quicker, do you ever look back and wish you had gotten to work a little longer on any of it?
I think we have to let go of things, otherwise we would never be releasing anything. I always would go back to everything I did and redo it somehow. I think once it’s set in stone and you put it out, you are able to move on to other things. When you finish a project – it can be a painting, or with music – I think you learn how to let go, otherwise it becomes a nightmare. It can ruin a lot of things that are very basic, by overdoing certain things.
The rawness and naivety of the early Sepultura releases, for example?
Yeah. When we look back on those records, the only thing that we're disappointed in was some of the recordings. At that time in Brazil, it was almost impossible to get a good recording of that style of music. Then again, it also represents that moment, so it is valid, you know?
It’s been over ten years since your and Max reunited, following almost a decade of estrangement.
It was something that was generated that was first me and Max getting together as brothers again, and reuniting our families; our kids, our wives, and the whole thing. Knowing Max, the way I know him, I knew he would come up with something, musically, because that’s just how he is, and especially when we did a jam together, he was very excited. The thing that attracted me the most to do Cavalera, was to write new music instead of just going back and redoing something that we did in the past.
So it as very much looking forward, rather than back?
What really excites me as a musician is to write music and then perform those songs, and show somehow how we evolve as musicians, and also what influences us right now, and all those things. So I think now looking back ten years after, one thing I can say is I feel really lucky that we were able to do that, me and my brother.
So it’s a very real musical bond that you share?
Yeah, it is. But family comes first, and then the music came later. It’s something that we learned through the years. We had to be good with each other so we could play again together.
Was it on your mind that that personal reconnection might lead people to jump to the conclusion that a Sepultura reunion was on the way?
Well, I wasn’t even playing in the band anymore, so I didn’t care at all what people were saying or even thinking about it. The only think I wanted to do was do something more on a personal level. Once we decided to do the Cavalera, I knew it was going to start to become something a bit more in the music business.
With ‘Return To Roots’, was it ever a possibility that the original four who recorded it as Sepultura would go out and perform it?
No, not at all. It was just something that Max had the idea, and after a while I was really into it. But it was never mentioned to be the original line-up who recorded the album.
How was it for you to be revisiting what was one of the defining metal albums of the ‘90s?
It was fun playing it and revisiting as a drummer, a lot of those drum beats and things that I did. That was pretty cool to go back. At the end of the day, I think it was more of a fan decision than anything else. As a musician, I think it’s not really interesting to go back to an old album. But as a fan, as I go to see certain bands that reform and do things, and it’s quite special, especially if you didn’t have the chance to see certain bands. For me, that’s very special.
Soulfly have recently done some Nailbomb anniversary shows; were you tempted to get involved with that?
No, the Nailbomb thing, it was Max and he wanted to do something with Alex [Newport of Fudge Tunnel], and then it ended up being like a Soulfly thing. I was never really la Nailbomb member; I just helped them out at the time.
After doing 'Roots', would you be interested in doing any other albums from your discography in full?
Maybe in a few years we’ll revisit some other album. What we did with ‘Roots’ was quite positive, so hopefully, we’ll get to do that again.
Is there any album in particular that you’d like to revisit?
Not really! It’s a pain in the ass to learn all that stuff, man! I’m done with it! But if it’s the case, I’ll have fun with it.
Sepultura were one of the only metal bands that thrived in the mid-nineties; as one of the biggest bands around at the time, was it a strange place to find yourselves?
I think it was good, in the sense that I think that the lack of certain things makes you work a little harder. That was the scene at the time; we just felt that we were pushing certain limits of things to get an album done. It’s the same with anything; even now, the way we look at the whole world going crazy, that somehow inspired us to make an album like ‘Psychosis’ in Cavalera. So I think the moment really inspired us to write ‘Roots’ at the time; the scene itself.
Looking forward, and you’re looking forward to taking ‘Psychosis’ out on the road.
Yeah, I’m looking forward to tour with this record. It’s a great album that me and Max put a lot of energy into, so to represent all songs live, it’s going to be amazing.
Are the band looking at your own tour, or are festival dates likely for next year?
We have a really good team of management and booking agents, so hopefully, we can get to do some really cool festivals next year. I think it’s a combination of all those elements pushing forward. It’s us willing to do it, but also everyone wanting to put together this.
Finally, what has the rest of the year got in store for Igor Cavalera?
Just finishing the ‘Return To Roots’, and then I have a few more shows with this band I play in called Soulwax, and I do that all the way to Christmas, and then have a little break with the family. Then we get back on the road in January. So it’s non-stop working, but it’s a lot of pleasure also.
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Cavalera Conspiracy’s ‘Psychosis’ is out now, via Napalm Records.