Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Incite are a lead by the charismatic Richie Cavalera. A second generation Cavalera, Richie comes from a background rich in metal history. As the son of former Sepultura and current Soulfly front man Max Cavalera, he may have heavy roots, but the weight of expectation isn’t something Richie worries about. “I have expectations of myself to have a great career and make great records”, he says. About to release their fourth album ‘Oppression’, we caught up with Richie on a recent visit to the U.K. as part of the ‘Maximum Cavalera’ touring package. Under Siege: Eamon O’Neill.
Hi Richie, How are you today?
I'm doing good, man.
It hasn’t been that long since you last toured the U.K. You were here with Cancer Bats recently, weren’t you?
Yeah, we were with Cancer Bats, and then the Soulfly tour started the very next day. We’ve been out here since January 10th. We did twenty-two shows right out of the gate, and now we’re on Soulfly. It’s been fun.
The ‘Maximum Cavalera’ tour is a real family affair, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s kind of got a little bit of the family in each of the bands, and it’s a cool experience. I don’t think you see anything else like this in metal, or in any other genre where it’s family in each band. It’s just a raging event from beginning to end. It’s cool for the fans, and it’s cool for us to be able to see each other, because we don’t get to see each other much now with all the bands doing their own thing.
Does it make it tougher or easier being out with your family?
It’s fun because we play in between both the bands, and we come out every night wanting to kick their ass. So it’s cool competition-wise, being a competitive family. I got a bunch of younger brothers here, so I can make them do a lot of work for me! It’s cool man, we keep it metal and it’s fun and I think that people enjoy it.
Have the Soulfly fans been enjoying your set?
I think in metal in general, if you are presenting yourself in a real way and you’re authentic in bringing high energy and aggressiveness like we do every night, it’s just a matter of being a metal head and you’ll get into us. Soulfly fan or not, it’s cool for us that we can branch off and get a bunch of different people to like us.
Being a Cavalera, does having that name carry a huge weight of expectation?
Not on my own behalf. I think maybe the press and the media think so, but the fans don’t really care. On the Cancer Bats tour, not one person knew that I was a Cavalera – they just liked the band that was kicking ass. You come out here on this tour, and obviously you’re throwing it out there, so people know a little more. But I think for people to expect, or for me to expect to make albums that are up there with some of the top twenty ever made in a genre, I mean it’s a little ridiculous. But I have expectations of myself to have a great career and make great records, and I think we’ve done that to this point.
‘Stagnant’ has recently been released as the first taster from new album ‘Oppression’. It’s pretty brutal, isn’t it?
I think this is the Incite album the world’s been waiting for. It was a huge growth for us in every aspect; from guitar soloing to the vocal sound, to having Steve Evetts be the producer. It just really opened us up and gave us a CD that matched our live show in intensity and aggressiveness and rawness. I think metal heads are just going to freak, and this record’s hopefully going to change the game right now.
You must be excited to finally get it released?
Yeah, we can’t wait. It’s been about five months waiting and just trying to be patient and trying to let everybody feel the excitement that we’re feeling, and I think it’s really going to get metal into a good fresh place again. I think the way to do it now is development with bands; you can’t just expect them to come out and be huge their first record. For us, we’re lucky; we’ve had four records, we’ve had the development process and we’ve been able to learn on tour and really hone in our craft, and I think you get that with ‘Oppression’ - it’s really us dialling it in.
You’ve described the album as; “by far, darker and faster than anything we've released before”. I take it there are no ballads on it?
No, but I think you hear with ‘Stagnant’; it’s not really about fast; it was more about putting that evil doom groove vibe into it where it’s heavy and it’s powerful. But I think that though as gruelling as I sing, you can still understand what I’m saying. It doesn’t sound like Cannibal Corpse or that kind of vocal, but at the same time it’s very tough and spitty, and I think it just made for a great record. I think the big thing is the rhythm section just bring a thunder throughout the record, and then Dru Tang with the solos and the ambient guitar noises, it just was a big step up for us in every aspect.
‘Opression’ features some fantastically scary, old school album artwork.
We really wanted to explore having somebody that just really blows our minds and makes the cover speak for the album. I think [‘Oppression’ cover artist] Dan Seagrave's s art is just so insane and beautiful, and I can always see his stuff on a backdrop or a t-shirt. It’s metal, and it’s made for that. To have him do ‘Oppression’, I think he just knocked it out of the park. You look at it and you see the soul of human man, in the belly still churning. No matter how down or oppressed we get, there’s still that little fight in all of us, and I think that that cover just really projects and portrays that.
So the visual side of things is still important to you?
We had the ‘What The F**k’ and ‘No Remorse’ [available to view below] videos just recently, and those really pushed the envelope. Back in the day it was all about a music video, all about a cool cover, it was all about cool titles, and I think music just got kind of lost into how 'dumb' it could be, or how fast or how ‘metal’ or how ‘death’ or ‘devil’, or whatever. To us it was more; where it all was a part of each other, where the videos speak about what the song is about, or the title portrays the overall piece. It’s something that is very important to us with the transition, and the growth throughout the years. It’s definitely not a joke to us – we won’t name our record ‘The Hot Dog Flavoured Water’. Stuff like that’s just ridiculous. We take it serious for the love of our art and our craft.
Finally, what’s next for Incite?
We end this tour in Russia, and then we go home for about three weeks and then we start a massive U.S. tour. It’s a four band bill with DevilDriver, Holy Grail, and Hemlock, and we’re the second band on. It’s the tour that we needed for an album like this to really catapult. It’s the biggest thing we’ve had to date without question, and it’s going to be the one we need to hopefully set it all up. That’ll take most of the summer, and then we’re hoping to get back here, if the festivals will have us. We’re on the verge of being able to be on those. I think it’s just building the excitement with them that there is on a lower level right now, but it will come.
'Opression' is released on 22nd April 2016, via minus HEAD Records.
Read our interview with Max Cavalera here.