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Farewell Big Day Out Auckland! Yes, sadly that was our last one ever, but what better way to send off the festival’s Auckland chapter than with one of death/thrash metal’s godfathers Max Cavalera (SOULFLY / SEPULTURA / NAILBOMB) and his band CAVALERA CONSPIRACY.

When NZRock interviewed Max last year the band had just released it’s second album ‘Blunt Force Trauma’. At Big Day Out 2012 New Zealand fans were finally given their chance to experience the new songs along with some SEPULTURA classics. Here’s what Max had to say before his set…

NZRock: This is unfortunately the last Big Day Out festival being held in New Zealand. Is that going to stop you guys coming back in future?

Max: I hope not, I hope we can still come back with SOULFLY. We just did a new record which is going to come out in March and we’re going to try and do a whole world tour with it so hopefully we can come back here. That’d be nice.

NZRock: The new SOULFLY album features two generations of the Cavalera family members. Is it cool to see the torch passed down to the next generation?

Max: Yeah it was really cool you know. I was really proud in the studio making a song with them. It’s a song that featured three of them, I had Zyon on drums, Igor playing guitars and singing, and Richard sings in a song too. So three of them in the studio in one day, it was an awesome day and we had a lot of fun.

NZRock: What are the key differences between what you’re doing with SOULFLY and CAVALERA CONSPIRACY? You’ve said in the past that CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is more brutal, is that still the case though?

Max: Yeah CAVALERA CONSPIRACY is more metal. Me and Igor are back to what we always did and people like it because the SEPULTURA material, that influenced a lot of people. Like ‘Arise’, ‘Beneath The Remains’ and ‘Chaos A.D.’. So we like to continue that because I’ve had a chance to play with Igor again. I built this band to be metal and we’re doing it. We’ve got two records out now ‘Inflikted’ and ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ and it feels great. It’s fun to play with Igor, he plays real fast so all the shit sounds crazy. It’s energy music you know, and you can’t stop that so I roll with it. As fast as he plays, I play and just go with it.

NZRock: On the ‘Blunt Force Trauma’ album you had Roger Miret from AGNOSTIC FRONT doing guest vocals. Have you guys ever done that track live with him?

Max: No never, I’m waiting for the chance. I’m hope we can do that one of these days. Hopefully we meet up in a festival in Europe or something. We wanted to actually have a tour with them but they couldn’t do it for some reason. Because then we could’ve done that every night. But a lot of people really like ‘Lynch Mob’. People were really surprised that I recorded with Roger but it was good.

NZRock: How’d you choose him for the job?

Max: Well it was between him and John [John Joseph McGowan] from the CRO-MAGS because they’re the two main hardcore bands I respect and like from the old days. And it was a little bit easier to get in touch with Roger because John, I tried to get hold of him but I couldn’t. He was really hard to find. Roger was very easy, he lives in Phoenix where I live so I got a phone number really quick. So I just called him and invited him to be on the record. He was very thrilled. We came into LA and recorded, and I taked to him about the idea of ‘Lynch Mob’ and what the song was going to be about. And I played it to him and he liked it. It’s great because he’s such a cool hardcore legend. AGNOSTIC FRONT is before anybody you know… before CRO-MAGS, SICK OF IT ALL, and MADBALL there was AGNOSTIC FRONT. They were like the pioneers of hardcore. Before AGNOSTIC FRONT it was more punk like RAMONES, BLACK FLAG and MINOR THREAT. So I had the idea to record, to me Roger is like the godfather of New York hardcore. So I was working with a legend on a form of music that me and Igor really like, we both grew up listening to hardcore which is evident on most of SEPULTURA’s stuff. So I had the chance to work with him and it was great, he was a great guy and we had a lot of fun doing it.

NZRock: There are a lot of Roadrunner bands heading to Australia soon to play Soundwave. You guys would’ve been a perfect fit. Were you asked to play there as well?

Max: We got offered Big Day Out first. I think it’s good to be on Big Day Out because of the fact that apart from PARKWAY DRIVE, I think we’re the only heavy band. So it’s cool that we’re representing metal in a festival that’s got a lot of different stuff. I like the Big Day Out, I did it in 1999 with SOULFLY and it was a great festival and when I heard we had the opportunity to do it again with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY I was very thrilled.

NZRock: Johny Chow joined CAVALERA CONSPIRACY a few years ago and I’m a big fan of his other band FIREBALL MINISTRY as well. How’d you pick him for you band?

Max: We got a picture of him in the office, someone sent it through and I saw the picture of this guy with a big beard and it looked amazing. I was like, who is this guy? He looks crazy haha! They told me he was from FIREBALL MINISTRY so I went and listened to it and I liked it. We got in touch with him and he was not doing much with FIREBALL MINISTRY and he was like, I’m looking to start in another band. We made the first record with Joe Duplantier of GOJIRA but he couldn’t stay in the band because he went back to GOJIRA you know. We needed a bass player to stay with us, to tour so that’s how we ended up with Johny. He’s a great guy and a great bass player.

NZRock: You’ve got an autobiography coming out soon and one of the stories is that you threw up all over Eddie Vedder from PEARL JAM. Can you give us a heads up on some of the other facts coming out in the book?

Max: The guy who’s doing it is an English writer called Joel McIver and he’s done a lot of cool books on METALLICA and RANDY RHODES… he did a really good one on MOTÖRHEAD and Cliff Burton so he’s a really good writer. He really wanted to do my book. He fought for it and I ended up going with him because I thought he was a pretty good writer. So I started doing interviews with him, we must’ve done about 1000 interviews. No kidding! Really explaining everything from the beginning, from my birth in Brazil to the beginning of SEPULTURA and all kinds of stuff that happened in the meantime that led to where I am right now. So the book is going to have a lot of Eddie Vedder stuff, that was an accident and it’s kind of funny. I was baptized in the Vatican when I was 9 and a lot of people don’t know this but my Dad wanted to have me baptized there. Which is freaky when you think about it, I don’t know any other rock stars that got baptized in the Vatican haha! It’s crazy shit and it’s real you know! My Dad was Italian hardcore and he worked for the Italian embassy so he had really good ties with the Vatican. He ended up finding me a way to get Baptized there.

The introduction of the book is going to be done by Dave Grohl because he’s a fan and a friend and I thought he would be great because he’s such a massive personality but he’s also a good guy and he’d probably do a good introduction for the book. And there’s a lot of interviews in there with a lot of famous people like Chino Moreno, Mike Patton, Jello Biafra, Sharon Osbourne. All those people are going to be in the book so I think it’s going to be pretty cool. Joel is a good guy, he’s been around so he knows his music, he’s a big SEPULTURA fan and a big SOULFLY fan. It was actually really theraputic to go back in time and remember all those episodes and get back to how it was and how I started, how I decided to play music. So it’s going to be an interesting book. People will get to know me a little better and find out how I got from Brazil to where I am now.

NZRock: You’ve got two band’s on the go at once, what’s that like?

Max: Well CAVALERA is kind of different. SOULFLY tours more and maybe takes more of my time. CAVALERA is more relaxed, we don’t have to do as much. In fact this is the last CAVALERA tour for a while. I think it’s going to be two or three years until I put the next CAVALERA CONSPIRACY album out. I’m going to really wait, get a really good record done but wait a long time and then to tour again. So I think people are not going to see us on tour for the next three years, until CAVALERA goes back on tour again. So these are going to be very special shows right now.

NZRock: You did the NAILBOMB project back in the 90s and you were quite into those industrial bands like GODFLESH… have you ever thought about going back and doing something again in that genre, especially with Igor having done the MIXHELL stuff?

Max: Yeah I mean I like it, I still listen to those albums. ‘Streetcleaner’ is still one of my favourite records of that kind of music. NAILBOMB was so special how me and Alex did it. It was the prefect time… to find somebody like him, to do it again… for the moment I’m not thinking about that you know. It could be in the future, if it involved my brother. He does really good with MIXHELL, with electronics. It could be something that in the future I could probably do it.

NZRock: Last time I spoke to you, you mentioned your interest in Maori facial tattoo art and the culture behind it. Will you get a chance to check anything like that while you’re here.

Max: Unfortunately no man, we just got here yesterday afternoon so we need more time. I’d like to come back here, maybe really explore that and get into the culture because I really think Maori culture is fascinating. I love the tattoo work but even musically I’d like to check it out because I’m sure it sounds really cool.