Live-Metal.net recently conducted an interview with vocalist Derrick Green of Brazilian/American metallers SEPULTURA. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Live-Metal.net: Is that at all surprising to you that it's taken so long for fans to accept you into the band, even after seven albums, 10-15 years, or whatever it's been. And is it still a challenge every day to win back these older fans?
Derrick Green: It's not really that surprising. A lot of times in the world of metal when you're a fanatical fan of a band that you really enjoy, it's hard to see certain changes happen. There have been a lot of changes in bands that I have loved in the past and they made changes happen. But being an artist, I understand a little bit more that those changes were inevitable sometimes. It's just life. It's just constantly changing, and it's just something that you have to deal with. As an adult and as a human being, those things are going to happen. When you look at life that way and there are changes that happen for a reason, you can kind of get beyond living in the past. But instead a lot of people do, and I do the same because there are things I'm going to always love. But I love from that time period — that time period when I discovered SEPULTURA and "Arise", and I had a cassette tape that a friend gave to me and it was amazing. And I cherish it, and it can never be replaced. It can never go back truly to that time. It would be silly to even think that. For me, I think the challenge for us is the fact that we love what we do. We never walk away from this band, we have always stuck to it and we always stayed focused on creating new music. And music that we wanted to do. Everything was a process, and we knew that it would take time to evolve, to know each other, to get to do it together, to create music together. We needed that time to bond, and I think it was all a process of evolving for us. And we wanted to get better with each album, and I think we've been doing that since we've been together. And for us, that's always been our goal, to really focus on music and leave all the other stuff behind. A consequence of just focusing and doing what we do and the drive and not giving up has brought a lot of new fans that have never seen SEPULTURA in any period of "Chaos A.D." or "Roots" or "Beneath The Remains". So we have those new fans that truly appreciate what we've been doing since I've been in the band. And then they go back and listen to old stuff, and they have an understanding, but they're not really kind of dwelling on the past. And then there's the old fans that we brought back who had lost touch with the band and are not really feeling the changes. But they still have that hope and that glimmer, and they still like good music. So I think that we're able to produce some good music that people are interested in hearing, so it's great to see that mix. And I know that we'll never be completely bringing back all the old fans, but that's never been my goal. Our whole goal has really just been to create and write great music.
Live-Metal.net: What has been you lowest point in the band since you have been in SEPULTURA, and what has been the highest?
Derrick Green: I think the low was definitely [drummer] Igor [Cavalera] leaving [in 2006]. That was a pretty horrible time to be in the band. We had worked so hard on what I think was a really great album and never had the chance to tour with him on that album, even though he recorded everything. So that was probably a pretty big low, and there was definitely like some big decisions being made at that point of what to do. There have been so many highs, but I think one of the biggest ones was playing Cuba. There had never been a metal band in there before and we were the first. They don't have many bands that play there at all because they're not allowed to play. I think the tour with SLAYER — one of my first tours — through Europe was a really big high and touring South America with METALLICA was a pretty extreme high.
Live-Metal.net: OK, so answer this how you wish. I kind of feel like a double agent because I actually interviewed [former SEPULTURA frontman] Max [Cavalera] a couple of weeks ago and he had some pretty strong comments. I honestly just asked him what he thought about you guys working with [producer] Ross Robinson again, thinking that maybe he'd be interested or maybe he would have said it was cool that you guys were reconnecting again. But I got the exact opposite response, with him saying he "didn't give a fuck" about what you guys were doing, Ross hadn't done anything good in a long time and that the band shouldn't even be called SEPULTURA. Do you have any response to this or would you rather not go there?
Derrick Green: I usually don't like to talk bad about people, especially in interviews. It doesn't really come out professional, I think. And it doesn't really change anything. For me, I prefer not to. I don't have any problems with anybody. I think the situation I was in when I joined the band, I heard a lot of the same stuff even with Igor in the band — and he's a Cavalera. With Igor, [guitarist] Andreas [Kisser], [bassist] Paulo [Pinto Jr.] and I, people said we should change the name, but I got to see a different side to what people are seeing. I'm seeing from the inside where A) Igor played drums on all the SEPULTURA albums, up until he left. So he was just as much as part of the band as Max. B) Andreas played all the solos, played the lead guitar on all the SEPULTURA albums that people were talking about, and Paulo, as well. So I think they were really hurt when fans were implementing that Max had written everything. But he was the front person, so you could understand why people would think that he did mostly everything. But in the band situation and what made everything so powerful and connecting at that time was they were playing together. And the fact that the combination of those people together created SEPULTURA and that's what SEPULTURA was — it was a group. It wasn't like one person writing everything and that was it. Once you have that understanding, you see that those guys didn't quit. Andreas, Igor and Paulo wanted to continue. So they have been in the band for so many years and have done so many things together that they have the right to keep the name and continue on. At the same time, with me being in the band at that time and playing and them asking me to be a part of SEPULTURA, they said, "This is the band, and this is what we've been doing." It meant that I had to move my life to Brazil, learn Portuguese, travel the world, play and do everything, putting everything into it. Once Igor left, he decided to leave freely. He wasn't kicked out or anything like that or anything dramatic. He just didn't want to play anymore. He wanted to move on in his life and do other things, different things. And so for us, we believed in the band. We didn't want to walk away from anything that we had been doing. We truly love and enjoy what we're doing, and we always fought for the name and for the respect. And we've always had a good representation of presenting the band live. It's extremely important for people to see us and that we're capable to play the songs correctly. For us, it's always in our hearts — the idea of the band and that we still believe, of course, legally and morally, and anyway you want to look at it. We will always have that name, and we will always fight for it. That's who we truly believe that we are, and we've been representing for the past 16 years, and Paulo and Andreas for even longer.
Read the entire interview at Live-Metal.net.