SOULFLY mainman Max Cavalera spoke to the SOULFLY fan site SoulflyWeb.com last Saturday (Feb. 19) about the group's upcoming DVD release, "The Song Remains Insane", their forthcoming studio album and their future touring plans, among other topics. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
SoulflyWeb.com: How much of a say did you have on what would be included on the DVD? Have you seen the DVD?
Max Cavalera: "I didn't have a direct say like, 'This goes here and that goes there', but I approved each part of the DVD once they were finished. I think you're really going to like it. Not that I like their music, but the guys who did the LINKIN PARK 'Live In Texas' DVD did an excellent job of recording a few a our shows and I'm really happy with it. Their should be around 16 or 17 live songs in all. We also have lots of extra stuff that really shows the essence of what it means to be in SOULFLY. We have a lot of footage that was taped by our crew, especially in South Africa. Like, you know, our guys getting a little crazy, drinking some beers, stuff like that. And there's this part in the safari where Marc [Rizzo, guitar] was like being eaten alive by these giant African bugs. He was just covered with them, and he was really freaking out man."
SoulflyWeb.com: I had heard that their will be a few previously unreleased tracks that will be appearing on the DVD. Can you tell us if this is true?
Max Cavalera: "Yes, definitely. There will be around 10 songs in all. A bunch of new stuff, some remixes, and stuff like that. Like there's this one that'll be on there that we did with Benji Webbe, who used to be in DUB WAR and now is in SKINDRED. We recorded it at the same time that we did the first album, but it was one of those songs that got left off. It's like, we already had him on 'Quilombo' and 'Predjudice', so we decided it was best to leave one of the tracks off. It's a very hardcore, fast-paced song, and now, looking back, I'm kind of sorry I didn't put this one on there. It's nice that we can release it like that now. But yeah, there'll be 10 in there, and I told the DVD guys to try to make it so that you could listen to the songs in a random order, 'cause when I listen to a record, I don't always like to listen to it in the order that the artist put it in. So I asked the guys if they could do it, and they were like, 'Whoa, we've never heard of that before!' But they were able to do it, so now you'll be able to listen to it in any random, computer-generated order. I'm really happy with the way it turned out."
SoulflyWeb.com: You had previously said that this new album might be both darker and heavier? Is this the direction that you ended up pursuing?
Max Cavalera: "In ways, yes, and in others no. The events that took place this past December, with the death of Dimebag Darrell and the passing of [Max's step-grandson] Moses, had a huge influence on the way that I chose to present this album, so I'd say that that made it a bit darker. We did some of the recordings in France, Turkey, and Russia and we used some instruments that you could only find in those countries. Those recordings will definitely have a strong effect on the direction that the worldly and atmospheric elements of the album take. But Marc and Joe [Nunez, drums], those guys are both huge metalheads, and they kind of forced me to make a very heavy, brutal album. I don't listen to metal as much as I used to, but Marc just lives and breathes metal. Everything like LAMB OF GOD, SLAYER, MAIDEN, NAPALM DEATH, and some extremely crazy death metal shit. He loves to play those riffs and he's amazing at it, so that'll be on there, too."
SoulflyWeb.com: Where did you record the new CD?
Max Cavalera: "We went all over the world to get the different instuments for this one. Turkey, France, Russia, Serbia, and of course, Arizona. I would send over the basic structures of the songs to these musicians in the countries and tell them what I wanted them to do with them, and they would just record. It wasn't like they were recording a song, per se, but they recorded many noises and parts of songs, and now it will be the job of Terry Date [mixer] to put them all together. Like in France, for 'Soulfly V', I wanted to find some way to use an accordion on the album, but I told the guy that I wanted it to sound very dark, almost heavy. They musician starts playing these happy, fast, upbeat French party songs on the accordion, and he's like, 'Is that what you mean?', and I'm just like 'Hell no!'. So he slows it down and plays these really low notes and it sounded just incredible. He didn't even know that he could play that type of shit on an accordion before, but it was just wicked."
SoulflyWeb.com: Why didn't you decide to go with a different producer this time, like you had said that you might before?
Max Cavalera: "Well, everyone had been so pleased with the work that I did on our last two albums, so I decided that it was in the best interests of SOULFLY if I did it again. You know, I still hate it. I'm not one of those guys who can stay up until all hours of the morning and just keep refueling myself with caffeine. I can sit behind the desk for about 3-4 hours and then I'm just like, 'I'm taking a break'. I try to get the best takes that I can get and then get out of there. I don't think that I could produce for any bands other than my own in the near future, though, unless I suddenly got really comfortable with the whole process and it was a band that I really, really dig."
SoulflyWeb.com: How many songs did you write for the new disc?
Max Cavalera: "We ended up recording about 20 songs in all, but only a little over 1/2 of them will end up making it on the finished product. We have been playing some of the new tracks all over the country so on this tour with MORBID ANGEL to find out which ones get the best response from the crowd so that we can have a better idea of which ones we want to get rid of. Like tonight, I think that we'll probably be playing two new ones. One is called 'I and I' and the other should be 'Breed'."
SoulflyWeb.com: Do you have a name picked out for the album?
Max Cavalera: "No, not yet, and I know I need to get my ass going on that. Looking back I'm actually pretty upset that I named the third album '3'. I mean, what was I thinking? It's not a good name at all but I just couldn't find a name that really fit the entire content of the album. We were thinking of naming it 'Downstroy', but that title didn't really fit with even half of the things that I was talking about on the CD. And then we thought of naming it 'Enterfaith', but you know with songs like 'Downstroy', 'Call To Arms', and 'Four Elements', most of it had nothing to do with faith. So it got down to the end and I just had to settle with '3'. I'm hoping that it'll just come to me, like the pressure of thinking of a name will just force me to get a good one. Like with SEPULTURA, 'Chaos A.D.' originally didn't have a name, but it got down to the wire and the label said that they would name it 'Propaganda' unless I thought of another one soon. Out of that pressure, I came up with 'Chaos A.D.', and it ended up being an excellent, memorable name for the CD. I just hope that I can do the same thing this time. I know the fans won't let me off free this time if I call the next album '5'! (laughs)"
SoulflyWeb.com: Who is doing the artwork for this CD?
Max Cavalera: "Excellent question. Michael Whelan, if you know him, who did the artwork for most of the SEPULTURA CDs, including 'Beneath The Remains', 'Arise', 'Chaos A.D.', and 'Roots' will be designing the artwork for our next CD. He's actually a very accomplished artist who really does his own thing. I have a couple books that he's put out. But anyway, after we had completed 'Roots', I figured that he kind of forgot about me because I didn't hear from him for years. So I was extremely surprised and happy when I talked to him and he told me that he had been following my career since I left SEPULTURA and that he really enjoyed the stuff that SOULFLY has done. I just need to send him some of the lyrics and material from the album so that he can get some ideas and get going. He has done some very evil-looking stuff in the past, with his skulls and corpses, but he also does some very peaceful stuff, as well. I asked him to kind of try and combine both those styles for the for the next CD. It will hopefully show a contrast between some complete scary and evil imagery and beautiful, serene paintings. Essentially, it will be a visual representation of the next SOULFLY CD."
Read Max Cavalera's entire, in-depth interview with SoulflyWeb.com at this location.