SOULFLY Mainman Discusses His Musicial Influences And Lyrics

Apeshit recently conducted an interview with SOULFLY/ex-SEPULTURA frontman Max Cavalera. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Apeshit: "Dark Ages" is such a good album. It's complete, diverse, and it's probably SOULFLY's heaviest, most aggressive album so far. What influenced the sound of the album?

Max: The sound I think comes from pretty much a lot of stuff that we listen to. I listen to a lot of old-school death metal, thrash metal, hardcore. I still love that style. That's my favorite kind of music. I also like different stuff so I try to combine that. I also love dub music, world music, and Brazilian stuff. But I think my favorite stuff is definitely that kind of metal…sometimes more than I think regular metal. If I put IRON MAIDEN on, it gets a little boring. I like the old stuff like HELLHAMMER, DISCHARGE. That never gets old. It always sounds good.

Apeshit: That's classic stuff. I have to say that Marc Rizzo is an amazing lead guitarist. He really adds a new dimension to the SOULFLY sound. What do you think of his talents?

Max: Yeah, we work really good together since "Prophecy". I really enjoy working with Marc in the studio and live. He's really easy going. [If] I have to ask to do something…he just does it. He knows how to complement the sound I'm looking for. And he's a real stable guitar player. He can really play that stuff every night real stable. He can really play the whole show, like really right on it. And he's really fun in the studio because I really let him do a lot of stuff. [And] not just him but all the musicians. It's like, "Go wild on it. No limitations." So everybody gets off on that, making a SOULFLY record. Everybody gets to go wild where before they were a little bit more limited. They couldn't do some of that stuff. "Aw man, you can't do that. You can't do this." But with me, no rules. Everything goes when we make a record. I think he really enjoys being in this freedom environment. I'm pretty sure he enjoys that too.

Apeshit: Now, about your lyrics… You discuss a lot of topics like inner strength and staying true to oneself. And I think in a lot of ways the younger SOULFLY fans really connect with the band because of these topics that you talk about. How do you feel about that?

Max: Well, I think it's just like the music. There are extreme parts of it. There are both sides of it. The music of SOULFLY can be extremely aggressive and heavy at some times. But there are other parts that are extremely melodic, like the instrumentals and the passages. So the lyrics are like that too. Some of the lyrics are really positive and hopeful and the message is strength and all that. But some of them are the complete opposite of that, like "Corrosion Creeps" is apocalyptic, negative…just kind of like reality. Show both sides…because if you make a record and talk about how beautiful everything is, then the album won't be real because that's not how the world is. If you make a record that is entirely negative, that also is like, "What's the point?" you should try to find some positive message somewhere. So I think the lyrics and the music are right there in the middle of the struggle between both. That's why it's like that.

Apeshit: Every time I see you guys play, I feel the vibe of the younger fans that they really feel a connection on that level. Maybe they're having a tough time being a young person and I think your lyrics really give them strength and something to look forward to.

Max: Yeah, that's really cool. I notice that too…especially SOULFLY fans more than SEPULTURA fans. It actually means more to them, the lyrics. There's a deeper meaning to it so I really like that and I think it's really good. Some of them are really young. Some of them can really connect to those issues and use it for their own life. That's really killer because [that's] what a lot of music and lyrics does for me. Like so many lyrics from other people, it's great. You know exactly what this guy's feeling. "This is really cool." You kind of use that to your own life, something like BLACK SABBATH lyrics, Ozzy's lyrics. They're really cool. The other day I was thinking that people don't give much credit to Ozzy's lyrics. I think some of Ozzy's lyrics are real cool poems. You can read them without the music. He has some really cool things to say. If they can help [my lyrics], then great. More power to them. More people get into my lyrics. And I know not everybody does but the ones that do, get into it really deep. And that's really cool. It's like a preaching thing. If you don't get into it, that's cool. I'm not forcing you. You don't have to believe this thing. Nobody has to believe in the lyrics. The album is dedicated to God, but that doesn't mean that you have to believe in God to like SOULFLY. That's not the way it works with me. You have complete freedom. You can worship Satan and you can come to the SOULFLY shows.

Read the entire interview at


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