Interview with Max Cavalera from Soulfly
Debaser Slussen, Stockholm 2009-03-23
As I enter the red touring bus I'm greeted by a familiar sound. At the end of the corridor, framed by the cramped beds of the Soulfly members, Max is comfortably seated in a sofa, playing old Motörhead songs on a boom box. He asks me to sit down and I open the interview by asking him how he likes Stockholm. "It's a beautiful city", Max admits and nods towards the window. "it's far too cold for me though, I'm born in Brazil and live in Arizona, so I'm not really used to this weather."
When I ask him about his expectations on tonight's show and mention the unfortunate small amount of tickets that has been sold, Max just shrugs and tells me that it's all about the atmosphere. "If we don't get a show sold-out we can usually make a good performance anyway by getting the audience in the right mood. If we only sell a few tickets it's mostly hardcore-fans that shows up."
This spring Soulfly tours through Europe promoting their sixth album Conquer, which Max simply describes as collection of good metal songs. "There's no concept behind it. When I saw the picture for the cover I knew that I should call it Conquer." I continue by asking about the band's spiritual influences and Max explains that Soulfly can be described as having four corners. There's the Brazilian corner, the tribe corner, the punk corner and then there's the spiritual corner. "The spiritual part emerged after my stepson Dana's death, with the funeral and all that. I had the guys from Deftones carrying the coffin with me and Metallica was there too. We recorded a tape of Dana's favourite songs and put it inside the coffin with him, to play until the batteries went flat. I had never been through anything like that before. Afterwards we recorded the songs Bleed, Pain and Tree of Pain as a tribute to Dana."
Since I'm a big fan of Soulfly and Max, I feel the urge to ask what musicians he looks up to. He admits that he's a big Slayer fan and also likes Motörhead, Entombed, Gojira, Morbid Angel and hardcore band Agnostic Front. As a resulting question I ask Max what band he would record an album with if he got the chance. "That's a hard one", he says after a few seconds of silence. "The Prodgidy I think. That would make a fun combination"
Max makes a habit of pouring beverages over his head while on stage, as I witnessed when he performed with his most recent music project, Cavalera Conspiracy, at Metaltown last year. When I ask why, Max just laughs and says that it gets him in the mood. Sometimes the drinks burns his eyes, but it just makes him feel even crazier. "My roadie thinks it's cool but some bands won't tour with me because I get so wet", he says with a smile.
Max have definitely accepted a rockstar attitude on stage, but what happens backstage? I ask if he's ever trashed a hotel room. "Once, in Russia. It was with Sepultura, when we were younger. Everything was broken and there was blood everywhere, but later we found out that the expenses of the damage only cost about 20 dollars so we said “let's do it again!“, though we never did."
Being born in Brazil, Max is a big football fan. As I mention it and asks about Sweden's efforts Max lights up. "Sweden's really good at football", he says. "They've met Brazil two times and won, I remember. They beat us once when I was a kid, I think it was in the 1982 or 1986 world cup and it was quite traumatic for me", he says, laughing.
Our little chat is at an end, and though Max looks tired and a little impatient, he agrees to sign some records and take a picture with me. His fatigue is nowhere to be found during the show though. Despite the small audience, the band delivers a great performance.