By Will Harris
Hi Richie, how’s the Maximum Cavalera tour going so far?
Man’s it’s been killer. The show’s been well received, big crowds every night, and everybody’s getting to learn about Lody Kong every time which is cool, and we’re enjoying this as our first time supporting in Europe. It’s been great, huge crowds, and we’re ready to kick some ass in these last two weeks!
Is it cool going out with Max and your brothers?
Definitely man, we have a great relationship in our family, so we have our days when we fight and shit but you know we make it fun, and to have Max and Gloria here and a couple of my family members it’s cool, it’s definitely special.
Have you toured with Max before?
Yeah we’ve done a couple of tours with Soulfly, he’s been great in that respect, because when you’re a new band it’s really tough to get on the road, and that’s been the one thing that he’s really helped us with. It’s been cool to really learn how to play live, and it’s a lot better than just jamming in your jam room, it helps you a lot more, so I think it’s helped the band grow really fast.
And plus it’s given your band an instant fan base to reach out to!
Yeah! I mean we’ve been working at it for five years now and we’re definitely seeing people singing the songs now and knowing certain songs so it’s been really cool, a really cool transition.
You’ve got your new album, All Out War, out in November. The production’s fantastic — what was it like working with Logan Mader (Gojira, Five Finger Death Punch)?
He’s great man, I know him back from his early days with Soulfly, and producing our first album, Slaughter, so when we came in to work with him this time the vibe and comfortableness was beyond how the first record was. I think his skills as a producer have got a lot better since our first album as well as the band has gotten better. So when we came into this one there was pre-production and a lot of other things that we didn’t get to do on our first record. You know, we had like nine days to record that thing so we were just balls-to-the-wall crazy. With this we got to hang back a little more and listen, do parts over and really get in-depth with the record, so for us it really turned out like a perfect record in our eyes, and there’s nothing where we said ‘aw, we should’ve done that!’; we covered what we wanted to. And he’s just the best because he brings a lot of knowledge and a lot of driving yourself, he really pushes you to bring out the best in the record, and I think that came out in All Out War for sure.
For the fans who haven’t heard it yet, how would you compare All Out War to your first album?
We kept the basis — the thrash and the grooviness — of Slaughter, but I just think we grew a lot more and I think it’s got a lot more stuff for everyone out there. We worked on leads and solos in some of the songs that we didn’t have on the first record, and the rhythm section, our bass player and drummer, excelled on this one and made it really drive throughout the record. Vocally too, I got a lot better from the first album and so I was able to do a lot more expansion, more patterns, different vocal sounds and a lot more personal writing with the lyrics, so I think the album is going to be exciting for people to hear it. It’s cool all the PR’s starting to hear it now, and that’s fuckin’ awesome, we’ve been hearing good stuff and that excites us. But I think our main thing was just not to make the same album twice and we just wanted to experiment and see where the band can go musically, because I think the sky’s the limit for us. So I think we did a really good job of maintaining the thrash element and that’s important to me because that’s where my roots lie.
Was there any difference in the writing process?
A lot of this we were actually writing on tour, because for the whole Slaughter album cycle we were on the road, and we never got to just sit at home and write so we would kind of just at sound check mess around and jam out a new song. And then we got home and we’d learned to write really fast, and we’re not the band that sits down and writes 40 songs and picks the 10 best, we feel that every song we write we put everything into it, so it usually is on the album, we don’t usually have junk songs that we mess around with because it’s just not our style of writing, which is really cool for us.
Kevin our former guitar player, he writes really intricate stuff and it makes it fun, and he writes really simple, and it comes to him easy and we all just kind of grow around it. And this time we’d been through it before, so it felt like we were more professional about it, and still recording it and writing it in the Arizona desert, 110-degree weather and you’re just pissed and angry and hot, and you get frustrated real fast, and it was just really fun writing it. I had a lot of crazy stuff going on last year so I was able to let it be my journal and really let everything out on the lyric side of it, and I think everybody else had a lot of things going on so it came out in everybody’s writing, and parts of it made it on to this record. We have a complete band writing process which is really cool. It wasn’t just like one guy wrote it all we just all did it, it was a team effort that was really cool.
Is that the same for both albums?
Like I say we’d grown a lot music-wise over five years, and people like Louis, our bass player, he’s still relatively new in the music world. It’s a big advancement for him I think, he stepped up a lot more and wrote a lot of cool basslines that stand out, you know as opposed to the first record. I think it’s just a big thing of growth from one to two, so that’s what’s been really exciting about the whole thing. We’re still a fairly young band age, so we’ve got a lot of growing still to do, and I’m really excited about where it’s going to lead. Especially now we have a new guitar player; our old one is having a baby and found touring to be a little tough with that going on so we have an amazing guitar player that we’ve got now and it’s going to be exciting to see where he takes the band, it’s gonna be fun!
What are your future plans?
Right now we’re going to finish this tour up and take a little time for the holidays and next year it’s going to be non-stop, I think we have a US tour in February and March that covers Canada, and South America and Australia, then we’re hoping to come back to Europe and be on our own and do the festivals next summer, because that’s one thing the band hasn’t got to do. I think this record will get the promoters on those festivals excited. I can’t wait, I wanna do Bloodstock, Hellfest, and I think the band’s gonna be good for festivals because we’re nuts, we’re intense, it’s a balls-to-the-wall live show, so it’ll be really cool to the kind of pits we can brew up. We think this record’s got a lot to it so we’re going to put a lot of touring to it, which we like. We love being on the road and we hate being at home, so it works for us!