April 3rd, 2015

Cavalera Conspiracy
Interview with vocalist and guitarist Max Cavalera
by Anastasia Zolides

For the last 30 years, Max Cavalera has been travelling the world with his metal bands, one of those being Cavalera Conspiracy. Growing up in a not so nice area of Brazil, Max always knew he was better than what he had, and he and his brother Igor did everything they could to turn their dreams into their reality.

How long have you been involved with music?
I’ve been in bands for the last 30 years. I started back in 1982, with a band called Sepultura and then Soulfly was formed in 1997. Cavalera Conspiracy was formed in 2008, and Killer Be Killed in 2011.

What would you say was your inspiration for getting into music?
We grew up in an area of Brazil that was not a very good place – third-world, filled with crime and poverty. My father passed away when I was very young. When we were teenagers, we were young and rebelling, we listened to a lot of heavy, angry music – I was in a depressive mode, listened to a lot of European metal: Venom, Hellhammer, you know the heavy, angry stuff. Music saved my life, honestly. There was a lot of drugs, and violence and crime, and music was a way for us to stay away from the bad.

And you clearly stuck with the metal genre for your own bands.
Yeah, we were fans first, from a young age… Eleven or twelve years old. My brother and I went to see Queen when they toured in Brazil, and we knew that is what we wanted to do. We listened to it all… AC/DC, KISS, Black Sabbath, Hellhammer. Live music blew my mind, and I told [my brother] Igor, “If they can do it, we can.”

What is your favorite part about being a musician?
I use music for life – as a pick me up, as a weapon, something that pumps me up; I can use it for anything in my life. As a musician, I am able to travel the world with my band and family, crazy stuff that normal people don’t get to do, see places that normal people don’t get to see – that makes it all worthwhile.

So we have the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival coming up next month, what are you most looking forward to?
The metal community is a big family. I’ve always liked to stay connected to the underground, watching the younger bands and getting to talk to them and become friendly with them. Our music has never been about competing with anyone – we’re just happy to be a part of the family, and I’m proud to be a metal head. I’m excited to see old friends and I can’t wait to share stories and hang out with everyone. It’s always a fun time getting to mingle with other musicians and getting to share tour stories.

Out of all your years in music, what would you say – hands down – is your most favorite memory?
There’s a few… The first time Soulfly played Australia, it was the Big Day Out Festival, and we were so nervous that day. We didn’t think anyone was going to be there, and when we went out, the place was packed and it was absolutely insane, and we knew that Soulfly was accepted, which was huge for us. Another moment would have to be when we toured with the Ramones when they came to South America. I’m a huge fan of them and that was one of the coolest things I’ve ever got to do.

Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Yeah, just thank you for all the support and feedback over the years. I can’t wait to see everyone on this upcoming tour. Keep metal alive!
Don’t miss Max and the rest of Cavalera Conspiracy at this year’s New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, April 17-19th at the Worcester Palladium.