Every single time I've interviewed an artist, my respect for the individual instantly doubles. Speaking with Max Cavalera proved to be no exception. His appreciation and passion for metal is constantly present and he has no shame in such matter. And even better, his ambitions translate to prolific results with a number of quality projects constantly being worked on and released. After touring during the Return to Roots run, Max continued such momentum by performing the 1994 Point Black record by his industrial/thrash metal act Nailbomb in entirety.
After reminiscing on Point Blank, we discussed what other albums he'd like to play front-to-back live, the upcoming Soulfly record, Killer Be Killed follow-up, and more. Check it out below.
You're currently on tour performing the Point Blank record in full with Soulfly. How’s the shows been going so far and can you talk about the other groups you’re sharing the stage with this tour?
The tour is going great. This is the third show tonight. We were in LA last night and it was sold out and packed. We’re having a lot of fun. The bill is really cool with Cannabis Corpse, Noisem, and Lody Kong. Our set is just a lot of noise, samplers, and industrial sounds. We don’t even talk much, it’s just song after song and a really brutal set.
What prompted your desire to bring back Nailbomb to the live stage?
It came out of the Return to Roots experience. We had a lot of fun on that tour and it sparked the creativity to expand this kind of thing. It was kind of perfect timing too because the Cavalera Conspiracy record is coming out in November, so I wasn’t doing anything at this time. And we put a twist on this with Soulfly playing the Nailbomb record. We put the weight of Soulfly behind Point Blank. A lot of the songs we’re playing became band songs and it feels like the album was released just last week and we’re touring for the record. Sometimes in your career, you have to look back to the past to go into the future. We’re still doing new stuff, but it’s really fun to go back and revisit this record. Especially this record, which is one of the favorite records I ever did.
While rehearsing this material, was there any epiphanies or old memories that came back during particular songs?
A lot of my favorite stuff we’ve been playing is songs we never played before like “24 Hour Bullshit,” “For Fuck’s Sake,” and “Shit Pinata.” And then a lot of people know the “Cockroaches,” “Wasting Away,” and “Sum of Your Achievements” songs because I’ve played them throughout my whole career and they’re the most famous Nailbomb songs. The whole set flows great and really brings me back. I mean, we only did two shows before, the club show in Holland and Dynamo Festival, which was huge. I like the simplicity of the Nailbomb record. It shows that you can make a simple and effective record. For example, “Cockroaches” is only a couple riffs, but is really, really powerful. Or “Sum of Your Achievements” actually is only one note. The whole song is only one note and we got away with it, which is amazing. I was telling some friends yesterday who came to the show that the band feels like a dog running around shaking around rampant and violent. I’m having fun playing, but it does have a different vibe than playing Soulfly or Cavalera Conspiracy. Nailbomb is angry and energetic. It brings me back to the 90’s but also to right now. I think the Nailbomb record is more relevant now than it was twenty years ago.
I would say Nailbomb is your only project where you explore industrial music. Did you have a relationship with industrial metal at all or was that more Alex Newport's input?
It was both us. Alex was responsible for the samplers and I had the idea to sample movies like Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Apocalypse Now, and Salvador. I always loved that kind of vibe like Godflesh, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy. I listened to a lot of that. We got all the samplers from the master tapes for this tour, so it sounds great. It’s really clear and good sound quality. We make sure to tell our sound man to make it loud as fuck. When the samplers hit, it blows everyone away.
Do you have any intent to create more music with Alex in the future?
What we did was really special and maybe we can create something and call it something different, that would be really cool. I think Alex is more of a studio guy these days, which is fine by me. I love working in the studio as well. But he was really helpful with getting the samplers for this tour. We’ll see what happens, we’re pretty busy. I have all these projects in place. If it happens, it will happen and it’ll be really cool. And if not, we always have the live stuff, which I’m really enjoying.
You recently toured the Roots album in entirety and now you’re doing the same with Point Blank. Are there other albums from any of your bands that you’d like to tour and perform in entirety in the future possibly?
I think you can’t just go crazy on that format. So I’ll have to take it easy moving forward, but I think eventually at one point Chaos AD or Arise would be really cool to play like that. Chaos AD would actually translate really cool live. Arise is always great because it’s a mix of death and thrash metal. The Roots tour was a lot of planning and bigger production than the Nailbomb tour, which is a lot more underground and I think I kinda like that more. On the Roots tour, it was bigger venues in Europe where Nailbomb is only five hundred people in the Whisky, but it felt great. The bands we have on this tour lineup are more underground too. I just love metal. I love the intensity of playing live. I’m not like those guys who thinks the older you get, you need to mellow out. Fuck that, I don’t need to mellow out. I want to get more fucked up, more crazy, and more energy. Nailbomb is one of the most high energy shit I’ve ever done. I just feel the anger run through me on stage and it’s a breath of fresh air at this point in my career to do a Nailbomb tour.
Although you’ve been busy with other projects, it’s been a couple years since Soulfly's Archangel came out. Are there any thoughts or progress towards a follow-up?
Next year is twenty years since the first Soulfly album came out. It’s crazy, it feels like it was yesterday. And our eleventh record will be on Nuclear Blast. It’s going to be an interesting record because I’m going back to the tribal stuff from the beginning and the other part of the record will be continuing my experimentation with the heavy side of music like Archangel and the new Cavalera Conspiracy album. I really miss the tribal stuff though over the years. The beginning of Soulfly was really powerful with the tribal sound and I kinda stopped doing that for awhile, so it’ll be really cool to bring that back. We’re trying to record the album in January with Josh Wilbur from Killer Be Killed and Lamb of God. I love the quality of his work. He has an Andy Wallace kind of feel to the sound of his albums. So I hope he can bring Soulfly to the next level sonically. I’m writing for that album right now, so by January we’ll be ready for the studio.
You've previously released material with a political backing. Will the upcoming Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly records be political at all?
Cavalera definitely has some songs about terrorists and are influenced by what’s going on in the world right now like “Terror Tactics” and “Impalement Execution.” Or “Excruciating" is kind of a war song. Soulfly runs more into the spiritual side of metal. Archangel was really biblical and I liked mixing that with metal, it works extremely well. I don’t know how political Soulfly will get, but we have stuff like 3 has “Call to Arms,” which is pretty political, so I’m sure there will be some in there, but with spiritual and tribal stuff too.
You've expressed interest in a Killer Be Killed follow-up. Do you foresee that happening in the near future?
I hope so. I really liked that first record and I think we can expand on that. Musically, we all have grown. It’s a kick-ass band and I think we can make a better record than the first one. I have no doubt about that. We can totally blow that first one away. There will be the three vocalists, but we will go even deeper on it. It’s just a matter of time though. Troy [Sanders] is really busy with Mastodon a lot. Greg [Puciato] is a little bit easier of a schedule and my schedule is kinda crazy but it does have some breaks. We’ll see next year if we can get together when we’re not touring and have some free time to get some tunes going and hopefully make a record. The thing about Killer Be Killed is it doesn’t take that long to make a record. A lot of the stuff is created in the studio and we just let the magic happen.
What are your plans after this tour?
We're actually finishing the Roots tour in Europe with Overkill for Headbangers Ball. We had a lot of fun doing the Return the Roots touring, but it's time to wrap it up. And then I'm going to write all the way until the end of the year. I'm going to work really close with my son Zyon to expand his drumming and create a really kick-ass album. And then next year, we'll see, but probably more touring. We'll probably tour for the Cavalera Conspiracy record because it comes out in November. Hopefully we'll have some cool tour packages. We've been with Suffocation, Battlecross, Immolation, and Full of Hell. I love all these lineups with great bands. There's a lot of good bands out there that I'd love to tour with like Dying Fetus, Napalm Death, Lock Up, Nails, or Genocide Pact. We'll just keep on going and bring metal to the masses. That's what I'm here for.
We’re having a great time on this Nailbomb run. I’m going to work my butt off on the new Soulfly album. It’s our eleventh record and I’m going to spend a lot of time on the riffs. I can’t wait for next year because I think it will be a great year for metal. I feel that right now is a really good moment for metal. It’s growing and getting more popular, but at the same time, there’s all this new blood coming in like Power Trip, Gatecreeper, and Homewrecker. I’m excited for metal right now. I’m getting older, but fuck mellowing out. That’s not for me. I want to go nuts on tour, make more records, and keep loving the metal forever.