Soulfly Interview
This interview was made in Strasbourg, France on march 17th 2006.
Manu met Max, the singer.

Well Max, how are you ?
I'm fine, that's nice to see you again!

Yeah, as you say, that's cool! Not too tired as you're at the end of the tour? Only 10 shows left 'til the end (48 done)...
Long but good tour you know! We've seen the sun here for the first time in 2 weeks. It's been snowing everywhere, in Germany, Austria, we also went to Bulgaria, it was cold... So here it's really nice, that's better (Laugh).

Yeah that's cool, France is cool for that, not too much snow in general... (Laugh)

Last time we already talked a bit about " Dark Ages ", it was two month before its released date. About it again, you used some brazilian lyrics on "Riot Starter" we could previously found on songs like "Tribe", and "Fire". Can you explain where do they come from and why you used them again?
They are from chants, from slaves. Nobody really knows who wrote it, its passed by generation to generation you know, and it's about Zumbi. Zumbi is a Brazilian slave, he's a hero, he fought against slavery, and this chant is really part of us you know. I used it first in the first Soulfly record and I heard it in some Capoeira, the dance, like the Brazilian martial arts and they play with the Berimbau. The first time I heard this chant was on a little cassette, and I saw live this guy doin', but never with metal. So I put that together with metal and I thought that would be really strong. So strong, that I used it again and I do it live also with the Berimbau, the crowd... I like it, I don't know why, it's really strong you know, like calling our ancestors...

You made 2 video clips for "Dark Ages", one for "Carved Inside" and another one for "Frontlines". They both have the same atmosphere as those you've done with Sepultura for "Territory", "Refuse/Resist"...
... I think the reason for "Frontlines" is that the video director was a big Sepultura fan, so I think there's a little bit influence of him on that part. My favourite is "Carved Inside", I like it! I think it's more strange with the castle, we put fire on the Danube river, so that was pretty metal ! (Laugh) And just the all thing, the atmosphere of "Carved Inside" is darker, even the film quality is very dark. I think they're both cool, and I hope we can do another video on this album. I'd love to do one for "Babylon", it's maybe my favourite song on the album. Let's see... maybe a live video, I don't know...

About the "Frontlines" video we can see you wearing a gas-mask. You use it a lot, on tee-shits, on the DVD cover, on the "Arise" video (1991)... Is there any reason of that?
I like how it looks !(Laugh) It looks aggressive you know. I have one on my mic stand, that's probably my 10th one, because I keep given them or get stolen, or I give up as a present. My kid Igor loves gas-masks too, he got that from me, my influence on him! (Laugh) So sometimes I gave him my gas-mask you know. I just like it, it just looks like the music, looks like powerful, aggressive... like the music.

Where did you get the idea to begin "Fuel the Hate" with the date "Monday, july 16th, 1945, 5.30am", that was the first nuclear explosion in New Mexico desert, 3 weeks before Hiroshima?
I saw it in a book and I was in the studio at the same time and thought that this sounds cool. This song is really intense, "Fuel The Hate" is a very intense song you know. So I thought about just saying those words for the beginning of the song. I thought that was curious that the name of the project which was called "Trinity" and I don't know why. In the book, it doesn't say that, so I'd like to know. If somebody knows, let me know what "Trinity' means. Why is the bomb called "Trinity" ? I am curious about that. I don't know, is it a religious thing, or is it a military word? I'm curious, so if you know let me know... (Laugh) You don't know? (Laugh)

No I don't! (Laugh)

The book just says that, I'll find out somehow! Today you can find everything on the internet! (Laugh)

Yeah! I'll look for it! (Laugh)

"Salmo-91", is also a really good song, with a very powerful meaning, could you explain its meaning for the people who're maybe not into religious stuff?
Yeah, it's a psalm of the bible and in Brazil, a lot of singers, artists used it. So it's a song that's more related to artists, I don't know why. My mother gave me that a long time ago, a little card I carry with me in my pocket. And this the strange thing, we had the music of this song which is very based on Massive Attack, Dead Can Dance and I was trying some of the words of that stuff in English and nothing sound really good, sounded ok and I had this card and I took it out of my pocket and just said the line one time and it was the perfect line of the song so that was pretty cool.
But I still don't think it fits all our album, that's why it's only a b-side. To me, the original idea of "Dark Ages" is just a darker album and that don't even fit there. We also had a song done with Coyote from Eyesburn and it was like "Moses" which is reggae, a great song! I think that people would really like it. But I think it really didn't fit "Dark Ages" so we gonna save for sometimes later. Because wanted to keep the concept of "Dark Ages" very explosive, very dark, very direct...

And maybe do you plan to release a full record with those kind of music ?
I'd like to! A lot of people ask me about that, because they like a lot of these passages, and not just the "Soulfly" songs but also the little passages between songs, like the end of "Frontlines" with the guitar, or on "Prophecy" the part just before "Moses" on "I believe". That's the things I do all the time, I record them all the time, I must have like a thousand interludes. So one day, if I find the right time, the right people, I think I'll make a whole album of that, it might be cool, be like a world music soundtrack kind of an album. Should be pretty cool, I'd like to do it!

2005 was a big release year for you, with a Soulfly record, a Soulfly DVD, a Nailbomb DVD, 2 reissues ("Roots" & "Soulfly").
About the Nailbomb DVD, I thaught that you wanted to put some studio footage on it. Do you maybe prepare a new Nailbomb DVD?

They filmed the show in Holland so that was already all set up so you know. But I think it's cool cause it was a great live show for Nailbomb, for that kind of music with so many people. But yeah, actually a couple friends of ours who gave it to a big company and we give it to one of Dana's friend, Dana filmed a lot of stuff in my camera, and Gloria found the tapes. And we're looking to the tapes and there's some really cool stuff about how really Nailbomb was made with very very funny shit, punk rock style, like us carrying gear, carrying instruments, carrying big boxes of speakers... things that fans would really want to see... "Oh look! Musicians are actually working!" (Laugh) So I think it's gonna come out sometimes, I don't know when, but sometimes like later this year or maybe next year. And that will be probably the last thing people will get from Nailbomb because it's over you know! We'll never gonna do anything with it.

On the musical aspect, which dreams would you like to see happen?

For Soulfly?

Yeah Soulfly or for something else...

Well I'd like to work... I know I will, but I don't know when, but there will be like to me, the continuation, the second album after "Roots". It supposed to be recorded in Africa... part of it. When I made "Roots" in 1996, in my head there was always a part 2 of "Roots" that needed to be done in Africa, that I was going to do with Sepultura, because of course I've never knew there was a split up you know. We split up but I still think that's one of our very strong dream albums. Because a lot of the music on "Roots" came from Africa, to Brazil. So to me, making an album centred like in North Africa or in Mali, or I don't know, I have to go and see, I don't even know where to start, but for me I think that would be a great, big, amazing record to do. A lot of work, but that would be definitely the second part of "Roots", so I'd like to do that sometimes... also in the project! (Laugh)

Nearly 10 years that you have left Sepultura now. What's your feeling about those 10 years, and the things you've accomplished with Soulfly?
I think that's been 10 hard years of working for Soulfly. I actually didn't make a plan but life is not a way you plan. You can plan things, but other things are thrown at you and you have to deal with it. But I'm very very satisfied of the grow of Soulfly and the music, proud of the records, I don't care what some critics says about this or that record. For me the fans is what's important and I sing any songs every night from every album and they know and they scream along you know, from "Primitive", "Soulfly", "Soulfly 3", "Prophecy", and "Dark Ages"... So for me it's proof of the fans for Soulfly, it's proof, it's amazing, I'm very proud of it.

Three years ago I took pics of your tattoos, and you told me that you wanted a tattoo from Tin-Tin from Paris, or to get the Soulfly logo. Have you got some new tattoos now?
No I haven't, I stopped for a long time, I'm waiting. I still wanna get the Soulfly tattoo and a portrait. I'd like to get my dad's portrait on my back or something. I'm waiting you know, I'm not in a hurry. (Laugh)

Last time you were talking about the movie called "City Of God". So I decided to watch it and that's a really good and amazing movie. Is it really representative of what's happening actually in Brazil or things are going better now?
Yeah a lot of things on "City Of God" are now and it was 20 years ago. There's nothing that you can change "like that". I don't think it's gonna be that easy to change because it's like deep-rooted, the kind of brutality, it's in everyday life, you're born in that situation. When you have that everyday you become numb. For us to watch the movie is a shock, but you know really for somebody that lives in that, it's not such a shock to see that people to see those things you know. But I think that Brazil has a better place right now, and I really believe that Brazil is gonna be a great country but not for an other hundred, fifty, two hundred years... You know, countries go through phases Rome was in power then Germany, France, every country goes through the power and they fall. One day America will come down, somebody else will come up, and I think, one day, Brazil will be a big and a great country. But it's gonna be a long time, we've to die and to be born again! (Laugh)

Yeah, but Lula seems to be a good president...
Yes, he's working constantly. I know Lula since I was a kid, he was always on some kind of campaign for something. (Laugh) So I think he's definitely good, it's good to have him you know!

So as everybody know you're singing on "Independent - Voice Of The Voiceless", written by Robb Flynn (Machine Head). Don't you want to make another song with him, singing together, that could be amazing...
That would be very cool! I think it could happen sometime! One of the last thing I've done is one song with Apocalyptica for the next album, that's really cool! I met those guys last year and they're really cool guys and they do cool stuff with the cellos, very amazing! I love this collaboration, that was very exciting, very different, like the Probot record with Dave Grohl, that was so cool! Not just my song but every one on it like the songs with Voivod, King Diamond, Lemmy, Cronos from Venom which is so heavy. So yeah I think more & more people should do more of those, musicians shouldn't be so scared of going to other people's music, it's ok! Some bands are so afraid of that : "Oh! What people gona say if I record with this guy?" (Laugh) Who gives a shit? Just do it!! So, more collaboration will come out I think now!

So what will be your plans for the next month, a new record, a DVD or maybe some shows during the next World Cup in Germany?
We're actually on Rock Am Ring & Rock Im Park, we're invited in lot of festivals, we're gonna be in Europe almost this whole year (Laugh). We're here right now for 3 months and we'll come back in June, July, and August I think. So yeah we gonna just play a lot, record a lot, hopefully record some cool stuff. After this tour we'll go on tour in America with Obituary, and after everything's done goes to work on a new album because to me, Soulfly is a never ending process. And who knows, maybe the African album might be the next one? I don't know! But tonight we're gona play a Bad Brains' cover for "Sailin' On", I'm very proud of this. We start doing it on this tour. Almost all the crowds don't know Bad Brains! (Laugh) We're teaching them, every night it's really fun, I really like this kind of jam sessions, so it should be a good show tonight!

Now, to finish, here's a few strange questions which needs only a one word answer! Right?
I'll try! (Laugh)

Interview Bernard Pivot :

What is your favourite word? "Maracuja", it's a fruit (Laugh)
What is your least favourite word? "World", I can't say it right so I've never like to say that.
What turns you on creatively? Places
What turns you on spiritually? Fate
What turns you on emotionally? Family
What turns you off? Prejudice
What is your favourite bad word? Fuck Shit Up (Laugh)
What song do you love? Bad Brains' "Sailin' On". That's a very good song!
What song do you hate? There's a lot crap out there!
Maybe any of the Hootie and the Blowfish songs.
What is your favourite place on earth? I'd say "Brazil".
And the one you hate? Texas, because Bush is from there, just explode Texas and Bush in it, the world would be a better place! (Laugh)
Which person influenced you the most during your life? My father
Who were your heroes when you were a kid? Ultra-men, it's a Japanese cartoon. Ultra-man and Ultra-seven, maybe it's not popular in France. Japanese crazy hero like Lightning-bolt.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I'd like to be an explorer or anthropologist.
What profession would you not like to do? Working in a Cuban cigar factory, I hate cigars! (Laugh) I saw that on TV, they're rolling them, that's not for me! (Laugh)
If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you will arrive at the Pearly Gates? "Are you ready to jam?" (Laugh) I'd like to do a jam up there! (Laugh)

Interview & translation Manu

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999