Soulfly Interview
22 Août 2005- Paris
This interview was made in Paris the 22th of August 2005.
Manu has met Max (Singer).

"Dark Ages" your new record will be release in october.
I've the feeling that this new record is stronger, more powerful, darker and than the others. It's sometimes maybe a less positive album even if there are some positive lyrics. What do you think about that?

I think that the concept of "Dark Ages",... well, it's not a conceptual album but in many ways I decided to make everything going somewhere Soulfly never gone yet, from the album cover, I wanted a really strong album cover, so Michael R. Whelan designed the skull with the warrior, with black and white which is really really powerful. It's less tribal, there's less percussions, there's world-music but it's more darker music from the things I listen to, like Dead Can Dance, or Massive Attack. On the heavy side it's more fire songs like a trash hardcore feeling but with the Soulfly input. That's not an album cover of old trash songs, we made new songs like "Frontlines", "Corrosion Creeps" which is maybe my favourite song. So I think it's very powerful, I'm very happy, I hope the fans will like. I like it because it's heavier and darker, that was the right time for that.

I've the feeling that there are less tribal parts, I mean that the tribal stuff are more mix with the music of the band like in "Babylon" in which we can hear something like a bansuri at the same time you're playing hard...
Yeah, the world-music elements are still in there as much in "Dark Ages" than in the other albums but they're all mix with the music, a camouflage with the music, but I went for more dark sounding instruments like the duduk. They're not like the stuff on "Prophecy" and on the other Soulfly albums, brazilian percussions are not... happy but more upbeat, kind of Chico Science upbeat drums which I love. But I think "Dark Ages" will not feet the concept. So I was under influence of old music album that I think they're dark like Peter Gabriel's "Passion", this album is almost a reference for me, that's where I found the duduk, and also the Prophet 5, that's the keyboard that starts the album on the intro. I've to rent one because nobody in Phoenix has a Prophet 5, I called all the studios and they don't have it. We rent one from California which came by plane and I used it very very much on the entire album, many parts have this keyboard Prophet 5, which is a great keyboard, an old one you know! So yeah, I think I was looking more on the dark side of world music, it tends to be the darker side of world music. I think that it's very experimental in the sense that I not really know what to get, just trying, which I think is always a good thing, I did it with Sepultura, with Nailbomb and now with Soulfly. When you try something you dont know, it's scary but exciting and what you get is something else, it's kind of exciting.

About the "Soulfly V" song. It's a lot more different than the other 4 previous "Soulfly" songs. When I listened to it I thaught about John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola & Paco De Lucía. Are they influences for you and for Marc?
To Mark yeah! To me, I don't have any of there albums myself. I listened to, but I don't own there cds. What I think is really cool with "Soulfly V" it's not format. I like the other Soulfly songs, but they're shorter, more format, "Soulfly V" is 10 minutes, I think it's completly different than everything I've done. It's like Pink Floyd or something, not metal, not even rock... something else, which I think other bands wouldn't probably do it like that. I love it, especially after the whole song is over and then Marc just come with the flamenco thing, I think it's very magical. It's also more dark flamenco, not so happy flamenco. Yeah so, I think it's cool, it's unorthodox, it's something Pink Floyd could do it and some other rock bands of that time wouldn't. That's why I always loved Pink Floyd, they do whatever they want , they didn't really care, they just released what they thaught good, that's important. I think that "Soulfly V" has that vibe.

When I heard "Stay Strong", that was a big surprise to hear like a storm at the end of that song. I said that because it made me thaught about the Doors and the song called "Riders On The Storm", and I imagined the rain falling while I was listening to your song...
Yeah, that's very cool!

Do you know that song from the Doors?
I heard the name but never heard it. What I like the most on Soulfly than anything else is that nature is actually involved in Soulfly. I make reference to weather a lot in some of the songs... fire, earthquake, moving the earth, that kind of stuff. And then, when I was making "Dark Ages", I don't know why but what I thaught on the entire album is pretty much agressive, heavy, with punching songs, and then, this big storm which clean everything, which devid and then after the storm, something very calm. It's a little bit like cinema, like a movie, making an album with the think of a picture. Production is a kind of my job, like a montage of sounds so I record the storm, I record the bells in Russia, that's the very last things the church bells. Befors that on "Bleak" it's recorded on Turkey from the inside of Sophia Hagia. Yeah, it was very surprising! When I was with the engineer, he was like "you want a all minute and a half of thunder?", and I was like "Yeah!!". "Why don't you use just 10 seconds to the next song?" , I was like "No, it should be a long space coming out "Stay Strong"". So I think, it's cool to involved nature in the record, not just electric, but also natural.

About the cover, for me the shape of the creature looks a bit like the Soulfly logo.
So first : what does it represent for you?
And then : Why did you want to work again with Michael R. Whelan?

I think the picture represents right now. It's called "Apotheosis of War", it was painted in 1992. And Michael told me when he painted that, that the main inspiration for that was the Gulf War. He was reading all the stuff about the medoist and the Gulf War, of course it's not directly link, but it started back then... he painted that. And when you open the cd you'll find 3 statues also designed by Michael, they look like old Babylon, old mesopotamia images with big bears, very very cool, very ancient mystic looking. And he put the Soulfly symbol on it. I think I wanted to have that vibe on the record. I met Michael Whelan in New York for the first time last year, I've never met him in person. Things happen to me like that like I meet somebody who work for so many years I've never met and then I meet him in person and I was like "It's time for us to work together in Soulfly!". He felt very strong, he was great, he send me 10 different images and of course I couldn't use everything, there was some wild shit that he did. There was one picture with a bubble with a little baby and the baby was like falling and the baby has a Soulfly tattoo on his back, it was fuckin' wild man! I send him the music and he made a lots of images after he listened to the music, and i think that was cool to have his interpretation of my music going through his artistic mind, that's how we get the babylonian images and things like that. The front cover is an old painting, and you told me right, it looks like the Soulfly shape with horns, wings. So that was very cool to work with Michael and maybe we'll work more in the futur, for "Dark Ages" it was perfect.

About the Roadrunner 25th anniversary album, I've just heard the song "Independent (Voice of the Voiceless)" written by Robb Flynn (Machine Head) in which you're singing. Is there other songs you worked on?
No that's the only song, the only thing I did on the album because when Roadrunner told me this idea I told them that I didn't want really to be involved a lot. I love the label but I've just think.... even if I've been there for so long, I didn't want to be one of the main guys, I wanted to be on the background. Concerning the song, Monte thaught I like and talked to Robb, Robb called me and he sent me this song and I like it, I like the music a lot. I just wrote the lyrics for it and I wrote "Independent" voice of the voicless, it's more nostalgic, it's maybe not for Roadrunner at the moment but back then. Roadrunner gave me the chance to speak to thousand more people, so became a voice for people who don't have a voice.
I like the fact that I'm very in the background, not always beeing in the front (Laugh). It's good, I don't need to be always in the front. You get tired of that shit you know! (Laugh) I get tired of myself. (Laugh)

Two years ago, we talked about Lula's nomination as Brazil President and Gilberto Gil as minister of culture. You seemed very optimistic. Do you know how is the situation now?
Well, I haven't gone to Brazil for 5 years now. I keep in touch a lot of people, friends...
Yes the situation is better, I definitly see a change in art, maybe more in the movie world than in the music. Brazil finally made some really good movies like "Central Do Brazil " from 1998, today it is seen as a very inluencial film, it won lots of awards. "City Of God" is also mentioned by Steven Spielberg as one of his favourite movies ever, and that's really unusual for Brazil you know, big names like that who talked about brazilian movies like that. But in music, honestly I don't think there's a lot of good music goin' on. I still believe that Chico Science is still the best thing, I think Chico Science and Sepultura were the two most important things that come up to Brazil. Maybe people don't like to hear that 'cause they're under been all the legends. I think Sepultura and Chico Science really did something different, it was more attitude.

When we look back to what happened to Dimebag and as we can imagine the sadness of Vinnie, don't you want to get stronger relations with Igor now?
Well... I think we're in relation the all time, even we're not talking, we're spiritually connected which for me is more important than beeing physically connected all the time. I see many people, they see each other everyday but they have no relationship, you know what I mean? For me that doesn't mean anything. Of course I miss him and I haven't seen him for so many years but that's not really the most important. The most important is I guess actually in your heart and we have this feeling, we're spiritually connected. But... yeah, I think I will work again with him in the futur. About the point you mean, when I heard about Dimebag I felt "Oh man, life is short, life is fast".
I should play with him again, we are brothers, we are very amazing together so in the futur I'd like to play with him again, I think that would be really cool, I don't know under what name, I don't care, just work together you know.

Still about Dimebag... I know that you were friend with him. Instead of asking you your feeling about what happened which is a bit stupid, don't you have funny story to tell us about him ?
One of the funiest thing that he did was on the Sepultura/Pantera Tour. He was drinking a lot, me too. They have this drink of black tough with some whiskey shit, it was hardcore man! To drink and you're out you know! (Laugh) Some nights I just blackout. (Laugh) He joined us in the bus one day "I have something to show you guys! I've got a tattoo!". And he put is pants down and he's got this little drawing like a cartoon which was designed by Igor, my brother, a little face with a black tooth. It was funny 'cause it's not a tattoo like skulls, dragon or evil shit you know. You don't design a little crazy drunk guy! (Laugh) I saw that on his leg and I thaught that was punk rock to tattoo that like that. This guy is really cool!

You have collaborated with Dave Grohl on his " Probot " album. If you have to make your own " Probot " album, who would you like to see on this album? Or maybe do you consider Soulfly a bit like that with all the guests who were on your 5 albums?
Yes, Soulfly has a little of that.
I think "Probot" was a really original idea and I think I give Dave Grohl much respect to actually say "I don't give a Fuck, I want to record with who I like, who I listen to when I was playing drums!" : Sepultura, Mercyful Fate, Trouble, Voivod, Venom, Motorhead. Those are very similar bands I listen to, so I love the concept! (Laugh). When he told me about this record I went crazy "Yeah, fuck yeah i wanna be on it! This is great". Beeing on an album with all my heroes and also the fact that he was from Nirvana, and Nirvana has an influence on Sepultura, and Sepultura was an influence on Nirvana so that was very cool. I love to be part of it, and "Redwar" is powerful! I wish this song was on a Soulfly album! (Laugh). That was very cool!

Well Max thank you for your answers!
Thanks man! See you next time!

Interview and translation Manu

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999