Roadrunner Records recording artists Soulfly have been on an all-embracing worldwide tour and are now ready to unleash their unique brand of tribal groove-Metal on their US fans. In just three months Soulfly brutalized 21 countries, including Russia, Austria, Greece, Poland, Finland, Scandinavia and Benelux. Along with selling out almost every show, the band visited unimaginable historical monuments including the Corinthian Canal where Catherine the Great put the Wheel of Acquiring Art into motion.
To say that the tour was a success would be an understatement.
Formerly of Sepultura, Soulfly founder and frontman Max Cavalera has been awarded Gold records eighteen times worldwide and has performed with David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne. He also collaborated with Sean Lennon (son of songwriting’s greatest, John Lennon) on the band’s second release Primitive.
Max is by all means a major icon in the World Metal genre. Kaffeine Buzz was fortunate enough to catch up with Max between tours while he was enjoying a badly needed break at his Arizona homestead, or shall we say, tribal encampment.
Kaffeine Buzz: First off, I’d like to say that you have taken metal to a level that we had been waiting for. There are a lot of great metal bands, but few who combine the tribal groove and aggression like Soulfly. Your experimental sound has bridged the gap between many different styles.
Max: Thanks a lot man, we are very excited about this upcoming tour too. We haven’t toured the U.S. since last year. We did a nine-week tour of Europe, which was great, but we are very glad to be back in America.
KB: Coming off of an extensive worldwide tour, what were some of the high and low points?
Max: In December we did Japan and Australia, which was great. With Hatebreed supporting us, it was a really cool tour. Then we went to Europe, 21 countries in 9 weeks. I think the best part was that it was unusual countries, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia. Those are very eastern, Balkan countries. Not many bands go there so it was really exciting. The low points I think…for some reason Rome, its not really a rock city…the show was really slow. The only slow shows were Italy and Rome. Everywhere else was packed, jam-packed. So it was a very successful tour.
KB: So you made the first merchandise deal with a company out of Russia? Can you give us any details on this?
Max: Yea, that was done with Sepultura back in ’94. We did official merchandise, I think that was pretty cool because it used to all be bootleg. Now it’s official so fans can buy official merch, the official stuff that they see the kids in America wearing. So I think its really cool.
KB: Compare International fans to US fans. Are there any differences in reactions to your music and shows?
Max: Not really much difference. The fans were very excited but the thing in America is that this kind of music has a real loyal fan base and they give us lots of energy. The only difference is that some countries are more hungry because they haven’t seen Soulfly before, like Greece and Bulgaria. Those shows were crazy. People flipped out and were going insane. It’s pretty much the same in the states every time we play. We have such a great fan base here. I think that this type of music has similar fans all over the world.
KB: I know that most Soulfly fans are curious about the next album. With Soulfly 3 you seemed to get away from the tribal sound and go back to a straight metal attitude. Can we expect this from the next Soulfly project?
Max: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about the new album yet cuz I’ve been on tour the whole time. I think I’ll keep both. I’ll keep the experimental things going on but I like the sound of the solid songs we did on this album. They were really great live. I think I should keep that energy in the band because it’s very steady and very strong and the fans love it. I think it’s both. On one hand [I want to] go experimental and do some new stuff, but I’m going to continue with the more pure stuff, which is the core of Soulfly.
KB: I understand that your mother is a priestess of the Candomble’ religion, which is a mix of Catholicism and African. This is extremely intriguing. Would you mind giving us some insight on this religion and tell us how it shaped your spirituality and music.
Max: Actually in Brazil it’s very common. Most people know about it and it’s really more of a Catholic religion. Most of the stuff I tried to find out on my own. Spirituality is something that you should develop yourself. My mother was always there for me, but with spirituality along with music she let me do my own thing.
KB: Do you keep in touch with the guys from Sepultura?
Max: No. We just went different ways you know. I see Soulfly now as maybe more popular and I see that I’m achieving the goals that I set out for, and that’s very important because music is my life and its all I want to do. The beginning of Soulfly was very difficult, but now with three albums we are completely back where we were with Sepultura and it’s great. It’s been a great tour.
KB: Aside from a much-needed rest, what are you overall future plans after the U.S. tour, maybe back in the studio?
Max: Actually we are going back to Europe. We have another awesome tour there, which is ten shows in Russia (laughing). I think it’s the first time a band has ever done so many shows. When we are in Russia and all those countries, Lithuania, Latvia, Astonia, the whole USSR, well what used to be called the USSR, we will be doing ten shows there. We are also doing a bunch of cool festivals in Europe, Germany and France, then after that I will be working on the new record.
KB: Your hard work has had such an influence on metal over the years, what advice can you give to upcoming bands?
Max: Have belief in your work and your music. Have dedication and put the work and the time on it. Don’t give up, even when it seems like its not going anywhere. Stick to your guns, that’s what I did back in the beginning in Brazil when people were like “you guys suck”…this and that. Fuck all those people. Keep practicing and keep jamming.
KB: So me and a friend of mine were curious. What the hell does “Bo-ha” mean?
Max: Its slang like “Damn” you know. It really doesn’t have a translation to English that is perfect. It’s like “fuck shit up” “damn” or kinda like something you say when you are ragin’. That’s why I say that in a lot of the songs.
KB: Right on, any special thanks or plugs you would like to throw in?
Max: I want to thank all of the people that’s in Soulfy and my career now. I can’t wait to see everyone at the Denver show. I love Colorado. I really, really enjoy going there. We always have great shows there. I also like the state itself a lot. I love the mountains and the whole vibe. To be back on the road and see everyone in the states again is going to be awesome.
Soulfly’s spring tour kicked off in West Hollywood at the Roxy with E-Town Concrete and Sworn Enemy supporting. They will be coming to our vibe filled mountains when they play the Fox in Boulder, CO on Monday, May 19 and Tuesday at Aggie Theater in Ft. Collins. Check out their web site at www.soulfly.com for Soul News that gives you the scoop on what’s happening on the tour, and their streaming Visuals and Noise section to see and hear the guys in action.
Soulfly U.S. tour dates:
15 Jillians – Louisville, KY
16 Pierre’s – Ft. Wayne, IN
17 Newport Music Hall – Columbus , OH
19 Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
20 Aggie Theater – Ft. Collins, CO
21 Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
22 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
23 Marquis – Phoenix, AZ
24 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA