Monday 17 November 2014

An Interview with Iggor Cavalera

Iggor Cavalera interview 22.10.2014

We at the Sludgelord are honoured to bring you an interview with a living legend, Iggor Cavalera. With such a rich diverse history, Iggor has drummed for some of the greatest metal projects to come out of Brazil. His latest album with Cavalera Conspiracy is a triumphant return to form. Here we talk to the man and get a little bit of insight into the world of Cavalera Conspiracy and how it’s been playing metal throughout the ages, enjoy!

Sludgelord: Hey Iggor, its great to talk to you, I heard you live in London now!

Iggor: Yeh, I’m in North London

Sludgelord: Have you checked out all the little venues around Camden?

Iggor: Yeh for me you know… We tour so much that when I’m home here I usually don’t go out so much. I try to hang at home with the kids and enjoy a bit more of a family thing. But still there’s some cool shows happening especially in Camden. It’s a good neighbourhood for that.

Sludgelord: Very true. I do a lot of reviews and go to these venues quite a lot. They’re very diverse. Some have shit sound, some have good sound. You see a good mix of bands too. Like anywhere really, how long have you lived in London?

Iggor: About a year

Sludgelord: And where were you before that?

Iggor: In Brazil for many years

Sludgelord: So how would you describe the difference in scene when you moved over here? Was it instantly like “Whow! This place is crazy!” or was it the other way round where you thought “Dam this place sucks!”

Iggor: Nah I think that’s the thing, we’ve been doing so many gigs, especially with my project MIXHELL that our management, booking agent and all that stuff is based in London so it made sense that we moved here for a while. But I have to say I really enjoy London, its one of my favourite cities. It really cool to see so many styles of places to go for different types of music. It’s a very interesting place for arts in general so I really love it here.

Sludgelord: You’re not just into metal are you?

Iggor: I mostly listen to electronic music

Sludgelord: What kind of electronic artists? Do you like Flying Lotus and all that trippy glitch stuff?

Iggor: That stuff is cool, but I’m into harder stuff like Techno

Sludgelord: So do you like heavy heavy Techno?

Iggor: Yes like the old school stuff. It’s quite interesting

Sludgelord: I guess because it’s so focused on the rhythmic and industrial elements

Iggor: For me it’s definitely somewhere between the industrial and techno with a very dark vibe too it. That’s where I find more of our world in MIXHELL.

Sludgelord: Awesome! So you’ve got this new Cavalera Conspiracy album out at the moment, where did you record that?

Iggor: We did it in Phoenix actually (Arizona). That was the first time we recorded there. It’s a studio where Max had previously done some stuff and it’s almost like a home studio that this producer who worked with Ministry and many other bands. It’s his personal studio and we ended up making the album there so it was quite cool. It was very simple set up, like a house turned onto a studio. It really helped with the atmosphere of the record. We didn’t to do anything too fancy; we just needed the right equipment so it was nice in the end

Sludgelord: I think that reflects quite well in the record. Its very raw sounding, the production is clean and heavy. Sonically it’s very full; you’ve got all that makes a good metal record.

Iggor: Yeh, we had this idea, me and Max, from the beginning how we wanted this record to sound. We wanted to have something very minimalistic in a way. We wanted to capture the band vibe and I have to say it was a great studio to do that.

Sludgelord: How different was the recording process from previous stuff you’ve done with Cavalera Conspiracy?

Iggor: It actually was quite similar to the other two records we did. We always went the same way where we were trying to capture as much vibe as possible and not polish the sound too much. So it hasn’t change too much. Then of course the change came in the music where me and Max tried to make it a lot faster with a lot more ideas. The way we did it was quite fluid and hasn’t changed from one album to another.

Sludgelord: One thing I would describe the album as is fast! How much of the material had you written before heading into the studio?

Iggor: Not much that’s the thing! With all three records me and Max had some ideas and demos and then we would start building up from that in a live environment in the studio. So that’s the approach we had on those record. There was a few pre written ideas that became songs once we start pulling together more as a band playing live. I have to say that we don’t do much pre production. We jam ideas until they start taking shape as songs then later we continue editing them then Max will put in vocals and things like that. It’s a very simple way of doing it

Sludgelord: You say its simple but the music that comes out is so technical and bleeding nails fast! How you can jam something that fast is beyond me!

Iggor: It’s quite fun at the same time! Playing fast songs is part of our history, me and Max. It was fun more than anything else, there was no struggle, and we felt very comfortable. And then at the end we looked at the final product and it was a lot faster than songs we had done in the past, it was a nice surprise

Sludgelord: There are some interesting production elements as well. Some post production things. Did the producer chip in with that or was that all you guys?

Iggor: No, everything we do has me and Max’s hand in it. We want the tracks to sound a certain way. It’s something we would work together with the producer to get.

Sludgelord: Especially the first track. It’s my favourite track so far. I’ve had a listen a few times through the album a few times and that track definitely brings together a few elements of Black and Death metal as well as thrash. It’s also got that cool atmospheric intro, what was your favourite track to work on?

Iggor: Its hard to say because now that we’ve done a few shows playing two of the new songs, those would be my favourite right now because they’re still fresh in my mind. We play Babylonian and Bonsai kamikaze. I can’t wait to play more of the new songs so we can have more favourites!

Sludgelord: What are the plans for playing live? Will you play a lot older or a lot more new songs in your sets?

Iggor: That’s something me and Max always struggle with a bit now that we have 3 records to choose songs from. But I have to say it’s a good problem to have! There’s so much cool stuff that we want to play live that we end up having to cut a lot of stuff out and having certain things all mashed into an hour and a half of music

Sludgelord: I guess because you don’t want to make the sets like a greatest hits, you want to make it diverse to appease old and new fans.

Iggor: There's a few of the songs that we know if we don’t play, kids will get mad at us. But at the same time we want to keep a balance so it doesn’t just become a hits set list thing. So we dig into some lesser known stuff that we did, we find it quite fun.

Sludgelord: Great! So I was flicking through the internet the other day and I don’t know if you’re aware of a blog called Cvlt Nation?

Iggor: Yeh yeh! Someone sent me the link of all those old pictures! It was crazy man, I didn’t even realise that a lot of those pictures exist! So it was quite a trip to say the least. That’s one of the things, in those times in the early death metal days in Brazil; it wasn’t very common to have someone documenting that stuff. It’s not like now days where someone can take a picture at a show with their phones, so to see those I have to say it was quite emotional in a way. I haven’t seen some of those pictures ever. It was also quite surprising, I showed some of my friends and they were tripping. It really represents that time frame

Sludgelord: Well that makes me really happy that it had that effect on you. It’s such a pivotal point in life, that age of teenage to early twenties years. Especially when you’re so close to a group of friends who you spend so much time with.

Iggor: yeh and the thing is through all those ages you look at so many pictures that you’ve seen before, but some of those pictures are something that I’d never seen before let alone published anywhere. It was cool to see it

Sludgelord: There’s some cool photos where you can see all the different hair styles and different dress senses through the years.

Iggor: Yeh man it’s a trip fashion wise! You change in so many ways!

Sludgelord: There’s some, where you look like Metallica and some, where you look like Mayhem!

Iggor: All those phases are there man! But I have to say I’m really proud of all of them. I know some bands that look at old pictures and get embarrassed by them, but for me even the crazy stuff is cool to see.

Sludgelord: I watched Sam Dunn’s documentary called Global metal where he touched on Sepultura quite a lot. Growing up in Brazil were you the outcasts? Did you not want to be part of the popular crowd?

Iggor: its weird you know because we were definitely one of the most hated bands at the time and nobody understood what we were doing in our little city. It wasn’t about being cool; it was more about being different and doing what you really loved. It’s crazy to look back now at the stuff we were into and how much we pushed the limits at the time

Sludgelord: That’s great; I think that’s what a lot of young people have lost the sense of. Young people are trying to be trendy, especially in electronic music now days. Everyone’s trying to be cool and pigeon hole themselves. Listening to a lot of underground music makes you not cool or something. Do you get to check out a lot of small bands on tour and stuff? Do you get to hang with them?

Iggor: I always make an effort to try to. It’s refreshing to see young kids try something not just for the sake of having some kind of commercial success. Especially in the age of the internet, it’s cool to see people push for different ideas. I do have to say that there’s a lot of good music out there but it’s more about finding the time to research and find what you like. I hate when people say there’s no good music anymore. I think its people being lazy.

Sludgelord: I completely agree! I hate it when my friends who love metal say there’s no good metal anymore. It’s like dude, if you spent half an hour each night just going through the internet looking at blogs or whatever, you would find so much good music!

Iggor: It’s the same for me and Max. At the end of the day we are still music fans, we still act like fans. For me that’s the sense of making music. Being inspired by certain things and researching certain things and trying random things. I hate it when people sit back and say whatever happened in the past is the only thing worth listening too. There’s been good music and crap throughout history.

Sludgelord: Cool! So let me ask you, who are two of your favourite electronic artists at the moment?

Iggor: I really like Vatican Shadow. It’s an amazing very dark ambient thing this guy does. I’d also say a guy from Italy, Fango. It’s a very dark percussive techno sound. They’re two people I really love in electronic music right now.

Sludgelord: And two metal bands?

Iggor: I don’t know if I could say just metal, but hard music in general, I’d say Full Of Hell are a band that really get me going. Also I really enjoyed the new Code Orange Kids record, the recording was amazing.

Sludgelord: Good choices! Anyway thanks so much for talking to me, any words for the Sludgelord?

Iggor: Hey everybody, this is Iggor Cavalera from Cavalera Conspiracy and MIXHELL, I have to say I’m really happy with the new record, I hope you check it out. Of course we are going to do a lot of touring so I hope to see you all on the road! Thanks a lot!

Intro & Interview by: Asher G. Alexander

Thanks to Iggor  for taking the time out to talk to Asher for Sludgelord HQ. 

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