Chad Bowar: How did the reunion with your brother Igor come about?
Max Cavalera: Igor called me out of the blue. I hadn’t talked to him in more than ten years. He called when I was on tour in Europe with Soulfly. He talked to Gloria (Max’s wife and manager) first because they needed to patch things up. It involved all of us. They had a really good talk about all that happened and how much he wanted to fix our friendship and brotherhood. That was great. When I talked to him I invited him to come to Arizona because it was the tenth anniversary of the Dana (Max’s late stepson) show here in Phoenix. I thought it would be cool to hang out. He came over and we jammed the day of the show. That was sick. That was the birth of Cavalera Conspiracy. Right after the show I told him I wanted to do a whole record with him. I lied and said I had all the songs ready, and I only had one. It was one of those good lies. Everything rolled from there. What I like about the Conspiracy is that nothing is really planned. One thing leads to another. There’s no pressure and it feels like a different project than anything I’ve done.
How did you decide on guitarist Marc Rizzo and bassist Joe Duplantier to complete the band?
Marc was my choice from the beginning, because we play together in Soulfly and musically we’re like twin brothers. We really connect. I was talked to Marc about going back to the roots of the mid ‘80s thrash I did with Sepultura. That was one of the most exciting periods in metal music. We wanted to bring some of that back with our own style. Marc was completely into it and he did great. He surpassed what I asked him to do. Joe was Gloria’s idea. I did not know him at all. He became the dangerous part of Cavalera Conspiracy. We had no idea who the guy is, he’s from a different continent and we don’t speak French. I did know the Gojira CD. But I like the element of surprise and danger Joe brought. We went right to the studio. We didn’t know what to expect. Everything went well. He’s a great guy and helped the record a lot. In the end it was a really killer chemistry between four people.
You also brought in Rex Brown (Down, Pantera) to play bass on one track.
Yes, I love guest appearances. I did it in the early Sepultura and with Soulfly especially. Pantera and Sepultura toured together. It was an amazing tour. I called Rex to have him record. Rex was part of an exciting band from the thrash time. I booked eight hours of studio time and he recorded everything in half an hour. So we spent the rest of the time talking, drinking and having fun. It was amazing. It was good to see him. He gave me a copy of the Down CD, which is great.
There’s a third Cavalera on the CD as well, your stepson Ritchie.
Ritchie is a continuation of Dana. He took that spot and became really into the music. He reminds of Dana a lot. He has a lot of enthusiasm and crazy ideas. When I was doing the record I talked to Igor about incorporating Ritchie into the album. Igor loved the idea. Ritchie sang on “Black Heart,” which to me is the most different song on the record. That song is on its own trip. I’m really happy that he did it. Ritchie took the lead on that and inspired everyone else to follow him.
Had you worked with Ritchie in the studio before?
I did a little bit. He has his own band, but I don’t really go into the studio with his band because I don’t like to interfere. I tell him to do his thing. I was with him on a song on Soulfly 3.
On Inflikted it sounds like you blended Sepultura, Soulfly and some new stuff.
We used everything, really. We used things we picked up over the past ten years, and some new things. Logan (Mader) the engineer made the album sound super heavy, yet crystal clear. That’s quite difficult in heavy music. But I really like the result. I was a bit of a dictator when it came to the music. Igor does DJing, and I had to be a dictator and tell him he couldn’t bring any of that stuff onto the record. I’m a huge dub and reggae fan, and I dictated to myself as well. The old Max came back. When I was with Sepultura in the early days I was pretty radical like that. It was only heavy stuff no matter what. It was the opposite of what I normally do. It was fun to become a radical again for one record.
You had worked with Logan Mader in the past.
Logan played in Soulfly for a year when he left Machine Head. That was in 1999. We parted ways, but kept the friendship. I heard he was doing a lot of recording. We got invited to do a cover for a European magazine and we picked Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People.” So we went down to Logan’s place to record it. It turned out great. Right there I told Logan that I would look him up again in the future. When I got together with Igor I called Logan and asked him if he was ready to do it, and he said yes. He helped a lot for the whole project. Igor told me it was one of the recordings he enjoyed most. He’s a musician and worked closely with Igor. It was good to have a musician engineer. I had never done that before.