Cavalera Conspiracy

Max Cavalera Reflects On Korn’s Influence On “Roots”, “Asshole” Ex-Bandmates


With brothers Max and Iggor Cavalera out touring together on the 25th anniversary of Sepultura‘s 1996 album, “Roots“, the pair have been frequently reminiscing on the album and its legacy. Metal Insider recently chatted with Max about the album, which saw Sepultura stake their claim in the nü-metal genre while also netting them their second gold record. Cavalera discussed the decision to tune down for the album, as well as being influenced by Korn:

“Yeah, I had to fight with Andreas over that, because Andreas was such a purist. I first had a fight with him on Chaos A.D. when I wanted to tune to D, because the rest of Sepultura’s material was all in E standard. I was telling him that Black Sabbath plays in D, we have to do some shit in D. Then with Roots, when I told him we had to go down to B, it got pretty bad – we got into a couple of serious arguments. I was like, “Stop being so close-minded, asshole, we’ve got to do this!” (laughs)

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I don’t deny the influence from the first Korn record, which was something we listened to a liked a lot. I liked the rawness of it, and what Ross Robinson did on it, which was why we ended up recording with Ross. Looking back now, I experiment with every tuning – A, D, E, and every possibility now. I think it was worth having a fight over to make it happen.

Some stuff on the album is in D, like “Straight Hate” and “Ambush,” “Dictatorshit,” and then everything else is in B. I think it’s cool because we don’t sound like Korn, and I think that’s what’s cool. When Sepultura played in B, because of Iggor’s drumming, because of the way the songs are structured, it’s very different from Korn. So, it opens up a whole new world.

The sound of the takes that we had when we finished the record was actually pretty crappy. That’s’ why we had to send it to Andy Wallace – we had to take all the shit out of the diamond to make the diamond shine. Andy’s a master, and he did an amazing job – that’s why the record sounds so killer. Between the raw, almost shitty production of Ross, because it was recorded so raw, and what Andy did, it was the perfect combination.”

Reflecting on the time after he left Sepultura, he now regrets not keeping the band name alongside his brother Iggor, who stayed on as the drummer until 2006:

“Well, looking back now, it was a really hard time in my life, a very difficult period, because I never thought I was going to leave the band. For the first month I didn’t even want to play anymore, I was like, ‘I’m done with this.’ I just wanted to get high and get drunk and not give a fuck. But then, little by little I started writing some stuff and it started coming out again, and it was cool, because it carried the same elements as what I had been doing before.

The riffs, structures, choruses, all of that was very similar. But, it was a difficult time and I’m glad it’s over – I’d never want to go back to that time. A lot of people really liked the first Soulfly album, a lot of people say it’s their favorite. Maybe that’s because there was a little bit of desperation on that record (laughs). It’s kind of like you lost everything and had to start again with what you have.

Sepultura was really close to my heart, it was like my baby. Now, after all this time passed and I think about it, Iggor and I should have just fired those two assholes and kept the name; why we didn’t do that, I don’t know. At that time we didn’t have the vision to do it, so I just quit. That’s why I think this tour is so special, because I get to go back to that time to an album where I was very much involved with the ideas of the album – those were almost all of my own ideas, so Roots is very close to my heart.

Now, 20 years later, to go back and do this with Iggor again is amazing – it’s the best thing to come out of this story. It’s a happy ending, even though we had to go through all that hardship to get to where we are now.”

Dates for ‘Max And Iggor Cavalera’s Return To Roots Tour‘ can be found here.

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