Igor Cavalera is best known as the ex-member of legendary heavy metal band Sepultura along with his brother Max Cavalera. While some years were spent on a rivalry, the brothers have long ago buried the hatchet and have formed a new band, Cavalera Conspiracy. We had a chance to sit down with Igor who shared details about the album, his childhood, Sepultura and his other passion, DJ’ing.
TSL: Your latest album Pandemonium was released last year, can you tell us what was the inspiration behind the name?
Igor: Well actually Max gets a lot of ideas from movies and all kinds of things, and Pandemonium was one of those things. He was inspired by some paintings and different stuff, so he tried to almost compare Babylonian in the past to today. So that was kind of like the main concept behind the record and that’s how the name came out.
TSL: Where were you guys trying to go with the album, both musically and lyrically?
Igor: Musically it really reflects the state of mind we were in when we wrote the album. There was nothing really crazy about it, it’s just like we really felt like that was the kind of music we wanted to play at that moment. And then lyrically, Max goes to many different places, like I said he does a lot of research with movies and books and also things on a day-by-day basis. And that’s kind of what Babylonian/Pandemonium is, it’s a mix of things from the past, things from now, and with that, we try to elaborate the whole concept.
TSL: For years, your work has mainly consisted of dark imagery and lyrics. Can you tell us where that comes from and are they tied to your own personal beliefs?
Igor: Of course it comes from a very early age getting into metal, hardcore and punk, it has a more of a darker side to it. But personality wise, I think it’s just the way we like to write our music and compose the whole scenery behind it, it fits more with what we do. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re evil or anything like that, but that’s just how we like our music to sound.
TSL: Now to switch gears a little bit, to your own experience. What inspired you to become a musician?
Igor: Its crazy because, I started playing drums before we decided to form a band, me and Max, so I was a musician maybe before that. I really loved the drums, and that’s how it started when I was like 7 or 8 years old. And then many years after that, me and Max we got completely inspired to form a band, that was something that we wanted to do. But as a musician I have to say that before any thinking of having a band I already wanted to be, just a drummer. Independently of being in a band.
TSL: The Sound Live’s focus is to promote the underground metal scene, what piece of advice would you give to bands/musicians who are trying to make it?
Igor: I think the most important thing is not to rush your things, you know like some people think that they do a demo and an album, and they need to get famous and do all that stuff. it’s not like that. It’s takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of focusing in doing things. So I think my biggest advice is really not to lose the focus, and even if it doesn’t happen right away, it’s something that you need to keep doing. You can’t just stop because your demo didn’t get the best rates. So I think the most important thing is to really believe in yourself and go for it
TSL: What were some of the struggles you faced as a teenager/young adult trying to make it in the music world?
Igor: Yeah I mean, even today. Any musician knows that, it’s all about struggling. It’s never 100% good or 100% bad. You go through many different ways of doing things. Growing up in Brazil, doing what we did, like the kind of music that we did, it was crazy. Nobody believed in us or gave any support but we still did it because we felt that it was the right thing to do.
TSL: Metal has many new bands now who are carrying the torch for the older generation of metal. What new bands are you a fan of?
Igor: There’s a lot of good stuff out their like Lody Kong, who are Max’s kids. They’re really good, like fresh young blood. The other night we saw Code Orange, they were really good. Full of Hell.. there’s a lot of bands from the younger generation doing a lot of cool stuff.
TSL: We know you’re into DJ’ing as well! Which is so different from the metal scene, can you talk a little bit about that and any artists you like in the genre?
Igor: I like many different things you know, the whole DJ’ing thing came from me experimenting a lot with beats and sounds, different from metal. Industrial sounds and African/Brazilian beats, that’s how I started DJ’ing. But in the DJ’ing world, there’s many cool stuff going on also. Anything from techno to industrial, more of the darker side of things, rather than the typical EDM that they show in media. But I’m more interested in the underground side of it.
TSL: It is impossible for me to sit down with you and not bring this up or ask you about it.. We fell in love with you and Max originally being a part of Sepultura, many people grew up on the music you guys made with them. How do you feel about Sepultura and looking back on it now?
Igor: I mean, we love what we did. We’re really proud of our life with Sepultura, but at the same time, we can’t just live off the past, we need to move forward and that’s what we’re doing with Cavalera Conspiracy. We still play songs that Max and I wrote when we were kids and songs that represent our career, but at the same time we’re really happy with what we do with Cavalera (Conspiracy) that goes to the past and also to the future.
TSL: Do you think there could ever be a Sepultura/Cavalera Conspiracy tour to bury the hatchet? You guys were on tour at the same time.
Igor: I don’t know, its hard to say. For me, I don’t know if it would happen.
TSL: Do you think Max would ever consider it?
I don’t know.. Probably not. (Laughs) I mean, that’s the thing. For us Sepultura is something that we are really proud of what WE were part of. We’re not proud of what they do right now, so it wouldn’t make sense.