About Me

Interview with Sepultura

One of the most popular bands with almost four decades of work comes from Brazil. Paulo Júnior, bassist, spoke with Metal Imperium about the new album, special guests, the return to Portugal to play at a summer festival and about one of the most anticipated themes (if there will be a reunion with Max Cavalera and Igor Cavalera). That and much more in this interview.

M.I. - Thank you for this interview and I hope everything is fine with you.

It's fine. A little bit of jet lag, but that's okay. I just arrived from Amsterdam.

M.I. - It has been a wonderful journey of 36 years, in which you’ve been recognized worldwide. How do you feel? Tell us a little about that.

I feel old (laughs). No. I feel super good, super energetic, even after those 36 years. As everyone knows, we are getting ready for the release of the new album. Then, we start a new tour cycle, a new phase of Sepultura, and we are all anxious and prepared to start this cycle.

M.I. - You are quoted by several bands as one of the main influences. What made this happen?

To tell you the truth, I don't know very well, but I believe it was the music itself. Our live performances or where we came from, the culture from Brazil, this language and rhythm, which is a little different from what we have. By nature, because we are Brazilian and we see it a little differently than the rest of the world, so I think that really influenced other bands.

M.I. - How do you describe the sound of your new album “Quadra”? What differences will the album have from the previous one?

I personally think it's an escalation. It was a “step-up”. It was the next step in our career in every way. Musically, due to the complexity this album ended up with, I think it's a new phase, a new journey after “Machine Messiah”, using all the History of Sepultura to influence us to write this album. So, it is a little bit of each, of all the phases of the history of Sepultura. So, we used the band itself, with this concept of “Quadra”, to write this album. So, it can be said that it is a little bit of reinterpreting history, always respecting our past, but working with our strong present. I believe it is a little bit of that.

M.I. - What are your favourite songs from the new album?

I don't have any (laughs). That is the worst question you can ask me. I can't choose a song. I think they all have a sequence. They all make sense for the album to have that whole context. So, it's difficult, especially since we haven't had the opportunity to play most of them live yet. In fact, personally, I will feel it more, this comfort, let's say, after a few months of touring.

M.I. - Emmily Barreto, from Far From Alaska, is a guest on this album, on the theme “Last Time”. How did you come up with the idea to invite her?

Andreas Kisser and Derrick Green’s stuff. They were doing a research and, in the end, we had some people that we talked about, but Andreas already had this idea of inviting Emmily to make this participation, which ended up surprising me. It turned out better than I really expected.

M.I. - The cover, created by Christiano Menezes (Darkside Books), "represents the different regions, borders, traditions from where we all came and had during our life process". "Look at the coin. Do you give importance to money? It is not only present on the cover, but on everyone's head. Be the rule of your own game!", this is a post on your Facebook page. Why this photo and quote?

It is the context of the album. “Quadra” is a word in Portuguese that means an area that marks an area and within it there are a series of rules and contexts that we must follow. And then within this whole concept of “Quadra”, we used the currency as a symbol of slavery from the beginning. All over the world, we need money to survive. We are constant slaves to money. We need money to be born, to survive, to raise ourselves, to study, even to die. So that symbolizes all of this and it has a whole context, the limits, the drawing of the world map, the laurel leaf of the Roman Senate. All of this represents this slavery that holds us throughout our lives. We can't do anything without money.

M.I. - How did the recording at Fascination Street Studios, with producer Jens Bogren, go? Why did you choose to work with him again?

As I told you, it's a phase like the follow-up to “Machine Messiah” and we know that we were super happy with all the work that was done and, when we started this new project, Jens was the perfect person to complete this team. As we had worked with him before, we already knew the possibilities of how to find the sound, how to bring ideas, how to help in the art of production. We went to Stockholm to record the drums, then we went to his house in Örebro, where his personal studio is located, where we practically lived, to do the recording. He's a guy, who got along very well with Sepultura, who understood Sepultura's language very well, brought new and relevant things, not only for "Machine Messiah", but also for "Quadra". He was a super important piece for the whole project to happen. This is where the project is made. The producer you choose has to be a member of the band during that process and needs to understand the whole concept, transpose it to vinyl or CD. Jens did it with absolute affection and the result is there. We are super happy with what was produced and he is a guy who tried to take everyone to the limit. I think he did it.

M.I. - This is Sepultura's third album with young talent Eloy Casagrande on drums. What do you think he brought musically to the band?

He brought musicality for sure. He also brought a lot of energy, a very peculiar style of playing. For me, he is today one of the best Heavy Metal drummers I know and certainly the best drummer I've ever played with. Without disrespecting the past, with Jean, Igor, Roy, but we say that Eloy is an alien. He is not part of this world. So, he put 3 old men to work (laughs). Besides being an exceptional musician, he has a lot of musical baggage. He is a very versatile musician. Creation is very easy for him. This opens up a lot of scope for doing different things. This helps and complicates a lot, because you have to play it (laughs).

M.I. - You already have more albums with Derrick Green as vocalist than Max Cavalera. What are your favourite albums with your current vocalist?

My favourite album? It is “Quadra”, at the moment. It is the “youngest son” and, without belittling our history, the “youngest son” is what we are enjoying at the moment, it is ready to be presented to our fans. This is “the guy of the moment” as they say in Brazil. So, it is my favourite.

M.I. - When it comes to writing music for a new album, do you immediately have a concrete idea of how you want the themes to sound or you don’t make plans and everything comes out naturally?

Lately, when you have an idea, you record, save parts to put a puzzle together. In the last few albums, we have tried to find a concept that really helps to have a more concrete direction, otherwise it gets lost in the recording process. When you have a concept already built, ready, with everything already pre-defined, it becomes much easier to go in a more concrete direction instead of getting lost. So, it's always good to have a concept, at least for Sepultura. This has helped a lot to reach the final goal.

M.I. - Are there any albums in your career that you haven't been completely satisfied with?

No, I think all are important in the career of Sepultura. Each represents a period of history. Each album that is recorded, represents that moment, our emotions, what was happening at that time in our life. So, I would not particularly like to re-record or redo some things, because it represents that time. I prefer to leave it as it is and continue to live in the present. I think each album has its importance and that's it. Each one has a very strong representation in the history of the band.

M.I. - Slayer recently stopped playing live. Have you ever thought of not playing or ending your career? One day it will happen...

Not yet. I know this time will come, but there is still this motivation, this desire to be on the road. I know that we have been in the band for 36 years, it's a long career. I know that time will come, but I hope it will take a few years yet. We still have health and energy to be on stage, which is what we love to do the most. For me, it's the best and most important part. Of course, a record marks a story, a period of our life, but the good thing, in my opinion, is to be on the road, to be traveling these countries, to present each album, to meet new people, different cultures. This is still very strong and present in our career. I hope we will be on the road for a few more years. I don't know how many, but you never know what might happen tomorrow. As long as we are healthy and strong, I believe we will continue on the road.

M.I. -  Machine Head met with former members to play their first album on a tour. I know you expect to play with Derrick Green and Eloy Casagrande for a long time… but have you ever thought of joining Max and Igor for a special concert to celebrate one of your classic albums?

No (laughs). Simple answer: no. We are focused on the new album, the new tour and we still have a very long road to represent “Quadra”. It doesn't even cross our minds.

M.I. -  Do you follow Max and Igor's work?

No. I don't follow anything.

M.I. -  In July you will be playing in Portugal at one of the great Portuguese festivals, the VOA Heavy Rock Festival, alongside System of a Down, Korn and Meshuggah. You have a lot of fans in Portugal. What can we expect from your performance? Are you going to play a lot of new songs?

That is the intention. Representing the new album, as much as we can, but when playing at a festival, it is a little different than when doing a main show as headliner. Usually there is less time, so a more specific repertoire must be prepared. The intention is to represent “Quadra”.

M.I. - Thank you for this interview and opportunity. Is there anything else that you want to say to your Portuguese fans?

I just want to say that we are super happy to go back to Portugal. We would like to do it more often, for sure. This should happen again on the tour as headliners after the European summer festivals. I hope you like the new album, enjoy it a lot and… do not expect a Sepultura reunion.

For English version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda