KILLER BE KILLED

Assassins For Hire

Max Cav­alera is one of metal’s most pro­lific gui­tarists and riffmeis­ters. His work with Sepul­tura would have been enough to earn him a size­able chunk of metal’s his­tory book, but then there’s also Nail­bomb, Soulfly and The Cav­alera Con­spir­acy. Now he has metal super­group Killer Be Killed.

This lat­est out­fit started as a side project between Max and Dillinger Escape Plan vocal­ist Greg Puci­ato, and was soon expanded to include The Mars Volta drum­mer Dave Elitch and Mastodon bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders. Vocals are shared between Cav­alera, Puci­ato and Sanders and the mate­r­ial veers from the melodic to the all­out thrashy. The band’s self ­titled debut album attained its high­est chart posi­tion in the world on Australia’s ARIA chart and the band makes its live debut dur­ing Sound­wave. We spoke to Max about it.

It’s so great to hear Killer Be Killed is com­ing to Aus­tralia for Sound­wave.

I know man, it just finally got announced and when we heard that we were ecsta­tic. I’m proud that Aus­tralia is going to be the first place we ever play live. The first ever shows for Killer Be Killed in our whole career. I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter place to start the Killer Be Killed live tour. I’m sure we’ll go to other places after that, but the fact that we get to start in Aus­tralia is excit­ing. I always love play­ing in Aus­tralia. Ever since the Sepul­tura days. My best mem­ory is Big Day Out in 1999 with Soulfly. We were hugely embraced by the crowd, and for me it was con­fir­ma­tion that Soulfly was really going to hap­pen. I didn’t know how peo­ple were going to see this new band after Sepul­tura. So the coolest thing ever was the crowds at that Big Day Out for me. I have great mem­o­ries from the Aus­tralian fans and I think this Killer Be Killed tour will be like that.

It must be hard to get all four of you in a room together.

It is dif­fi­cult. I’m actu­ally sur­prised that it finally hap­pened. Everybody’s on tour all the time. I heard Troy was on tour with Mastodon some­where in the world. Greg’s not on tour and I’m not on tour. I’m at home writ­ing the new Soulfly, but we’re going to make it work. We’ve got to prac­tice in a cou­ple of weeks and make sure the whole record sounds great live.

How did you divide up the gui­tar work on the album? Greg is play­ing gui­tar too in the videos.

I actu­ally did all the rhythm gui­tars. Greg didn’t want to do it. He helped me write it, and he wrote a cou­ple of very cool riffs, but when it came time to record it he didn’t feel com­fort­able and he told me ‘can you just do it?’ So I recorded all the rhythm gui­tars. I spent a lot of time on this record, more than any record I’ve ever done. I’m very, very proud of the gui­tar work.

Your other stuff is usu­ally very focused and con­sis­tent across the album, but you’re play­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent styles through the length of the album. It’s cool to hear you dip into these things we don’t hear you play very often.

It’s fun for me. I do have a side that’s more melodic that doesn’t come out in Soulfly or Cav­alera Con­spir­acy, and I got to let it out on Killer Be Killed. I knew the guys could add great vocal parts on top of it so I wrote melodic riffs for them to sing over. Like “Wings of Feather and Wax,” the cho­rus is extremely melodic, almost like a U2 cho­rus, y’know? It was actu­ally fun writ­ing like that. I didn’t have to be heavy all the time.

What gui­tars did you use on the record?

I used the ESPs I have lay­ing around. The Viper with the Brazil­ian flag, a camoflage one, the new AX that I’m using, which is like an Explorer. I plugged straight into Peavey ampli­fiers and got a really, really good dis­tor­tion. Juan Mon­toya from Torch, who did all the weird noises and gui­tar solos, he came with a bunch of ped­als. I don’t even know the names. Some of the ped­als are home­made and look like Franken­stein lab­o­ra­tory sort of shit. He did a great job. I love all the noises that he put on the record. All the ambi­ent noises. Espe­cially on songs like ‘For­bid­den Fire’ where you really get to hear eerie gui­tar sounds and ambi­ent kind of things. It’s really cool. I was a fan of Torch. I always thought Torch was a great band.

And you just released the new Cav­alera Con­spir­acy album, which is very grind­core.

It was wild going from Killer Be Killed to Cav­alera. It was ther­a­peu­tic for me. I could sat­isfy all my melodic wishes with Killer Be Killed and then go back to bru­tal­ity, back to grind­core, back to my com­fort­able zone, which is heav­i­ness, bru­tal shit. The Cav­alera record was really cool to make. I got Igor to play fast on most of the record and I take pride on that feat! I pushed him, I forced him to do it. I’m excited that he did it and didn’t com­plain and didn’t mind being pushed like that. I think the record, Pan­de­mo­nium, came out really good, man. It’s really dif­fer­ent to the first two records. It’s very, very dif­fer­ent from every­thing else. So in one year to have Killer Be Killed and Pan­de­mo­nium. I’ve had my plate full, that’s for sure!

So what’s the new Soulfly record going to be like?

I don’t know. I just started writ­ing. The first riffs came out between yes­ter­day and today. I’ve just got to let it hap­pen and see where it’s going to take me. Nor­mally that’s the best way, to just begin writ­ing and not worry about what the record’s going to be like. Just let it hap­pen nat­u­rally and even­tu­ally it will fol­low. At the end of the day it’s very influ­enced by what I lis­ten to. Lately I’ve been lis­ten­ing to Aborted, Our Penance, King Par­rot and Psy­crop­tic. So I think the record will be really heavy. I might even bring some of the tribal stuff back, because I haven’t done that in a long time.

Killer Be Killed will play Sound­wave Fes­ti­val in 2015. For more infor­ma­tion visit www.soundwavefestival.com.

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