Interview: Igor Cavalera of Go Ahead and Die
Interviewed by Tim Finch
Today we are chat with Igor Amadeus Cavalera, the son of Max Cavelera, about the duo's new project Go Ahead and Die, which releases it's debut album later this week!
The Razor's Edge: So welcome to The Razor's Edge.
Igor: Thank you for having me on.
The Razor’s Edge: Obviously, we're here to talk about the new Go Ahead and Die record. But I wanted to start off by focusing on yourself. You’re the son of Max and Gloria Cavalera, you were born into a world of heavy metal. So we were you always destined to become a musician. Was that always your career path?
Igor: To be honest, as a kid, I had no idea what I would do. I have a lot of interests that are outside of music. You know, when I was really young, I think I wanted to work with animals and do stuff like that personally. But once I first picked up a guitar, I think that was when I knew I wanted to do music, and I could play metal and stuff like that. It was a really natural, I guess you say, it clicked for me as a kid. When I first strummed, you know, it felt like yeah, this is awesome. Then I plugged in, and hearing it out of a live amp was even more gratifying. I was like, this is definitely what I want to do. But it did take a couple of years, it did take a little time. It wasn't always obvious to me.
The Razor’s Edge: What was it like growing up surrounded by heavy music, recording, touring, famous parents and everything that goes with that? How was that as a child?
Igor: You know it had its pros and cons, I guess you could say. It was awesome, getting to travel and do all that stuff at a young age. It really taught me a lot, I always tried to look at the traveling and stuff like that is almost a form of education, seeing the world seeing how other people live seeing cultures and foods, and just everything that the world has to offer at a young age was really amazing.
But on the other hand, there were things like my parents being gone a lot when I was a kid, growing up with various nannies and housekeepers and kind of different people coming and going. And some of that could be a little tough. But I will say my parents always did try to bring us, tried to make it available for us to come with them on tour and stuff. So it had good and bad to it. On one hand, getting to see bands, learning about music, traveling, learning about the world. And then it can be hard being away from home and growing up that way. A lot of kids aren't used to that, most kids are a little more structured, or, Mom and Dad are at home most of the time.
The Razor’s Edge: So having Max and Gloria as your parents, do you think that as you've moved into a career with your various bands, do you think having those parents has helped, or hindered maybe, your career as a musician?
Igor: To a lot of people surprise, it actually can be sometimes a bit of a hindrance. A lot of people try to put me into my father's shoes, so to speak, or expect me to, to be like him, or to make music like him. And I've always really gone against the grain on that and just done what I want. To me, that's how music should be made. You know, you should never be making music because you think you're gonna bank on something, or you're going to make it or whatever. You should make music because you want to and that's how I've always looked at it. Then in some senses it can help, I know more about the business side of it and stuff from having parents who do it, I know contacts and have been able to make some resourceful connections, through having parents that do it. But it is really hard sometimes living in the shadow of my father and living in people's expectations. And I hate to say it, but getting eaten alive on the internet and stuff just because of who my dad is. When people won't take the time to get to know me or to talk to me or to come see my show, or come talk to me at the merch table. So that that is definitely hard and I don't think a lot of people take it into account that not only do I have to make my music and create it and go on to or do all these things myself, but I also have to live up to people's super unrealistic expectations because of my father. And that that can get a little crazy but like I said, I just I do my thing. I make the music that I want to and I'm gonna continue doing that regardless of what people say.
The Razor’s Edge: Yeah, that's cool. Talking of your other bands for a minute Lody Kong and healing magic both very different to Go Ahead and Die. I caught you with Healing Magic playing Birmingham back in 2019 a lot heavier I would say, it's a sludgy, doomy, stoner sound, so do you prefer that style to what you're now doing in Go Ahead and Die?
Igor: I guess you could say that. Yeah. Because when I was making my own band, they always did take on kind of like you said, like a sludgier, doomier, slow vibe. And I do enjoy that I love bands like Cathedral and Sleep and Neurosis just as much as I love Entombed and Bolt Thrower and Celtic Frost. So that's kind of where I guess I wanted to do Go Ahead and Die is I've always done sludgier style stuff. Like you mentioned Lody Kong and Healing Magic. So my father and I were talking about making this band. We both decided let's do it in a totally different realm of what we're already doing. Even Soulfly is more like groove metal I guess you could say and so we did Go Ahead and Die. That was sort of the beauty of it was, we were like, let's just go as extreme and crusty and nasty as we can go in as fast as we can go. That definitely became inspired from doing something different than what we were already doing.
The Razor’s Edge: So to focus on Go Ahead and Die then, what are the band's origins? How did it come about that you've formed this with Max.
Igor: It was something we just sort of kicked around to each other for a couple of years, I'd say, as far back like 2018, 2017. We talked about doing an old school record, I guess you could say, we wanted to be fast and just nasty and abrasive. And then last year when the pandemic hit it actually gave us the opening to do this for once. It’s been idea for a couple of years. But my father's so busy. And then I was kick-starting healing magic and stuff like that. We both had things on our plate, so we could just never get around to it. But when the pandemic hit, the shows stopped and people were forced to stay home. I just kind of called up my folks and was like “Hey, I want to just come stay in the come stay in the weekend house for a month or two and just see you guys, the worlds crazy and I don't have work. So let's hang out”. And that just sort of led into us jamming and finally acting upon this idea we had for a while. So I guess it's a silver lining to the pandemic. Despite the madness, the chaos, the stress, the fear of everything with the pandemic, it did give us the opening to do this and the time and dedication to sit down and just make a record from scratch. Because that's what we did.
The Razor’s Edge: And in terms of the creative process behind to Go Ahead and Die. Who is the driving force? Is that you? Is it Max? Is it a combination of both of you?
Igor: Ah, you know, it is a combination, it might lean a little more towards me. My dad's been saying that in interviews as well, it is collective, but it was kind of my vision and my idea when it comes to the themes and the sounds and stuff like that, but we did write together.
We actually started doing all the recordings on my dad's 12 track from 1994 or something. He's had it forever. It's an old Korg and we actually did all the demos straight to that the first time around. We both had input I think when you listen to it, you can hear there's stuff that maybe sounds like Max's riffs. But there’s stuff that's kind of out of left field and different. I think that's my kind of side of the stuff. I was definitely coming up with themes and stuff, but we were both writing and working on it.
The Razor’s Edge: I've had the album on rotation for a couple of weeks now and I'm loving it. I've been describing it to people as a mix of Chaos AD era Sepultura and a bit of Nailbomb with the aggression and that sort of thing. So would you say that's a fair assessment?
Igor: Yeah, definitely. Especially with Nailbomb. Even if the sounds aren't the exact same, the vibe and the aggression and the attitude of it is very similar. I've heard my dad describe Nailbomb as his big middle finger in the early 90s. And he's called Go Ahead and Die his big middle finger of the 2020s. So they do have that same vibe of like political madness, social awareness, unapologetic type stuff. And that's similar to Chaos AD too. But I think Nailbomb even hits the nail on the head a little bit better in terms of, of just the overall the look and the sound and the attitude of the whole record.
The Razor’s Edge: You mentioned the political awareness, there are some strong messages on the album, Roadkill, for instance the focus on homelessness. Our editor works for homeless charity so the cause is close to our hearts. Lyrically is there some-what of a cause or social commentary that you want the listeners to grab hold off when they're listening to this?
Igor: Certainly, as much as it's an awesome project between my dad and I, it was fun and creative and all those things, we did want to use it to voice our opinion and to get our opinion out there, to tell people what we think of the world and stuff. And I think if there's anything you take away from the record, it's just to be accepting and to take other human life seriously. Just be nice, at the end of the day, that's kind of it! I know, it sounds funny after hearing the record, because it's a total blister of an album but it really does come down to; be nice to people in the scene, be accepting to people in the scene. Don't support racism, don't support fascism, don't support sexism, don't buy into these bad things going on in the world and come together. And under this type of unity, we might actually do something. And that's definitely, in my opinion, that would be the core of the record is! You're welcome at our show, no matter your skin colour, your gender, this or that. And even if you are a police officer, or a government worker, we ask that this record, just change your mind and maybe change your outlook and change how you see the world and stuff like that. But it's actually not meant to be as divisive or aggressive as it comes off. We just use that aggression to speak about a positive message at the end of the day.
The Razor’s Edge: So as the album comes out, and you're getting a lot of press or reviews, interviews, do you pay any attention to the critics as the reviews come in?
Igor: I do I'll look at them from time to time. I wouldn't say obsessive or anything. But every couple of weeks, I'll just kind of see how they're doing. And this record has got an overwhelmingly positive reaction, in my opinion. There are some trolls, there are some people here and there, but to be honest nobody has said anything I haven't heard before. So that it hasn't gotten under my skin yet. And most of it is overwhelmingly positive. So I feel good about the record. Yeah.
The Razor’s Edge: So as things get start getting back to normal now, post pandemic, will you be taking this out on the road?
Igor: Without a doubt, at some point, it more comes down to, as you mentioned, when the when the pandemic slows down, I suppose. And when we can all prioritize the time to do it, because we're all in different bands and what not, so it can be it can be down to a scheduling thing. I hope by the end of the year, early next year that we'll be playing this live and bringing it all over, because the old school vibe and sound and essence of the record is intended for a live audience. And we're definitely itching to play but we are willing to be responsible and wait until it's safe to play again.
The Razor’s Edge: What do you see is the longevity of this project? Obviously, you're all in other bands. Do you see this as just a one off or is there going to be many albums over the years.
Igor: I could hope for many albums, but with it being a new band it needs time to develop and see how it does and how easy it is for us to get together and things like that. But I'm certainly not against the idea. I would love to do this again and do it the same way, just me and dad in the room, coming up with stuff from scratch. That's how we did this record. I think that's how we would do it if we tried it again. Maybe look at it as a normal band would do an album every two years, maybe you'll see one every four or something like that. It might just come down to needing the time to do and stuff like that. But I see if the live shows go over well, and you know, the general response to the album has been positive so far. So I don't see any reason why we wouldn't do this again. Brilliant.
The Razor’s Edge: So earlier on, you mentioned your love of Sleep, Catherdral, Bolt Thrower, Celtic Frost, some great bands there. But who are you listening to at the moment? Is there anyone unknown that our listeners should be checking out your you've got on heavy rotation?
Igor: Oh, yeah, there's a couple of bands. Lately I've been listening to I guess you could say like a old school heavy metal, like a Sabbathy type band called Mountain Witch I think they're from Germany, they have album called ‘Burning Village’ that I'm listening to a lot. And then on the more extreme side, I have been listening to this band called Yautja. They are mixing of I don't even know, like death metal with grind in extreme fusion and doing it in a really, really refreshing way. So they're new, they actually have a new album called ‘The Lurch’ that I've been listening to lately. And then outside of metal, I've been listening to, like, I guess you could say, darkwave goth band called Ritual House a lot. I listen to all types of stuff from metal to electronic to hip hop and rock and everything in between, you know.
The Razor’s Edge: That's cool. So I've got one final question for you. You're a busy man, you've got a few bands. What does the rest of 2021 holding store for Igor Cavalera?
Igor: Well, you know, first and foremost, Go Ahead and Die’s album is out this week. So that's, that's definitely on the plate. Right now, we are talking about possibly doing a digital show or something like that. So we might get going on that. We have music videos, things like that coming out. So lots of content coming from Go Ahead and Die.
With my stoner band Healing Magic, we actually just finished mastering our first full length record. So we are pretty ecstatic about getting that out by the end of the year. We're going to move into working on artwork and music videos and same type of stuff. But otherwise, just keep your eyes open. Like you said, I’m in a couple of bands. I work on books as well. I have a couple books self-published on Amazon, so keep your eyes out for stuff that I'm doing in that category as well. And otherwise, just, you know, stay safe. And hopefully we'll see everybody out on the road by the end of the year or early 2022.
The Razor’s Edge: We hope so sooner rather than later!
Igor: Yeah, definitely man. I can't wait to get over there. Maybe we'll do a Napalm Death cover over the UK. That'd be awesome.