Max Cavalera needs no introduction does he? SOULFLY, CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, and now this: KILLER BE KILLED, the group he’s formed with Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN), Troy Sanders (MASTODON), and Dave Elitch (ex-THE MARS VOLTA) that is making waves all across the heavy metal landscape. I was able to chat with Max by phone after my 72-hour marathon listening session to the self-titled debut album from this killer (see what I did there?) new band. Here’s what we talked about:
Amps: So, KILLER BE KILLED…just got it the other night and before I knew what happened I’d been through it three times. Great stuff! You excited to share this with everyone?
Max: Very excited. I think it’s a cool record. It was a really cool way with this collaboration of people in bands that some people think might not naturally mix. You know SOULFLY, MASTODON, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, MARS VOLTA…normally they shouldn’t mix, so we come from very different places. But what makes it exciting is that we DID mix, and the result is also exciting! My favorite part is the vocals, actually. They are so different from song to song and I did a chorus, Greg did a chorus, Troy did one, we switched verses and bridges and just made a chaotic combination of sounds. When you hear the record it’s just full of them, and I think that that’s the magic of the album, the vocals coming together.
Amps: And that’s the thing, you just get lost in it. Like I said, before you know it you’re on “Save the Robots” and you’re like, “Where the hell did time go??”
Max: (Laughing) and it really is a fun record to listen to. I was driving to California and I put the CD on and I ended up listening to it three times in a row and didn’t get tired of it, so I think that’s pretty cool.
Max: It was fun to make it, too. Plus, I love DILLINGER and MASTODON so to share it with those guys was quite unique and special. I just wanted to make the best record possible. And I just came up with some really cool riffs, that was my contribution. It was more on the guitar side that I contributed to the whole record. I played all the rhythm because Greg didn’t wanna play any rhythm guitar. That was fun for me, but kind of crazy. And I love working with Josh Wilbur (LAMB OF GOD, GOJIRA STEVE EARLE), he’s a great producer and we got an awesome guitar tone out of it. So for me that was one of the most fun things I did, recording the guitar. And then later on singing on top of it was really cool, too.
Amps: Tell me a bit about your 72-hour writing session with Greg.
Max: Man that was really crazy! It started with just me and Greg and a drum machine. I have to say the beginning of KILLER BE KILLED is quite different from what we have now. It was heavier and a lot more brutal. It was kind of the chaos of DILLINGER, Greg’s vocals were more screaming, my vocals were more brutal, and the songs were heavier and more raw. If we would have done this record just the two of us it would have been more like a NAILBOMB record. But I’m glad that we got other people involved and that we got Dave and Troy because I think what we have is so different and that’s even cooler. But the beginning was a 15-song demo. I hope we put those out one day, maybe for our one-year anniversary! They sound like shit, but what’s important is that the spirit is there, you know?
Amps: Since everyone in the group is so busy are there any tour plans, or one-off shows at festivals, maybe?
Max: Next year we’re gonna try to maybe do one month in America and then some festivals in Europe, South America and Australia. So hopefully people want to see us! A U.S. tour would be great. I don’t think we’d have a problem getting booked in some nice venues and I think people would like to see KILLER BE KILLED. And then I would like to get together and write a second record. Because I think this band can go on, maybe every three or four years put a record out. That would be friggin’ awesome!
Amps: Plus, everyone I’ve talked to loves the record.
Max: Yeah, we kind of let the songs take the course naturally and there are a lot of thrash parts on the album. Stuff like “Curb Crusher”, “Fire to Your Flag”, and “Snakes of Jehova”, I was surprised at how much thrash we got involved with this melodic shit, you know?
Amps: With everything you have going on, how do you find time to take on something of this magnitude, and make it come across as so natural and effortless?
Max: Well you know I did this with Greg then went on back to SOULFLY and then I wrote songs with Dave, went back to SOULFLY and recorded Savages in Seattle and then we got to do songs with Troy and I kept going back and forth, which is cool, you know? I’d rather do something than stay home and do nothing. I think I get bored real quick when I’m not doing anything so for me this is great to stay busy. And I love the music! Plus, the reward is when you hear people talking good about what you did. Everyone is so excited for KILLER BE KILLED right now and that’s so cool to me. It makes me super-pumped!
Amps: So what’s next? What’s in store for KILLER BE KILLED and you personally?
Max: Well, I have shows in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, etc. with SOULFLY and then we play Hellfest Open Air in France, and some more shows in Europe, and then a show with BLACK SABBATH, MOTORHEAD, SOUNDGARDEN, and FAITH NO MORE which is gonna be insane! In the U.S. I dunno, RIVERS OF NIHIL might be coming out with us, we’ll see. I love them, such a great band! The new CAVALERA comes out in October. It’s very grindcore, very brutal and Nate Newton from CONVERGE plays bass on it. It’s the most brutal of the three and my favorite CAVALERA record.
Amps: Say something to all your fans out there.
Our own MR. REESE beat me to reviewing KILLER BE KILLED’S album for A&GS, but that’s OK. He loved it as much as I did and I think he did it the justice it so richly deserves. Max Cavalera is a true Titan of Metal and I for one hope he never stops, especially now that he, Troy, Greg, and Dave have given us this monster in KILLER BE KILLED! You HAVE to hear this record, guys.