A&GS recently sat down with none other than Andreas Kisser from SEPULTURA. The guitarist was pretty excited to talk about the band’s new album Machine Messiah (out now, Nuclear Blast Records) and a whole lot more. He was even a good sport in the face of my brutal honesty regarding the band’s previous effort. So pull up a chair and check it out:
Amps: There is some real kickass work on Machine Messiah. I have to be honest, I was not a fan of the last album at all, so this one was a pleasant surprise for me.
Andreas: That’s fine, man. With SEPULTURA it’s kind of common. Every time we bring something new to an album, or we work with a different producer, we experiment and we try out things. That’s what art should be. That’s normal, you know? We always have a characteristic way of putting out albums with different elements. So, for us it’s normal. We gain fans and we lose some, you know?
Amps: You bring up a very interesting point. You use a different producer each record. Has it always been that way?
Andreas: We worked with Scott Burns, and then there was Andy Wallace, then Ross Robinson came, we’ve worked with Howard Benson, Roy Z…you know it’s important and it’s interesting for us to have a different opinion, a different point of view.
We want producers who could challenge us to do something better and improve and grow as musicians. For SEPULTURA, if you have the same guy over and over again I think it wouldn’t be a challenge for us. The risk factor is very valuable. Otherwise you’re just copying yourself and you’re not gonna produce anything new. We learn so much during the process of working with different people and having different situations. You acquire more experience which gives you more options, and I think that’s very healthy.
Amps: And now you’ve worked with Jens Bogren. That guy is so great. Tell me what that was like.
Andreas: It was amazing, man. He’s a fantastic producer. He’s a young guy with so much knowledge and know-how. He knows all the shortcuts in the studio, he’s a musician, plays guitar. He’s got a great sense of humor, but at the same time he’s very focused and professional. He’s very serious about the project and he puts 100% of his energy into it. He was very excited and happy to work with us and vice versa. It was nice to go to Sweden. He has a very nice set-up there at his house with his home studio. It was summer in May, we could enjoy it and really focus on the recording. And after working with Ross, who is an amazing producer in his own right, this was such a different way of doing things. Jens was the perfect guy for an album like this one.
Amps: Maybe next time you try Juan Urteaga or Jason Suecof, see what happens…
Andreas: Yeah, you know coming from Brazil and getting to work with so many different people all over it could work. It just depends on the chemistry and the objective we have. We always like to keep our options open. Anything is possible in music.
Amps: Do you have a favorite album from 2016?
Andreas: That’s very hard to pick because 2016 was such a strong year for metal. All the main bands like MEGADETH, TESTAMENT, METALLICA, they all came back strong. METALLICA seemed like they were more loose and having fun with it this time around. OPETH put out a great album. It’s exciting to see that the metal scene is so strong. It’s great to be with Nuclear Blast which is VERY metal, they understand the style and where SEPULTURA is coming from.
Amps: I know you have a busy tour schedule ahead too, no?
Andreas: We have a tour coming up with KREATOR, our labelmates who also just worked with Jens on Gods of Violence, and that will be a great start for this new chapter of our history. Then we go out with TESTAMENT and PRONG in the U.S.
Amps: Ohhhh, I know. I’ll be there when you hit Philly April 23! Are you still mostly bringing in your own demos or is the writing more collaborative these days?
Andreas: Everything starts from the guitar. I write musical ideas all the time whether I have the acoustic or the electric. An idea is an idea, you know? Also, Eloy (Casagrande, drums) has a lot of different drum loops and parts that he does by himself at his house. That was the starting point, trying to build certain cells so we have somewhere to go from there in practice. then Derrick (Green, vocals) and Paulo Jr. (bass) would offer their opinions on things. But basically guitar and drums make up the driving force of writing in the band.
Amps: Eloy…wow, can that kid play drums OR WHAT??
Andreas: Yeah, he’s the best. It’s amazing to watch him play. He’s so cool, professional, and focused. He was made for us and we were made for him. He’s a perfect fit and he brought lots of new possibilities, not only for my guitar playing, but for everybody in the band. His input and energy, everything he does for this band, it’s amazing.
Amps: Speaking of Derrick, I think his vocals are a big step up this time around. Not that they were bad before, but this time he really nailed it.
Andreas: I have to acknowledge the input and influence of Ross Robinson on that. He’s an amazing producer for singers. He really goes deep, almost like a psychologist (laughs) talking about lyrics and why things are the way they are. He really gets singers to sing from the heart and the soul. It’s not easy to work with him if you are a singer. You get pissed off, frustrated, you wanna break things, but at the end you are a much better musician. So now, after working with Ross and now Jens I think that Derrick really was able to take their different approaches and write some great lyrics for him to express himself.
Amps: Are there any tracks on Machine Messiah that stand out for you?
Andreas: Usually I love them all. We work so carefully on each song but you know I love “Phantom Self”, and “Resistant Parasites”, which is so fun to play. The instrumental “Iceberg Dances” is one of my favorites, too. Every song is different from each other, and I can’t wait to play them onstage.
Amps: What do you want to say to all the SEPULTURA fans out there in the world?
Andreas: Always a big “Thank You.” Without you guys we wouldn’t be here after so many different changes inside and outside the band. The support of our fanbase and all this recycling of the fans, the gaining and losing here and there is a part of a long career like ours. But thank you and I can’t wait for you all to hear the album and hopefully you enjoy it the same way we enjoyed working on it and building this monster for you all. And we hope to see you all on the road!
It’s always great when you get to talk to someone like Andreas Kisser who’s been in a band for 30 years and STILL has that same fire and passion he did when he first joined. SEPULTURA sound like they have renewed strength, energy, and vigor on Machine Messiah, something that shines through on the recording. And I guarantee you once they hit the stage in 2017, heads will roll and cities will burn Pompeii-style.