Sepultura: Stage intensity and the risk of popping out eyes

After having it postponed three times –effectively having us miss half of the bands in a show- and ending up doing it per email, we finally made it: Ladies, gentlemen and Stalkers, we proudly present you an interview with Andreas Kissinger from Sepultura.

Your ongoing tour must be a logistical chaos considering that you are playing with quite a few bands; have there been big problems (aside being unable to find time and place for our interview)?
Not at all, we are used to tour with many bands, like a circus of metal. All the bands are very experienced on the road and our crew is doing an amazing job putting everything together. We are even jamming between the bands, I´m playing “Piranha” with Exodus, Gary Holt is jamming “Refuse/Resist,” and at the end of our set all the drummers involved came up to jam “Kaiwas,” it is a great tour.

Your latest album, Kairos has been getting mostly good reviews; some go as far as to say that it is the best since “Against”; how do you see your own creation?
I think it is an album that is very strong and alive, reflects a little bit of everything we did in our 27 years. We talk about our families, life on the road, the fans, the press, the managers and label, all our experiences. It sounds more direct; also, I spent some more time working on leads. Roy Z. was a great producer for this project, he´s an awesome musician, very active touring the world. In the studio he knew it all, the shortcuts, and secrets to make a heavy album, we are very happy with the result.

A question about “Kairos” and the meaning of it: there are three song-names which are numbers. “2011” “1433” “5772” “4648”
Are they years or other specific points in time and are there any specific meanings behind it?

They represent the different years in the different calendars that exists. Year 2011 is from the Christian calendar, 1433 from the Islamic, 5772 from the Hebrew and 4648 from the Chinese. Many cultures have a very different idea of time, we all live at the same moment but with different concepts. “Kairos” represents that; a concept of time that is not chronological, is just that special moment, the very present, now! We respect our past but we are not trapped there; we are here, now.

Integrating Eloy Cassagrande into the band seemed to happen quite easily; does this mean that he is just easy to come along with?
Yes, he is very young, at least 20 year difference to us, but he has quite some experience. He started playing drums at the age of seven, he won some really important drum contest, and he toured the world with Andre Mattos, former Angra singer. He is doing an amazing job. We will tour the whole year of 2012 and we have a lot to grow as a band. So far it´s amazing.

Is the back and forth game between you and Max about the reunion topic -with slightly changing answers- a pr-trick?
I try not to get involved in responding stuff though press, there´s no trick. I never really went away from any kind of questions and because Max was doing a whole campaign in the press for a reunion I had to answer many questions about that.

It must be really frustrating to be regularly bombarded by questions about the Cavaleras; does this badly get on your nerves?
No not really, they are a part of the Sepultura history and that´s normal.

Is there anything else that you are frequently asked about that gets on your nerves?

Is there something specific that happened to you in the last times considering your song writing? You seem to be playing like – here are a few quotes from and “Like he was 20 years younger” “hasn´t sounded this loose with his solos since the early 90´s” “had Kisser not shown up to lay down the leads, there would be nothing even remotely human about Kairos”
I don´t know, I always give 100% on everything I do and people react in many different ways. You´ll never know what to expect. They are just opinions and I respect them all, of course I don´t agree with all of them but anyone is allowed to express themselves. But this I don´t understand, remotely human? What that supposed to mean? … Hahaha.

Have you ever wondered if Derrick´s eyes would pop out of his head if he screamed loud enough?
Could be, he have an intensity in stage that is frightening, very strong and focused.

Somehow it sounds like the songs were at least partially tailored for Derrick´s vocals; was this actually the other way round and was this on purpose?
I think we are together for so long -he joined the band in 1998- that when I write a riff he comes with his attitude and screams. Then we find the words later but that first impression is the most important thing, it comes naturally.

How does a everyday day in your rehearsal place look like?
We spend some hours working the ideas, recording everything. We talk a lot about the concepts and directions. Then we jam.

Your early influences have already been discussed, but are there any new bands that you look up to?
I´m not much of a music listener, at least new stuff. I still listen to a lot of the old stuff, still finding amazing things in Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Clash, Purple or Sabbath, I love that stuff, so nothing really new.

You gained a lot of attention back in 2006 from animal right activists PETA for your video “Convicted in Life”. Derrick is Vegetarian. Are any of you guys members of PETA or a similar organisation?
I don´t know if Derrick is a member, but he has the same beliefs and he has been a vegetarian for a long time, more than 20 years I believe. I eat meat; it is part of my culture and diet since forever. I understand what goes around and what is necessary to have a steak on your plate, I wish we had better ways to deal with that.

Photo: Samira Alinto

In an interview we did with you in 2004, you said that Sepultura supports charitable actions like you did the cover of the Brazilian edition of “Roorback” in a soft back which was done by drug addicted street kids. Are you still involved in charity things? What are they and what are their actions? How do you support them?
Yes, we do whatever we can. We do shows or other actions to help charities in Brazil. Just before we came to Europe for this tour, we did a benefit concert for a children´s cancer hospital in the state of Sao Paulo, one guy takes care of about 100 children with all sorts of problems, and he approached Sepultura for a concert, as he knew our history on that matter. Also I was a guest waiter in a pizzeria for a night serving pizza along side many other musicians and artists to support a blood donation campaign.

If you could change anything in politics of Brazil what would it be?
Hard to say, politics are the same everywhere so to change something in Brazil you have to change elsewhere too. Finding a way to extinct money will be a good start.

You got an Anthrax tattoo. Are you the only one in your band with a band-tattoo? Would you ever consider getting a Sepultura tattoo? After all, the singer from Ektomorf has four Ektomorf-band-tattoos, so it´s not a completely new idea.
I have a Sepultura tattoo for a very long time. We had the tribal “S” done on the Arise album in 1992 and I was the first one to tattoo that. I did the Anthrax tattoo this year right after I did the two tours including the Big 4 dates. It was one of the best experiences in my life. I was very honoured to be a part of such an amazing band. I was treated with much respect and we had a blast. I only have to praise them and thank them.

Just for a moment: imagine the Maya calendar is “correct” and the world ends next year. How would you spend the remaining time?
I would not change anything in my behaviour, I see life as a gift, and I enjoy as much as I can, with music and my family, I will keep the same.

Thank you for the interview.
Thank you, see you next tour.

Ozzy Aikas

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