Former SEPULTURA Drummer IGOR CAVALERA Is 'Very Proud' Of 'Roots' Album: 'We Were Trying Things That Were Very Risky'
October 4, 2022
During an appearance on the "Brutally Delicious" podcast, original SEPULTURA drummer Igor Cavalera spoke about the influence his former band, in particular the classic 1996 album "Roots", has had on modern metal acts like GOJIRA. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We know the guys [in GOJIRA]. We are friends with them. I can just see a huge influence on things that we did. And I look at that as a very groundbreaking thing. Because at the time, I don't even remember this whole thing with metal bands going back to their roots. Even Norwegian bands doing Viking stuff, that wasn't a thing back then. Later that became, like, 'Oh, shit. We can look into our past and bring some of that stuff that it totally makes sense to the music that we do today.' And that's something that we did. And I find myself sometimes very, very proud of that. Because that's one of the legacies, I think, of 'Roots'.
"Some people look at 'Roots' as our biggest-selling record, which is fine, but I like to look at 'Roots' the other way around, where we were trying things that, at the time, they were very risky," he continued. "They were not the typical thing that every metal band was doing. We were pushing the limits of things that could go completely wrong. It was a risk at the time. We didn't know how it would work out. By doing the thing with the [Brazilian] Xavante tribe, recording with them and bringing all those elements, it could go completely wrong. We didn't know at the time. It was just we had this gut feeling that it was the correct thing to do. And to see a band like GOJIRA doing this nowadays, it totally relates to the work that we did 30 years ago… And we are a hundred percent very proud of it. Not only GOJIRA, but there's a lot of people going back to ideas… There's a lot of black metal bands nowadays that they do a lot of things with their roots, especially with the American Indian roots, and those things back then, they were not common. So I feel very proud of it, that we kind of launched this idea, and nowadays it kind of became a thing."
Last year, GOJIRA guitarist/vocalist Joseph Duplantier told Cuartel Del Metal that it was "a compliment" when people compare the band's song "Amazonia" to SEPULTURA's "Roots" album. "There is no shame here," he said. "And we ripped them off, but we didn't do it on purpose. But we realized it right after. We were, like, 'Oh, that sounds like SEPULTURA. Ahhh, whatever.' It's a tribute to SEPULTURA — how about that? It's about Brazil. It's about the Amazon. It's tribal."
"Roots", along with 1993's "Chaos A.D.", is considered SEPULTURA's most commercially successful release, having been certified gold in 2005 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for U.S. shipments in excess of 500,000 copies.
This past July, former SEPULTURA frontman Max Cavalera, who is Igor's brother, was asked by Pamela Calderón of Chile's iRock about the criticism from some of the SEPULTURA fans that the "Roots" LP was "not metal enough." Max said: "I don't think they gave the record a real chance. To me, 'Roots' is a very heavy record. I think some of the stuff like 'Straighthate', 'Spit', 'Ambush' and 'Endangered Species' was so frickin' heavy and it's fast and it's brutal. I think it's because it got tagged… It got really popular; it got trendy. Some people connected it with 'nu metal'. I don't think 'Roots' is a 'nu metal' record. In fact, I think it's very opposite — it's really kind of more caveman. It's simpler — downtuning but simpler riffs. Very heavy percussion."
He continued: "On its own, in its essence, to me, it's a special record for sure. I won't say it's my favorite 'cause that's like choosing your kids; it's not right. I don't wanna choose between SEPULTURA records; I like all. But to me, 'Roots' feels like… It's an idea. It was born at the right time. And it was just a crazy idea that I had in my mind, to record with Brazilian indians and to bring that to metal. And I think that was very ambitious and very courageous. 'Cause not many people do that with their career; not many people gamble everything and make a record with crazy ideas like that. 'Cause so much can go wrong. A lot of bands like to play it safe: 'We just make this record for the fans, and we're good.' And we're just not that kind of band. We like to push the envelope. We like to go forward. And we always never really tried to make the same record. To me, it was an exciting record."
Cavalera added: "I was heavily very passionate about the idea of the record — going to the tribe; using all the tribal elements, the percussion. The 'Brazilianity' of the record is incredible. And the record to me sounds amazing. The mix that Andy Wallace did is really, really great. The videos were really cool. The 'Attitude' video with the Gracies; the 'Roots Bloody Roots' video in Salvador; the 'Ratamahatta' [clip] with the dolls. Yeah, it was a phase in our life. It ended up being kind of crazy because it was the end of my run with SEPULTURA. But I'm proud of this record. And it's a big record. Many famous people like this record a lot, like Dave Grohl, and so many people like that. The SLIPKNOT guys, they love 'Roots'.
"I understand some of the old-school metalheads; they just want 'Arise'. They want me to play 'Arise' for my whole life — just keep doing 'Arise', 'Arise', 'Arise' all the time," Max said. "['Arise' and 'Beneath The Remains'] are great, but there's different stuff you can do. 'Chaos A.D.' is great. 'Roots' is great. I wouldn't change it for anything. It was the record we wanted to make at that time. And I think now that I'm actually practicing to play it live [for an upcoming tour], I understand 'Roots' more now than before. And I think it's a very complex record; it's a very strange record that's very unorthodox and very cool to listen to. If you listen to the whole record, it has some very different dynamics that's really, really great."
In 1996, Max exited SEPULTURA after the rest of the band split with Max's wife Gloria as their manager.
Igor left SEPULTURA in June 2006 due to "artistic differences." His departure from the band came five months after he announced that he was taking a break from SEPULTURA's touring activities to spend time with his second wife and their son (who was born in January 2006).
The current SEPULTURA lineup — featuring guitarist Andreas Kisser and bassist Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. alongside Derrick Green on vocals and Eloy Casagrande on drums — released its latest studio album, "Quadra", in February 2020 via Nuclear Blast.
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