SEPULTURA Guitarist: 'Robotics Are Not Helping Us Develop Our Intellect'
July 8, 2017
Sebastiano Mereu of From Hero To Zero recently conducted an interview with SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser. You can watch the full interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how technological advances have changed the approach of musicians today versus the '80s:
Andreas: "I think technology, especially in music, opened a lot of new possibilities for bands and musicians. You can do your whole album in your backyard of your house because of all the recording programs like Pro Tools and all the edits, everything is so quick. All of the sudden you don't need thousands [of dollars worth of] equipment like tape, which was very expensive. Of course, the sound is always going to be a battle if technology really got to that point where you cannot really feel the difference. But we still use tape, at least to record drums, then we throw it into the computer. Vocals and guitars are overdubbed; it's perfect like that. Album sales and everything, like downloads, it changed the whole world. For one side, it's very negative because us artists, it's been very hard to fight for our rights, our composer rights, which was very controlled in the past. We could filter it into a few outlets and stuff. On the other hand, there's much more freedom, actually, to expose your art anywhere. You post something at my house in São Paulo and in 30 seconds everyone knows around the world, at least the people who are following me and know about SEPULTURA. I think [the band's new album] 'Machine Messiah' talks about that. That 'balance,' not to lose that human ability of talking to each other and looking to each other and have a more natural relationship with nature itself. 'Machine Messiah' deals with that, what we see today. We travel so much around the world. We've been to 76 countries in 33 years, [and we've witnessed] every type of religion, politics, democracies, dictatorships, and we see how technology changes and how influential it is in different countries. It's what we see today. It's not a futuristic idea of a sci-fi movie or something. It's what we see today. It's great because anyone can relate to it, especially the younger [generation] because that's where they are. We have to deal with that. I have my smart phone right here waiting. With 'Machine Messiah', we try to find this balance, not to lose our human ability and not give everything to robots, to robotics and expect the robots to resolve everything for us. It's almost like a type of religion that you have a 'messiah.' Then we come and resolve all of your problems. You still have to be human and you still have to interact with things and know your limitations and defects in order to grow. It's great to see, in another point about technology, to see the vinyl coming back, which is very family-oriented. [Laughs] My son still listens to vinyl and it is passing through generations. It's a very healthy thing. People go into the vinyl shops and really spend some time there and maybe they make some new friends and talk to the guy who sells the album, create a relationship there, which is so rich. I think this is a very positive thing while everything is roboticized. Music and art, again, shows that there's still some human feelings around."
On musicians using backing tracks while performing live:
Andreas: "This is nothing new, actually. It depends on the purpose of everything. Just to go onstage and just dub everything, like not really singing and having that room to grow because the stage is where everything happens. We use samples to play the violins that we use on our album and some other stuff like the Hammond organ on an instrumental song. But at the same time, I put an acoustic guitar onstage and play it and have more room and interaction. Again, it's something that you have to find a balance [with]. We're not against robotics. It's a fact that it's here. It's very helpful in many aspects and respects, but at the same time, we should be developing our intellect, our connection with nature. There's so many frequencies and feelings that people don't know how to put names on it. Religion comes with some options about how we should relate with those frequencies and the spirits, whatever names [they are]. [Laughs] Meditation, you have some type of a connection, not only with the people you know or your community, but a much broader connection with nature and the universe. This is something we should be developing. We would lose this division in nations, like A-to-Z, capitalism and communism, religions that are so divided. It's like an astronaut seeing the planet third from the moon. It's like a little ball. [Laughs] It changes your whole perspective. People here are fighting for stupid reasons. In that respect, I think robotics are not helping us to develop our own intellect. I think we should deal with that in a much more internal [manner], intrinsic, it's something inside that we have to develop. We all have that. Somehow, technology is just trying to keep that sleeping."
On why SEPULTURA recorded "Machine Messiah" with renowned Swedish producer Jens Borgen:
Andreas: "He's the one we chose to work with. Derrick [Green, vocals] suggested his name because of his ability to create and to seek for the best sounds and that ability of a producer not to change too much the [sound of a] band. He worked with MOONSPELL, with KREATOR, with OPETH, with ANGRA, our friends from Brazil, and every album you see the respectful characteristics of the band and it's very good sounding. He's young as well; we consider ourselves still young in that respect. [Laughs] We met him on the road while touring. We were going through Sweden and near Örebro, which is the town where he lives. We had breakfast together at a truck stop and the connection there was amazing. The chemistry, he was really excited to work with us, like we were as well, to have somebody new and to see SEPULTURA and to bring new elements to SEPULTURA. We went to Sweden because all his structure is there. We recorded drums in Stockholm, then we went to Örebro to do everything: guitars, bass, vocals, the acoustics, and even violins, which was a suggestion from Jens. We needed somebody there that is like the fifth member of the band in the studio, bringing every possible idea and possibility and great energy, great sense of humor. He was so professional. It was perfect. I think the album sounds what we wanted it to sound like. I think Jens also, he's very pleased with that mixture that we brought SEPULTURA and his abilities [together] to create 'Machine Messiah'. It was great. That's why we brought somebody different, to change. We did Ross Robinson, we did Andy Wallace, Steve Evetts, Scott Burns and Roy Z, so many great guys who brought amazing things to SEPULTURA. It's like building, always trying to take this music to a different place. It's great because it has been very well-received. We're playing a lot of new songs in the setlist, which is something that for a long-time, we didn't have that possibility. It's awesome. It's a great time for us."
"Machine Messiah" was released on January 13 via Nuclear Blast. The disc was produced by the band and Bogren of Fascination Street Studios in Örebro, Sweden. The CD's cover artwork was created by Filipino artist Camille Della Rosa.