SEPULTURA Guitarist: 'We Want Robotics To Help Us Enhance Our Abilities As Humans, Not The Opposite'
January 17, 2017
Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with guitarist Andreas Kisser of Brazilian/American metallers SEPULTURA. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: On paper, it looks like this album ["Machine Messiah"] has taken the longest in terms of the gap from the last one, but as you said, it didn't really take you that long. It was just a matter of you touring more.
Andreas: "Yeah, because the first plan was to have an album out in October 2016. That's why we recorded it in May and June. In the beginning of July, everything was ready, mixed and mastered, with the cover artwork chosen and everything. So, we were ready for an October release, but Nuclear Blast decided to postpone and wait until January 2017, which I think was a good choice for us to give a little more room. We toured without stopping for three years and then went into the studio, so we took more time to relax a little bit, and also to play more in Brazil, certain cities that we didn't have the time or chance to visit in the last three years. It was cool for us to keep playing on stage but at the same time being near home and family. It was a good time to recharge our family batteries, if you can put it that way. [Laughs]"
Metal Assault: When I hear the title "Machine Messiah", to me it maybe signifies the fact that the human being is a slave to the machines now. Do you feel that as well, with technology ruling us? We depend on it for everything. Even to get from Point A to Point B, we need navigation.
Andreas: "[Laughs] It's true, man. It is the point that we are making on this album. Where is that balance between being human and having the robots as part of our lives? People are getting lazy, because robots in a sense are doing stuff for us, and not really helping us develop ourselves as better human beings. They're not letting us increase our capability to use our brain in a much more active way, connected to nature. So, it's not a sci-fi futuristic idea, as you said. Everything is here now, with what we see in smartphones, GPS, Google glasses, chips under your skin, etc. Even in the concerts, you see most of the people filming and using their phones and losing the moment of being there, to interact with the band and friends. We try to make another wake-up call with this one. Let's pay attention where we're going with this, how healthy and how positive is the robotic intervention in our daily life. It is affecting everybody, regardless of culture or the place you live. It's something that we deal with today and it's not a consequence of an imaginary situation. It's the reality."
Metal Assault: I agree with that. Although, having said that, we wouldn't be talking right now if it wasn't for Skype. But there should be a balance.
Andreas: "[Laughs] That's true. But yeah, it's inevitable. Robots have been part of our lives for far long, more than hundred years I would say, starting with the industrial revolution. Our last album, 'The Mediator Between The Head And The Hands Must Be The Heart', was very much influenced by the movie 'Metropolis', and we touched on the same subject: don't lose your heart, don't lose your human ability to question, provoke and to say No! A robot receives information in its head and acts accordingly without questioning. We shouldn't be a robotic entity. [Laughs] We should be humans, be ourselves and have the ability to create our point of view. 'Machine Messiah' goes a little further than that, and talks about how or when is this balance healthy or bad for us. We don't want to be slaves. We want robotics to help us enhance our abilities as humans, and not the opposite.
Metal Assault: Talking of the music itself, I feel that it has the classic SEPULTURA vibe but also a modern touch to it, which is very relevant for the year 2016-17, and it also fits the lyrics. Would you say that the music was written according to the lyrical concept?
Andreas: "Very early in the writing process, I had the name 'Machine Messiah' already. It was there from the beginning. When we were putting together the first riffs, drum loops and the first demos, and going to the practice room to develop the songs, we already had the name and the concept to talk about robotics. Another approach that helped a lot to build every song and to build this concept of the album was to write as if we were writing only for vinyl, thinking about the opening of Side A and Side B, which songs should close Side A, etc. That kind of stuff was so important in the early days. When we wrote albums like 'Schizophrenia', 'Beneath The Remains' and 'Arise', we had 8-9 songs and we could build an album with those limitations. That also helped us to really give a real special identity to each song, because they bear a specific track position on the album. It gave a really strong characteristic to each one of them. That's what we tried to do on 'Machine Messiah' as well."
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