SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser was recently interviewed by the Luton, England radio station Radio Lab 97.1. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On the group's latest album, "Machine Messiah":
Andreas: "Usually, the latest album, it's always the favorite, because we put a lot of input and effort [and] we are touring for the album, but this is even more, because I think we achieved something new for SEPULTURA. I think the connection with [producer] Jens Bogren was perfect. He's a very detailed-type of producer. He mixed the album, [and] the sounds — he understood what SEPULTURA should be and how it should sound in an album like this. The suggestion to bring the violins from Tunisia was amazing. He connected so well with the stuff that we were doing. We really worked all the details. The first song of the album was very thought-about, to have an opening like 'Machine Messiah', an introduction to what's coming, but at the same time, [it] creates expectations — 'What's coming next?' We thought about all the movements to keep the listener hooked, and I think it worked. We were thinking about every little detail — the leads, the bass, the drums and vocals, the right word, the right pronunciation and everything. It was really very different from what we did in the past. Not that it's a bad thing, but we left too many things for this jamming spirit for the last minute. A lot of stuff [that] came out was really cool, and not that we didn't do it on 'Machine Messiah', because it's very important that you have the momentum there — 'I want to change this' or 'This is not working,' that kind of stuff — but I think we were much more prepared for 'Machine Messiah' technically, physically and mentally. It was not an easy album to do, and it's not an easy album to perform, so we really need to be on the top of our game to do it. We are enjoying a lot doing that — that challenge, that daily battle, which is keeping us very much alive and full of energy. It's great. We knew we wanted to do. The concept helped us really to focus on what we wanted to do, and choosing to go to Sweden to work, we could completely get away from the world and really focus 100 percent on the album, and that's not easy to do. We have families; we have the world going on, Donald Trump, football. [Laughs] Jens liked to work very early, which is something for me is very hard to do. 7 in the morning, he was already up to start working on guitars, and I had to prepare myself to do that. I don't want to get in conflict just because I don't want to wake up early. That's lame, and that's a mental preparation you have to do so your body's ready [and] you know you're going to be ready to face your challenges, like it or not. That's where you really step up and you go in a different level. You grow up as a person, as a musician, as a professional. I think we all were on that same mental level, and I think it shows on the album. We really made our best performance possible."
On the influence of MOTÖRHEAD, a group whose name inspired the SEPULTURA moniker:
Andreas: "It was a type of band that the punk scene liked and the rock and roll scene liked it. The late '70s with that punk revolution, it was kind of like a friction between punk and rock in the beginning, and in Brazil especially. MOTÖRHEAD was a band that everybody liked, because it was very fast, very raw, but at the same time, very rock and roll, with guitar leads, great changes, great drumming. I think MOTÖRHEAD's important in every aspect — the freedom of being whatever you can be, whatever you want to be. Lemmy [Kilmister] is almost like a saint now — a heavy metal, rock and roll god, because he inspired so many people, including ourselves, to really be free to do whatever you like, express yourself without fear and wear the clothes you want. He was always so true. We met Lemmy in '89, and people who met him before that and after that say he was always the same amazing guy — very down to earth, very respectful to everyone. We feel so privileged to do so many shows with MOTÖRHEAD and tours and to meet these guys and even calling, I wouldn't say a friend, but a guy I know and he knows me. [Laughs]"
On the current state of the Brazilian metal scene:
Andreas: "It's great. Metal was always big in Brazil, always strong. All the bands now, regardless of the size of the band, go through Brazil on a worldwide tour. It is part of the routing of every band, and that helped really to improve the scene. There's so many bands going on, [and] a lot of women as well. They're not scared anymore. We have a band called NERVOSA in Brazil. It's three girls, and they're doing an amazing job. They're really working very hard, and they deserve everything they're achieving right now. I have a radio show in Sao Paulo together with my son, and I see every type of band. It's amazing how creative the Brazilian can be, to mix so many different elements and melodies. A lot of bands sing in Portuguese, which was taboo in the SEPULTURA early days. At the time, people [were] really like, 'No, that sucks,' but now, you can see more and more bands using Portuguese as a way of expression. It's a scene that is growing, and it's very interesting. There are a lot of really great, interesting bands."
On whether he currently has a relationship with former SEPULTURA frontman Max Cavalera:
Andreas: "I have no relationship with him. I mean, we have business to do — we have a history, and we have reissues and albums and soundtracks for movies, whatever. There's a lot of stuff we're going to have to deal with together forever, but that's it. That's the relation we have, and since he left the band, he really didn't look back — I mean, he's always looking back [laughs], but not in that sense. I think people choose their path, their way, and I respect that. Hopefully he's happier than he was."
On his assessment of SEPULTURA's current lineup:
Andreas: "The strongest, man. By far. It's hard to judge and compare. Back in the '80s, Igor [Cavalera] created that kind of language — of course, influenced by Dave Lombardo, all those great drummers — but he is Brazilian, and naturally, he had the Brazilian groove, even though he's not a samba player or a lambada player or whatever. Brazilians have that kind of groove naturally. That's why it's important to have a Brazilian drummer always after Igor left the band. Even when we toured with Roy Mayorga, it was great because even though he's not Brazilian, he has Cuban and Ecuadorian blood, and that's very natural for him as well. It worked out great, in a different groove, but it was cool. I think we are very strong — Derrick's [Green] 20 years with us, better than ever; Eloy [Casagrande] is the best drummer in the world, by far. I respect every type of opinion, but it's really amazing the stuff that he's bringing to SEPULTURA. It seems that he can do the impossible, really. He's very metal; he's very professional; he's very full of energy, full of everything good. Very positive. And [things are currently] better because the stage was very sacred for SEPULTURA all the time. No managers, no label, no nothing. We were working — us, the musicians, raw, and that's it. But during those days, 'Roots' and 'Chaos [A.D.]', [it] was crazy. We didn't talk to each other — like, managers and lawyers. It was crazy. Nowadays, it's amazing — it's very peaceful, very organized. We have people working towards a goal, very professional. It shows — all the production and everything that we are achieving, relationship with record label, the fans and social media, everything. Everything is much more organized. Of course, that helps when we go to the studio and really do the best that we can, because we have everything prepared for that. In that sense, we are living our best moment, stage and off stage. It took a lot of work to get here, but it's a fantastic feeling. 34 years of our band, it's not easy to keep with all the changes — not only, vinyl, CD and vinyl again and download, Napster and Spotify. We went through all of this – changes which are still going on. It's like a huge transition phase. [We] don't know where we're going, but it's great to be here."
SEPULTURA is continuing to tour in support of "Machine Messiah", which was released in January 2017 via Nuclear Blast.