Soulfly - Marc Rizzo: Music is my religion
As I ventured down into Tilburg, I was very happy that I would meet Max Cavalera in the flesh to do an interview. Arriving at the venue 013, I was informed that Max was suffering from throat problems and wasn’t able to do any interviews at all. Bummer. Instead I got Marc Rizzo, an extremely polite and nice person if I do say so myself. I walked in the backstage where I found him playing his acoustic guitar, which he kept doing throughout the interview. I need to bootleg that shit! ;)
Max is a real religious person. Does that go for you too?
Uhm, I was born Catholic, and all that stuff. But I’d say that my religion is music. That’s a hot topic huh, religion. But mine is music.
That’s a great religion! But how is it that with such a religious frontman you’re operating in a genre where most people don’t really have an association with religion?
I don’t think that Max is trying to push people on religion, I think everything that he sings about is just positive. Positive lyrics. I don’t think he's trying to push Jesus Christ or god on you or anything. I think he’s just pushing positivity on people and good vibes and stuff, which to me, I’m all about that too. I don’t want to go to a show where people are preaching real negative things you know. I think there’s a lot of bands being negative just for the sake of being negative, because they’re just spoiled brats or something, I don’t know. I don’t think we’ve got a spoiled attitude, everyone’s real happy to be where we are, performing for the crowds. So I think lyrically Max is putting that out to people.
I read an interview with Max once where he called himself a riffing machine, and I think you’re about the same as well. How is it that you guys keep creating moshable bounce riffs? They don’t seem that hard when you see the tabs for it, but they always sound like jumping!
You think so? Well I think we are both on the same level on coming up with riffs, I like real busy technical riffs, but I also like things that groove too, and so does Max. Even back in like the Sepultura days, if you listen to the riffs there’s a lot of speedy fast parts yet there were always breakdowns in between to kind of break it up, so I think we’re both really into both styles of mixing the fast stuff with the bounce riffs. I think they’re both cool, I love death metal and I love hardcore, I like everything really.
How is it that all the Soulfly albums seem to have the same concept, but they’re workd out so completely different from each other? Musically I mean.
I think that’s just because that’s the vibe of Soulfly, it’s to mix world music with metal . Max’s Brazilian type of influences he grew up listening to, now that I joined that band I’m bringing in the flamenco technical guitar stuff. To me Soulfly has always been about doing something different, combining styles together. Pretty cutting edge I think.
So after five albums where do you think the position of Soulfly is now, in the metal scene?
It’s pretty cool I think, I’ve noticed since I joined the band that Soulfly has it’s own audience, it’s own crowd. It’s not too much on the hardcore side of things, but it’s neither too much on the death and thrash metal side. We’ve got our own little crowd that comes out to the shows, they’re basically the same type of crowd all around the world and they’re cool people.
The Soulfly tribe.
Yeah it really is! I never really realized how much a core audience Soulfly has until I joined. It really is a tribe man. I recognise people that are always there every show, front row, die hard and I’ve recognized that with any other band I’ve been in before. This band really truly has it’s own thing going on with the audience, some serious die hard fans. It’s cool. So the position of the band is pretty good I think. I think we’ll always have that core audience that’s always gonna come out, which is good.
Because it seemed that Soulfly had a pretty rough start with the first album. People had a hard time adjusting to the new direction Max had chosen.
Yeah I hear ya. It seems like it all has worked out and everyone’s still sticking by Max, so it’s cool.
So is the next album in the works already and can we expect the same line-up?
I think we expect the same line-up again, we haven’t really worked on anything yet, but you know, Max has got riffs, I’ve got riffs and I believe that at some point on this tour we’re gonna start working on some new stuff.
It’s a very long tour man.
Yeah it’s a very long tour ha, trust me. It’s like over sixty dates and we have no days off. We’ve had one day off so far and that’s it. The rest of the tour it’s just go.
Okay, why did Soulfly choose such underground places to record in, in countries like Turkey, Serbia etc?
That was basically just Max, once we were done with the record he goes and flies all over the world to find strange different weird instruments so he can put them on the record. Which is pretty unique because most bands pick up a synthesizer to create weird sounds, but Max actually goes to weird countries like Turkey and tries to find instruments that are from those countries that no one has ever heard about and incorporate it into the Soulfly sound. So it’s pretty unique you know, to go that far to do that.
Usually there’s like one or two vocalists of upcoming metal bands singing on every Soulfly album. But why are there no (famous) singers this time, except for Billy Milano?
Yeah we’ve got Billy Milano, there’s this kid called Paul from a band from Russia, he sings on that same song as well.
Yeah but that’s basically an underground singer.
Yeah. Uhm, well I don’t know, you’d have to ask Max about that. Basically when we were done with the record it was already set. It sounds awesome the way it is. We had a couple of other guests, we had Coyote and of course Max’s son Richie. So we had some guest vocalists but at the end of the day the record came out great. I don’t really think it needed anything more, I’m a 100% happy with it.
Yeah I think it’s the best album since the first one man.
Yeah exactly, me too!
So what do you do when you’re not on tour or writing/making music?
I’m home doing shows for my solo record. I have a solo record out which is like an instrumental shred flamenco type of stuff. So as soon as I get home I’m doing shows, I’m out on the road again. I do clinics, I did the Namm show recently for Peavey, it was awesome. Basically I’m just playing man, I’m doing everything that I normally would do. I just practise all day and then do a show. So when I’m home I’m doing a lot of shows so basically when I’m home I’m on tour again. And eventually I’ll be starting with my new record too, that’ll be coming out soon too.
But when you’re not busy with music..
When I’m not busy with music… I’m always busy with music. I don’t think a day goes by when I’m not busy.
This was a Max question too, but I’d like your opinion about it as well. How are your feelings about the fact that there (probably) never will be another Dynamo Open Air festival anymore?
It’s not? Didn’t they change name or something?
No, last year they had a not so good edition. There were like 5000 people in crappy weather, Obituary headlining, it was not a big success.
Oh wow that’s weird man, because that was like the biggest metal festival in Europe right? That’s too bad man, it sucks. I always heard of the Dynamo festival too you know, before I hit the road. So that’s too bad that they’d stop having it, I hope that eventually they’ll do it again.
I hope so too! Okay a completely ridiculous question then, in movies who do you prefer, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone?
Pfoeh, tough one. I don’t know I’d probably say…
Okay, I love al the old Rocky movies but I’d say I like the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies better only because of the fact that Conan the Barbarian is one of my favourite movies ever. We’ve actually been coming out on stage with this tour to the Conan soundtrack, yeah the part where the horsemen ride into Conan’s village to kill everyone, that’s our intro part.
Me and Max are like big fans of Conan the Barbarian, the first one, I love that, one of my all time favourites. So I’d have to say Arnold Schwarzenegger because of that movie.
All right! Thanks for that man, because lately I’ve been getting a lot of Sylvester fans.
Yeah he’s great too, but Conan the Barbarian is one of my all time favourite, I thought they could have made ten more of those.
They did two more huh, Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonja.
Yeah but those weren’t as good as the first part.
That were about all of my questions, do you have anything to add to this interview?
I just wanna say thank you to all the fans for coming out. The tour’s been great, every show has been sold out so far. I just wanna thank everyone for coming out, it’s been great.
Oh wait! One more little question, you seem to practise some kind of martial art; which one is it?
I don’t do martial arts, I box, I’ve done tournaments before at home in New Jersey, at the New Jersey Golden Gloves. Everything I do on stage is what I would do if I was in the moshpit. This is how I grew up in New Jersey and New York, going to shows all the time, hardcore shows. That’s how we slam dance out there, it’s not pushing, it’s spin-kicks, fists and stuff. It’s like a mixture of capoeira and kickboxing and stuff. I kickbox a little, I’m more into straight up boxing. I like the sparring and the tournaments when I’m home. What I do on stage, I’m just having fun.
Thank you too!
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