Metal pioneers Soulfly are four dates into their mammoth European tour and Room Thirteen dropped in on front man Max Cavalera (MC) at his hotel before the bands sold out show at Manchester Academy2.

Max CavaleraC: My voice is a little rough, it started to go last night, 3 days into the tour!
R13: So has it been good so far are you wishing you'd stayed at home?
MC: No it's been great, all the shows have been sold out, tonight is sold out as well, the fans have been great. Ireland was great, I've never been there with Soulfly before, I was there with Sepultura. Ireland was the first date but all of them have been great, we're really excited and now we're starting to get better because we didn't practice, we just jumped straight into the tour.

R13: Is it good to be back in the UK? When was the last time you were here?
MC: Last time I was here was for the Kerrang Awards last year but actually playing it's been along time. Last time we were in Europe we did all the festivals, Scandanavia and Germany.
R13: You played Download in 2004 didn't you?
MC: Yeah that was the last time we were here, so it's been a longer period than normal and I'm very excited to be back.

R13: I was looking at your list of tour dates and it's a massive tour, something like 56 dates?!
MC: The slave driver tour!
R13: The last 26 are consecutive, you haven't got a day off! How do you manage to keep up that kind of schedule?
MC: Actually it's just the beginning where it's like this. Every tour, the first dates is where some of the other guys get neck ache from head banging but once you get into the rhythm of it then it's actually easier than if you do a couple of one off shows. It's amazing, I mean 26 shows is hard I know and on the first day off everyone will be kissing their bed but you get into the rhythm and it's more important that the shows are good, that the crowd is good and that really is the spirit of it. Also the tour bus, we have a lot of easy going guys, the crew and the band all know each other so it's a lot of fun.

R13: So this tour is in support of your 'Dark Ages' album, which is your fifth in seven years
MC:I'm counting the years but not the number of records haha
R13: During that time you've had ten band members, does that help keep it fresh or is it a hindrance because you can't achieve any kind of cohesiveness?
MC: It's actually exciting, it's not really planned like that, you know I did the band thing for a long time and I wasn't really looking for going back to that. It does help to keep the music fresh, I mean when Marc came into the band for 'Prophecy' he brought that new blood excitement to the band, which we wouldn't have had if we'd kept the same guitar player. There are negatives and positives to it but you just channel the positives, when I look at the albums by themselves I think they are more original because they are done like that, they are different records, different songs and as a musician it's more exciting than having the same old record going on and on.

R13: I read you described yourself as a metal scientist, which amused me, but in that respect are you happy with the records you make when you look back on them or do you take them as a snapshot of what was happening at that time?
MC:Yeah there's been a couple of mistakes, album covers that I should have done differently. The music is generally pretty good and the proof of that is the fans you know? Contrary to what the media says or what Rolling Stone magazine says, if your fans don't like it they're going to say, so when I play an old song and everyone sings along it's great.

R13: The last couple of albums have seen you as producer as well, is that something that's important to you, to retain that control?
MC: It was important that when the time came to do that because when I first did it with Soulfly three many people had different ideas about what direction it should go in, so I decided to take charge of the production in order to maintain the music and then Prophecy was the next one I produced and a lot of people like it, I like it myself, very cool, it's very exciting. I hate to produce albums though but I do it for Soulfly! Other bands ask me to produce their albums and I won't produce their albums, I don't like studios, I don't like coffee and I don't like cigarettes and I don't like a close environment! I only do it for Soulfly.

R13: Do you ever take inspiration from other bands? The reason I ask being that in the list of covers you've done there are a couple of Discharge songs for instance.
MC: Oh yeah big time, usually in the nick names of songs when we're writing, you know we'll have a song called the Discharge song if it sounds like them. When I did Nailbomb with Alex we managed to rip off a lot of our favourite artists, that wasn't like influenced, we ripped them off! We took the riff and put them in, I mean Nailbomb wasn't going anywhere anyway, it was the ultimate punk thing, Nailbomb doesn't give a fuck, so even if we get busted we can say well we're not in Nailbomb anymore! So we pretty much ripped off a lot of Discharge on that record, a lot of Motorhead, a lot of Big Black from Alex's side and some Sonic Youth. There is one song that is a Discharge riff, they probably could make some money out of us!

R13: You've recently been involved in the Roadrunner United project, how did you find that? Was it good or a little bit weird?
MC: It wasn't weird but I didn't have much to do with it other than my vocals. They asked me if I wanted to be a captain but I had to say no. I told them if I'm the captain then you'll never see the tapes again! I'll go down the street one day and I'll forget them in a corner in a bar somewhere so you really don't want me to be a captain. It was really quick, it was cool but in general I haven't really heard the whole record yet so I can't say. I really enjoyed doing just the vocals, the same way that I did the Dave Grohl project, Probot, which was similar you know, he sends me the tapes and it's all done, Roadrunner send me the song and it's all there, I don't have to do anything and it takes me 2 hours of the day to do the whole thing. So in that sense it was fun to do and all the fans I know who've heard it like it so it's cool.

R13: Is there a long term plan for Soulfly? Do you ever sit back and think there's a stage you'd like to be at in five years time?
MC: No, I take one day at a time, I don't even know where we're going to be next week, you know more than me! I just go along but in general musically I have things in mind for the next album but I don't really have a plan. Some people plan their career really well but I don't do that shit.
R13: Is there anything you want to achieve yet that you haven't in terms of the music?
MC: Well Rod Stewart said one time that he did a tour of soccer stadiums and I was really jealous of that!
R13: Yeah that would be good
MC: That's great! Being from Brazil and loving football, to play a whole tour of stadiums, I think then I could retire happy.

R13: You're touring with Skindred at the moment, did you pick them as support band?
MC: Personally I didn't, they were referred to us and we found there was a chance they could do it plus I know Benji and he's really good guy. Also I heard that they are a good band and they would appeal to the fans, you know two bands where the fans would probably like both bands so I'm very happy with that. The rest of the tour we're going to have local bands playing with us, which is normally the case. We don't really take another band all over Europe so it's really cool, I'm really excited.

R13: You've already mentioned Nailbomb but looking back on it now do you think that was an important factor in helping you realise that you could make it outside of Sepultura?
MC: I can't believe how popular that thing got you know, when we first made it it wasn't fit for human consumption! I'd joke that we're making songs that aren't fit for human consumption and we're proud of it! Gloria was really the mastermind, she said I'm going to get you guys a record deal and we're like nah no way but she did! With Nailbomb we never gave a fuck, we wrote the songs we wanted and it's a surprise to me over the years how legendary it got, the cult following it. A lot of people do side projects and a lot of them don't really do that good, Nailbomb survived really bizarrely! Some people ask us to do more stuff or even take it on tour but we killed it, we promised we would. We have a DVD that's been made, which I'm very happy to have as a lot of it was made in the studio. Again there's a bizarre story around that, a friend of ours, his house caught on fire and the whole house burned and he got 80% burns, we don't know how he didn't die but the tapes survived! So we have to explain to the fans when they're watching it that you're not supposed to be watching this right now because the whole place burned to the ground but the tapes survived, he survived and that's a miracle, it's Nailbomb, it's bizarre, like weird shit happening. If we were a real band we'd probably have a plane crash!
R13: Yeah but you'd survive!
MC: Yeah, I'm glad the fans like it and the DVD is going to be really cool because you'll really get to see how Nailbomb was made, which is very different from anything else you can imagine.

R13: You've got your own signature guitar now, the ESP with the Brazilian flag
MC: Actually it's been like that for a while now, should probably do something different!
R13: How did that feel when you first got it? It's quite a big mark of where you're at in terms of your status.
MC: It's exciting but I take the strings off and only have four strings, one volume knob and most guitar players want to have eight knobs and seven strings you know! When it first happened the company called and I was telling the guy this and he was like, why? Why do you want to take the strings off? I'm sure that some of the parents who get it for their kids take it back and say "you sold me a broken guitar!" or some shit like that!
MC:ESP is a really cool company, they're cool company and I'm probably the most anti guitar person on the whole company, everybody else is like a real virtuoso and I'm the black sheep!

R13: You've been in the business for a long time now so does it bother you what people think about the music you make or are you at the stage where as long as the fans are still digging it that's all that matters?
MC: I try not to worry too much, I mean with our second record, our first full length we were accused of selling out because we made a full record, not because of the style of music but because we went from the EP format to a full length and to some death metal fans we had sold out! Even though the album is completely out of tune and it's probably the most punk rock, death metal record ever made! At that point I realised I can't let them interfere, you just got to believe and keep doing it, you're going to read shit and hear shit but you have to follow your heart. Of course it sucks, especially when people have a lot of power and they go after you to destroy you, it's happened before when people gave me a zero. The fans know what they like and they won't be swayed by what magazines write. Both things irritate me, when they talk shit but when they talk too good that's not good either! I can't believe how far we got, especially me with this kind of voice, for me it's more than I ever thought, singing the way I sing, there are a million guys that sing ten times better. I'm just pleased, I have great people working for me so you cannot let those other people influence you. One thing I did was to ask Gloria for the really bad shitty reviews so I could read them before the show and do a super pissed off show! That worked for a while, I'd be feeling really happy and then I'd read those reviews and I'm like yeah I'm ready, bring the shit down! I'm learning that the biggest failure is to try and please everybody so it's better just to not please everybody and to do what you like and what you believe in and if you're cool with that then you'll get through the bad shit that people say.

R13: Any festivals lined up over here yet? Any rumours?
MC: I'm sure they're going to start coming up, especially as we tour, I hope so as we want to be on the road this whole year. I'm not ready to make another album yet so we want to come back for festivals, with better weather although this is good for me, there's too much sun in Arizona.
R13: You don't know how sickening that is for me to hear!
R13: Well thanks for your time and good luck with the tour.
MC: It's a pleasure man.

Soulfly continue their sold out UK tour and if you weren't lucky enough to get a ticket this time around watch this space for possible festival appearances.