KILLER BE KILLED – Short and sweet
Fast friends Max Cavalera (Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy) and Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan) spent a marathon three-day session in the desert together, working up over a dozen demos with the same drum machine and four-track recorder Max had used to work on Sepultura’s Chaos A.D., among others. After recruiting drummer Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) and bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders (Mastodon), Killer Be Killed became a real band in a small rehearsal room.
Following a batch of practices in Orange County in early 2013, the four guys reassembled at The Fortress in the fall under the watchful eye of producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God, Gojira, Steve Earle) and collaborated on their debut album, with Cavalera, Sanders and Puciato bouncing lyrics and song titles off each other right there. The end result should inspire other heavy music makers to collaborate more often, in the community-minded spirit of jazz, hip-hop and other genres.
Max is no stranger to collaborations, of course, having invited multiple guests onto Sepultura’s genre-defining Roots and continued the tradition with the release of Soulfly’s gold-selling debut album in 1998. One such Soulfly guest, Chino Moreno, has often joined Puciato onstage with both The Dillinger Escape Plan and Deftones. Max was one-half of the incendiary Nailbomb, together with English record producer and Fudge Tunnel mastermind Alex Newport. The pair released one studio album in 1993 and performed a blistering set at the Dynamo Festival in 1995.
Killer Be Killed began when Max and Greg ran into each other at a Los Angeles benefit show for Chi Cheng, the late Deftones bassist who spent years in a semi-conscious state following a 2008 car accident. Puciato and Cavalera were guest performers at one of the benefits put on to raise money for medical expenses.
As the release day is getting closer, Eternal Terror journalist Andrea Chirulescu got a chance for a short chat with Max and the transcription of the dialogue can be read below.
Hi Max and thanks a lot for taking your time for this interview. One of the first things I wanted to ask you was, if we think that in each of the projects you have been involved so far, you showed the listener a certain aspect of your personality that was involved at the time of composition/recording those songs, which part of Max are we going to encounter in "Killer be Killed"?
You will mainly meet me in the riffs on this album as I wrote 80% of the riffs. I was also involved in few of the choruses too, like for example on I.E.D. and Curb Crusher. These are songs in which you will encounter the ‘Max’ kind of chorus, like in Soulfly or Sepultura, a catchy kind of chorus that the crowd sings along. Apart from that, I can mainly say that it was so great to share this experience with such great guys as Troy, Greg and Dave, all being musicians from killer bands that I really love. It was an honor to collaborate with them, but also great fun. Besides, we worked in a very united way, together for one goal. There were no egos involved, no rockstar shit, nobody was fighting for a place in the spotlight and our main objective was to make the best possible record. With such great people, this cannot go wrong. There’s too much cool stuff going on.
Wow, you just answered my next 3 questions with your comment. That’s great and I am happy you are so excited about the project. Let’s jump to the fourth question then: what is the main ingredient needed for such a collaboration to be successful, considering that everyone is comeing from a background with a lot of fame with their other bands?
When you enter such a project, you cannot walk in with your nose high and the attitude of a too important person. If you start like that, everything would just go bad and the project would have no future. But we all scame in very humble and with no more expectations than ‘what you got is what you get’. PBesides that, it it helping all of us involved, because you will have some fans that for example, will listen to the project because ‘Hey, Max is playing’, but those fans never heard of Mastodon. But because of this project they also get to hear about Mastodon, or about The Dillinger Escape Plan or The Mars Volta. Apart from that, it requires very much hard work and we were always under a lot of pressure. We’ve been talking about this project for about three years, and we knew it was going to be cool because everyone involved is very skilled, so now we are really excited to finally have it released. Especially since we all gave the best of ourselves on this album. It was amazing to see Troy working, and the same with Greg. He did the chorus for ‘Wings’ for example and when I watched them at work, I knew everybody was reaching out for new heights.
This sounds very exciting, indeed. I can’t wait to hear the full final result. So far I only heard the two songs available on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJE_V3QACRk
Oh, it leaked all over the place by now. It really sucks, but it’s not much you can do about it. It’s a way of the world, you know.
Let’s get back to this a bit later. But for now, can you tell me if you have planned any shows so far?
We have suggestions to do something next year. We will have to get everybody together and find a time during which none of us books anything. This is the only chance for us to play live. It’s like we did with the recording. We said it’s gonna be in September, so nobody booked anything else for September and we dedicated the time to this project. We’ll have to find again, maybe two months like this, if we want to have live shows. Then we will have to see how we split few weeks in America, few festival and/or few weeks in Europe, maybe South America and Australia. But this material certainly deserves to be played live. We already made a video for ‘Wings’, which is not a live recording, but it uses playback and still the energy between us is huge during the whole the recording. So we’re gonna try really hard to play live shows, since it’s a small world afterall.
If we go back to the piracy subject. You’ve seen the evolution of the industry, from the day when people were buying casettes and vinyls, then CDs, then DVDs, and now they stream online and download songs. What’s your personal opinion on this evolution?
It’s not much you can do about it. You pretty much have to adapt to these changes or you are out of the game. Back in my days we were slling tapes, collecting demo tapes and so on. But today it’s a whole new world in which you have all these new possibilities to hear new music on your computer, but that also affect the artists. You cannot rely like before on album sales and you have to try to have a lot of merchandise to sell at your shows and hope that people would come to the concerts. But yes, all in all this is a nerverending battle and in the end I am really happy to see those people who choose to not sit on their asses in front of the TV all the time, but decide to go out and attend concerts instead.
So, would you say that the main interest today is in the live shows, rather than in buying the actual albums or releases?
Actually this is what we have in mind when we do music today, as CD sales is really going down. But I love writing music that sounds good live and that’s another reason it was great to make an album as excellent like ‘Killer be Killed’.
Ok, I know you have other interviews coming up, so thanks again for your time and for answering my questions. Lots of luck with the project
Thank you. I am actually going to work on vocals for the new Cavalera album. It was nice talking to you.