By Anya Whitlock
Sepultura are heading to New Zealand to play one show at The Studio in Auckland on Wednesday October 1st. Anya Whitlock caught up with the band's frontman Derrick Green ahead of the show and discussed all aspects of Sepultura.
Tell me a bit about your tour to New Zealand, you've been here before so what are you looking forward to the most on this trip?
Definitely playing... Playing to the people in NZ again. A lot of new material and old stuff ya know really strong set lists, the history of Sepultura really. I'm also really looking forward to taking photographs. The last time I was there I wasn't into photography as much as I am now. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to have some photos in my collection from NZ.
How do you find the Kiwi crowds to play to?
From what I remember it was very intense, passionate and you could feel the love of the music that they have. It definitely has that desire and want being further off the usual circuits and that's mutual for the artist as well as the crowd.
On the crowds Sepultura fans are often the epitome of ‘Die Hard' fan. Is that level of passion and dedication ever intimidating?
Um... Naaa I mean it's really such a lifestyle of and understanding with the community and crowd we attract, I think we can see a bit of ourselves in every person I think when you have the ability to communicate in different ways other than the typical way of speaking- with music and art I think when you have that communication that it's something you can feel with many people around. No matter what culture or the amount of money you have or what race I think it breaks through so many barriers. There is this very natural communication that you have when meeting people who understand what your talking about or at least make their own interpretations you know? They've been listening or their interested so it's great to see different places but still have the same feeling when meeting different people around the world.
Heavy Metal music can often be just that...Very heavy and dark. I know great beauty and wonder can spring from these places but it can also be very tempting to go further and further into them. In your experience how do you balance this having a career that is greatly involved with areas of the human experience that most people would fear to explore and pursue?
I think you definitely have to have a very good sense of humour and not take everything so seriously because you're right. There are times when people can dive very deep into something that is emotional or tragic and get stuck there. I think what's really good is to have really good people around you. Very positive people. Even better if you have family that are close that can weigh out those emotions. I think it's healthy to experience those emotions but it is a balancing act. When you have proper people and proper energy and mind set it's possible to balance it out. When you go into writing mode and you go into those dark places that are intense places it's not necessarily bad, it's just something that's very strong and not something that people like to be in. Its kind of transferring that energy or information into a song. That's something that takes a lot out of you but at the end of the recording process and we're done I definitely need a vacation or the complete opposite of what I've been doing. I like to be around people that are completely opposite of what I've been doing too. I think this really helps me from going too far into the negative side. But I don't know really if I see it so much as a negative I think for me it's just really great to be able to express it as it's really human to have these feeling and emotions.
How do you take care of your ‘Cookie Monster' voice?
The key is pushing a lot of air from your stomach and not using the throat as the power source. I learnt this a long time ago from music lessons and learning how to breathe. I don't drink any alcohol before a show or smoke. I'm very careful with speaking after the show, conversing too much or being around a lot of smoke. I warm up before and after the show and stay away from acidic type stuff and sweet stuff... I don't know it just these little things I've learned along the way and it's really helped me to preserve my voice. I've never used anything- When I started people told me "Don't use anything like sprays because your going to get addicted to it and you won't realise when your voice is hurt because your coating it with so much stuff" So I never got into anything. I have tea before a show and after.
I'm sure your die-hard Sepultura fans would love to know about that... "I'll just have a wee cuppa tea"
Ha ha ha absolutely!
Your most recent album "The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart" has been very well received and it would be great to hear a bit about the process. What ingredients came together to make it so special?
It was really amazing. There have been many albums I have recorded with Sepultura and studio moments that I've had and this was definitely extremely special. Just for the fact that it's been a long time that we've recorded in the US and I haven't lived in the States for 17 years and it was great to have that environment again. We recorded the album in Venice Beach, literally on the boardwalk so we could hear the sound of the ocean at night and staying in the studio at Ross Robinson's house. He was the producer and he recorded the Roots album which was the most successful album as far as sales in Sepultura history. It was great to be with him for my first time and he's a very passionate person to work with, he's an incredible producer and has worked with so many different bands that I admire. So I was looking forward to hear his ideas and thoughts with the vocals and the thing that is really intense about Ross is that he is able to go in; with the band all together and unite the band and bring them to an understanding of why we're all in the studio at that moment and he becomes a big part of the process of making something that is extremely real, not holding back... 100%.... Just doing things that you wouldn't imagine yourself doing and at the end of the day when you hear it you'll sit back and not believe that you created this. But you create it with a group of people that are your friends and colleagues and so it's something that is extremely special and everyone feel very proud of it at the end of the day.
This was something that was really intense along with recording for the first time with our drummer Eloy Casagrande. He's been playing with us, touring with us and it was his first opportunity to be in the studio together and this was incredible. He started in the band when he was 19 years old and he's 22 now. He's probably one of the top drummers in the world at this moment. Just his ability to play so many different styles and his knowledge already is so high, so strong and so confident. He's only going to do much better in the future and his intensity level of playing is unreal. I think it brought back a lot of energy that I remember when I was just starting. That passion: not thinking about being perfect but just playing with your heart. I think he really brought that in and it showed in the recording. A lot of these elements influenced us to dig deeper and find something that was really creative and I believe we were able to do that as a band.
The title is very poignant for this time... How did you arrive at it?
Andreas Kisser the guitarist and I often have a lot of deep conversations, sometimes completely ludicrous but I think from touring and everything we're really open minded to a lot of different things. It's a good combination so we were talking about certain books that we've read or certain movies. He was talking about a movie Metropolis and the very first thing that you see is this phrase and the movie kind of struck something inside him. Wow this is exactly how we're living; it's a phrase that really suits the times. It's really necessary. And so we felt that we were at a stage where we cannot be so afraid of trying a new title. We've never had a title this long and there are not many bands that do. But we're in the south of the world we're kind of isolated at times so I think this is really a good thing at times we were thinking of things outside of the box. We're not afraid to try that either because I think we're at a time period of phase where there is no holding back ya know? We need to expand and try different ideas. The idea came from the fact that we live in such a robotic society and that humanity... In order to maintain that humanity it's really important that the heart is the guidance of your passions or what you're doing. It's great to have an understanding of why you're doing certain things and the passion behind it.
I'm very curious about your side project Maximum Hedrum. Can you tell me a bit about it and will you bring it to NZ?
It started with a friend of mine Sam Spiegel, he's in LA, originally from NYC but he lives in LA and he's a producer/ songwriter and I'd seen other projects he's done. One called NASA (North America South America) and he works with another DJ from Brazil. I met him in Brazil through friends and I told him that I get asked a lot of the time to do vocals on certain projects and it's usually Metal projects and for me it's not so interesting coz I'm already in a Metal band. For me it was more interesting to do things where I could really sing because I've never done any projects where I could really sing and I've been singing my whole life. I started with choirs and classical music and people had never really heard me sing. For me it was interesting to work on some projects that he had already started and some ideas he had. We ended up hooking up together and doing some songs at a studio in Brazil and it expanded from that by adding other people into the writing process that he was already friends with. A guy called Harold Faltermeyer was part of the writing process. He's an old school composer from the 80s and 90s and responsible for lots of soundtracks. He even wrote Axel F from Beverly Hills Cop "Do-do do do do do-do".
It was really cool to combine with so many different people who were working in different styles of music so we expanded it. We had one song with George Clinton the Grandfather of Funk. We had one song where we sang together and it was licensed out to Blackberry Europe and from there we used the money to finance the band and to write more songs. We're going re-release everything at the end of the year and then we'll start touring. At the end of the year booking shows and playing more with a live band. Right now we have Fredo Ortis he's the drummer that used to play in Beastie Boys. Our base player Ashley who is amazing. We're slowly putting things back together because we released some stuff and we weren't really sure of the direction it was going but now under new management and everything we're definitely more in tune with where we want to go with it. Hopefully we'll be able to do some festivals. It's a great idea to get on as many festivals as possible. We've already done some touring with the Yeah yeah yeah's 2 years ago which was great having the chance to tour and open up for them. I really look forward to the future and playing some other places. Really blow people's minds. It's fun! Like I said there's this balancing between this hard, heavy intense side but there's also this happy side to music that makes people in a joyful mood as well in a different way. This is interesting to me so hopefully we'll be able to come to NZ and play.
Wednesday October 1st: The Studio, Auckland
Tickets via Ticketmaster