Diamond Oz of Metal Underground conducted an interview with SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser prior to the band’s March 13 concert at The Fleece in Bristol, England, United Kingdom. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the reception to the band’s 2017 studio album, “Machine Messiah”:
Andreas: “Fantastic. It’s one of the best in years. Actually, since ‘Chaos A.D.’, when we came out with the album, we never played so many new songs. We’ve played like five, six, seven songs sometimes from the album. And it’s great that it seems that the fans are really grasping the idea of the album concept. They listen to the whole thing from start to end, which is a metal tradition. We really built the album around the idea of side A, side B, like the good old days of vinyl, which is kind of coming back as well. The generation of my son, let’s say — he’s 20 years old now, he listens mostly to vinyl. Of course, he has a smartphone and stuff, but it’s great to have that option and it’s great to see that this new generation alongside the old fans are grasping this album idea and it’s been amazing. We did the KREATOR tour in February last year, we went to the States and Canada with TESTAMENT, we did many festivals, including Rock In Rio in Brazil, which was fantastic, and now our first headline tour here in Europe, it couldn’t be better.”
On the conceptual similarities between “Machine Messiah” and 2013’s “The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart”:
Andreas: “It’s true. Of course, there’s a few differences. Both are very different, but mainly it was working with Ross Robinson and Jens Borgen. Ross produced ‘The Mediator’, which is very different from Jens. Ross is very spiritual, a lot of talking, it’s like almost going to a therapist. [Laughs] Because we really talked about the lyrics, about all the meanings of things. He likes the free expression. He loves mistakes, that kind of pressure to be at a high level, really just trying to break our own limits. Jens, he has the same type of approach, but it’s very much more technical, let’s say. It’s just different. It’s a different generation as well. He’s from Sweden. That’s what we were looking for — to go to a different place with a different atmosphere and work with different people. Jens mixed and produced everything on the album. I was so happy with both albums. I think there’s an evolution from ‘The Mediator’ to ‘Machine Messiah’. Of course, the second album with Eloy [Casagrande] on drums, which helped to write and to feel more comfortable with each other and everything.”
On why SEPULTURA has preferred using a concept for their recent albums:
Andreas: “In that respect, all the albums are like this. We call it an album because it’s a collection of songs put in the same place. You think about THE BEATLES, for instance, I think up to ‘Sgt. Pepper’, it was very much the same. They had a collection of songs and basically THE BEATLES talk about love. That’s the main concept of THE BEATLES. Without that concept, it wouldn’t be THE BEATLES. In that respect, it is a concept. It something that is driving the way they write music and lyrics. After ‘Sgt. Pepper’, it really opened the possibilities to do more, like a conceptual album. It was probably the first one, then PINK FLOYD with ‘The Wall’ and stuff, to connect the songs to make them feel as a part of a whole instead of just like ‘tracks.’ We like that. The rock and roll, the heavy metal, the prog scene, it is, how can I say? We like that stuff, to really explore art and poetry and all that stuff. It’s great that ‘Machine Messiah’, even some people are listing the term ‘prog’ in some parts.”
On the fact frontman Derrick Green has been with SEPULTURA for 20 years and why he’s been able to remain with the band for so long:
Andreas: “[Sarcastically] We’re still trying things with Derrick. It’s a transition phase. [Laughs] We’re not sure yet. [Laughs] It’s amazing. It shows that we made the right choice and Derrick as well, to choose to be with us. Twenty years has been an amazing ride. I think ‘Against’ is the most important album in our career. Without ‘Against’, we wouldn’t be able to continue as SEPULTURA. We stayed as a trio in the beginning, then Derrick came in to complete the team. We were missing that extra guy there, that extra factor with ideas and input. When Derrick came in, we completed ‘Against’ and it was a very difficult time, for sure. Max [Cavalera] left at the highest point of our career, up until that point. ‘Roots’, we still had a lot of stuff to do with ‘Roots’ for ’97 and ’98, etcetera. All of the sudden we started basically from scratch. We lost a singer, we lost a manager, we lost the producers of our album, we lost basically everything. We stayed with Roadrunner. We did two albums, ‘Against’ and ‘Nation’, which was very crucial and important for the band to reestablish itself and start a new phase and career.
“Here we are, celebrating 34 years of a career. I think we are in our best momentum, ever, regardless of what we were selling on ‘Roots’ or doing on ‘Roots’. Our backstage life was a mess. No wonder it happened when it happened because we didn’t have any more communication or anything like that. It was chaotic; it was crazy. At the same time, the stage was great. We were very professional to go on stage and really enjoy ourselves, but all the rest was really crazy. Not now. We have everything very much organized. We enjoy being with each other. We go out. We talk about different things. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, I guess. We’re not here suffering, just trying to get a paycheck. We really do what we love. It’s a privilege for us to be here with a tour like this, with the fanbase that we have, with the label that we are on, the managers that we have right now, everything. It’s fantastic. We worked very, very hard to be here today and I think these 20 years are the most important years for us. Of course, you have the golden years for SEPULTURA in the beginning, coming from Brazil, discovering the world and everything. To rebuild everything, to start almost from zero, it feels like a really amazing achievement, to be here now and to have these kind of opportunities with SEPULTURA. It’s great.”
SEPULTURA is continuing to tour in support of “Machine Messiah”, which was released in January 2017 via Nuclear Blast.