Branching Out – Iggor Cavalera On The Music and People That Inspire Him


Keeping it fresh and invigorating is clearly the modus operandi for Iggor Cavalera. The 44 year-old father of four (In addition to his step son from his marriage to Laima Leyton) has expressed in the past that rock and metal was getting somewhat “uninspiring” for him. Considering the ground-breaking impact of Sepultura’s Roots (Roadrunner) album with its much imitated tribal drum patterns, you can’t blame Cavalera for looking to spice things up when it came to working in a different medium like electronica. “I have to say when I started doing Mixhell, I wasn’t finding much excitement in hardcore and metal. Bands were very reluctant to come out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. I think now there are a new wave of musicians that are exciting in metal. I needed a break from metal and rock to grow to love it again.”

Certainly Iggor is not the only rock musician to dabble in other genres with Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, (Who also made a guest appearance on Roots (Roadrunner), another notable example. Patton disciple and Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato also makes an appearance on Mixhell’s track ‘Exit Wound’. Puciato in turn collaborated with Iggor’s brother Max and Mastodon’s Troy Sanders in metal supergroup Killer Be Killed. Clearly birds of a feather… “Greg is such a talented guy. I remember when I first heard of him when he joined Dillinger after the E.P. they did with Mike Patton, (Irony Is A Dead Scene), they found someone who could really push himself. Dillinger Escape Plan did a tour with The Cavalera Conspiracy in the states and I played him the Mixhell material which he loved. He is a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and all the industrial bands so I sent him a track to put vocals on. Mike is one of the greatest artists in music. A real genius. He can do all this extreme stuff and then the Mondo Cane project playing Italian music from the 40s! He brings a unique atmosphere to everything he does! He is a very close friend and we see each other all the time!”

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All in the Family – Iggor Cavalera of Cavalera Conspiracy

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It has been seven years since Brazil’s most famous musical siblings put an end to a ten-year family feud. The formulation of Cavalera Conspiracy saw the return of a revolutionary musical partnership and again brought credence to the old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’.

Now residing in London, England, the younger of the siblings, Iggor Cavalera, relocated last year in order to focus on his electro DJ outfit Mixhell with his wife Laima Leyton. “In Brazil there is not much of a scene for that style of music.” Iggor confessed. “Our management is here and it helps us focus on our main project. I enjoy London a lot more as a resident than as a tourist. It hasn’t really affected what I do with Max because I just take a ten-hour flight to LA but I am closer for European tours. We split our focus between Cavalera stuff, Soulfly and Mixhell so it has been pretty simple to do so far!”

Iggor may be broadening his horizons delving into the world of electronic music but The Cavalera Conspiracy are chomping at the bit to release forthcoming third record Pandemonium via Austrian label Napalm Records. It has been touted as ‘a more violent and faster record than the band has ever released’ which sound whet the appetite of long-term fans. “We never plan or premeditated what we do in Cavalera Conspiracy. We both wrote a number of things but when we got to the studio we wanted to keep it raw and powerful. It was a lot of fun to keep it spontaneous. It is quite different than then first two records. We used some really high BPM’s which were challenging to play but a lot of fun.”

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A genre crossing musician, Iggor was not always the master of equipment he is today. In the early days of Sepultura he was playing with very basic kit. Did Pandemonium see a return a more instinctive style of playing to capture the energy of old? “Both Max and I having our own band has been really good for us. We focussed on keeping things of minimal as possible. It was really challenging and refreshing playing without a big set up and very enjoyable. A lot of drummers want to play very technically and the music looses its soul. We wanted to prevent that happening here.”


Filling out the line-up, which includes guitarist Marc Rizzo, is a new bass player in the shape of Converge man Nate Newton. Iggor enthuses greatly about how this came about. “The bass player role is generally going to be a guest musician every time. Nate is an amazing player but of course his main commitment is to Converge and we respect that. He wrote all his own parts, you shouldn’t tell a collaborator what to do. We hope we can schedule some shows with him if possible.”

It has been eight long years now since Iggor’s exit from Sepultura with Max’s departure a whole decade prior to that. Iggor made it very clear how he feels about the remaining members’ decision to carry on with the Sepultura name. “I got to the point where I wasn’t feeling it anymore. All the joy was gone. It is like a covers band now. I don’t pay much attention to what they are doing because I am focussed on my own stuff. I think it would have been time for them to hang it up.”

While the dissolution of the classic line up happened eighteen years ago Iggor confirms that both he and Max have received some crazy offers to reunite with their old colleagues. “We have received a lot of offers but nothing that concrete. If we got something concrete we would certainly consider it. We realise a lot of people want to see the classic line up and respect that. There is no master plan behind it but I would make a record too if it felt right. I think it is important that we are still all active musicians so we could carry it off. I would like my kids to see it!”

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Getting back to present day, it was recently announced that ‘Pandemonium’ will appear on the Napalm Records imprint. This seems a curious decision as both Max’s projects Soulfly and Killer Be Killed call Nuclear Blast home. Igor explained the brothers thinking behind it. “Napalm were really excited to work with us. After we left Roadrunner we decided we didn’t want to be tied to just one company business wise anymore. They are respectful of the other projects and ensure the released dates don’t clash. Napalm have Cavalera and NB have Soulfly and both labels treat these projects as their top priority.”

Scheduling is key to an artist who has many different irons in the fire. Iggor outlines the plans for touring. “It will be tough but we want to play as much as possible with all our projects. We will be doing lots of festival appearances in 2015. I’ll be working on more Mixhell material and touring around that too so it will be fitting around that. I hope metal fans can listen to the other music I make and get something from it. The most important thing about music is to keep an open mind.”

Throughout the conversation Iggor comes across as a man content with his lot in life. These two workaholic family men have eleven children between them. “I think it our Italian heritage.” Iggor chuckled. While his nephews are plying their trade in bands (Incite and Lodykong) and have been mentored by their father, who has even taken them on tour, Iggor is less sure if his offspring will wish to carry on the family tradition. “Max is very supportive of Ritchie, Zyon and Igor’s musical careers. I will support mine in that too if they want it. At the moment my children are younger so they have time to decide what they want to do. Maybe one day we will all do a festival together!”

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