Sepultura's popularity has never been the same since Max Cavalera left way back in 1996, but ten years later now led by Derrick Green they're still going strong and with their latest offering 'Dante XXI' Sepultura prove they have the staying power and are still one of the heaviest metal bands in the world.

Roomthirteen talks to Andreas Kisser about the choice to replace Iggor Cavalera with ex-Soulfly drummer Roy Mayorga on their current European tour with In Flames, the inspiration behind the new album and the many guest appearances of his career...

R13: How's the tour going with In Flames?
AK: In Flames are great guys and most of the shows have been sold out and we're having a lot of fun, it's working good.
R13: Do you mind that you're supporting In Flames rather than headlining the tour?
AK: Not really. This is our first tour with 'Dante...' and Roy also with the band, so it was cool to start out like that. We're just presenting the new songs little by little. We promise to come back at the end of the year with our own tour and own stage it's a good start.

R13: How do you decide on the set list? Is it now mostly 'Derrick era' Sepultura songs?
AK: No I don't see it that way, I see Sepultura as a whole from the start to the end. We have many fans that like each specific album because every album has been very different from each other throughout our career, so we like to play songs from every era. Of course now we are playing a lot of songs from the new album and I think it's balanced between Max and Derrick. We have to play... er let's say 'the classics' you know that the people want to hear. But we have a lot of choices and it's difficult to choose specific the songs. The set is very well balanced I think and it's working out great.

R13: Iggor hasn't come out on this European tour, is he ok?
AK: He's fine, he's in Brazil. He's restructuring his personal life. The last two years have been very tough for him separating from his wife and you know finding a new wife and a new kid. Many children involved and stuff so it's very difficult to put your head in place. That's why he's not here with us.
R13: Was it a hard decision for him?
AK: I think so. But I mean we make the decisions together and he would have been here in body but his mind would be back in Brazil so it wouldn't work, he would need to be here 100%, you know to go on stage and really perform and we have that with Roy. We decided it would be best for the time being to do like that.
R13: How did you hook up with Roy?
AK: Last year we participate together on the Roadrunner 25th Anniversary and we practise for two week then we do the show and other musicians involved. We play Sepultura, Slipknot, Machine Head. We play many different bands and Roy did a terrific job, very impressed. I knew it would be hard for Iggor to leave for the road and stuff so I talked to him [Roy] and he wasn't doing anything pretty much, he didn't have a gig going and it was a perfect connection.

R13: Is your new album 'Dante XXI' a big progression from 'Against' the first album that Derrick appeared on?
AK: Yeah. I think it takes time, especially when you change your singer. The singer is the main front man and Max was very charasmatic. It took time to rebuild everything as we not only lost the singer but the manager, we lost trust from the record label and everything, we had to start from zero practically. When Derrick came into the band we knew it would take time for him to adapt himself for Sepultura and vice versa. We got very lucky to guest on the Against tour with Slayer, Metallica, two of the best bands live so it was a great school, not only for us but especially for Derrick. Slowly we rebuild our management and we found a new label SPV that really looked forward and didn't have all the prejudices from the past all those fights and all that crap. So we start working a lot easier. So today we are working a lot easier, we have a great manager and a great label. The band is really established with this line up and even though Iggor is not here, he is part of the band, we did the video clip and he's doing the promotion for the DVD in Brazil and stuff. So it's much easier to go in the studio and record if you have everything else in place. If you compare the career with Max, it took time to get the Choas AD or Roots level it was a lot of work, a lot of touring, a lot of growing up and stuff and with Derrick it was the same. I think we were very patient. We had a lot of fucking criticism and all that and pointing fingers at us and stuff but it's a part of it. Sepultura were always criticised somehow, it was always extreme, always making some noise. So for us it was normal. I think we took our time and reviewed everything, now we are in a much better place today.

R13: On the website you talk about how the album is split into three sections relating to hell, purgatory and heaven could you elaborate on this?
AK: The first five songs on the album represent hell, which is very common for metal. Without hell metal wouldn't be, wouldn't exist. Black Sabbath would never be, so it's kind of obvious and easier for us to represent hell, it's what we we're doing since day one. But then purgatory which is the next five songs on the album, we started working with different elements and arrangements on the songs, the songs are slower, different pace. We use cellos, french horns, drum loops and piano to represent the different vibe that purgatory brings from the book. Hell is very heavy, very punishment and everything and purgatory is...there's hope, the souls in purgatory there is till hope to reach heaven in the sky so the vibe's a little different. On the last song we represent paradise, which is a totally different song from all the ones on the album. Paradise is not a material world, it's a spiritual world and travelling to the planets and stuff. Thats why we did a song that almost sounds like Massive Attack, something that we never did before. All the influence we got in the album like musically lyrically and artistically the artwork and everything came straight from the book [The Divine Comedy] so it was a big challenge for us but the bigger the challenge the bigger the stuff you do.

R13: You've just shot the video for the next single 'Convicted In Life' could you explain the concept behind it?
AK: 'Convicted In Life' is the second song on the album so it's one of the worst parts of hell [laughs]. The beginning of the journey so it starts like going through the first circles of hell. It's a very straight forward song, very heavy and we did a clip, actually they still working on it because most of the clip is post production like special effects. My hand will fall out, my fingers will be all rotten. Paulo's head, you gonna see the Paulo's brain and stuff. Iggor's gonna play with goats feet and shit, so it's very evil. It's something that we never did before with the background made by computers and stuff like that. I think it will be very interesting.

R13: Are you disappointed with the sales figures for 'Dante...' for the first few weeks of release?
AK: People are so stupid to try to compare different situations. Only thing that matters is the band. I mean, internet is here, you can't compare through all the years, downloading and stuff of course it's going to affect the selling.

R13: Bootlegging tapes were a big part of Sepultura becoming internationally known, do you think file sharing is the same as this or do you think it's detrimental to a band?
AK: I think mostly it affects the record companies, like the sales and stuff. The popularity of the band is intact. People are listening to the songs from other sources, which I think is great. A record label is not more than a bank that loans you money and invests in you. Often they rob you a lot [laughs], like any bank. It's cool to have that straight connection to music and fans. Of course you know you have to find a way to respect our work, we wrote that song and we work a lot and I think we deserve what is fair for us. I'm not saying everything should be free just because it's there I think everything happened so fast with Napster and this downloading thing, iPod and all that and caught everybody off guard, everybody was not prepared for that - labels, fans and bands, but I think it's getting better, slowly, finding decent ways to promote the band and to sell the music.

R13: You mentioned the Roadrunner United project earlier, did you enjoy working on it?
AK: The concept of it was great. That to join...first to do the album, to put different musicians and form, create new bands to do new music was great and I was happy to be a part of it. The party was amazing so many different musicians, so many different bands and different songs, it was a lot of work involved but it was a lot of fun too. The day of the show everything went great, unbelieveably great hahahaha. So many people on the stage and coming in and out and everything flowing.

R13: There's been a hell of a lot of Sepultura side projects most notably Max's Nailbomb but also Godswallop and Quarteto Da Pinga, which have you enjoyed the most?
AK: This Godswallop, Quarteto Da Pinga was some side projects I did with Jason Newsted, ex-Metallica and he had his home studio, he likes to call friends and create bands in a weekend. So we create the name, create the cover, write four songs and you know just play to be in a band [laughs] and it's great, some stuff that come out was really cool.
R13: Are you currently working on any side projects?
AK: In Brazil I have been playing with a lot of different people. Like a tribute for classic seventies rock like Zepplin, Cream, Black Sabbath. I have a Black Sabbath tribute band also and I play with a pop band in Brazil too whenever I can which is a big band in Brazil. I play some blues also. I like to jam. I do some guitar clinics in Brazil and I'm working on a solo album too that will hopefully be finished this year.
R13: A solo album?
AK: Yes, my solo album will be called Hubris. It means the arrogance of the human being, like fucking killing the planet, doing stuff without consequences. We aren't thinking about consequences like cars and pollution, batteries, cellular-mobiles all this trash that's around, it doesn't help the environment, so just that attitude that this name represents. It's going to be a double album, the first half more related to the electric guitar, with band and some guests and vocals and shit; the second will be more related to the acoustic guitar, instrumental and percussion. I've been working on this for ages it seems like I have many demos that I'm collecting and organising. Hopefully by the end of the year it will be ready.

R13: Are Sepultura going to appear at any festivals this year?
AK: I don't know, we still have the stuff with Iggor and Roy, I'm not sure what's going to happen because Roy have this offer to join another band and I don't know what we're going to do. The plan is to come back at the end of the year. We see what happens. I think the album is strong it's working pretty great and if we don't do this year then probably next.

R13: Finally, what has been your proudest moment in Sepultura?
AK: I think it's Twenty - one years later , still talking about Sepultura even after all the changes and still feel the excitement of people to see Sepultura and now our album doing great, it's a great feeling.
R13: Thank you very much.
AK: Thank you.