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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Soulfly

Interviewed by Travis Jensen
Interview with Joe Nunez of Soulfly From 2006
MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

How much input do you have on what goes into a Soulfy album?
I have quite a bit of input. It’s a very collective effort when we get into the studio and record. Max, of course has the main idea, riffs and stuff like that, or Mark will have something. But when it comes to trying to mend something, or when parts come together, or if I have something in my head, or if I have a beat that would go better with a certain riff, I would just let it all out.
MSJ:
Where does the creative inspiration come from with previous as well as current songs?

It basically comes from years of listening to different types of music, especially heavy metal. It also comes from the intensity and energy from the fans, as well as metal fans in general. There was a point where Soulfly had a specific cult following and now it’s gotten to the point where the music is kind of reaching out to more and more different types of people including more metal-heads where we like to go back to the classic metal sound.
MSJ:
How did Soulfy originate and come together to what we have today?

Soulfly started with Max Cavallera. He created the band and has had several line-up changes throughout the albums that have come out. I didn’t play on the first one, but did play on the Primitive and Prophecy albums. Then I took a short leave, where they got the original drummer back. I then got a call to come back where I did Prophecy and then the Dark Ages album.
MSJ: What has been your favorite band to tour with and why?

Well, Soulfy really, because it’s at such a large scale. The fans are intense and we go to countries all over the world that some bands never get to see or ever get to play. So it’s a fantastic experience in which I call a “heavy-world metal band.”
MSJ:
Are there musicians out there with whom you would like to work in the future?

Absolutely, there’s tons of musician out there and hopefully I’ll be playing with one of them some time, some day. More specific, I’d love to work with Ozzy. I’d also love to work with some of the classic rock acts, believe it or not, as well as some of a lot of other metal bands such as Iron Maiden; it varies, and goes on and on.
MSJ:
What are your musical influences?

My musical influences vary, from the early stuff that Max has done to Fleetwood Mac back to Black Sabbath, Terrorizor. It’s a very extreme wide range of musical influences that I’m really into. In order for me to do what I’m doing, I don’t think that I’d be doing such a good job if I just listened to straight heavy metal. That would kind of limit me and my input and what my capabilities are. I also like Reggae, Reggae-dub, drum & bass, and just a whole bunch of stuff that varies.
MSJ:
What plans for the future do you and Soulfly have?

I know that we plan on doing another Soulfly record. What were going to do right now, is to finish our U.S. tour that we’re currently on and then we’re going to head out to Australia. We haven’t been there in a really long time, and actually, I’ve never been to Australia. The previous drummer has been there with them but I haven’t been there with them yet, so I’m really looking forward to that. Then in the future, Max is going to be writing some new stuff, if he isn’t already. As far as myself, I have another local Chicago band called Slampede, which you could look up under MySpace, and we’re going to be putting out another CD. I’m going to be working on other records in the vein of rock and roll type and some Reggae. I’m at a point in my musical career to where I’m branching out to everybody as a drummer. I’m also going to be doing some work with film and video. Everything is moving forward with me and Soulfly.
MSJ:
Do you or members of the band live by any traditional standards of a typical rock star; groupies, heavy partying, etc?

I guess it all depends on what band you’re in because some bands have that and thrive off of that environment. As far as the kind of rock star thing that we live, the way I see it is traveling to different parts of the world like Russia, Australia, South Africa and the middle east. To me, having an audience there, That is the part that I live for, which is really cool.
MSJ: How often do you go home, and do friends, family and people who recognize you as the drummer from Soulfy treat you any differently?

You know what, no. We’re gone a good portion of the year, but when we come home, at least where I come from, nothing is different; nothing. They’re very exited to see me and happy for me. I have a new group of friends that I admire and respect very much, but as far as how I’m treated at home, they’re still my family and my friends who have known me since I was young, and nothing’s changed. I’m still Joe to them.
MSJ:
How much has your lifestyle changed now that the band has become more successful?

Basically, I’m a world traveler, I’m all over magazines, drumming magazines and stuff that is starting to build up more. As far as my lifestyle goes, I’m happy with being able to do what I like to do.
MSJ:
I know artists hate to have their art described or pigeonholed (and your music is harder than most to pin down), but how would you describe it?

Heavy metal…world heavy metal!
MSJ:
Regarding the track you did for Drum Nation Vol. 3, is that something that you come up with on your own where they let you do what they want, or do they have something for you to follow? How does all that work?

They basically called me up and said we really like your drumming and want you to be a part of this record, which was a great honor, first of all. Then they told me to put something killer together for them. What they wanted was a drum-oriented song that featured my drumming of what I’m doing at the time that is making its mark with metal drumming. Then they put together some more amazing metal drummers and make a record out of it. It was a good of example of what I was playing, and I had a lot of fun with it.
MSJ:
How did this opportunity come about and do you see yourself doing anything like this again?

Absolutely! The opportunity came when Magna Carta and Mike Varney and Peter Morticelli got a hold me and told me about this killer project they were putting together and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it. At first, I was like, “wow, I’d love to!” Then shortly after that, we put everything together and then it happened.
MSJ:
What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?

The last CD that I got was the new Celtic Frost - Monotheist, which was actually given to me. That’s a record that I’m really into, because I’m picking it apart. Lately I’ve been listening to some drum and bass, some Reggae, always metal, such as Carcass, and a lot of the old classic thrash and death metal.
MSJ: What was the last concert you attended for your own enjoyment?

Put it this way, the last concert that I enjoyed was watching Kreator in Germany. We went on after them, and then Celtic Frost went on after us. That was by far my favorite show because I got to play in it.
MSJ:
What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?

There’s way too many. I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to get in trouble for saying anything. It’s kind of an ironic story, but when we were on tour with the Primitive album, me and the other band mates were sitting in the bus. This was a bus just for the band, and we were very particular about keeping it clean. We were fortunate enough to be living in an apartment-style bus which was made for 12 guys. With just us, there was a lot of room. We had just got done playing some show on the east coast one night, and after the show (we had just got done cleaning the bus earlier that day) we were enjoying how quiet and clean the bus was, when my guitar player Mikey said, “Wouldn’t it really suck if something happened to the crew bus and they had to travel with us?” The road crew was really rough and rowdy and loved to party. We were all relaxing like 3 monks when he said it again, and I was like “Dude, what’s with you?” Then all of a sudden, our driver gets a call on his radio that said he had to pull over because the crew bus just lost an axle. Lo and behold, when we stopped to find out what happened, the door opened and here come all of the road crew with all of their bags. They raided our bus for about a week and destroyed it.
MSJ:
Finally, are there any closing thoughts you’d like to get out there?

Yeah, as a matter of fact, I wanted to thank Soulfy, Magna Carta Records and everybody for their support. I want to also thank the fans and tell everybody to keep in touch, because I will.
 
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