As a teenager growing up, Sepultura were one of the first metal bands I discovered and instantly fell in love with. There is just something about them as a band that gets the blood pumping and your head banging. In the 80’s and early 90’s the band helped to completely change the landscape of the burgeoning thrash movement with the clashing of cut throat riffs and world music influence.
Over the course of a near 30 year career the band has released a slew of classic albums, has weathered a fair few storms and has managed to survive and adapt, to remain one of the most inventive and vital bands in the genre. To this very day they are still one of the most important bands in my life and it was my pleasure to catch up with bassist Paulo Jr at this year’s Bloodstock Festival to discuss the band’s Festival set, the thrash movement, influences and what 3 songs he feels would help define the band’s legacy.
It’s your first time playing the Bloodstock Festival, you’re here off the back of Wacken. How are you finding Bloodstock so far?
Paulo: Good. We’re open to a new experience, let’s do it. We only have 45 minutes, so it’s a shorter set but I’m ready to do it.
With a shorter set like this how do you guys pick your festival set?
Paulo: Fighting. [Laughs] after we’ve done our interviews we’re going to take a look at the setlist.
How does a festival set like this differ to your own headline show? Is there a big difference?
Paulo: When it’s like this it goes by so fast, like it’s 10 minutes or so, but it’s a different approach. When it’s your own headline show you have more control, more freedom to do stuff.
Does it make you more nervous when you play in front of a crowd that isn’t completely yours?
Paulo: I feel the same, I just go and play man. The only thing I’m concerned about is the technical stuff, but the crew is there to sort that out.
With the release of “Kairos” last year, how do you fit that material in?
Paulo: ‘Kairos’ will definitely be there for sure, we’re on the “Kairos” tour currently so it’s going to be in there.
With the thrash metal scene being the way it is, and your place in it, how do you feel about the scene currently?
Paulo: The way I view it is it’s like a big wave, it comes and goes, stuff in the 70’s and 80’s is coming back now. I see that the heavy metal scene is strong, to me it’s just heavy metal it’s all just one thing.
Obviously Sepultura are a legendary band and have influenced a lot of younger bands. Are there any bands around today that inspire the way you write or play live?
Paulo: Everything that comes out, not only metal influences us. Even the older bands that are still around are there when we write. It’s always a challenge with the new bands coming out, sound of them don’t sound very original but they are still very good bands so it’s good to embrace that energy, it brings a lot of energy with it that to make you ready for the next step.
Do you feel proud when you see bands coming through citing Sepultura as an influence on them?
Paulo: Yeah of course, in a way that means we achieved something. It’s very important for us, especially with the old school idols we worshipped when we were kids coming up to us and talking to us on the same level as well, it’s a nice cycle. We try to do that with the young kids as well.
What are you guys up to for the rest of the year after this, and when do we get you guys back over here?
Paulo: We’re finishing Europe now, we’re on the last week. We’ve been here for 3 months. We’re going to North and South America a little bit, then we finish out the year in the United States, then we start work on the new record. We’ve been to Europe 4 times now with Kairos, it’s too much, I don’t think they want us anymore.
The UK loves you guys over here man, we will always have you back. To see you guys go out and kill it at Donington in ‘96 to now be here playing Bloodstock it’s just awesome you guys keep coming back.
Paulo: Yeah, its good.
You mentioned a new album. Do you have a time frame of when you want to get that done?
Paulo: We need to get home and relax a little bit, then put the calendar and things together for it.
Random Question time, but as a Sepultura fan I want to know your answer to this. If someone was putting together a time capsule of the entire Sepultura catalogue, what 3 songs would you pick to best represent the band?
Paulo: I’d say ‘Dialog’ from “Kairos,” I’d have to pick one from “Roots” which would probably be ;’Roots Bloody Roots’ because it’s one we still play live, and I’d pick ‘Arise,’ because that’s the albums we started with, and I’m very proud of the new record also, but I’m looking forward to starting the new material also.
As a follow up question to that. If someone said to you tomorrow Sepultura has to cease being a band, how would you like to be remembered?
Paulo: For the music. The music speaks for itself really.
In Closing, do you have a message for all the Sepultura fans out there?
Paulo: We’re not done yet…