Soulfly/ex-Sepultura vocalist/guitarist Max Cavalera has carved a decades spanning career in metal for himself and certainly faced down much adversity in the process. The Brazilian born musician’s art hasn’t always been free from criticism however with the relative simplicity and repetition of his lyrics over the years having frequently served as ammo for detractors.
In the below interview with Heavy New York, Cavalera admits that he finds writing lyrics for his songs to be an “agonizing process” and compares it to “homework.” He said of that:
“I really don’t like writing lyrics. It’s totally a mandatory thing. It’s like homework. For me, the fun part is riffs, and making the riffs is what I… that’s my world. I’m born for that. And when it comes to lyrics, it’s an agonizing process. And I know a lot of great stuff came out of it—really inspiring stuff for people, like ‘Refuse/Resist‘ and ‘Eye For An Eye‘. But it’s not my favorite thing to do. When it’s all put together, I like it; I enjoy it. When it clicks.
Like, I was extremely happy when we finished the song ‘Ritual‘, because, to me, ‘Ritual‘ is the kind of song that I can put toe to toe with ‘Primitive‘ or ‘Eye For An Eye‘ or ‘Roots‘. It’s one of those. And then ‘Dead Behind The Eyes‘, I put that toe to toe with ‘Arise‘ or ‘Beneath The Remains‘.
So it’s definitely cool to see those songs come to life… But I’m not a big fan of writing lyrics—never been. I’m not much of a writing guy to start with. I don’t write diaries. So it’s kind of an unnatural thing. It’s a bit mandatory, like homework, like you have to do it. The producer is like your teacher: ‘C’mon, man. You’ve gotta do it.’ But when you do it with somebody that cares, like Josh [Wilbur], then it’s cool. ‘Cause we work on the words and change a lot of the stuff.”
Soulfly are currently out on this North American tour with Kataklysm, Incite and more.