Three decades in existence, few metal bands have pushed the boundaries as far as Sepultura. From their death and thrash roots, the Brazilians have explored both the sounds of their own culture and the world of nu and alternative metal. State spoke to lead singer Derrick Green on their recent Dublin visit, asking him how the band planned to mark their 30th anniversary…
“I don’t know. We don’t have anything really planned, but it would be nice to figure out something that would be cool for the fans. Something interesting. But right now, our main focus is really this album [The Mediator Between Head and Hand Must Be the Heart, October 2013]. Just because it’s really the present time, you know? We’ve always done certain special shows honouring the years of certain albums coming out and stuff like that, which I think is really cool and really important. But at the same time we definitely don’t want to lose the opportunity of doing all that can be done for something that’s happening right now”.
2014 is a big year in Brazil. Hosting the World Cup…
“Yeah… And we’ll probably be here in Europe, touring! But that’s fine, you know? It’s going to be pretty hectic there. I don’t know if you’ve been watching the media, but there’s a lot of money going into it. Money that’s disappearing. A lot of money that needs to go the right places that really isn’t going there. I think the last thing that’s needed is another football stadium in Brazil. That’s coming from an outsider’s point of view. But there’s a lot of people that feel the same way in Brazil. There’s a serious violence problem in certain areas, and also the lack of education is top of the list and corruption, which has always been at the top of the list. So I think those are the major three issues that are a little bit more important than the World Cup. And I said it!”
Good point. But will you be rooting for Brazil or the United States?
“The U.S of course! They’re already there now, practicing in São Paulo. I like the underdog. For me, it’s the team that I usually like to root for, and I love to see the American team getting better and better each year. You know they’re definitely not at the level that the rest of the world is, but they’re slowly growing and it’s great to see that the sport is gathering more recognition in the U.S., so I think… baby steps. It takes time”.
You’ve lived in Brazil for some ten years now. You opened a bar with Paulo didn’t you?
“Yeah, we had a bar. A while ago. It was like a music bar with different bands and DJ’s playing there different nights. But I didn’t really like the other people that were part of the group, and I had just moved to Brazil, so I didn’t know them that well, and I realised that they didn’t really know anything about running a bar, or the nightlife. But I definitely want to open another place in the future. Just now would be a horrible time to open a place, especially in Brazil. I think a lot of people really loved going there. It had a great feeling, a great vibe. It was just like a house of artists, you know? Different people from different parts of the world, coming through along with different artists from Brazil. Not only musicians, but street artists, friends of ours, writers, directors, actors… It was really like a meeting place. A place for people to really relax”.
Were you aware that there’s a big Brazilian contingent here in Dublin?
“I realised it today! I think it’s even more now! I was walking down the street and I was hearing Portuguese everywhere. And I was asking a friend of mine that’s actually going to be coming here tonight and she used to go to the Bucka Lounge, the place that Paulo and I ran. That’s where I met her. She lived here a year ago, and I was like; why are there so many Brazilians here? But I guess it’s cheaper for them to come here? I don’t know. To have a student visa is much easier to get than other places”.
We notice that there’s mention of a photography book that you were working on. Has anything become of that?
“I’ve actually started sorting through the pictures. It’s a really long process. Especially with the band and everything else I’ve been doing. It’s really difficult. I definitely need to be more focussed on it, but I’ve been talking to a few people who are going to help me with it, and sorting through it, to get it more established and to figure out how is it going to go; what’s going to be in it; what type of photos… develop like a theme”.
Do you bring a camera with you when you’re touring?
“Always! I have to be motivated though. I just don’t like to pull it out just to take photos. I kinda want to feel it. And that’s how I’ve always been. Just like really natural. Yeah, on this tour I’m looking forward to taking some photos. It started a while ago as a hobby, and then really grew into a passion, and taking different types of cameras; you know, like the cheap plastic film camera that a friend gave me. I took some of my favourite photos with that camera, just learning a lot about light and people. I wasn’t really into taking photos of people, but I got into it as time went on. There’s a wide variety of stuff, and I really want to put that out there and I also want to do a bunch of exhibitions in as many places as possible”.
Maybe you could have your photography exhibitions with you when you go on tour with Sepultura?
“Yeah, it’d be pretty cool to arrange. If we had days off it would be even better…”
Your tour schedule seems pretty hectic. Six weeks, almost non-stop.
Do you get to bring family or friends with you on tour?
“Well, our drummer has his girlfriend with us for these shows in the UK. Last year Andreas had his son out for a couple of weeks. It’s brutal. A lot of time people don’t want to come on the road with you that much. They also have their lives back home so it’s hard to get away and just hang out. It definitely can be nice when you do have time off, you can take a moment to breathe and come back rejuvenated. Energised. Ready to destroy the stage and do your stuff. But you know, there’s also fun trips. We had an opportunity to go to Cuba, and to South Africa. So you can bring your spouse or girlfriend or whatever, and spend time before, after, during. Make it a real show/vacation trip”.
How’s the new album going down live?
“I think it’s the first time that we’ve ever really pushed the new album so much when playing, directly through – the first three songs or so. It feels great, I have to say. It’s been the strongest reaction that I’ve felt since I’ve been with the band. Doing a new album and then seeing the repercussions after, and it’s a good feeling. I was talking to Andreas about this. We can definitely feel that vibe. There’s a lot of energy in this album. It’s very powerful….”
The Mediator Between Head and Hand Must Be the Heart is out now on Nuclear Blast.
Photo: Olga Kuzmenko