Sepultura är aktuella med “SepulQuarta”, ett album inspelat över nätet tillsammans med allehanda gäster. Vi ringde upp Andreas Kisser för att kolla läget, men istället för att zooma in på albumet blev det snack om det musikaliska uppvaknandet, KISS 1983, ett magiskt möte med Rob Halford, turnén med Alice in Chains och Ozzy och det faktum att Andreas numera säger nej till alkohol:
– I realized I was a slave to alcohol. Every situation where I had to choose a restaurant or what type of travelling I would do with my family, what kind of social thing we´d go to, alcohol was the biggest element to make the choices. Like, “in this land they don´t serve alcohol, so I don´t want to go there.” That type of stuff. It didn´t matter if I was with my family or great friends, alcohol was heavier than anything else. I realized I was really losing myself because of that idea om choices. I was really having this dark shadow making the choices for me. It was getting in the way of my relationship with everybody – my family, my friends and with myself. Then I quit from one night to the other.
What´s going on in Brazil?
Things are crazy. We have a horrible government and a president who is fucking crazy, but you know, Brazil, nothing new… (laughs)
Gojira took a shot at your president on their new song “Amazonia”
Oh yeah! It´s probably the worst government when it comes to the environment. All the lobbyists who want to invade the indigenous land and t the natural resources, it´s worse than ever. The fight for preservation is really harsh. This is not a new problem, but because of the government we are facing the worse times. On the “Roots” album we have songs to Chico Mendes, who was an activist trying to protect land and the indigenous people back in the 80´s and 90´s and now on “Quadra” and the song “Guardians of Earth” we have people from the Amazon Frontline fighting to protect people and stuff. That´s what we do. We try to bring attention to the problem and it´s great that Gojira are doing that. All the bands should do that. I think the Amazon is not just a Brazilian problem. It´s something that affects the whole world and we should fight for preservation. It´s our future.
What are your thoughts on Gojira?
I think they are a very original and unique, heavy, melodic band. Great stuff. Especially coming from France, which I think doesn´t have that tradition. You have different bands, but compared to England and Germany, it´s hard to compete, but now you have Gojira who are an amazing representative of the French heavy music. Coming from France they have very unique things that they bring to metal, just like Sepultura coming from Brazil or Accept from Germany. You have different cultural aspects that help bring something new. They have really original riffs that are really cool and really interesting to play. The version they did of “Territory” is great. The respect is great between us and the mutual admiration as well. They are really connected with what is going on in the world, which is very important. We need to make sure with music and the responsibility we bring with that, with our crowds and all that. We speak to the world basically when we put out something and especially today with the internet.
What are your earliest memories of music?
It was everything. Of course Brazilian music was in the soccer stadiums and the carnivals. The Brazilian people are very musical and they can make a party anywhere, anytime. Music is always involved one way or the other. In my house we had a lot of music and my mom and dad listened to a lot of music and it was very diverse. My mother had a collection of Bee Gees, “Help” by The Beatles and a lot of samba music from Brazil. We have soap operas here and they have soundtracks with many different artists. For instance, I first heard Genesis because of one of those albums. My father listened to a lot of Brazilian country music. It was very different from the country music in America and was more connected to Paraguay and the south of Brazil. We listened to that a lot. My grandma actually played a little bit of acoustic guitar. She came to Brazil from Slovenia in the 50´s. I actually started playing with that acoustic guitar, which I still have and I keep it with a lot of love and care. I learned my first chords on that guitar. My first goal when I met the teacher was to play “Stairway to heaven” (laughs) My impossible goal at the time. But I started slowly with Brazilian music, learning the first chords and stuff and then eventually with heavy metal I wanted to play the electric guitar. But I never left the acoustic guitar and I still study classical music today. It´s a big part of what I am as a musician. You can see that in Sepultura as well. I use the acoustic guitar a lot in many different situations.
Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
Yes. It was “A night at the opera” by Queen. It´s still a masterpiece. My father used to go to this record store near my house in San Paolo and buy his country music albums. I went a long and I started to listen to that kind of music in 79-80. I took that album and I knew very little about Queen, because they didn´t play in Brazil until 1981. That album is still one of my favorites and I still have that vinyl here. It´s a masterpiece. All four of them were writing music for the album. What a fucking trip! We also recorded “Chaos AD” at the same studio, Rockfield in Wales. It was very emotional to be a part of such a great piece of history. One of my favorite bands of all time and Freddie Mercury was such a genius. Still to this day you discover new things when you listen to it.
What was the first ever rock show you went to?
I went to see local bands that played heavy metal. There was this band called Charisma, but the first big show I saw was KISS in 1983 on the Creatures of the night tour. They came to Brazil and played Sao Paulo and Maracana stadium in Rio. That show was fantastic. Vinnie Vincent on guitar and Eric Carr on drums. KISS was my band in those days and I wanted to be a member of the KISS Army and I drew KISS everywhere in my school books. It was a great time to see that show as a KISS fan. They played great and it changed my life. After that I really knew that I wanted to be a musician and to have a band and rock and roll.
Have you ever met any of the members of KISS?
Yes, I met Gene Simmons a few times but really quickly. He was always very nice. We´ve played with KISS a few times, like at Castle Donnington in ´96 when they came back with the makeup. Peter Criss was really bad in those days and not very fit physically to play the KISS material. I was at the side of the stage watching everything. It was so mind blowing. It was a weird day because Max (Cavalera) didn´t play with us. It was the accident with Gloria´s son and we did the show as a trio which was another adventure. It was a great day, but very mixed emotions.
Who was the first real rockstar or music hero you first met?
I have to say it was very emotional and crazy when we played Rock in Rio in 91 and our backstage area was side by side with Judas Priest and Rob Halford came to see us. That was… Oh my god, the metal god! It gives me goosebumps just to remember that moment. Rob was there talking to us and being aware of who Sepultura was. It was so much power and motivation for us and we were playing with Guns N´Roses, Judas Priest, Queensryche and Megadeth and we opened that day. The impact we had on the crowd was insane. It was the first time we played “Orgasmatron” (Motörhead) live and it was fantastic and Rob was there talking to us after the show. It was one of those moments that I had dreamt about all my life, to have that possibility to be backstage and talk to our idols and all of a sudden it was happening and with none less than Rob Halford. One of the best shows I´ve ever seen with Judas Priest, the “Painkiller” tour when they were on top of their game. Scott Travis on drums really forcing them to play their best. Rob was the first metal god to talk to us.
How long did it take for Sepultura to actually start making money?
Actually when we started working with a manager, which was Gloria, during the “Arise” tour. We recorded “Arise” and then we started touring the world and organized everything with the crew and then we felt very professional. We went to Japan and played with Ozzy on that tour, and Alice in Chains. Can you imagine? Sepultura, Alice in Chains and Ozzy 1992 on the “No more tears” tour. Oh my god, it was such an amazing tour and backstage as well with the Alice in Chains guys and Zakk Wylde was so nice. It was great. We felt we were really doing something. The feedback at Rock in Rio gave us motivation to face the world and be confident enough to go anywhere and we did. We weren´t scared of facing the challenges. A lot of growing up from teenagers to men really. To deal with a lot of situations and travelling and learning new languages and learning about the business.
Back then, could you tell that a guy like Layne Staley was in trouble?
No, not at all. He went on stage every night in a wheelchair because he broke his leg or something. He was actually moving more in the wheelchair than he did without it. He was in high spirits and he was always on our tour bus. We had a great connection, not only with the band but with the crew as well. He was always with us, talking and picking up a guitar and singing. It was great and he was a great guy. Unfortunately he had this fucking drug addiction and it took him away from us. Such a nice soul and a talent. He went on stage and sang so natural and the band was on top as well. It felt like a privilege, the time we had with Layne. I´m very thankful that we had this opportunity to know him a little better backstage. He was very smart and pure and there were a lot of feelings that he expressed in his music.
“Arise” turned 30 earlier this year. Does it make you feel old?
No, I feel better than ever. Definitely better than when I was 21 or 22. I quit alcohol almost a year and a half ago now and I feel clearer. “Quadra” is our best work, at least for me as a guitar player and as a writer and a composer. Of course none of that would happen if we didn´t have the past and all the experiences of working with big producers, the tours we did, everything. I feel great now and I think the whole band feels great. We are in a great momentum and we just can´t wait to go back on the road. That´s our life.
Did you quit drinking because you felt it was becoming a problem or was it just a way to become healthier?
Both. I realized I was a slave to alcohol. Every situation where I had to choose a restaurant or what type of travelling I would do with my family, what kind of social thing we´d go to, alcohol was the biggest element to make the choices. Like, “in this land they don´t serve alcohol, so I don´t want to go there.” That type of stuff. It didn´t matter if I was with my family or great friends, alcohol was heavier than anything else. I realized I was really losing myself because of that idea om choices. I was really having this dark shadow making the choices for me. It was getting in the way of my relationship with everybody – my family, my friends and with myself. Then I quit from one night to the other. It was very clear once I realized I was a slave to alcohol, which path I had to follow. I made the decision and I feel great. I don´t feel any urge to drink. I love drinking, don´t get me wrong, but I did it already. I know what it is and I know it´s very dangerous as well, especially with the style of life I live – backstage parties, everything is free and easy to get. You have to be very careful with that kind of situations and I´m glad I made this choice. I´m at peace with myself with that. I didn´t make any promises to anyone or any saint or to any situation. It was a choice I had to make. If I made a promise to something I would put all that responsibility to that promise and not to myself so I have to face that and really embrace the choice and I feel great. Alcohol is very dangerous, but like I said, I like drinking.
Good for you. Derrick is a vegan and into food. Are you as interested in food as he is?
Well, yeah! I love eating. I love everything and I love meat and I love to travel and try local stuff. Gastronomy is a fantastic way of meeting people and new ideas and cultures. It´s great! I don´t want to limit myself. I understand their (vegans) point and I think it´s important to think about what you´re eating. This new generation is more concerned because when I was younger I didn´t care. The food was on the table, let´s eat! It was bad because all the companies and stuff had us as slaves as well. Now I think the connection and the information that people have around the world is really helpful to question what we eat and why and where it comes from? I think it´s very healthy, but I love to eat and I like to have a balanced diet with a little bit of everything.
With “SepulQuarta” being such a cool album, do you think there´s a possibility of doing a second one?
Well, we didn´t plan this and it wasn´t planned to be an album. It was just something on the internet, but once we had everything done we thought the list we had with all the guests was very special. Very unique, but it´s neither live or in the studio. People are in their homes doing stuff and it´s really cool. We have plans for a second album, possibilities are open. Who knows? But so far it´s not the plan. We hope to go back on the road in November – December touring Europe and come back in 2022 and do what we do, to be on stage.
Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen
Foto: Björn Olsson (Anderas Kisser, Derrick Green)