Mixhell was in town last weekend for a set at Singapore’s Baybeats festival, and we were fortunate enough to have an interview with the duo behind Mixhell, legendary Sepultura/Cavalera Conspiracy drummer, Igor “Iggor” Cavalera and his wife, Laima. Read our joint interview with a journalist from The Manila Bulletin.
Laima: Wow. Different questions. [Laughs] As the name says, Mixhell is a big mix of styles and different beats and music, you can listen to electronic, rock, a lot of stuff mixed and we only play what we love so it’s a big research, sometimes it’s not something that everybody knows but it’s something that we think people will enjoy.
Igor: Yeah. That’s also there. What we try to do is to have a fun time but also to bring something new, you know, new beats, new culture, and we try to do that in our music through our mix of ideas, our mix of different things that we love. It can be anything, it can be a remix of something that people are already familiar with, an old song, but done in a new way with modernized beats and things like that. So that’s usually how we go about doing things.
How is it like working with your other halves?
[Awkward silence, then laughs]
Igor: Actually it’s a lot of fun. You know I’ve worked in a band for 20 years and it’s very tiring and at one point I decided to only work with people that I love. I’m doing Mixhell with Laima which is amazing, we write music together, we travel together. I also do Cavalera Conspiracy with my brother (Max Cavalera) which is also another family thing. I’m very fortunate that those projects allow me to travel to many different places like here today and that’s for me is the most important thing, it’s not about just the money but it’s also about enjoying this moment and being with the people I love.
Laima: Yeah, now thinking again, because we answered this question before, but one part that is really cool is that when working with someone you love you never stop working. You go home, you continue working and your head is still working, and when you can talk to someone you love about that thing, that’s even cooler because it’s not something that he’s going to say, “Oh, her job…” It’s something that continues, and we are fortunate that this is our job because it is our passion as well. So it’s really nice that we can do this together, it’s something really special. It’s not tiring as it looks like sometimes we do discuss like everyone, but it’s something bigger than that.
So how do you separate the personal and work?
Laima: Yeah, that’s another good question. We don’t separate them. [Laughs]
Igor: Actually, the thing is that what we do is one big package. Like we said it’s all one big family thing, it can be writing music, it can be us in the kitchen making food for our kids, it can be, you know, doing more serious stuff. I think its-
Laima: I think it’s so strange because in the music scene you have so many passionate people who are working like this, like Chris (from Esplanade), we finally met him today here in Singapore but we already knew him from before because a lot of people are connected somehow and that’s really cool, like Igor say it’s a family affair. You don’t forget your family when you go to work for example, it’s something you carry with you. So professional and individual life are completely one thing, and you just need to know where to stop, you need to measure, like when we need a vacation. When people ask me where I’m going to travel for a vacation and I say that I don’t want to travel. I don’t want to be on a plane, I want to be at home. It’s just different.
Igor, you were a drummer for Sepultura. How did you go from being a drummer in a metal band to something like Mixhell?
Igor: For me, I’ve always experimented with music in general, even in Sepultura days. I’ve never seen myself as just a metal drummer or rock drummer, for me it was more like someone who tries different things, so Mixhell is an extension of that. For a lot of people it can be very different from what I am doing. For me as a musician I always never stop at one thing, I always keep moving and try new things and look for new ways of playing.
Laima: He was the only one that didn’t feel the shock because it was natural for him.
Igor: Yeah, there was no shock for me because since those days I have always been searching for new things.
So are there any differences in playing in Sepultura and in Mixhell, which is more difficult, perhaps in drumming?
Igor: Well, drumming is definitely different, especially with a band, not only with Sepultura but also with Cavalera (Conspiracy), it’s a different approach from Mixhell, I have a lot of elements already set and I just play according to those elements whereas in Cavalera or Sepultura, I am the element. I am the one that defines, I am the beat. Unlike in Mixhell, there is a beat and I am a part of that beat, so it’s kind of like, it’s weird. It’s like I complement in a way, what I do in Mixhell, but in a band I am the one that dictates the rhythm. So it’s very different from a drummer’s point of view. But the way I play, the energy I put in, it’s the same. At the end of both shows, I’m tired.
Laima: Yeah, but that’s one thing I noticed, like after we started playing then I see him playing in the band I see how he can almost be the frontman of the band, because you know in Sepultura the beats are almost like guitar riffs, there are big fill-ups in the music, and likewise in Cavalera Conspiracy, he can take the band with him. Whereas in Mixhell, it’s difference because he can still be his personality but he has something that – drumming wise – it’s something he has to fit to the context so it’s really challenging for Igor, it’s really different but it’s the same at the same time.
What have the reactions from metal fans been?
Igor: I don’t know! The only reaction that I get are from the people who actually come to see me in Mixhell, and these are the people who are already open minded enough, so I only get the positive side. The negative side is usually from people that don’t like what I do and they don’t leave their houses to see me, so I don’t care. At the end of the day, it’s not something I do to please anybody. Never, in anything. That’s not what we do, if they don’t like it it’s fine. If they hate Mixhell, that’s ok with me. Same way if people like what I do in Mixhell but don’t like what I do in Sepultura, that’s fine also. I think there is space for everyone and in the middle of all that there will be people who like both.
Laima: Or don’t like anything
Igor: And that’s fine too. Usually people that don’t like anything I do at all, they just hate and write it on their blogs or forums like “Ohhh Igor is gay” and whatever.
Actually those were some of the comments that I saw on Blabbermouth today.
Igor: Yeah! Exactly! You know if I pay attention to all that, I’ll be dead. It’s all about people who hide behind the computer. The face to face reaction is the most important thing.
Laima: You know like Blabbermouth, it’s so funny because it’s like the metal gossip magazine. And if you get gossip magazine, they are talking shit about Paris Hilton and it’s even better for her, so we don’t read that. Sometimes I do read because I like it.
Igor: It’s funny! Yeah, but if I had to worry about all that I would never have done 20 years ago and I will not do what I do now if I have to worry about what people think about what I do.
So is it possible that for the next Cavalera Conspiracy album we will get to see more of these electronic influences in the music?
Igor: Me and Max are very open-minded at what we do but we also know where to draw the line. I think there are some influences on what we do, there is a little of Cavalera’s first album.
Laima: There’s more now.
Igor: There is a little on this one, but nothing crazy-
Laima: Nothing crazy that fans will dislike, but the way that Max is singing now, in some tracks it’s so different.
Igor: Yeah, he sings like Madonna…
Laima: We’re just kidding.
We’ll get more ballads in the new one!
Igor: Yeah! You’ll get 12 ballads and 1 fast song. [Laughs]
One last question: any parting words for fans of Mixhell or any of your projects?
Igor: I dunno, I have to say that we are happy that we are here, it’s been a long time and hopefully people enjoy our shows, we will definitely be enjoying ourselves.
Laima: Hope to please everyone or not please anyone.
Ok, thank you for the interview!
Igor + Laima: Thanks a lot!
|(L-R): Hong Rui, Laima, Clarence, Igor|