Go Ahead and Die – Old School Music, Current MessageTuesday, 1st June 2021
A fresh act with an old school mentality, Go Ahead and Die is going to come across the radar of many metal fans due to the father/son collaboration between Max Cavalera and son Igor Amadeus Cavalera. But it goes beyond a simple family get-together. Go Ahead and Die is an angry group that is quite unhappy with some of the workings of today’s society and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. So their classic death/thrash/hardcore feel gets injected with some punk attitude, giving it some extra piss and vinegar. In speaking with guitarist/bassist/vocalist Igor Amadeus, we got a stronger sense of what’s frustrating him with today’s global climate, the ramifications of starting a band with his well-known father, the old school theme, and plenty of talk concerning this self-titled debut.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you describe Go Ahead and Die as a band?
Igor Amadeus Cavalera: It’s an awesome, father/son…I don’t know if you can call it project, but a father/son band, the likes of which I don’t think has been done before in this extreme genre of music. But it’s an intense, frustrated album. It really embodies the old school sounds of punk, hardcore, thrash, and death metal all mixed into the same record. It was an awesome, one of a kind thing that I was really happy to be a part of.
Dead Rhetoric: What inspired the making of the band, so to speak?
Cavalera: It started as an idea a couple years ago I think, between me and my dad. It was when we did the Nailbomb Point Blank record live. We kind of noticed that our voices have a cool blend together, and things like that. So it started as an idea, but my dad is so busy being in like 4 bands! We wanted to do it but never found the chance to. Then in 2020 when the pandemic hit, touring stopped and shows were no longer happening, so it gave us the freedom. In a weird way, it helped to create the record. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we would have been too busy. I have my own bands. I actually live in a different state than my parents, and it wouldn’t have been able to happen. But once everything locked down, and now it’s been a year, but when we first started we had no idea how long it would be so it was like, ‘let’s do this before it’s too late [laughs]!’
Dead Rhetoric: So what was it like for you going out with your dad and doing that Nailbomb tour?
Cavalera: It was a lot of fun. I was honored, personally. I didn’t think they would ask me to do Alex Newport’s vocals from the album. I also did the sampling and noises from a keyboard. It was cool, it was the first time I got to really do something like that. It was a really fun tour and there were a lot of cool bands. All in all, it was a lot of fun. Like I said before, it was the first time we were really screaming a lot in the same songs. We just realized that we could do it to fresh music.
Dead Rhetoric: Could you talk about the raw and unpolished production and that mentality that went into the recording itself?
Cavalera: I guess you could say it was our intentions all along, before we even started writing for this, to do something really extreme. We are both really big fans of the old school scene – the sounds, styles, and stuff like that. So when it came time to record this, we had the songs ready and we were in the studio, there had to be measures taken to ensure that it sounded like an old record. We didn’t use a click track. We would keep some of the imperfect guitar takes, and imperfect vocal takes. To us, it adds personality to the record and gives it life. It makes it sound like a real band playing live music, as opposed to a perfect audio recording, which has become the style in the digital age.
We try to go against that to ensure that we were going to get an authentic, old school record. To me, it would have been horrible to have this record written the way that it is with a perfectly polished, nice sounding recording. It would have been like knives in my ear, personally. So we took steps to ensure that it stayed crusty and grunge-y. The proof is in the pudding, and you can hear it in the record now.
Dead Rhetoric: Discuss the lyrical inspirations for the band, as I know there’s a lot of stuff that is very current.
Cavalera: It’s definitely centered on current affairs, everything from politics to religious craze to public shootings to police brutality. Once again, it comes down to what we took our inspirations from and what we were going for with the record. In the style of bands like Napalm Death or Terrorizer or Extreme Noise Terror – these were bands we were listening to and inspiring us to make this music. When it came time to write lyrics, instead of going the direction of a lot of death metal bands with gore, horror, or evilness/Satanism, we decided to go political crust/punk and keep it relevant and rooted in that old school sound.
We tried to write about everything going on because we were frustrated about what was going on. Things like COVID-19 inspired “Truckload Full of Bodies” and the murder of George Floyd and various protests and riots inspired “Toxic Freedom,” so we did pay attention to things going on in America as it was happening. I think listening to a record from the ‘80s and hearing what they are talking about, and feeling what they were going through back then, I think 20 years from now you will be able to listen to Go Ahead and Die and be like, “Wow, 2020 was such a crazy year and they made all this stuff to try and capture all of it.” We had fresh inspiration and frustration every day.
Dead Rhetoric: As you were saying, do you feel that the album is a bit of catharsis for what is going on in the world currently?
Cavalera: Yeah, if it will hit that way for every listener I can’t say for sure. But it is definitely my views, and my father’s views, on current events. You used the word catharsis, and it’s our attempt at something like that. How it gets received, I suppose we will see how people take it, but it is our personal mood and attitude towards a lot of the social issues going on right now.
Dead Rhetoric: You mentioned the old school inspirations, is this something that even goes all the way down to the artwork?
Cavalera: Absolutely. We thought it was best to make the album almost like a full on assault. The music, the lyrics, the imagery, the cover. Everything is a focused, wrapped up package for people to unwrap. It’s so hard to get people to understand a brand new band sometimes. I have been in bands before where we were around for a few years and people were still having trouble figuring out what we were going for. We went with the approach with this to keep it focused and centered on what we want as much as possible. So that people know what they are getting and know what to expect, to a degree. They know its going to be extreme and it’s going to be reminiscent of old school political bands, so in our opinion it was best to make it this complete package for people to dive into completely.
Dead Rhetoric: Given that there is so much political and current events in the lyrics, with the climate of the world now, was there ever a thought that you might end up pissing some people off?
Cavalera: That was precisely our intentions [laughs]. In my opinion, I have been doing some press about the record and many people have been asking things like that. My general impression is that if what I am screaming/writing about, and what I am creating represents a justified message and justified theme, then there’s no reason for me to worry. If someone is mad that I wrote an anti-racist song, they should look at themselves. If someone is mad that I wrote an anti-public shooting or anti-police, they should look at why they are mad, not why I am writing it. If you look at why I am writing it, there is clear evidence.
It’s one of those things where people are already getting mad. We released “Toxic Freedom” and there is all manner of misconstrued and misunderstood views on it. In my opinion, that is part of the punk rock and heavy metal attitude. I am going to say what I am going to say, and if you are mad about it, that’s on you not me. I know what I am writing about is a good thing. I’m writing about equality and political fairness, getting rid of political corruption and things like that. I’m not worried about how people take it because they are going to grab with it and run with it. So have fun! Make up whatever wacky story you want, because I’ve heard a lot of it already [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: I think that it’s a matter of us losing our ability to debate, or at least critically think, about these sort of things. It’s nice when those concepts are brought up, because it at least introduces conversation as opposed to ignoring it.
Cavalera: Absolutely, this album is about bringing awareness to these subjects. Letting it surface, bubble up, and be seen. Also to let people know that we are frustrated. That we support people struggling, that we care. So many bands, it is weird to say, but they are afraid to voice their opinion and just go silent on stuff. To me, that’s the most evil thing anyone can do – stay silent while terrible things are going on. But yeah, it might get a little insensitive or a little abrasive, or for some people it might be uncomfortable to hear these things. But for me, that is the point. To get people out of their comfort zone. As long as we are all pacified and in our comfort zone, we continue to let horrible things slide and we will continue to live in a world like this. It’s through writing music and creating art that we can help change that. I hope that the more the album spreads, the more awareness comes to these situations. The more that people feel confident in coming out and speaking about them as well.
Dead Rhetoric: You had a logo made by Jeff Walker (Carcass). What do you see as the role of a logo for a band nowadays?
Cavalera: I think it is just as important as it was in the ‘80s or ‘90s. At the end of the day, you are branding your name to something, and you want something to be easily identifiable, and in my opinion, easy to read and easy for fans to recognize. Getting Jeff Walker was a really pleasant surprise. We didn’t ask for that, we didn’t know he would do anything for the record. He heard about it through connections with Nuclear Blast and it was amazing, however it came to be. We actually just got surprised with it, out of the blue. So it was amazing. But I do think a logo is important, especially for a new band. That is what people will see and associate your band with. It’s important to have a cool logo and to have something recognizable/memorable.
Dead Rhetoric: For you, what was it like to work on this with your father. Did you feel any added pressure knowing that this was going to be a big tagline with both of you being involved in the same band?
Cavalera: I did think about it a lot actually. I eventually came to the conclusion to not let people’s views and people’s judgement interfere with me wanting to do a record with my father. At the end of the day, that’s really all it is. We wanted to jam together. We wanted to do a father/son thing. We wanted to play music together. If you forget about the political lyrics, or take out the fame my father has, and it’s just us jamming. I think a lot of people forget that. I tried to get over that, because no matter what I do, people are going to say stuff about me and my father, and compare me to my father in that way. Even with my other band, Healing Magic, we are in a completely different genre of music and completely different sound. We are nothing like Soulfly, Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy, or anything my father has done, and people will still go out of their way to compare that band to him and to bring up things like, “This kid get help because of his dad.”
I eventually learned to just brush that stuff off. People are going to judge regardless of what I do, say, or think…or what the reality of what the situation is. They are going to invent their own thing and spew it all over the internet. That’s for them to decide, and I’m going to do what I am going to do, regardless of what people will say. I did think about it a lot, but I eventually decided that no matter what they say, no matter what clout my dad has, at the end of the day, it’s about us jamming and making music that we like, love, and respect.
Dead Rhetoric: I think a lot of people also tend to forget that this is metal. There isn’t tons of cash to be made here.
Cavalera: Not like it used to be, that’s for sure. A handful of bands do well enough to live luxuriously, but most metal musicians have to be in multiple bands and have a day job at home. I always tell people that instead of getting it easier, I have to work twice as hard. Not only do I have to be good, I have to be good enough to live up to people’s horrible expectations [laughs] and live up to filling these shoes that I’ve been put in. It is funny. People are much quicker to resort to hate or to say things like “This band is only getting attention because of his dad” and don’t realize that I wrote 75% of the record.
I am dealing with Nuclear Blast myself and doing a lot of the work. It is funny, and people will invent their opinion of you. Once again, it goes into the politics and the lyrical things, and being nervous about that. I realized that people are going to run with their opinion of you. You can do your best to control it, but at the end of the day, you just have to keep doing what you are doing.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s planned for the rest of the year, besides the record coming out in June?
Cavalera: We have a few videos out, and a few more on the way. We do have some more cool digital content. The release itself is really cool because they are doing it in every possible format. Multiple vinyl records, a really cool blood-splattered cassette tape and cd, and that’s really cool! Then post-album release we might look into a digital show, just so people can see how it sounds live and get the vibe of the band live. Hopefully if things can get better in America and Europe with COVID, we would like to hit the road.
It’s been a year since most of us have played, and with a new album and a whole new band, and the excitement with all of that – we do want to get out there and play live and bring it all over for people to enjoy. So keep your eyes posted for stuff, and please also check out my band Healing Magic as well. We are going to be releasing a record and doing shows as well. I’m having a super busy year.