INCITE’S RICHIE CAVALERA “I’ve Never Had One Moment Where I’ve Been Like “My Dad Is Max Cavalera So Fuck You All”
With a well received début album under their belt, and their sophomore offering out now, Arizona thrashers INCITE are looking to draw you in, chew you up, and spit you out.
If you have heard the album, you will realise they have succeeded, if you haven’t? Then you need to be chewed up and spat out with us. INCITE are indeed guilty as charged of aural battery and assault and plan to continue re-offending. Thankfully.
The bands initial 2009 full length, ‘The Slaughter’ gained the quartet an instant following, garnering high praise from major press and fans alike, they swiftly followed up with tours alongside the likes of Soulfly and Dilinger Escape Plan and became an efficient, dedicated touring machine. With an unexpected, but as it turns out, fortuitous, line up change the lads once again fired up the machine.
ALL OUT WAR, released today via Minus Head Records and produced by Logan Mader (DevilDriver, Fear Factory, Five Finger Death Punch, Gojira) is a ballsy modern thrash concoction of vocal hardcore brutality mixed in with hooky pit fodder choruses that will have you roaring along whilst nursing your neck injuries. Vocalist Richie Cavalera (Yes, that name should be familiar) had a very informal chat to our Fox James recently about their second album, Max, and how the darkest of times spawned the album.
We spent an hour shooting the breeze about the band, his life and various other bizarreness, and thanks to Richie’s openness and honesty, the interview is a three parter, else it could be a new novel or perhaps, a biography.
Hey dude, we meet at last!
Hey, great to finally meet you!
I can stop stalking you on Facebook now.
Ok, straight to the point. There will be people out there that have never heard of Incite, so give me a brief background of the band, how it started…
Yeah, you know we all were fans of music and growing up in Arizona, there just wasn’t a lot to do. with the history I have, you know, of me being around Max and doing songs with him, it just happened that in 2007 that the time was right to get a band going and see where it would lead. Now it’s five years later and we’re about to have our second album out. It’s just been one helluva ride. We’ve toured non stop. Australia, Europe three times, it’s really just been a dream come true and it’s gone by soooooo fast, which sucks but we’re trying to enjoy it as much as we can.
So how does All Out War compare to your first offering?
I think with this new album, it’s gonna bring us to the next level. Our first album, The Slaughter, was great for us. It was our aggression album, our anger album. It came out so cool and finally being able to write a new one, you know, sit down and see how the band has grown. It’s just so amazing, everyone’s skills on their instruments has just grown immensely which really comes out on this album. It’s based on thrash, but it has a lot of different influences into it, you know
Gah, it’s seriously catchy, I’ve been listening to it non stop…damn you.
(laughs)Me too! About two months now, every day.
What, your own stuff? [laughing] Is that just to practice though?
No, no! I really enjoy listening to my own CD! We couldn’t be any prouder of what we’ve created, it’s the kind of music I like to listen to. It’s great for me, I don’t even think of it as my band when I’m listening to it, I’m like “These guys kick ASS!” [laughs]
Yeah, you’re like, I gotta find out who these guys are!..oh wait..
[laughs] Yeah, I’m a fan of music, you gotta remember why you’re doing this plus it’s a great retrospective about how the band is coming along. you can look at from your fan point of view.
You said it all kicked off again in 2007 which is when you made the decision to do Incite professionally, what happened to actually spur that decision?
We’d been going since 2004, you know, playing local shows in Arizona. We were 17, 18 and we were more about partying and ending up at places like backyard parties. In 2007, I was just like “I’ve had enough of this” and changed the whole entire line up and brought in the current line up who we have now. Once that change happened it just felt like we became a real band and not just the local backyard party band.
We wanted to take it to the next level, well, I did for sure you know, I wanted to be a touring band and hopefully bring music to people that may not get it, or you know, want a new spice in their life. So it just happened to be that particular year that it all came together. My current drummer, he quit his old band to jump on with me..
Yeah was gonna ask, did you basically poach everyone from other bands?
Yeah definitely [laughs] I had a lot of friends looking everywhere for me, trying to find a bass player and a guitar player, we ended up finding our guitar through MySpace at the time. He lived in New Jersey, had never been out of state. All of a sudden we were like “yo, how about playing, moving out here and living with the bass player? ” They’d never met each other, never spoken before, and we threw em in an apartment together.
What, you were like “you WILL be in this band, you ARE living there!”
[laughs] Yeah, basically! But he went along with it because it what all four of us wanted to do. everything worked out naturally.
[quote] You know, it just felt like we just …sucked! [/quote]
It’s good that it didn’t feel forced, that’ll reflect in the music…
Yeah, exactly! That’s actually how the beginning of the band felt, forced. It felt like it was only something I done with a bunch of drunken friends just acting crazy. We all have a dedication to this band, and it shows in the music. We’re investing everything we have into it. Personal, mental, financial, you know, everything. We’re a team.
So there’s basically no option not to do this, you are all “all in”…
Absolutely. There’s nothin else. I mean, we go home and we just get crappy jobs inbetween tours just to survive until the next tour starts again. When it’s tour time, we leave all that stuff at home, we hit the road and put 100% into the band.
Does that make it far more complicated for you guys as a young emerging band, I mean, companies don’t usually hold jobs open for people or allow huge amounts of time off..
We just find something else, whether it’s working at a gas station, a toy company, a restaurant, anything you can do to keep yourself alive between tours
I take it then, that Max isn’t funding your career…some people might assume he would be…
Oh no no, we buy our own plane tickets, we buy our own travel, we buy our own merchandise. There’s no-one investing in this band other than our record label. It’s great to come back home and work, because you know when you have a month working a lame job, and you hate going every day, when you get back on tour it feels like day 1 all over again. You get that passion refired, everybody’s excited to see everybody, and you know it doesn’t get old.
Oh I’m not even in a band, but as soon as I see the bands get on stage I get all rapey face and over excited!
[laughs] Yeah, you don’t make money as a new band either, you don’t get show fees, you don’t get anything. Although that’s the one thing we’ve been able to do is sell merchandise, which has helped a lot to get to where we need to be.
Does it ever get reaaaaallly awkward having your mum as your Tour Manager? Like, have you got to behave yourself?…
Noooo, it’s cool because me and her, we have the mother son relationship and then when it comes down to business, it’s me as the business person and her as my boss. I understand everything she’s done, and everything I have learned is from her. you know, she’s proven and she’s created some of the biggest metal bands in history and she never stops and she never gives up. i love seeing her work ethic, it brings out the best in me I think. You know, it’s great to have a mother there as well as a boss, it makes the balance good. You’re not always being told to do something because you have a say in it with her, it makes it comfortable. It never feels out of place or that you’re being forced into anything. It’s also great that you can have a conversation with her when you have a problem
You guys are a very close family obviously..
[quote]I’m not bullshit and that I’m not here all like “Ahhhhhhh, I just wanna be famous!” No way man.[/quote]
If I was in a band and I went on tour with my mum, she would have died seeing what I get up to..
[laughs] Yeah with her though it’s cool. I mean, with Sepultura it was one of the craziest crew in the history of bands, you know, she understands what a band does. We do like to party, and chase girls or do drugs or whatever else may happen…she’s not there to yell at us and that’s cool, she’s gonna point u in the right direction as a mother, but we’re still gonna learn and experiment with what we do in life, that’s how everyone is. She knows how to be cool about it.
Maybe she should train some more Tour Managers about the decent way to go about things!
You know that’s what I keep telling her!
I’d love to be a tour manager (sighs)
You know women are great as tour managers in a band situation, because they bring a different perspective when you’re always surrounded by dudes all day and they have all this ego and anger. it’s good to have a woman to put things into perspective and sort it out for you.
I’d probably be as bad as a man, throwing things at band members and saying “GET ON THAT FUCKING STAGE!”
[laughs] Yeah you know that’s what so cool about her, when she needs to be furious she’s furious, when she’s nice she’s the nicest there is.
Ok, so I’m sorry about what I’m about to ask, it’s about Max.
No no, please don’t be sorry, go right ahead
Well, does it piss you off when everyone starts asking about Max in interviews when they should be concentrating on Incite? And also, that people might think that you started a band just to ride on the coattails of Max’s bands?
You know, I think people can already sense a realness in the band. It’s funny you ask that as I was having a conversation earlier about Bruce Dickinson’s son and how he’s now going through what I’ve been through. I’ve been going through this for over 5 years and no way does it bother me because like, it’s a part of who I am, and it’s a part of my history. You know, I don’t take anything for granted. I’ve worked really hard. I go on tours and I’ll drive the van, I’ll sell the merch, I’ll then play the show and get 2 hours of sleep but I don’t care because it’s what I wanna do.
In the end, the fans, the press and everyone else will understand the realness by your music and your dedication to it. You know, I’m not gonna shy away from the question, cause it is what is and it’s not a problem to me, I love him. If some people end up thinking that, I’m not gonna yell at em and tell em no, they’ll see from seeing the band live and from just meeting us that we’re not like that.
You seem incredibly grounded…
Totally. You know I’ve never had one moment where I’ve been like “My dad is Max [Cavalera] so fuck you all I’m gonna be huge”
I can imagine, naming no names, that some kids of famous musicians have done that and pulled the “Do you know who I am” stunt, has having Max as a relative actually had any detrimental effect then?
Actually yeah, some have and that’s the type of thing that has ruined a lot of opportunities for me and Zion and Iggor. They don’t give us the full respect out of the gate because of how others have acted. But in a way that’s cool because I have had to actually earn it and appreciate it. you know, when I’m at the merch booth and I’m hanging out and talking to fans, they can sense that I’m not bullshit and that I’m not here all like “Ahhhhhhh, I just wanna be famous!”
No way man, this is what I have wanted to do since I first walked on stage with Max in 1989, I was like 5 years old when I first rocked with him. You know even before that I was on the cover of Atrophy’s “Violent By Nature”, and even before that, Gloria ran bars and metal bands used to crash our house because they had nowhere else to go. She was a haven for them.
I’ve been known to do that, actually…
Good on ya man! It’s all that that just brought me where I am today, and not just because I had Max come into my life. It just helped catapult my love for it all.
Nice answer! Ok, ALL OUT WAR, from sat speaking to you right now it seems a bit daft because you are so chilled, the question was going to be, do you have a lot of pent up anger? I’ve listened to the lyrics a fair amount and they are full of incredible venom, so how does the most chilled guy on the planet that I’m chatting to now, transform into the utter vitriolic demon on stage and in your lyrics?
I think it’s just all built up inside. You know I’m a real quiet person, and I just like to be relaxed, but like anyone else I don’t have the perfect life. I have money problems, I have relationship problems, I have business problems, I have friendship problems, you know, where am I gonna live next..
You can stay at mine, everyone else bloody does, that’s one problem gone..
(laughs) Yeah! You know as you were saying before, we’re in a band and we’re not funded by anyone but ourselves, so it’s not easy. So when I get a chance to write, or go on stage it’s where I get my release. That’s another thing that is so important to me about music and a show. I can have the worst day ever, I can be mad at my dad, mad at my drummer, mad at my crew guy but when I have that 30 minutes on stage I’m released from all of them.
So it’s a full on purging in all respects..
Yeah, basically! People may say that a lot, but it’s actually true for me. Most musicians are like that, they’re quiet and then they get on stage and they become a completely different person. ALL OUT WAR was my, you know, my diary.
Over how many years is this diary based?
Probably the last two, you know coming into the end of The Slaughter record. We were all ready to go make the second album, and the label was collapsing and it didn’t look like it was going to be a good ending for this band, it felt like we were gonna be one album and done. We all just got in really dark places whilst writing this album. I was alone in my house every night and it was like one minute I’d be writing, the next minute I’d be in tears, or I’d be angry, smoking a cigarette and just pissed off, then I got to the song “Hopeless”…
…That is actually my favourite off of the album.
Thank you. That’s like the culmination of the whole album.
That track and 4ever Loko, they make me go all funny and all gritty teeth and owl eyed..
Nice! (nods approvingly and laughs) I feel like 4ever Loko is the start of the album, where I started writing, then at the end it’s “Hopeless” where I have been through all of that stuff that I went through and there’s always that light at the end of the tunnel. Cause now we have one of the best labels I’ve ever known of for an independant label, I mean they are out there working the band, the new album they are supporting us one hundred percent…to think just a year ago it was all so unsure.
Yeah, that led into another of my questions. You’re bloody reading these in advance when I’m not looking aren’t you…
Or you’re psychic..so, the struggle ended in a flash, how did you get from that utter bleakness to being signed to your new label?
We were playing this show in San Francisco, and one of my friends brought me out to introduce me to this label guy and we were just in the midst of trying to get released and he said “Look man, I really love your band and would support it, if you are able to get out of your label, then come to us”. So that’s exactly what we did, and over the next year he always checked in to see how it was coming along, kept his word, backed us up, texted us all the time to say how proud of us he was and thankful that we would be touring like we will. You know, putting the work in to it. To have that? Makes us work all the harder. Our label before, we wouldn’t hear from them for a year or two, they wouldn’t tell us we were doing a good job. You know, it just felt like we just …sucked! (laughs)
Well, I don’t think you suck, and I’m not even brown nosing!
(laughs) Yeah, well we just knew that in our hearts, and when we found the right people it just all came together….
PART TWO COMING SOON, where Richie discusses the INCITE line up changes, Max Cavalera’s art, how he preps for tours, tours with Max, how he ended up in stitches, literally!.. and stalkers.
ALL OUT WAR is out TODAY on CD and MP3 download from all leading retailers. Some useful links are below:
More about INCITE: