Incite was a band I ignored. In this webzine we are a team and I personally didn’t take care of Incite release. And I even told this to Richie before the interview! But I was the guy that went to the gig and so I took the duty. And it was a great pleasure! While Alberto was in charge of the questions, I was in charge of talking to the artist. I kind of was just like a war correspondent, if you want, but I really enjoyed the passion and the energy of Richie Cavalera. And the interview that should have been simply asking Alberto’s question went to something deeper, more interesting and personal. (leggila in Italiano…)
Richie was waiting for me at the given time, at merch-booth… as agreed. A crazy guy on stage but a true business man in charge of the band he set up and took around the world. We walk outside the venue, we take a seat, I switch the recorder on….
RC: Check One! Check One!
MH: Alberto’s questions now. Probably each new album for a band is a great album. “Oppression” is the fourth album after years of activity. Do you think it’s something like an arrival point and do you think it is the peak of your creativity right now?
RC: For us, you know I think, if you gotta look at at the past of the band and there’s always a thing we tried to find the proper member for Incite, and I think with “Oppression” you know, and the end of our our last record “Up in Hell”, it’s where you really got that. You know we have the drummer, the bass player, the guitar player, me, all the same… so now we’re at a point where we are finding ourselves. I think the first two records it’s more of an experiment to see what kind of band we wanted to be… we boiled inside, we kept writing, but when those members left it’s was the rebirth of Incite for me. We did introduce “Up in Hell” and with “Oppression , you know, we were clicking… I think it takes a couple of years for the us to really come together, to kind of really bowl into one piece, like we really started to find it out on “Oppression” and having Steve Evetts to produce the record … it was the first time we really got involved into trying, you know, just push things further. You know, to have a goal outside our confidence zone. I think with “Oppression” you finally have Incite, you have the record we’ve been wanting to make since day one, and you kinda always have always incredible records, to me they kinda fell short of … could be a band but we were young, 19, 22 years old.
MH: Yes, a natural progress of a band from the start…
RC: You are kind of lost, you go on tour …. but now we are on our 30s, grown men, so I think now we found the style and the form, everything we love of Incite, it’s a new beginning. That’s an exciting thing to have.
MH: A question about the cover. The cover of “Oppression” is very different from the previous ones, because it’s a painting. It’s not just an artwork. Is it exactly the image you wanted to push or is it a concept somebody offered you?
RC: No, it was completely what I thought of. Behind the cover there’s the oppressed with that constant fire that burns inside all of us. No matter what government or personal relationship or things that gets decided, things that are constantly there just to oppress… release, speech just the way of life you wanna live. You know as humans we are not meant to be oppressed, we have this burning desire inside ourselves to go more, to be explore the galaxy, to explore more about ourselves
MH: to conquer
RC: You know, it’s not a concept album but in a way it is; I always did a artwork to match the information given in a lyrics of a song.
MH: Well, you are in front of two guys that when they buy a record, the first thing that drives our choice is the cover. That’s why I never bought a mp3 ever in my life!
RC: For me that’s such an important thing the cover, because I grew up with Max (Cavalera, editor’s note) who was always creating these covers with this great people, and we found that secret with covers of Pestilence, Morbid Angel… “Altar of Madness”, and to watch him work when he does… he paints it all on a four by four art piece and turns it into the record version and that just blew my mind and him being an artist outside just the music … was big for me… because his interpretation even on our records feels impression of exactly of what my dream and my vision … you know, I was having this weird dreams of seeing my covers before they actually happen… you know the color skin…
MH: It happens to me when I write a review, I kinda paint it…
RC: It’s exactly how it feels. Every cover it is as strong as your music, and like you say a lot of people wanting to pick it up…
MH: I squeeze in a question of mine, not from Alberto. What about the lyrics. Do they reflect this concept?
RC: Completely! You have songs like “Forced into Life” or “Never Surrender” which is our opening track, and the chorus is about the fire that burns inside, we’ll never die… and that completely turned into our cover artwork. I think with all my lyrics on every album they’ve been… it’s not meaningless tales, fairytales or lies or just some shit I found out that’s cool. It’s all part of my life work. I think in a way this band is kind of political revolutionary to the idea of bringing kids into thinking in a different life. You know songs like “I Want It All”…
MH: …that should be the roots of metal…
RC: Yeah! …songs like “I Want It All”… great base but I think everybody wants everything in the world, you know, you want more, always, so now with that song kind of points that out, you know silence, you come to the point of hearing people’s opinions and you just wanna be like “no! Shut up! I don’t wanna hear you anymore, you are none to me!”. I have always been very, very,very serious when it comes to my lyrics. It takes me months, after hearing the music… I rewriting, rewriting, rewriting until it’s where I wanna be, I never stop. I mean we can be there in the studio recording and I still change things. I love that about lyrics. I am able to do that. It represent, you know, my kind of manifestation to the world…
MH: Apparently, before going into studio, you jammed with Steve Evetts (the producer). For a week or about.
MH: Any changes in the music you played before and after being with him? I mean, after this session with him, what you later recorded… has it been changed?
RC: There were some things… when you write … how we do is kinda like one guys textes over the internet, all of us is doing their stuff, so when we finally come together things do change because we actually play it in a live environment. And then having Steve coming as well, I think he created a good structured formula for us, which wasn’t just like this song we want it aggressive but we want to be…. you know thing that makes the song have more beat. Impact. You know, pure driven from beginning to end. I think that’s where he opened our eyes to.
MH: Do you record in a single session or do you record every single instrument and then mix?
RC: We did… for two weeks we did live recordings of the drums. And then each guys went in separately to did his part. Which is cool because we never did that. Normally the drummer comes and goes by himself, then everybody just kind of do their own things.
MH: So you record live, keep the drum and then add the other instruments…
RC: So you get the natural vibe of the drums… which is amaaaazing… yeah man… I believe we’ll work on the same guy on the next album, I really love everything he did.
MH: Indeed the next question talks about this. Your music is full of groove. It is extreme but still sounding contemporary with elements of modern thrash metal. This way of playing is getting common in Europe. What about USA? Is there many bands around, even on the underground, with a sound like Incite?
RC: I think this is where people are starting to realize that we were kind of pioneers on something, you know, this explosive groove, but it’s not like your… where groove is like rap… we were getting so sick and tired of going to the show and all you hear is “tah tah tah tah” (he imitates a nervous flat blast beat, editor’s note)… where can you find any… emotions getting into that, with your spiritual … mental state… you know I wanna feel it and have the music run through me, that aggressiveness … you know, one misconception about metal is that the faster you play the heavier it is.. NO WAY MAN! I think you can make things slower and put more behind it, more force rather than just having people with a brain hemorrhage after they listened to this song. Now, it was for us to create a sound, I think now you see a lot of bands being influenced by Incite, you know. In our home, America, I see a lot of these other bands… you know on their twenties, doing what I was doing ten years ago. How that happened? And it feels great, ‘cos we were doing what people say ‘you are no heavy’, ‘you are not .. that…’; we knew ourselves and we made “The Slaughter”, which to me it is an underground classic, from beginning to end. You see people coming and singing the songs, still now that it has been out for a while (year 2009, editor’s note) now… and they are looking into our back catalog to experience what we’ve been, to see the history since maybe 2007…
MH: Well, we got the last one, also because you’re soon on stage! You’re now on tour with Gorgoroth and Melechesh, two bands very different from yours. Completely different. But afterward you’ll be on tour with Ill Nino e Ektomorf, and they got a sound closer to yours. What do you expect from this your and the next one, and what can you say about the public that have seen you live with Gorgoroth or anybody else. Did you get a good feedback from the crowd?
RC: Oh man, this tour has a blown our expectations! And once again it comes that aggression that live, in the music is relatable to everybody, whether you like heavy metal, death metal, black metal… in the end it’s all metal. So we have in those elements people that can feel it, and night after night… I mean, last night in Munich we were the first band on this entire tour to have mosh pit… and a black metal show… which I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my life. The other day we took a picture from the merch-booth with kids in corpse paint… you know for us we would have never imagined things like that, but if you look at the history of this band and with we’ve toured with, we can truly play with anybody. Which it’s been amazing. We toured with Cancer Bats, 36 Crazyfists, Tengger Cavalry which is a folk metal band and now we’re gonna tour with Devildriver, and Anaal Nathrakh which is grindcore band … and then you have Gorgoroth which is black metal. And there have been always one crowd, and we always kicked ass… whether you were there for us or not, in the end I think we gained the respect… and that’s how beautiful metal is. You can like anything but in the end of the day metal is better, aggression and anger will always feel in the same way… whether it’s talking shit about god, or talking shit about politics o talking shit about a person. It all translates the same. We have been fortunate to have this opportunity of a tour life. Cuz I think we’re one of the few bands out there that toured with the spectrum of bands we toured. We always love the challenge. We want to be cool in front of any crowd, cuz in the end of the day you’re coming to an Incite show and maybe in five years you’re gonna have kids with corpse paint, you’re gonna have metalheads… all in the same place watching the same band
MH: Would be funny to see you live in a bill with a glam metal band …
RC: We would try it! If they offer a tour we would take it!
MH: Since you talked a lot about the crowd, well, send a message to the reader of METALHEAD.IT and anybody else around the world that will read this interview.
RC: Like I said, spread the word about metal, Incite… whether you like black metal, death metal or heavy metal… we are all one family in metal… spread that word, support your loved musicians, support national acts, support everything cuz we all need it. Horns high!
(Luca Zakk / Alberto Vitale. Interview Photo: Enrico ‘Burzum’ Pauletto. Live Photos: Monica Furiani Photography)