"The album is inspired by the past but with the attitude, ideas and energy of the present....Sepultura talk new LP Quadra
Metal veterans Sepultura are now in their 36th year, but show absolutely no signs of slowing down and are back with a new LP, their 15th.
Recorded with Kreator and Orphaned Land knob-twiddler Jens Borgen, the album is the band's follow-up to 2017's Machine Messiah and finds the foursome on crushing form.
With the album now in hmv stores, we spoke to guitarist Andreas Kisser about the making of the album and the complex inspiration for the LP's concept...
When did you start working on the songs for Quadra?
"I started looking for a direction, a concept for the album around August and September 2018 when we were still touring for the album Machine Messiah. Once I found the concept we started writing the material, first the music and then the lyrics."
You recorded in Sweden with Jens Bogren again, why did you decide to work with him again?
"Because we had an amazing experience working with him on Machine Messiah. The album was really well received by the fans and critics, and we were very happy with the final result. We toured the world with that album and the idea was to explore even further the ideas we brought on Machine Messiah."
"It was natural having Jens again to produce, record, mix and master everything. He's a great producer that knows and understands what Sepultura needs in the studio."
It’s a 12-track record, which you’ve divided into four parts, can you talk us through what separates the parts?
"It came from the concept of Quadra. I began researching the world of numbers inspired by algorithms and numerology. That was my starting point to find a concept for the album. In doing so I found this book called the Quadrivium which talks about the four liberal arts: Music, Cosmology, Geometry and Mathematics. The book brings definitions for all the numbers and its combinations; number four is the number of manifestation, where and when everything happens, it is a concept that we explore a lot in our career especially in albums like Kairos."
So you took the concept and expanded it...
"We divided the album into four parts, like a double vinyl album with sides A, B, C and D. Each side brings a different characteristic element from Sepultura's music throughout our career. Side A is inspired by our early albums, our thrash metal years. Side B is influenced by our groovier stuff with percussive elements from Brazilian music."
"Side C was influenced by instrumental music which is a big part of Sepultura's music and side D inspired by slow pace songs with a lot of melody on the vocals. Inspired by the past but with the attitude, ideas and energy of the present."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Can you talk us through some of the themes you’re exploring?
"We talk about everything, since the concept is so wide. 'Isolation' talks about the prison system in the US, 'Raging Void' is about trying to fill the void inside with material things, 'Fear, Pain, Suffering, Chaos' is about depression and addiction. We also have a song for Muhammad Ali, a homage to this amazing human being who changed his name, his religion, said no to war, battled a terrible illness and was still there at the Los Angeles Olympic Games holding the torch to light the Olympic pyre, he chose his own Quadra."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"Songs like 'Last Time' and 'Guardian On Earth' took more time to finish. There's a lot going on with them and we took our time to build the songs the best we could, we were not in a hurry, we wanted to make sure we had the best riffs and parts to put on the album."
And which came together most quickly?
"'Isolation' was pretty quick. I wrote it at my home studio with a drum machine and all the parts were there, we just developed the song together at the practice room and then with Jens at the recording studio."
When did you decide on Quadra for the album title? Were any other titles in contention?
"The name came very early on the process and it helped us to build everything around it. There were no other options for the name, when Quadra was found, it stayed."
What are your plans to take the album out live?
"We will use samples to reproduce the orchestra and choirs like we did on the Machine Messiah tour, we are preparing the show as we speak and can't wait to hit the road."
You’ve got 15 records now, how will you decide what makes it into your live set?
"The set is built around the new album Quadra as we always do with a new tour, the rest of the songs will be organised around the new songs."
When will we see you back in the UK?
"We are confirmed for the Download Festival on June 13th headlining the Dogtooth Stage. Also, we will play our first festival ever in Ireland at the Sunstroke Festival on June 14th. We have plans to be back at the end of the year for a headline tour."