Thanks to UK Metal Hammer
How it all began:
Max: "We didn't have to try, really. We left school, didn't have a job, and decided
to start playing. One day I was visiting a record shop called Woodstock in Sao Paulo.
It is the biggest record store in Brazil and I heard albums by bands like Slayer and
Venom there. I wanted to play the same sort of aggressive music. Igor and I started in
1983 just for fun. We didn't even think about going out to play."
"After lots of rehearsing we started to gig, although a lot of promoters were afraid
of us. We only played on festivals because we couldn't finance our own gigs."
"At that time there were only four bands who played as aggressively as us. The rest of
the bands were all like Iron Maiden or played pure punk. Nobody played thrash or black
"Paulo lived in our neighbourhood and the reason he came into the band was simply
because he owned a bass guitar. We didn't care if he could play or not!"
So the possession of an instrument meant a lot in Belo Horizonte. Igor's drum kit in
those days looked nothing like the kit he bashes now.
Igor: "I had a snare drum, a floor tom and a cymbal, that's all, and I tried to keep
up a rhythm with that. I played like that for most of 1983 and 1984".
During the Metal Belo Horizonte festival, the band was noticed by the owners of the
Cogulemo Record Store and they gave Sepultura the chance to record 'Bestial
Max: "It really wasn't too good and the video was bad. We only had two days to record
everything. The funny thing is that on two songs the instruments are tuned differently
from the other two. We didn't care about tuning. We didn't even have guitar tuners. So
if you want to play the songs along with the album, you have to tune your guitar
differently after two songs"
Igor: "Cogumelo released the record as a test to see how the audience would react to
Sepultura and Overdose. I think the Brazilinas were pretty surprised because two
national bands putting out an album together at that time was unsusual".
Max: "The deal financially was not too good, but it wasn't important for us. We just
wanted to have an album out and tour. After the split LP was released we did our first
Brazilian tour and played for the first time in Sao Paulo. After the tour, we recorded
'Morbid Visions', on which the guitars are also tuned wrongly".
In Europe, their records became collectors items and were received on the underground
scene with cheers. In the meantime Sepultura were hitting the Brazilian kids with
their live shows, highlighted by two support shows in Brazil with Venom and Exciter.
Max: "After those gigs it became time to start rehearsing material for the second
album. Jairo hardly showed up and when he didn't show up for three weeks in a row, we
were pretty pissed off. He told us that it would be better for everybody if he left
the band because he didn't enjoy the music.But he wanted to give us time to find a
suitable replacement before we went into the studio".
Andreas: "I was on holiday with a friend in Belo Horizonte. I had already got to know
the guys a month before".
Max: "Yeah, he was my guitar roadie for one gig".
Andreas: "That was the first time I saw Sepultura live"
Igor: "We already played some songs together with him in the rehearsal room. We were
playing some covers just for fun".
Andreas: "Yeah, they were rehearsing for a gig where I was to be the guitar roadie and
in the intermissions we jammed together".
Max: "We wanted Jairo to be replaced by someone from the band Mutilator, but he didn't
want to leave his band. Then I remembered Andreas".
When 'Schizophrenia' was released, Cogumelo, who had sold 10,000 copies in Brazil, got
the American label New Renaissence to release the album. When the Americans first
heard about Sepultura, the band was already the number one underground tip in Europe.
People like Don Kaye and Borivoj Krgin were calling the band the new Slayer and helped
Sepultura get in touch with the right people outside of Brazil.
Max: "A friend of mine who was working with Pan Am Brazil got me a plane ticket. I had
to wear nice clothes for two days and behave like someone working for Pan Am to get
through Customs. And so I left Brazil with loads of 'Scizophrenia' tapes, heading for
New York, and visited, with the help of Borivoj and Don, record labels like Noise,
Combat and Roadrunner. Most of the A&R managers knew the band but didn't give any
guarantees for a record deal".
Later, Roadrunner got a new A&R manager called Monte Connor. He was interested in the
band and saw signing them as a challenge. They had a deal but now they had to record
an album. Getting the deal took so much of their time and attention, they hardly had
any new material written. The band even missed the first deadline to start recording.
Roadrunner, in the meantime, was looking for a suitable producer. Using Annihilator
guitarist Jeff Waters didn't lead anywhere. In the end they teamed up with Scott Burns
who, together with Dan Johnson, had done Death's 'Leprosy'.
Max: "We were really afraid to work with a producer. Our first three albums we
produced ourselves. We didn't want anybody to touch our music. We only wanted someone
who could help us in the studio."
"For us, 'Beneath The Remains' was a sort of debut album, not only because it was our
first with a decent record company but also because it was the first time we had
written songs as a team. Andreas didn't contribute that much on the previous albums".
But the record company wanted to limit the financial risk as the band hadn't proved
Max: "We recorded 'BTR' in nine days. Actually, it was nine nights because the studio
was cheaper at night time, so we had to record by night and sleep by day. In December
Brazil is in the middle of summer. Rio was like hell. The daytime temperature was 110
degrees and we were in a very dirty and noisy hotel and we had to try and get some
sleep during the day so we would be fit at night to go to the studio. I was so glad
when those nine days were over."
"I didn't have enough time in Brazil to record all the vocals so I flew with Scott to
sing the rest in Florida".
The album was chosen in many fanzines as the best death/thrash album of 1989 and the
band and members did well in popularity polls. Now they had to show themselves live
and so Sepultura were flown to Europe to tour with Sodom. The tour was supposed to
start in June 1989 but Sodom had recording delays so it was postponed until September.
In that month the band touched European soil for the first time, in Austria, where the
tour started. Most of the gigs were sold out and outside Germany, most of the crowd
came specially for Sepultura.
Max: "After three gigs I got food poisoning and had to go to hospital for treatment.
The crew and management of Sodom were treating us very badly and that made things
harder for us".
After that, the band went to America to do a headlining tour, mostly on the East
Coast, with Faith Or Fear as support.
Max: "We did a Halloween show at The Ritz [New York] with King Diamond and Sacred
Reich and that was totally sold out. We got an excellent reaction that night".
The band had also planned some gigs in Los Angeles but the promoter didn't pay the
Max: "A thousand tickets were sold and when we arrived three hours before the show,
there were three hundred metal heads waiting at the door who, like us, didn't know the
show was cancelled. So we stayed there for an hour to give autographs".
In the first month of 1990 the band mainly worked on new material but in June
Sepultura were back in Europe for two gigs in Eindhoven, Holland and two in London.
The second Eindhoven gig on 4th June was in front of 26,000 hard rock fans at the
Dynamo Open Air Festival.
Max: "We were so nervous, we could hardly stand. We thought we had played to a lot of
people in Brazil, where sometimes 5,000 turned up. We got a good respons but I think
at that time in our career we played much better in the smaller clubs".
At the Dynamo Festival the band met Sacred Reich's manager, Gloria Bujnowski and
decided to take her as manager. On 26 and 27 August Sepultura were in the CJ studio in
Belo Horizonte to re-record 'Troops Of Doom' for the re-release of 'Schizophrenia'.
Max: "We wanted Scott Burns to re-mix the whole album totally, and we wanted to record
two extra songs as a bonus for the CD, 'Troops Of Doom' and 'Anti-Christ'. In the end
we had to scrap the second song because we could only get two days of studio time
booked. We were very happy with Scott's re-mix, but you could hardly call it a re-mix.
Our old record company was so smart they had erased the 16 track master tapes to use
for something else. All Scott had to work with was a two track tape which was made to
press up the album".
During the recording of 'Arise', Bozo, the singer from Overdose, designed a new
Sepultura logo, a large 'S' made of bones.
Igor: "We wanted to have a symbol for the band, not just a band name but a logo
everyone could recognise".
The logo is tattooed even on Igor and Max's mother's leg! 'Arise' was due to be
released in February 1991 but was postponed until 25 March because Roadrunner weren't
satisfied with the mix. The band wanted to have the album out in January because the
band was booked on the 23rd of the month at the Rock In Rio II festival. So 20,000
copies of 'Arise' were released in Brazil. All of them were sold within a week. 50,000
people watched Sepultura play their 30 minute set at the Maracana stadium.
Andreas: "The organisation only took care of the big foreign bands. They didn't do
anything for the Brazilian bands. We didn't get any money, the record company had to
pay all our bills. The organiser said 'If you don't want to play, I don't care'".
Igor: "Rio was a big surprise for us. We had played the Dynamo in front of 25,000 but
on that festival only more underground bands were playing. At Rio we played with bands
like Guns'N'Roses so we didn't know what the reaction would be".
Max: "It was unbelieveable. We had a huge mosh pit with about 10,000 headbangers in
front of the stage when we played 'Orgasmatron'".
Andy Wallace re-mixed 'Arise' without the band.
Max: "We recorded 'Orgasmatron' at 5 a.m. and the next day we did our first gig in
Florida for the 'Arise' tour.We couldn't help it because the tour was set up a long
'Under Siege' was released as a single before the album came out.
Max: "It was the wrong single choice. I don't know why we chose that song".
Andreas: "I think we chose it because we wanted to make a video of the song first. I
think 'Dead Embryonic Cells' would have been a better single" [It was their first US
Max: "We wanted to film the video in an Inca ruin in Peru but at that atime there was
a Cholera epidemic over there".