Cavalera Conspiracy’s Iggor Cavalera on one of metal’s big problems: “Sometimes it can be too conservative”

Iggor Cavalera wearing sunglasses and standing against a multi coloured wall
(Image credit: Al Overdrive)

Iggor Cavalera is best know as the drummer on several classic albums by Sepultura, the band he formed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil with brother Max, who whom he also plays in Cavalera Conspiracy. But Iggor’s tastes go way beyond metal – he’s worked with the likes of rapper Necro and art-pop band Ladytron. His latest project is noise rock duo Petbrick, whose new album Liminal is out now.

You formed Petbrick with Wayne Adams from noise-rock duo Big Lad. Were you familiar with the noise rock scene beforehand?

“The stuff I like in noise music is more the Japanese side of things, like Merzbow. Once I moved to London, I started to see more of the psychedelic heavy stuff that was happening here – Big Lad, [club night] Baba Yaga’s Hut and then all the little festivals like Raw Power and Supernormal. I first saw Big Lad in Camden opening for really good friends of ours and I was blown away, especially the stuff that Wayne was doing with electronics. I went to Wayne’s studio, and we had some coffee and started talking about how it would be cool to make some jams together, and that eventually became Petbrick.”

When did it become obvious that it was something that you were going to share with the rest of the world?

“There’s this other band from New York called Uniform, and I remember they asked me to do something to open their set. So I went to Wayne and said, ‘Do you want to try to do this thing that we’ve been writing live?’ That was pretty much the transition, and we had a blast playing together live, so that’s when we started to write a few more songs. It was very organic: two people who love music going to the studio and writing stuff without any master plan behind it.” 

You’ll always be associated with metal because of your work with Sepultura, but you collaborate with lots of different artists, such as Wayne, Soulwax, Ladytron etc. Is it important for you to keep your oar in different styles to keep things fresh?

“Yeah, I mean that comes from early ideas in Sepultura where we were covering bands like New Model Army or even Bob Marley. We always tried to be a bit more open-minded when writing and collaborating with other people. Stuff like Soulwax or Ladytron, it all stems from that state of mind of wanting to exchange ideas.” 

And if it weren’t for that ethos, we wouldn’t have Roots, an undisputed classic of the genre…  

“Yeah, I think you’re right. Roots was the culmination of a lot of those things that we’re talking about – being open-minded, trying to experiment with different styles, and pushing the boundaries of things within a scene that is sometimes not progressive. When you think about metal it can sometimes be too conservative, and Roots came at a time where we were trying to push those limits while respecting what we were experimenting with. For us it was a bit boring having to keep doing the same record over and over.”

People might be surprised with your newfound association with a genre as niche as avant-garde noise rock.

“It’s a scene within a scene, something that is very unique and niche in a way. It reminds me of the beginning of Sepultura, where it wasn’t about the quantity of people but the people who were there knew exactly why they were there. It was not like a fashion thing, it was not just hype.”

You started drumming at the age of seven. What was it that drew you to hitting the skins?

“I was going to football games with my brother and my dad, who was a huge football fanatic. He would go every week to watch our team, Palmeiras, in São Paulo. In Brazil, you’re allowed to bring drums into the stadium, and during the game, they’d play those beats and rhythms to push the team. And that was my first experience with drums, when I was around five or six, watching those guys in the stadium.”

 Are there any drummers or bands that you’re really excited about at the moment?

“There’s a lot of amazing music at the moment, man. Like, from heavy stuff to experimental. One of my favourite drummers at the moment that I’m really inspired by is Mariano from Deafkids. I don’t know if you’ve seen them live, but that guy’s a beast, he’s like an African Ginger Baker in a way. The way he plays is so unorthodox.” 

Petbrick’s Liminal is out now via Rocket