Interview: Sepultura’s Derrick Green On New Album ‘QUADRA’

Interview by Ash Wallace

Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura are set to release their brand-new album ‘QUADRA’ via Nuclear Blast on February 7 with two singles already released Isolation and Last Time.

Major players in the heavy music scene since 1984, Sepultura continue to evolve and diversify while keeping their raw and bloody roots. With such a large discography to their name, they still manage to produce fresh, riff laden conceptual releases that pack a punch and hone some serious heat.

We got to chat with vocalist Derrick Green about the upcoming album, creating voices for the voiceless and some of his personal ventures.

Thanks for taking time to talk to us at Good Call Live today ahead of your soon to be released album QUADRA (February 7th). The two singles Isolation and Last Time have been out in the world for a while, how has the response been towards them?

“Incredible response. I have to say very positive, since I’ve been in the band I believe this is the most positive feedback that I’ve gotten all around. It’s such a good feeling, we’re very excited and looking forward to everyone hearing the album in its entirety.”

What’s the message or story behind ‘QUADRA?

“The idea came from Andreas Kisser our guitarist and it’s from two aspects. One was reading a book called Quadrivium, which is basically taking the four subjects of arts; arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. Then he was really getting into numerology. The number four is such a significant number, there’s four members in our band and we kind of had this feeling of the meaning where really powerful things happen in the moment, and so when we’re on stage and we’re in the studio, it’s a moment that’s very exciting for us, and a lot of things we are able to create as a group so the combination of that and the name Quadra which is Portuguese for playing field which is four sides as well, and within this playing field you have rules and laws you need to follow, this is kind of a metaphor for life. Each of us are born into this type of Quadra around the world with laws and rules that are passed down to you, that you abide by and a lot of people don’t question those things. This album is really questioning those rules and laws that we live by and also how to survive within this Quadra or maybe escape from that area. So, it puts a lot of questions on the table with this album.” 

Was there a favorite song for you on the album or a song you are more attached or connected to? 

“There’s a song called Guardians Of Earth I feel is extremely important. It’s really about the indigenous people who are a part of the rain forest, part of the amazon and have always been connected to it. I’ve always felt like they are the guardians of earth. They’re being moved and they’re being killed. They have no voice to talk about this, they’re in such a remote part of the world and it’s hard to communicate what’s going on so they need a voice. I felt like this song could be that voice for them, to draw attention to what’s going on there as far as the agriculture company, the deforestation as far as the loggers coming and moving them and the actual murdering. For me that song is really significant and has very strong meaning.”

You had a lot more time on this album to write and produce and master, do think it translates into the album that fans will be able to pick up on?

“Yeah, that was something we planned ahead. On our last album ‘Machine Messiah’ we had great success and fantastic writing process but we felt that it would be great to have more time for this time around in the writing process. It was fantastic to really take a break from the touring and to really focus and prepare ourselves for going in the studio and I believe it’s had a huge impact lyrically and musically to have that space and be able to really think about the songs and to walk ourselves through and figure out what we really like and what we don’t like. I can definitely hear that on this album, it has an amazing flow for me from beginning to end and I believe that has to do with the preparation and having that time.” 

The band tours a lot and are on the bill for many festivals throughout the year, what are the biggest pros and cons of doing headlining shows vs festival lineups?

“Well with headline shows you definitely have a lot more control. What you say goes, there’s less stress on that end as far as your able to have a longer set list and your able to represent yourselves all the way through. With the festivals, your limited in the fact that there are many bands so your set is cut in half, you don’t have as much say of what’s going on, you have less of your production, but at the same time you’re playing in front of a lot more people and more people are able to hear your music so that’s definitely a big up for festivals. Actually, you know what’s fun about playing shows? Being able to see other bands. With smaller shows, you’re playing sometimes with opening bands but sometimes the stages are smaller, smaller venues and it’s hard to have movement on stage so that’s a negative from playing smaller shows.” 

Metal is such a universal language, bringing people together from all around the globe, where in the world is the best place to perform?

“Obviously, Brazil and South America. There weren’t many shows going on in the 80’s due to politics and bands weren’t able to tour South America to see that time period where rock and heavy metal music was at its peak. Now a lot of people are seeing shows because there’s a lot of bands having reunions or they’re passing through. Now the politics have changed and so the ability to see shows is much greater so they’re very happy to have bands play there, very enthusiastic, very passionate, it’s one of my favourite places. It’s also very small, smaller places are very special like in Asia it’s fantastic to play shows in Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, all wonderful places to play.”

I often find the artists I talk to listen to music so polar opposite to what they actually play, is that the same for you? 

“Yeah, a lot of times. I listen to all sorts of music, not necessarily metal. If I’m working out then I’m definitely listening to some heavy stuff, but a lot of times I like to relax and listen to something different from metal because I’m hearing this every day on the road with different bands. For me I like a lot of things like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds or Massive Attack, I like a lot of hip hop, I like a lot of stuff from the 80’s, alternative music and classic rock.”

Im also really interested in one of your personal ventures – Health Rock n Roll, the plant based travel show, how did that all come about, whats the motives behind it all?

“I’ve been travelling around for so long and many times people ask me this question of how is it possible that I’m plant based and being so big and I really wanted to shatter a lot of those stereotypes around that whole lifestyle because a lot of people don’t know what they’re talking about. I can tell from their questions, and that’s ok to have those questions but I really wanted to stomp out those stereotypes and really talk about it. It’s something really significant and I started to see a change happening all over the world because I started at such a young age with this lifestyle and I’ve seen how much its grown as a result of what people have been eating and their diet It’s all catching up to people, all the processed food people are in taking, there’s more and more of it and as a result their health is ailing them. Then you have more problems than ever, even dealing with depression and anxiety, I feel like food has an impact on that and the lifestyle. So, I wanted to do the show to show people that all the stereotypes people are thinking about are misleading them. I’m doing the show with my co-host Tanya O’Callaghan, she’s a session bass player from Ireland and played with many different bands, and she’s also plant based. We decided since we travel and know so many different chefs, restaurants and famous people to really showcase them on the show and talk about plant based eating and also talk about things relating to that like sustainability, the future of this planet, the animals and what we can do to create a better future individually. We have a lot of different guests on the show and were going to many different places and having with it. Not all our guests are vegan, the show is really good for people who have those questions and want to learn more about what’s going on in this movement and why its important. It’s been a lot of fun and we look forward to having the show out around October-September but right now we’re doing as many interviews as possible and filming as much as we can. It’s really growing and we hope it’s going to be an informative show for a lot of people.”

‘QUADRA’ will be available on all streaming services on February 7th.

Make sure to keep up with the band via their website, Facebook and Instagram

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