Exclusive Interview with Andreas Kisser

[Originally published at www.jasonkorolenko.com on April 18, 2013]

Andrés Gimenez and Andreas Kisser, De La Tierra, by Jason KorolenkoAndreas Kisser won’t be getting much sleep this year. Between writing for Sepultura’s 13th album, rehearsing for an upcoming European tour with Hammercult, recording a weekly program that airs every Sunday on Brazilian radio (and online), preparing for September’s Rock In Rio where Sepultura will perform two sets on two different nights—one with Brazilian composer Zé Ramalho, the other with French percussionists Les Tambours Du Bronx (which will be recorded for a DVD release)—Andreas decided to start a new band, a sort of Latin American supergroup, called De La Tierra.

De La Tierra’s lineup is rounded out by Alex Gonzalez from Mexican rock legends Maná, Andrés Giminez of A.N.I.M.A.L., and Fabulosos Cadillacs’ Sr. Flavio. In this exclusive interview, Andreas graciously took some time out from recording to discuss DLT, as well as Sepultura’s successor to 2011’s Kairos.

JK: Sepultura’s starting a European tour in about a week. Are you going to finish recording DLT before heading to Europe?

AK: At least the guitars, yes. Guitars and vocals, but Andrés is going back to Buenos Aires to finish the vocals, and when we come back, Stanley [Soares, the producer] will mix everything.

JK: So the whole thing is written?

AK: Yeah, it’s done. Well, some lyrics still to be done, but ninety percent is there.

Andrés is recording his guitars there, and I’m just here around to…because it’s the first time I’m playing with another guitarist after Max, you know, after so long, and it’s not easy to put two guitars together. You really have to know each other and we [Andreas and Andrés] didn’t play that much at all together, but we’re doing a pretty good job of putting together an arrangement and making it sound like a band. (Laughs) We practiced a little and he’s a great musician, as well, and everybody’s really connected. We are recording in different places, but it’s sounding really strong. It’s awesome.

Here [recording DLT] we are finding ourselves now. This has a lot of room to get much better. Now we are knowing each other as guitar players…me and Max, we were like, as one, pretty much. We played so much together. Since I joined the band, we used to practice every day, man. Every day. There was something very sacred for us about that. And very passionate. We loved to do that. And we’d go to the practice room every day and we’d play and play. We’d play some covers, but we’d write…we wrote a lot. And then we built that kind of style that we had together, so…it takes time. We’re starting something new here that is sounding very good already, very powerful, but there’s a lot of room to get much better. We still got to get…we’ve never played a show together, for instance. It’s something that will be missed. But as soon as we start going on stage and jamming and stuff, we’re gonna really build this to something even stronger than what we’re hearing today, which is already awesome. (Laughs)

Sepultura Mediator

Photo by Melissa Castro

JK: What about the new Sepultura? Are you done writing or still working on that as well?

AK: No, we’re still working. We have thirteen songs, I think two or three lyrics, and some ideas. There’s still a lot to be done. We’re going to work a lot on tour, especially on lyrics and vocal arrangements, but the songs are pretty much there. All the riffs and structures, drums…a lot to be done on bass, as well. But soon we get to Los Angeles with Ross [Robinson]. We’re gonna have some days of pre-production, you know, playing the stuff with him and seeing his suggestions, and then start recording.

JK: You’re booked for June to do that?

AK: Yeah, June until July. We’re going to spend six weeks there working with him and Steve Evetts, both producers of previous Sepultura albums, so it’s awesome to work with them together for this one. We’re going to do two extra songs that we’d like to use as bonus tracks. One from Death, “Zombie Ritual,” and another one from a Brazilian band, Chico Science. I think you know, right, Chico Science and Naçao Zumbi? “Da Lama ao Caos.” We’re gonna do something in Portuguese, singing together.

JK: Derrick’s singing in Portuguese?

AK: Yeah, me and Derrick are gonna try to do it. It’s hard for myself too, man. It’s Portuguese, but Portuguese from the northeast of Brazil. It’s a very different way of saying things, and it’s poetry from the region there. It’s gonna be a challenge, man. Since we did “Policia” and Ratos de Porão, you know, a long way…like, Chaos A.D. days, we never really recorded anything from Brazil. So it will be good to do this time, especially with Chico Science.

JK: I’m excited for that. I kind of miss those Brazilian songs. Like you said, it’s been a while.

AK: Yeah, especially because Derrick’s American. But this one we could use his bad Portuguese and my bad vocals. (Laughs) It’s going to be a nice combo. It’ll be cool.

JK: Against was the last time you guys shared vocals.

AK: True. Yeah, we did that because we spent eight or nine months as a trio, writing most of the stuff for Against. And I tried my voice in many songs, in many bits, full songs and stuff like that, just for the hell of it. The idea was to be a trio and try to keep going as a trio. It was a cool experience for myself to try to use the voice and try to do the old stuff like I did before. When Max wasn’t able to play some shows we played as a trio, but that’s something totally different, to try to make your own style and create your own characteristic way. We used for Against because of that period of time, and then Derrick took over more because he’s much better, you know. He’s very focused on the stuff. But I would like to use my voice somehow, sometimes. And this time will be cool because I really love that song, love Chico Science, and it’s great that we wanna try to do something together. And musically it’s gonna be great to have [Derrick’s] accent trying to say the Chico Science poetry.

DLT LogoJK: Back to DLT for a moment. Are you planning on continuing the life of the band after just this album? Is it something you want to do for a while?

AK: Definitely. I mean, that’s the idea, really, to develop something really cool, to develop a history and develop our music and our artistic possibilities. Everybody comes from a different place and we are doing something new together, something very heavy in Spanish, with musicians that are with a lot of baggage. 20, 30 years of a career. So, everybody has a lot of experience around. It’s a great mixture, and we know very clear of what we want…to sound, and how we want it to look…and to do touring-wise and et cetera. Step by step we’re gonna release our plan to the world.

JK: How much of that plan can you tell me now?

AK: I’ve already said too much. See you later. (Laughs)

JK: Any tours lined up with those guys?

AK: Not really touring…we have no plans for touring at all. We have some ideas, but it’s still very early. We’re very focused on the album right now. We still have some lyrics to work on, and some vocal ideas, so…of course parallel to that, we have in our ideas for the upcoming months and years, but it’s still very early to talk about that.

JK: Do you think, because it’s all in Spanish, there’s going to be a focus on just Latin America?

AK: Not really, man. We wanna play the whole world, regardless of language. We wanna be the Rammstein of the Spanish language. (Laughs) With German, Rammstein…they did it without changing their native language. They are a huge success everywhere in the world. I think De La Tierra has the possibility to do that, to play such music that will trespass the language barrier. It’s gonna be mainly Spanish, but some Portuguese as well, so you have that possibility of really connecting Brazil to the rest of Latin America. Hopefully it will be a landmark that could help put us more together because Brazil is very separate from the rest, especially because of the language. So…let’s see, man.

Check out De La Tierra’s website, and like their Facebook page for updates on the recording process. European tour dates can be found on Sepultura’s website, and if you haven’t already, follow the Relentless - The Book of Sepultura Facebook page.