Soulfly: Interview with Marc Rizzo
House of Blues - Chicago, IL - May 3, 2006
Anyone that appreciates Soulfly, knows that they are well known for lots of heavy thrash metal, with a twist of percussion, great guitar riffs, and topped off with some wicked unique sounds throughout their tracks, which can be anything from just plain rain and thunder, to metal workers working in a metal factory in Turkey! Currently the members that are touring for the latest album released "Dark Ages." Soulfly is Max Cavalera (vocals and guitar), Marc Rizzo (guitars), Joe Nunez (drums) and Bobby Burns (bass).
The show at the House of Blues in Chicago was quite excellent. I couldn't understand why the band was not sold out, considering they have quite a fan base in the metal world, and since they have been around since 1998 and have released 4 fantastic heavy thrash albums to date.. Soulfly performed with awesome intensity, and during the set they even had some people that appeared to come from the audience, and from backstage to do a drum line where a metal "keg."was brought out as a drum. Unrated Magazine got the opportunity to interview with Marc Rizzo, who also happens to have his own solo record out "Colossal Myopia." If Soulfly hits your town, I recommend going, and I guarantee you won't regret it!
Shayna Moskowitz: So you have been with Soulfly since the release of Prophecy, and you have helped with writing some of the bands newest release "Dark Ages." I also know that you have your own self-titled album, Colossal Myopia. Do you feel that Soulfly is more of a priority than your own released album?
Marc Rizzo: Well Soulfly is a priority for me, and so is my solo record. I like both; they are both just as important. When I'm not touring with Soulfly I go out and do solo shows for my stuff, and also when I'm touring with Soulfly I will do clinics during the day for my solo album.
Shayna: Such as guitar teaching clinics?
Marc: No, I will play at music stores, and CD stores and Guitar Center's; I play guitar songs from my record.
Shayna: What is the biggest difference between Soulfly and Colossal Myopia in your opinion, or rather I should say, as in your style of guitar playing?
Marc: Soulfly is focused around Max's vocals so its not as intricate as my stuff, where as in my record I can really do a lot more with guitar, since there are no vocals, so its like one big guitar solo. I do more Flamenco and Latin style on my record than I would on a Soulfly record. With my record I have no vocals since its all instrumental, so it's a lot of "go nuts on guitar."
Shayna: So your album is pretty much you then, it sounds like. There are no members from some of your previous bands like Ill Nino on Colossal Myopia?
Marc: No, it's just me.
Shayna: How long have you been playing guitar?
Marc: 20 years
Shayna: 20 years! Wow, so I imagine you ARE pretty talented then LOL! So I'm curious as to why Soulfly seems to lose so many band members, with the exception of Max. I am aware that Joe Nunez has come back for the "Dark Ages."album, and he also came back for Prophecy (the tour). Since Max started the band, and from the first released album back in 1998, there have been lots of member changes! Is there any reason in particular for all the losses?
Marc: Well, its Max's band, which is awesome, its cool. You know, people come and go, and you just keep going. It's not a bad thing, some people just wanted to move on and do other things. I think it's a cool thing that people leave and go, like Joe he left and returned, and Max is pretty cool with letting people do their thing.
Shayna: Oh, so that makes more sense, the band is really more "Max's band."
Marc: Yeah, he is the center of the band, its cool.
Shayna: So what would be your favorite recording from "Dark Ages."
Marc: "Frontline." that's the song that has a video. It has more elevated music, music I really like. Its very fast, has fast strong guitar rifts, a lot of solos with alto.
Shayna: More acoustic then, I can see why it would be your favorite.
Marc: Well that's part of it. I just like a lot of thrash metal, and fast songs, its probably one of the fastest songs on the record.
Shayna: Soulfly seems to be known amongst fans a lot for the percussion, along with being so cultural in the sounds recorded on the albums. With "Dark Ages", the album has recordings from five different countries, were you part of any of those recordings, such as in Turkey with the metal workers, or in Serbia, to name a few places?
Marc: That's all Max actually. When we are done recording the beats and tracks for the record, Max will go out to record stuff for the record, but the bulk of the record was done in Arizona.
Shayna: Ok, so out of all the cool authentic sounds he has recorded for "Dark Ages." which would be your favorites?
Marc: Yeah, I'd have to say he got some really weird stuff from Serbia. I don't even know the name of the music, but the recordings from there would be my favorite.
Shayna: So are you still living in New Jersey, besides traveling for the bands?
Marc: Yes, I travel to hook up and record with these guys or to start a tour.
Shayna: So where are you looking forward to going most this summer when you tour in Europe?
Marc: All of Europe, you know, its really neat, it's a great place to play. Its just really big out there, everyone is in to metal. So really all the festivals we are doing are going to be great.
Shayna: I've heard that about Europe. So are you planning on promoting your album as well while you are out there?
Marc: I'll probably do some clinics while I'm out there. Last tour in Europe I did a bunch of them, I'll do more of those, I really enjoy doing clinics, along with playing the shows.
Shayna: Since you have roots with Flamenco, classical and metal guitar playing, and you've said you love thrash music, so out of all styles you know, what would be your favorite to play?
Marc: Well, the stuff I play on my solo records are a mixture of everything I like. I like Flamenco guitar, and string metal guitar solos, which is most of the stuff on my records would be my favorite to play.
Shayna: I am curious as to who are your main influences since you are so versatile in your playing abilities.
Marc: I like a lot of Flamenco styles such as Paco de Lucia, and Paco Pena, who are a couple of big Flamenco guys that I love. With the heavy metal world, I love all the old thrash metal bands like Slayer, Metallica, the old stuff.... Sepultura, all the old thrash metal bands, the stuff I grew up on. Anthrax, Exodus... I could go on forever!
Shayna: So what has been the funniest thing to happen on tour?
Marc: Well this tour just got started, I don't know, its only been a week and a half, but I'm sure some stuff will happen soon!
Shayna: So is there anything you want to say to Soulfly's fans or to your fans?
Marc: Just thanks for coming out, and supporting the tour, and picking up "Dark Ages." and even my album "Colossal Myopia." Anyone can also go to my website Marcrizzo.com or Myspace.com/marcrizzo, and check out what is going on.