There’s no question about that Sepultura have had a huge impact on metal music. The legendary Brazilian heavy/thrash metal band has blown up the stage since 1984. The band’s current vocalist, Derrick Green joined the band in 1997 – the american musician brought a new and refreshing shade into the band and his unique style opened up new doors for Sepultura. We had an opportunity to do an interview with Mr. Green before their show at Barba Negra Budapest – the legendary singer opened up and talked about veganism, skateboarding and his worries about artifical intelligence.
“It’s always great to play here” – Derrick Green just cut to the chase when we asked him about his relationship with Budapest and Hungary. “We love the energy we get from the people. We don’t do many club shows here – which is a lot of fun to do – we usually doing festivals, so it’s great to be in an intimate environment, very close to the fans. And I think people really appreciate the music. They followed Sepultura for many years, throughout the history of the band. So it makes very enjoyable to come here and play a wide variety of songs and people understanding, getting it and enjoying themselves. So, we really appreciate the culture, the things we’ve seen inside Hungary are incredible. That’s why we enjoy coming back every time, because we learning experience when we come here.”
When we asked him about his favorite city, he had a surprising answer: “I don’t think I have but I’m always gonna be a New York person, it’s definitely one of my favorite cities, somewhere I grew up. This is my city, even though I wasn’t born there. But I feel it’s a big part of me and developed to who I am.”
Many fans know that Derrick Green is vegan for several years now, but fun fact is that he hasn’t been eating meat for 31 years. “I really think it’s important for me not just mentally but physically. I was around 14 when I was started questioning things around me, what I was eating, what I was putting into my body. I was doing sports at the same time, going to shows, and you know, combination of many things. And I’ve never drank in high school, did any drugs or anything like that. I was pretty clean, I liked having a clear mind and having control of myself, and it was really important that I liked to feel strong.
I used to be straight edge, because nowadays sometimes I drink. But when I was teenager, I didn’t at all, until maybe my 20’s.
It wasn’t hard for me, because I was just enyjoing my childhood, whereupon I could remember everything. I was a really active person and lot of my friends were. So I was around people they were like that, they were really into stuffs that I was into. So that helped a lot. Also my parents never drunk at home, so I never saw that. It wasn’t a form to me, it wasn’t a pressure to like ‘I have to drink’.
I realized at a young age that the feeling I had, was very unique. I was going to the gym, I was working out. The feeling, it was better then any drugs or anything like that – it was just an unbelievable natural feeling. So I became addicted to that feeling, wanted that feeling, so I continued wanting to feel this way as I got older, and maintaning this type of diet and lifestyle really helped and changed so much.
I looked at a lot of people my age. I’m 47 and they’re nowhere near what I’m feeling now. They just like can’t believe it, they think I must taking something – you know, it’s a lot of misconceptions. Just because of mayor corporations, companies and people want to make money in the meat and diary industry, and people are really manipulated. So I wanted to think outside the box and I wanted to know if it’s true. If I change my diet and these things, will I feel different? And I was very young when I started questioning, and when I did that, I really noticed the difference. The amount of energy, the amount of strength that I had.
I think it’s a culture and lifestlye that’s growing. People started to understand a lot more. They are looking at their health and realizing that they’re sick all the time, using a lot of pharmaceutical drugs, and not to mention that people are dying a really weird cancer’s diseases.
It has a lot to do with the food that’s being fed to them, the food that’s being given to them – and that’s legal! And these are not checked, all processed and made on a fast pace and cheap price, but the end results are serious health issues. Especially look at the US, there’s cheap and fast food, everything, and if you look at how people are phisically and mentally – it’s just drowning them slowly, it’s like a slow death.
So I knew that I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere near that. And it really makes stronger my conviction. But at the same time people are more open-minded to the vegan diet and lifestyle. So, I really think that the world is opening up to the idea more.
You can realize that you can heal yourself by eating properly, and with exercises as well.
So the combination those two is significant. But it’s really important to learn that at a young age, so it sticks with you. So, for me it has always been important, something that’s such a big part of my life, and I think it helped me in every aspect.”
In his teenage years Derrick used to skateboarding – the question arises: has he ever thought about doing it professionally? “No, I don’t think that I was that good. (laughs) For me it was fun, but I was never that good. I mean, I love and admire the sport extremely, it was such a big part of me, especially when I was growing up, but I just loved it, you know.”
In the light of the above, the fact that Derrick Green is a PETA supporter is not a surprise. “I definitely could be involved a lot more with that. I think we have to show to people that where the food is coming from. Now there’s a more visibility because before there was a wall, like ‘you don’t need to know’. But I think people wanna know. And you should know, absolutely you should know what you put on your plate. And I want people to realize that there’s a lot of suffering going on with these animals unnecessarily, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
You don’t have to torture and kill animals in order to eat well nowadays, how people did thousands and hundreds of years ago – you’re not hunting and doing any other thing like that. So, there’s other ways to get protein, to eat healthy. I think the education and understanding what’s happening will help extend the idea of a vegetarian or vegan diet, and how necessary for the planet and ourselves.”
In the metal scene cooperating with PETA is not rare but in Sepultura‘s case is not gonna happen for the time being – Derrick explained us why. “I think it’s individual, and for Sepultura it’s really important to focus on music. I mean, I have my idea, the guys have their own ideas as well, so I don’t really wanna force that.
I discovered it on my own, nobody forced me to be the way I am.
I think if they wanna do collaboration then, I would be definitely avaible to do something like that, but maybe in the future. It would be great, I think.”
The new era of rock ‘n roll
Derrick Green is in a very special situation, because he has also experienced of being rockstar in the ’90s – we were curious about the evolution and the main changes in the music industry during these 20 years. “Well, I think a lot has changed, mainly the attitude.
I think bands are able to last longer because the members take care of themselves.
You know the lifestyle has changed, the people aren’t partying so much like in the 90’s. The music industry was feeding a lot more money into bands and things like that. The technology changed, so everything really changed, a lot matter the fact on the musicians definitely. But I think people are taking care of themselves a little bit more, especially younger ones. When I see younger bands they are not partying as much as I did (smiles). They’re definitely more focused on their art. They are there to playing music, not to get completely fucked up and look like an asshole on stage. That’s not cool anymore. Musicians are very hungry now, they wanna give their best performance – it’s really cool to see. I think it’s evolved.
It’s not a secret that Sepultura‘s latest album, Machine Messiah was inspired by robotization. However Derrick Green doesn’t think that technology is kind of a negative thing, he believes that we all have to find the balance. “It was clear for us that people are really focused on the digital world.
The internet in general are really taking over on people, and they follow it almost like a new Messiah
– you know, they put an address on Google and the follow like ’where do I go, where do I go?’ Or ‘what’s the number of my friend?’ I used to remember phone numbers, but now I remember only my parents and a few of my best friends’ number. But last time, when my phone decided not to work, I was just lost. It really has become a God, you know: ‘help me, please show me the way!’ (laughs) It’s scary. You know people are just walking around like zombies on the streets.
It’s a completely different world and I thought: „oh, my God! It’s the real Machine Messiah, it has come!”
There is no more God or this feeling of it, you know, this is the new God of our times. But I feel that I’m not against technology I just think we need to find the balance. And I think balance should start at a very young age. Kids are so absorbed, their parents just give them an iPad and they know how to use it immediately. It’s scary. And on the other hand you read articles about people who are working in that industry and they don’t give their kids iPad – my kids don’t have it.
I think it’s important to have that balance, and I think it’s really important that technology towards helping humanity – like creating fresh water all around the world, healthy food for people, creating homes and environment for people.
Technology should be cared for that instead of military. So I think with that balance we can move forward and pushing technology in industries to what we really need. They can make money and it can help, not destroy us. It can be a more positive way.
Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
Photos: Péter Tepliczky
All rights reserved