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Andreas Kisser: “Water should come from the earth, not from a plastic bottle.”

Begin dit jaar, in februari, bracht Sepultura het album ‘Quadra’ uit, maar natuurlijk was het ook voor onze favoriete Brazilianen onmogelijk om de wereld te doorkruisen om op tournee te gaan en dit album te ondersteunen. Brazilië is nu – we spreken over oktober 2020 – zelfs het zwaarst getroffen land door corona in Zuid Amerika met momenteel 5 miljoen besmettingen. Alleen in de VS en India zijn er meer. Bovendien gaat de vernieling van het Amazonewoud – de groene long van de wereld – onverminderd verder, enerzijds door bosbranden en anderzijds door meedogenloze vernielingen uit menselijke hebzucht (ontginning). Als protest nam Sepultura een beklijvende videoclip op voor ‘Guardians Of Earth’ en hadden wij een heel interessant gesprek met gitarist Andreas Kisser.
Vera Matthijssens Ι 15 oktober 2020

Recently you released a very exceptional video clip for ‘Guardians Of Earth’. What can you tell about that?
We did the album ‘Quadra’ with Jens Bogren in Sweden. The song started more as an instrumental idea. You know we divided the album in four parts and during part three we wanted to explore the instrumental side, our abilities and really play the best that we could. Explore different time signatures and tunes and things like that. The idea was really to incorporate the acoustic guitar more connected with the song, instead of just introduce an intro or a solo piece. So that was where it started and then Derrick wrote the lyrics – he did all the lyrics for the album – and some of them were dramatic concerning our nature. It is not only in Brazil, in the United States as well so it seems. If you look at the Indians, the Native Americans, they still struggle with the same problems. As an artist and musician, our mission is really to make sure that people are aware of what is going on. The video really came out very good. It is amazing work from Raul Machado, the director and the Amazon Frontlines which is an organisation who fights for the preservation of the Amazon, supported by people from all over the world. Basically they gave us their archives of images and videos and photos. It is beautiful and it is very sad at the same time. It is really serious what is going on and the timing was perfect. It is the fourth single from our album ‘Quadra’. It is an official video and stuff, it came out the right moment.

It is fine that you make people aware…
Each one of us has to do small actions, but it makes a huge difference, especially in Brazil. People throw trash and litter on the streets. They don’t care about their neighbours. In general in Brazil, people do not have this spirit from unity, although we have a lot of people here who help each other in these pandemic times. You see many initiatives, especially from the artistic section of the society, we do our best, but usually people are only concerned about themselves. They do not respect public institutions in the streets and the traffic. That’s really basic education and if we do that step by step, Europe and the so-called First World countries, they have an education much more developed than most of the Third World countries. Especially with pollution and this daily routine. Everybody should learn to be responsible for their actions. But you know people, they are always waiting for that one politician who will solve everything for them (laughs). That is the problem and they forget to be real citizens or being involved in society. And make decisions, not only for themselves, but for all.

But I think it is a global problem, not only in Brazil you can find corrupt governments who do not help the world to be a better place…
It seems so, because I speak to people all over the world, like yourself and it is crazy to see how politics are so vulnerable. We have the worst people that vote, so it seems. Like you say in Belgium, it took 500 days to make a government and here in Brazil we don’t have a minister of health! Can you believe that? In the middle of corona crisis. It seems that it is very orchestrated. They create panic, confusion, fear and the media does not help at all. Quite the opposite, they create more sensation and panic and confusion. The media does not give any direction or any information to help the people through this. Everything closes down, they close borders, there is no discussion. Nothing. And quite incidentally or not, we have the worst leaders who rule the world at the moment. In Brazil, in the States, in England, in Belgium they don’t even have one. That’s one of the reasons why we put all our frustrations and point of views and opinions in our music and in our videos, because it matters for everyone that we don’t go anywhere. People need more time to be silent and listen to each other. Like I said, small actions, step by step, but in the end it makes a difference for all of us in a positive way. People are so anxious for the next move, for the next news and the next apocalypse tidings. So they lose the momentum of the present, of the now and they live almost like zombies. ‘The Walking Dead’ situation is already happening, because people are so much connected to the things of the future that they forget the present. Finally you should embrace a new possibility and think about it and not only chose by info’s. People are very accustomed to nature to see pictures, to see a photo or to pass that news without noticing if it is true or not. They have developed a robotic kind of news consuming. When considering our album ‘The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart’… we are talking about the elements of humans. Questioning everything to see why we are doing certain things and why we are acting the way we do, without even knowing why. That could be found on ‘Machine Messiah’ as well and on our latest album ‘Quadra’. We are talking about this: the robotic reaction of people about anything, they have this urge to respond everything, because they are the owners of the truth and it is really hard to see a debate of all these owners of truth. Because there is no room for thinking. There is no room for go out and have a little breathe and really pondering, we only focus on opinions. Why not take your time to find a balance and come up with a new opinion? Because that is who we are. We are in a constant movement. We have to live the present, embrace these new elements and not really expecting the ‘normal’ to be there, whatever that means. Normal. What the fuck is that? The artist always was against the normal situation. We show the new possibilities. We show the new ways to approach life and society. Stravinsky, Picasso and The Beatles. They changed the world! But not only artistically or in science, but the society. They were people’s guide through society and that is our mission. Really to make sure people have a voice.

I totally agree with you, but society and people at that time were different. They got a different education. Now iPhones and distance is the normal and that is sad…
It is true. Human interaction – and the human interaction with nature especially – has changed. That is the main problem with the fires in the Rainforest here. People want to build, they are only looking for profit and their bond with nature has gone. They are not really concerned about our way and quality of life. For the air, for the food we eat. We have so many diseases because we eat so bad and we don’t interact with nature. We always take medicines that have thousands of side effects and stuff. They destroy themselves more than cure themselves. We have a lot of plants and roots that are forbidden, just for the profits of the establishment. We really need to make sure we are not slaves anymore. Race, borders… they are all ideas, but somehow we have to agree on them otherwise you are an outcast. You are not a part of the society of this world. You don’t deserve to live then. Why do we have a song for Mohammed Ali? Because he was one of the biggest human beings. He fought for his freedom. He changed his name, he changed his religion, he said no to war, he was a fucking amazing human being! He fought for his freedom. If you hear his interviews, even at young age, he was a brilliant mind. He was always very respectful, he never said a curse to anyone, very polite when he told about his ideas. He is an example of freedom and respect. He did not want to destroy anything, but he wanted to live by his own terms of freedom.

How is the situation in Brazil with covid-19?
It is difficult. It depends on our leaders. When we need them the most, we have the worst. They create an emergency situation while going through this transition, but this is a transition phase you know. Some stuff is going to stay forever but others not. We are going to come back to interact and to keep life going somehow. Now is the most critical moment that we need them and they are fighting for stupidities. Complete nonsense.

And can you a bit survive with the band?
It is different. No concerts. All those tools, like computer and social media, we did not use them too much before. Now we are really dependable on the robots. But it is good, because we have people working in other parts of the world, like in Europe, and it is really cool. Meetings with four or five people on those platforms was new to us, we did not use it before, but it is our only way to survive. We have this event every Wednesday, called ‘Sepulquarta’, to keep in touch with our fans and talk about the new album. We always have guests to have an interesting approach, we do Q&A live, we talk about different projects, not only music and live shows, but it is very interesting for us. Tonight Jens Bogren is going to be with us and the director of the video Raul will talk about the filming and the partnership with Amazon Frontlines and stuff. It is keeping us busy and it is a nice initiative. It is a new situation. Through social media, we are trying to find new ways of being Sepultura. We go with the flow and that is the best thing we can do at the moment. Sepultura travelled and toured through 80 countries for 36 years, it is a fantastic experience of life and profession. We met so many people around the world, have friends everywhere, It is a great experience to be alive, even in a situation like this. That’s when you get to know yourself better. You know yourself in a different situation. You have to deal with your family and friends and the robot people out there. I was always travelling and it is the first time in… I don’t know… many years that I am six months straight in one place only. It is a very different perspective of the world you have. Now I am finally with my family – something I always complained about when touring because I missed them – but you also have to adjust. That’s for everyone, not only for me. My daughter, my wife…  everyone is going through this situation. But you have to listen to each other and find solutions. Not only in music, also in family life. Live in the present, see the possibilities, that’s the best thing

But sometimes I get nostalgic…
This nostalgic feel I have too, but it is very positive, at least for myself. It is something that shows that life is really worth it. But we have to fight for it. I don’t mean with guns and aggression, but with intelligence. Like I said, it is a small start to create a better society for all of us. Whatever that means. We have to respect the differences, but we have to survive on the same planet and that’s a fact. We try to go to the moon and Mars, but there’s no salvation there. This planet is a fantastic place and we should take care of it with a lot of love and respect, because we depend on it. We depend on air, on water; At least we have to keep it open for all of us. We are born here and we have the right to drink and to breathe. For me it is insane that we have to buy water in plastic bottles. Just because they pollute the sea and the rivers, they say: you have to buy this, it is clean. Governments and big corporations only think of themselves and their investments, really difficult to fight them while they are killing our planet. Water should come from the earth, not from a plastic bottle. This is insane!

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