Andreas Kisser Reflects As Sepultura Nears 40th Anniversary Landmark
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
September 15, 2023
Next year will mark 40 years of one of extreme metal's most influential bands: Sepultura.
While there's no doubt that the band has taken its lumps over the years, the Brazilian extreme metal legends are in no way limping to their next milestone. As guitarist Andreas Kisser tells Q104.3 New York's QN'A, the Sepultura world has never been more positive. The band has never been more comfortable in its own skin, and its fanbase is as worldwide and passionate as ever.
"We make the best of it with the moment we’re in," Andreas says. "That’s why I think we’re still here 40 years with the best momentum in our history. We’re really here. We’re not trying to be somewhere else or be something else."
Since 1987, Sepultura has featured Andreas on lead and rhythm guitar. And in time for his band's 40th anniversary, he finally has an answer to a question that has followed him for decades: 'When will there be an Andreas Kisser signature guitar?'
In late-August, Andreas announced his first ever signature collaboration with Jackson Guitars: the Pro Series Signature Andreas Kisser SL Quadra. Adorned with artwork from the band's acclaimed 2020 album Quadra, the guitar is a simple but elegant tool of heavy metal proportions.
Kisser says the various Jacksons he's played through the years have all worked well for him, so dialing in an effective and affordable signature model to celebrate his career with Sepultura was a simple process.
"I’ve been with Jackson for more than 30 years, using the instruments," he says. "Of course I used Fender. I did a signature guitar in Brazil, which was a really cool experience as well for a while. But I think it's the right time. It’s a very special album; it’s an album that’s so strong it’s kept us on the road for two years, going around the world."
Andreas added that Sepultura has no plans yet to write or record another album. The band is pouring its focus into its live shows and a 40th anniversary live album, due out next year.
"We’re already recording the shows on this tour," he says. "The idea is to choose 40 different cities, 40 songs to represent what Sepultura’s all about — the shows and the reach that we have worldwide."
Read the full QN'A below!
For more information on the Jackson Pro Series Signature Andreas Kisser SL Quadra, go here.
You’ve had a pretty busy summer of touring — you're in Germany right now — are you winding down for the latter part of the year?
No, at the end of September we’re going to do a festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the first time we go to play in Singapore. Then in December we have an Australia tour with some festivals and maybe some other places.
The plan is to keep touring a lot. We put out the album, Quadra, right before the lockdown. It took two years for us to start developing the tour and playing the new songs. The tour has been amazing, the album has been very well accepted. The fans know the songs because they’ve had two years to listen at home. It’s pretty cool. It’s great momentum for us.
The idea now is to put out a live album next year to celebrate 40 years of Sepultura. We’re already recording the shows on this tour. The idea is to choose 40 different cities, 40 songs to represent what Sepultura’s all about — the shows and the reach that we have worldwide.
The technology now is great. We can record really good quality stuff, and then put together something really cool.
I love a live album. They don’t happen as much as they used to, but I got into lots of my favorite bands because they put out great live albums.
Me too, man. Retrospective, thinking about it. Live albums were some of the albums that I listened to the most. [Motörhead's] No Sleep Till Hammersmith, [Judas Priest's] Unleashed in the East, [Deep Purple's] Made in Japan, so many different albums. Speak of the Devil from Ozzy. Live Evil from Black Sabbath. Amazing albums, you know?
In Brazil, we didn’t have the chance to see those shows [live or on video]; we could only dream about it. That’s the magic of it all, it creates such an atmosphere for us that inspire me even more to want to be a musician.
I saw Kiss live in Brazil in 1983 and it changed my life forever, and here I am.
...A lot of songs I heard for the first time as the live [album] version, then I listened to the studio version, and I was always disappointed. Because the live version felt so much better, more powerful. Especially Judas Priest and even Kiss — I thought they sounded much better live in those days.
Have you been playing your new signature Jackson on this tour? Is that your main guitar nowadays?
Yeah, I’ve been using that since the album came out. We did two guitars — one with the front cover and the other with the back cover of the artwork for the Quadra album.
I’ve been with Jackson for more than 30 years, using the instruments. Of course I used Fender. I did a signature guitar in Brazil, which was a really cool experience as well for a while. But I think it's the right time, right momentum. It’s a very special album; it’s an album that’s so strong it’s kept us on the road for two years, going around the world.
The guitar is responding amazingly well. I’m very happy that it’s a decent instrument. Very affordable for the fans, with the EMG 81 and Floyd Rose. It’s a very decent guitar. I’ve been using the guitar in Brazil in a few shows and also on two recordings that I did. The response was amazing. I was so happy that it’s an instrument that you can reproduce the sounds of Sepultura at least.
It is affordable for a professional level guitar, and seems like a great option for someone who’s chasing something from Sepultura's sound. But having played Jacksons for so many years, is there something that you asked for on this guitar that you’d never been able to get before?
Not really. I’m not that picky. I’ve played with so many instruments and amps and pedals throughout my career. It was never possible to have the equipment we want at the time and place that we want; so we have to deal with the situation.
I had to play through a [Roland] Jazz Chorus once. Somehow it happened (laughs)! Who knows how, you know? But that’s how you learn about yourself. You cannot be a slave to any type of equipment. With all due respect to all of them, the sound comes from inside, not outside.
The sound is in the hands, it’s in the attitude and the feeling of how to approach the instrument. It’s something that I learned on the road.
In Brazil, it was impossible to get really good quality instruments. Once you have a Stratocaster in one store in São Paolo, it was like $30,000 - $40,000 — something ridiculous. We had to learn with Brazilian instruments, decent instruments that tuned well.
I bought my first Boss pedal — that changed my life. I thought, ‘Oh, there it is!’ (laughs). I was looking for that sound with distortion. I didn’t have any idea where it was coming from. We didn’t have any information … so we had to imagine a lot… how to get things done in our own way.
In that respect, I always trusted Jackson instruments. I love the neck, the way of everything. The looks. Of course Randy Rhoads was my biggest idol when I started playing — classical guitar as well, he influenced me a lot to go and study. I still study classical guitar a lot.
To have an instrument with Jackson, it’s just a privilege. It’s more than a dream.
The Soloist, I always loved the shape. I used Fender Stratocaster for many years and they respond f---ing amazing, as well. But to have the Soloist, and an album so important in our career, and the guitar is there, where it’s supposed to be.
I’m not going to be the pain in the ass, ‘Oh, change this, change that,’ just for the sake of doing it. So I have an instrument that I’m very satisfied, very comfortable in my hands. That’s all I ask, you know.
Sepultura has changed a lot over 40 years, from exploring new genres to lineup changes, what's responsible for the band's continued vitality?
I don’t know. …We make the best of it with the moment we’re in. That’s why I think we’re still here 40 years with the best momentum in our history. We’re really here. We’re not trying to be somewhere else or be something else. We are what we are, for good or bad.
The fans, it’s great to see how they develop with us. The changes in the music, the new influences, the changes in the lineup, the criticism … it’s a part of it. I respect [the fans]; without them, we wouldn’t be here at all. It’s a partnership with the fans, the people who come see the show, who buy the music and the merchandise.
The heavy metal fan, I think, is a fan that doesn’t like to buy bootleg stuff; they like to buy the official stuff … with the right stamp. It makes the genre so strong because the money goes to the right place. And it goes back to [the fans] with the shows, the albums and all the products that the heavy metal fan loves.
I still am one. Yesterday, I was looking for the Black Sabbath box set for Live Evil, which I have to have… again! (Laughs) I think it’s going to be the 10th time I’m going to buy Live Evil, but I don’t care. It’s great stuff. I’m a fan!
I’m privileged to be here, and I’m very thankful that we have such a long career with ups and downs. We’re celebrating our career with a very upward momentum.