“Suicide Silence” Interview by Jay Rollins
Suicide Silence: We wrote an honest record…
With Suicide Silence’s release of their self-titled album less than 20 days away followers around the world are feeding into a social media anxiety that a band they once considered the epitome of deathcore are changing their musical direction. Don’t blame the record label, we all know Nuclear Blast is looking for heavy tunes. Suicide Silence is writing what they are feeling and following in their mentors’ footsteps by being true to themselves. Since their formation in 2002 the band slaved away at carving their mark in music, playing countless festivals with metal icons like Slipknot, Korn, Ozzy, Lamb of God, and releasing four studio albums to date. Considering over a decade has passed since Suicide Silence’s inception and they’ve experienced one of the worst tragedies a band could experience, the loss of founding vocalist Mitch Lucker, fans shouldn’t be surprised by the new music. Artists are often boxed in by supposed fans who typecast and reject a band when they deviate from an established sound.
If you want some candid answers about what is happening in the world of Suicide Silence check out what Eddie Hermida has to say:
Metalheads Forever has Eddie of Suicide Silence on the line as he gears up for a wild 2017. Thanks for joining us.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, haha
I heard Mark mention in the past that from the beginning of the band’s career there has often been some degree of backlash regarding Suicide Silence, yet at the same time the band keeps growing and gaining momentum. The response to “Doris” and the band’s change of direction is the most recent example of such behaviour. Do you think one of the reasons for this paradox is because people tend to focus on the nay-sayers, and the people who like the music just go and like it?
I mean, think about it like a car crash. If you were in the car crash it would be the worst thing that ever happened to you right? But you move on and you move forward and you get up and you buy another car and you get into it and you drive again, right? But, people are going to focus on that car crash. They’re gonna be like “oh man that car crash was gnarly, remember that?” like, “do you remember this?” Everyone on the road during the car crash is going to stop and check that out and be like “oh my god that’s the worst thing that I’ve seen happen ever”. That’s what we’re doing with music, is we’re creating a literal car crash. We’re creating something that is going to cause people to either have turmoil inside and attack us, or have kinda compassion for us by the person who’s attacking. It’s what the internet is for, really. I mean, a news article comes out and nobody really cares about the news article, they go and they read all the comments because the comments are so absurd and they’re so funny that you get entertainment by that. So it’s kind of the human concept, that you know we’re all gonna stop and rubberneck when somebody’s maimed and having the worst day of their life, and it’s out of compassion and it’s out of the chemicals inside us that want to feel good about ourselves, and we feel good about ourselves when we’re helping somebody else.
Absolutely so you’re forcing that human reaction, no matter what people are going to react.
Yeah. I mean dude, we could have written a very similar record to You Can’t Stop Me and I’ll tell you that we’d still be seeing a lot of people talking shit. Suicide Silence is definitely at a point where we’ve more than proved ourselves to the fans that are fans, and those people are going to support us no matter what. I’ve been witnessing it ever since I joined the band, I’ve never seen such a strong fan base. So the people that are really hating on the internet are such a small demographic and they’re the kids that are going to hate it no matter what, and they still show up to shows just so that they have something to hate. They still come out and they buy CDs, or they don’t, those people don’t really have any consequence when it comes to the size and what we do as a band. We’re gonna be bigger than ever especially ‘cause we wrote a record that is one of the most honest things that we could feel right now and we put it out there and the reaction has been fuckin’ sick honestly, ha ha.
Yesterday the video for the new album’s second single, “Silence”, was released and although there will always be internet trolls like we’ve said, as well as those people who simply resist change, I think it is important for a band to diversify. Ominous images and still shots make up the content of the foreboding video. Is there a particular message or concept you are trying to convey between the lyrics and the images?
Um, not really. You know, that’s a hard question to answer because the reason we did that video was to announce Randy Blythe doing the photography for the record, he did a majority of the album art. The cover was shot by Dean Karr and all the promo photos that you’ve been seeing of the band were shot by Dean Karr. But everything else, the inlay of the booklet, the inlay of the jewel case, the back cover of the jewel case, those were all shot by Randy Blythe. And for us, Randy being involved during such a big change for us is kind of like what the lyrics are getting at. We all come from the school of Randy Blythe, we all come from seeing a band like Lamb of God doing what they believed is right, take off. That’s what we wanted to do. We all come from a different school than Randy did, Randy’s a punk rocker man. Randy’s a dude who reads Kerouac, who wanted to travel the world and he did it man he succeeded. Lamb of God is one of the biggest metal bands out there when it comes to being true metal, true American metal, they’re a staple for that. So for me, it was an honour to be able to share my story of the record with him and him take that and put that feeling into the photography that he took. So in a way they’re correlated, but it didn’t have that direct correlation. We hired our good friend Shaun Vaughn, we call him Vizzy, to do the video to basically take Randy’s photography, which he’s a fan of as well he’s also a photographer and an editor, and he put a lot of effort into finding the perfect picture for the feeling of the song. So I guess that would be a better question for him, for how he came to create the video. But as far as we’re concerned all the pictures, I think it’s like 1700 pictures that Randy took, all of them have a specific feeling and a very matching tone on the record.
Yeah, and the video, well by the sounds of it the concept is a little more abstract, but the images and the music fit together so you do get a cohesive feeling out of both.
Yeah agreed man, I’m glad you saw that, ha ha.
The Official video that you released for the single “Doris” exemplifies Suicide Silence’s energy on stage as well as the passionate crowd reaction. Fans are given an additional viewing experience by incorporating a 360 feature that puts people into the show. “Doris” is the first concert video I’ve seen to use the 360 video, how did you decide on this concept?
It was our team actually, a good friend of ours, Strotty is what his name is, he has always shot Mayhem photography. He has worked with John Reese, who is now our manager, for a long time doing photography and video for his concerts and all of his endeavours. He happened to have this 360 degree camera that he had just gotten and he was like guys wouldn’t it be a great idea to do this. The first thing we shot was the wall of death in 360, and it was at Ozzfest Knotfest, and when we saw the footage from that we all flipped out, we said wouldn’t it be really cool to do this as like a video where each panel has a different video. We had a bunch of footage from the studio as well, I don’t know if you checked out all the panels while watching the video.
Well that’s interesting about the video, you can watch it three or four times and check out different panels, I’ve been through it four times now and it’s almost a different experience every time.
Dude that was kinda the idea and the concept is just hey enjoy the song, watch it a couple times, watch each video there was a lot of effort and time put into each different video. That was what we wanted people to see, what it was like for us in the studio. A lot of the footage that is in there was from the scratch tracks and was basically us writing the songs and you get to see a little bit of that. You get to see the pain in our faces and how we’re actually feeling the music, you also get to see Ross’s studio and where we’re at. It’s a cool little tip of the hat to the fans that have been with us for a long time and want to see how we do shit.
And you guys don’t have to choose then between, is it going to be a live performance or are we going to incorporate parts of us in the studio? With a 360 video it’s like we can have the live over here and we can have some studio over here, and just have more video freedom.
Exactly, and my favorite one of the videos is the studio footage stuff. Mainly because I feel like every band has a live video and live footage of them playing over their music, but to me like there’s already a really sick live video for Suicide Silence and it’s the “Unanswered” video. That was one of the things that we were going into for this song is we still wanted to incorporate that feeling and show the fans that we can still throw down a fuckin’ bad ass show, but at the same time I wanted to give a little more depth to it and the studio footage came along very beautifully, it’s probably my favourite part of the video.
Suicide Silence has decided that the new album will be self-titled. After coming off such a well-received release with 2014’s You Can’t Stop Me are you trying to make a statement that this new direction is now the essence of Suicide Silence or is it just what you’re feeling right now?
Well yeah man, this is the essence of Suicide Silence. If you didn’t see this coming you were very blind. Since day one, I mean I met the Suicide Silence guys in 2006, actually like 2005 but I really got to hang out and kind of be a part of their circle in 2006 when we toured the United States together. Even back then their biggest influences were Deftones, Korn, Slipknot, they were a band that just wanted to make that kind of music heavier. Once you achieve something like that, once you go “hey, I’m heavier than my favourite bands,” Then you go “well, why are they still my favourite bands” and then you start to see the depth of what it is that you want. Heavy is not deep enough for us anymore, it does provide a certain satisfaction which is why there’s heavy parts on the record, but we want to show people that our favourite bands also have a multitude of faces and a multitude of feelings and facets. It’s what drove us to like those bands to begin with. I was always a big Korn, Slipknot fan so I identified with these guys a lot. If you didn’t see that coming, if you didn’t see that the band was going to do something drastic, then you’re pretty much blind. You’re not aware of who we are as people and what our tastes are, I mean it’s all over the place you can read any interview that Chris Garza’s ever done, I mean the guy is one of the biggest Korn fans I’ve ever met. Even on their EP, on the Suicide Silence EP that they released, there’s parts that sound very much like Korn and to me that was always blatant. So we’re making a statement that Suicide Silence is deeper than you thought, it means more than you thought, and it’s going to remain this way, it’s going to continue to grow, it’s going to continue to test boundaries, it’s going to continue to be fearless and we’re going to stand up for what we want.
Eddie in a response video to Facebook comments about “Doris” it was mentioned that vocals on the new track were similar to Jonathan Davis and that the Korn frontman is one of your favourite singers. Are there any influences from other bands besides Korn, or perhaps musical styles, predominant on the Suicide Silence record that haven’t been so obvious on previous albums? I know there’s probably quite a few in there.
Yeah, I mean, dude you name it. How do I answer this question properly? To basically name off a bunch of bands that I am a fan of would do injustice to how I recorded. We had a mantra in the studio which was you have to black out, you have to slam. In order to slam you kinda have to have this like out of body experience where you don’t necessarily have any kind of control over what you’re doing. The moment you have control and the moment you put your mind in front of what you’re about to do, you start to hinder yourself and you start to kinda put your own judgements before the music. Therefore you’re not serving the music, you’re not giving the music its due respect. Music was here before any one of us, music is gonna outlive all of us, it’s in our nature. You can play music for a baby and they’ll start dancing, you can play music for a dog and they’ll start howling. It’s a language, it’s an entity, it’s for lack of better words, God, in a way you know. I’m not religious and I’m not trying to put a face to anything, when I say God I mean the inexplicable, I mean the invisible. So in order to write music it has to kinda come from the heart and in order to hear the heart you have to shut everything off. That’s what we did, so when my influences came out it’s just my formation and where I come from. I’m a big fan of Mr. Bungle and Faith No More, I’m a big fan of The Haunted, I’m a big fan of Randy from Lamb of God, I’m a big fan of Jonathan Davis, Chino, Corey Taylor, all these dudes who, the reason I’m a big fan of theirs is because they never conformed. They never tried to be perfect for anybody, they were always trying to be themselves and they got a lot of shit for it. Corey and Randy from Lamb of God probably got the least amount of shit right in the beginning and a lot of people were very accepting of their rawness and craziness but later on the line they got shat on. As soon as you try to change the persona that people think you are people are going to shit all over you. One of the reasons I respect all those guys is because they never faltered, they always stuck right behind their fearlessness and they always believed that they could outlast anybody who was giving them any kind of resistance. And they have man a lot of the people that I look up to are still around, they’re still killin it, when they write music they have a huge fandom that protects them and loves them, and why wouldn’t I want to reach out into myself and pay homage to my favourite singers in the world.
And Knotfest is kind of a testament to how that attitude really can protect you and your fans will be there.
Absolutely man, I’ve never seen such a dedicated fan base it’s fuckin’ unbelievable. Being a Slipknot fan, being a maggot, I’ve always wanted the best for them and they’re really killin’ it man, that band has gone through a lot of trials and tribulations you know with Joey leaving and with Paul’s death. All that stuff, it was really interesting to see how that band dealt with it and to see how they’re coming out the other side champions, they’re definitely a band to look up to.
Yeah, there’s no keepin em down.
What is personally your favourite song off the new record?
Hard to say, you’re asking me to choose between my children, ha ha, but I would say right now the song “Conformity”, it’s the song that has the most beauty in it. There’s a lot of darkness in it, but the song shows people that even in my darkest moments I’ve always held a reservation for positivity in my life and I’ve always held a reservation for the beautiful things in life. You know, the sunrises, the roses that you can smell when you’re walking through a garden, you know stuff like that really gives you the small pleasures in life. I will always, even if I’m in my worst moments where I hate myself and I wanna jump out of a window, the one thing that will bring me back is that life is beautiful and it’s a gift. So that’s what that song is in a way about, it’s a glimpse into my diary and I’m really excited for kids to get the record and hear it because it’s such a deep track and it’s a song that will shut up all the haters. Anybody who’s ever said “oh you suck at singing” just go listen to that song, ha ha. Not that I pay them any mind, but to anybody that is really kind of like butthhurt about what we’re doing and feels really offput by the fact that I’m singing in an offputting way, they’ll get this track and it’ll satisfy their OCD minds.
It’s also a kind of irony that there’s a song called conformity on the new Suicide Silence album when it’s breaking all previous molds.
Ha ha, well the song is ironic, the chorus is a sarcastic kind of poke at what conformists believe. The song came about because Ross and I were having a chat about the state of music today and what record labels have done. In my career, I’ve been a musician for ten years professionally, you know being supported by a record label, making money, playing shows, having a fan base. I’ve been doing that for ten years now, and really it’s been extremely hindered by the fact that I play a style of music that is a very niche style of music, and because it’s niche I’ve always been kind of left to the dogs. It’s always kind of been, and I’m not giving you a sob story I’ve always chosen this path, I chose to sing in a death metal band knowing full and well that it was never going to be like sell out arenas type of music. But that’s not to say that I haven’t actually made a stamp on this world. I mean, I’ve played massive crowds and people have always come up to me and been like “man what’s it like to be rich and famous?” and I’m like “rich? You’re trippin dude, there’s no fuckin’ money in this.” You know, and we started riffin’ on that and we came to this conclusion of like fuck dude, being heavy nowadays is the new conformist. Being heavy, it’s why the label fought us so hard when we tried to make this decision, it was too radical for them. They were like “hey you need to take step B and C before going to D, you need to do this or else the world is going to explode” and we said “no, we’re not conforming to this, we wanna be punk rockers who write punk rock music. Check it out there’s a plethora of fuckin metal and punk rock and guess what, the singer is singing he’s not just screaming into a microphone. I want to be able to do that shit.” We just were laughing and were going like yeah dude heavy is the new conformity. It’s fuckin weird it’s backwards, and then it just clicked for the both of us, that’s the chorus dude, conformity is the secret, conformity’s going to save us all ha ha. We both were laughing our asses off about that and I went in there and fuckin nailed the take, and we went and saw Behemoth right after.
Deadly, what a great night.
Yeah ha ha.
2017 is about to kick off in a massive way for you guys. You hit the road on a headlining tour starting February 19th with Plague Vendor as support and Suicide Silence drops just a few days later on the 24th. As of right now the tour finishes up in Russia. Do you find there is much of a difference in playing shows in America compared with Russia in terms of crowd reaction?
Everywhere you play is going to be slightly different man. When I play the east coast compared to the west coast it’s a different vibe, a different flavour, the people are raised differently, they express themselves differently. Probably one of the most exciting parts about being a musician is going all over the world and playing music. Playing in Russia compared to these west coast states that we’re doing, yeah it’s going to be massively different. Russia right now is in fucking crazy turmoil. I don’t know if you pay attention to the news or anything but their people are being very much subjugated to a lot of government control and issues of that manner, which they have always had but right now it’s becoming an issue again. I expect those shows to be extremely violent and extremely crazy. The Russian fan base has always been really strong and they always come out swinging at every show. I mean the last time that we were there was three years ago and I remember we were having such a good time, such a crazy time, that some kid brought a bucket of chicken out onstage and I think we turned “you only live once” into “you only eat chicken once” and I was throwing drumsticks out into the crowd and people were literally catching it in their mouths and devouring chicken, bone and all. It was fuckin’ insane ha ha. Yeah, so you’re not going to get that kind of experience in California, I mean it’ll still be good but it’s a little bit different, it’s a little bit, I guess you would say, just as violent but it’s not in Russia. There’s a certain environment that happens when you’re in a different place, especially on the east coast, when I go to New York or anything like that just the way the kids dance is different. It’s not any less violent, it’s not any less energetic, it’s just different. I’m really looking forward to it all I can’t wait to hit the road, I can’t wait to play some of these new songs for the kids. I can’t wait to play the old songs as well, we’re not gonna be one of those bands that just goes out and completely negates what we’ve done as a band. One of the big things that kind of hurts me when kids are on the internet talking, whatever they’re gonna say about this new record, is that we’ve turned our backs on them, and the fact is that no we’re not turning our backs on them. We’re being more ourselves so that we can continue to give them everything we’ve got. Because if we were to write a record just for them, to try to make them happy, then it would make playing the old stuff a lot less fun, and it would make the live shows a lot less fun for us. Nobody wants a trapped musician, everybody wants a musician to be free. That’s why they flock to musicians, it’s cause there’s a freedom to it. So yeah man that’s what we’re gonna be doing, we’re gonna be playing fuckin some old songs, some new songs, and we’re gonna be partying with the fans, celebrating this new record, celebrating a new time in our lives.
Later this year, on the first night of Chicago Open Air, Suicide Silence is due to play alongside Megadeth, Anthrax, Rob Zombie, and bunch of other bands. Are there any bands you are personally interested in seeing live at the event?
Maybe not so much live, because I think I’ve seen almost everybody. Code Orange is a band that I’m really excited to see live, even though I’ve seen ‘em before but I’m excited to see their new stuff because I’m a big fan of their old stuff and their new stuff. I’m really excited to hang out with Charlie from Anthrax again, he and I just played a show together in LA and he’s a really fuckin’ awesome dude to sit back and chill with and I can’t wait to do that again. So I’m really looking forward to hanging out with the Anthrax guys and just playing the show, man. Chicago Open Air, I saw pictures of it last year and I was jealous so I’m really excited to play the show.
Yeah it looks like a great event.
Thanks for shedding some more light on the up and coming album Suicide Silence to be released on Nuclear Blast February 24th and for taking the time out to speak with Metalheads Forever. Is there anything else you’d like to say to fans or shit talkers before we go?
Dude keep it coming man, keep the shit talk coming it only makes us stronger. To all the fans that are doing nothing but showing support and backing us up, seriously we are okay. I just want to tell everybody that I am A-okay. I couldn’t be happier with my life. I couldn’t be happier with everything that’s going on. Don’t let the internet view discourage you from thinking that we are not okay. All of us are happy, all of us are really secure in what we did with our music and if you’re supporting and you really like what we’re doing, I can’t wait to see you on the road.
It’s not like you didn’t know that you were creating a different type of music, you’re all professional musicians like you said you were well aware that the new stuff is different.
Ha ha, it’s so funny because I’m seeing the manifestation of what I was saying in the recording booth happen right in front of my eyes. It’s a powerful thing man, when you can say to Ross Robinson, “hey dude I want you to make all these fans hate me” and they hate me? It’s fucking ridiculous, like it’s a power that I’m being gifted, it’s like I was able to see into the future. I knew very clearly that by writing the music that we were writing we were gonna get a lot of backlash from a lot of fans that are stuck in an era, or stuck in a certain sound, or stuck in an identification of our band. When you identify with something you put it in a cage, and nobody wants their pet to escape that cage. Nobody really wants to love something until it’s free. That’s a harsh reality that I’m being taught right now and it’s kinda pretty man it’s kinda cool.
The Metalheads Forever community wishes you the best of luck for the rest of 2017 and thank you so much for a great interview man.
Jay Rollins / MHF