Suicide Silence Interview

So, thank you very much for coming. I can’t do anything else for this recording, so… How are you today?

I’m good man, I’m good – it’s kinda cold in California surprisingly.

Oh really? It’s cold in Hungary, too.

I bet, I bet!

So, what were you up to do… what were you doing these days?

Well, these days I’m in the middle of a mass move, I’m building my mum’s small house and I’m taking over a family house, I’ve been super busy, it’s the truth, and this record’s coming out, so I’ve been doing interviews, and it’s keeping me… it’s keeping my… it’s keeping my foot still like aware that I’ve a record coming out, ‘cause it’s like two worlds, you know: like my personal life and fuckin’ the music, it’s like whoosh, you know, it comes back…

I see, I see. So thank you very much for coming and giving us this interview! My name is actually Zsolt, I’m from Hungary, and I’m from the Hungarian metal webzine, It’s really great to have you here, thank you for coming!

Thanks for doing what you do – and spreading the metal in Hungary man, that’s cool!

Yeah, this is what we are doing, yeah. Thank you! Anyone who knows something about deathcore and extreme metal, knows your band Suicide Silence quite well, – but still, could you please tell us at least a couple of words about the major events of the last few years? Tell me something about your general approach to life, and of course about your love of guitars!

Yeah, well, I would say that the last ten years has flown by, and it’s the second decade… that we’re in the second decade of Suicide Silence… a little over ten years ago, yeah, our original singer passed away, and we trudged forward, we released a couple of records, a handful of record – some received well, some received bad – we’ve experimented and I feel like we’ve grown a lot as people and as musicians during this time – a lot, a lot you know –, and yeah, I think that in throughout all of them I think all of us have – if we didn’t already know it – we’ve really… we’ve realized that guitar music, making music, Suicide Silence, just music it’s like the most important thing to us and we’ll never stop what we’re doing and deathcore, now… we started a band: didn’t start a deathcore band, we started a band that played fuckin’ heavy shit, have fun, and that’s still where we’re at: we’re still trying to have fun with it. And yeah, I think the new record kinda speaks for itself too, it’s just like we’re still just fuckin’ coming out of fears, having a good time.

You have released quite a lot of records over the years. And… how does it usually feel like to wait for the release of a record and how are you feeling right now? What are your general feelings about it during these days?

It differs. It differs that answer… if I was to answer truthfully, how you feel about our record… before a record comes out, it really depends on what’s going on in your personal life and what’s happening outside the band. ’Cause the band is this whole world and there’s so much going on with that all the time. We’re lucky to be that way: we can stay busy, but yeah, I mean, this time around we finished this record: mixed, mastered, done, we finished this record last summer, like early summer, so we’ve kinda been chilling on this record and waiting for it and we know it’s some… here’s where we need to love our music. We want to write things and we wanna be a fan of it, before anybody else. That’s gonna always be the way we approach it. And with this one, we’ve just loved it so much and I still personally all through it on, and listen to it, and work out, you know, and like I still remind myself: oh fuck, this record sick is shit, but it’s been… we’ve been done it for a while, so it’s finally coming out and that’s where I’m at right now: like finally people are hearing… I’m talkig to someone that has heard it, and you know… it’s been under wraps, so it’s exciting, and it’s always different, so let’s see, where this one goes, it’s always fun you know.

I see. The new album will be released as far as I know in March, and it’s title will be “Remember…You Must Die”. When did you start to concentrate on these new songs? Did you have a let’s say, gut feeling on what to put together in these new musical compositions?

The record was being written by us as individuals, in different capacities during covid. So we were all at home, and everybody had a chance to kinda collect their thoughts and ideas. And then we didn’t really start working on that album itself… really working until January at 2020… at 2022! January 2022, that’s when we started. And then what we were together: everyone had all these ideas, we’ve been sitting at home and you know, playing guitar and writing music, writing lyrics, so it was kind of this perfect recipee, oh like you’re on that tip, I’m on that tip, everybody’s got their ideas, and we all knew we wanted to make a record that was we’ve been saying: it’s heavy as possible. We called it H.A.P., that’s what we named our group chat, and we were all on the same team and all on the same, like vision, and… it’s not always that way, so this was definitely one of those records, where it’s like everone had the same idea, and we just jumped on, and had a good time and… yeah, from January until we finished the tracking… I think we finished the tracking by April, so it was like a four month period that we began writing it and got it all recorded, so yeah… it’s heavy as possible!

That sounds great!

You know?

I guess you really love your guitar. Guitarists always do. Could you please tell me a little bit about it? How does it feel to hold a guitar in your hand? Do you still remember the first notes that you played on it? ?

I love guitar. I… recently in the past couple of years I started a relationship with Jackson Guitars, and I play Jackson now, and that is awesome, because it was my… before it was my first love. I mean, Jackson Guitars was there since the beginning. And after my Gibson and after my Fender and after these things you kinda go through in the beginning, Jackson was the first guitar I wanted to buy on my own. Dinky I wanted the Rhoads but I didn’t wanna… I only get that one guitar I get like I don’t know if I want a V you know like I think I need a Soloist style… But still, I have so much of my old gear still still, old amps, old things that take me back to when I first started playing guitar and still use a lot of them. I still use a lot of that stuff like just in my own time. And so it’s a… it’s like a sacrament, you know? It’s like guitar is this thing it’s like holy fuck, look at what I’ve been able to do with this, and I’m like I have to like praise it and be like thankful to it, you know, and give time to it. But also take some time away from it sometimes. I take breaks from playing guitar so that I can kind of get rid of these like same old things I’m playing, and get new ideas and like I’m always surprised like holy shit like I picked up a guitar and I haven’t played it three weeks and it’s like new stuff starts coming out. It’s amazing, it’s never ending, it’s like a fountain of fuckin’ badass, you know?

Yeah, I see, I see! Who do you think your biggest inspirations are?

I think… I mean the ones you’d expect, I mean Dimebag Darrell, growing up I think I was definitely majorly inspired by him as a human, as well as a guitar player – so he was huge. But I mean Randy Rhoads, Tony Iommi, Eddie Van Halen, you know, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, George Lynch, you know… going back. Buckethead, Metallica, but everybody in Metallica, you know? Yeah, but then I mean as I got older and like started like listening to more extreme kind a stuff like Vogg from Decapitated was huge, and even like Dying Fetus … we’re about to tour with Dying Fetus you know like… Cannibal Corpse, you know, everybody that’s playing guitar in Cannibal Corpse, Terrance, the guy from Suffocation. The list goes on and one, I mean there’s so many great guitar players out there, and I’m not a fuckin’ like „I hate that guy – I like that guy” kind of guitar player, like I don’t listen to everything by any means and I don’t like everything that I listen to, but I do listen to things I don’t necessarily like. Like I listen to things is be like „yeah you know that’s cool”!

Let’s get back to the new album. I’d really love to know how do you feel about the final result? In what extent would you call it a continuation versus a turning back?

What I think is that people when they think they hear a nostalgic thing from Suicide Silence, I don’t necessarily think that it’s a really to do stylistically. I think it really comes down to a mindset from us like if we’re on fire, and we’re coming at it, at a certain pounding, you know, level, I think that they pick up on an energy that we put into the music more than an actual sound. ’Cause when I listen to the new record, I don’t necessarily hear the cleansing or hear no time to bleed. I just hear a vibe, an energy that maybe we had at a certain point. And… no, not every record is gonna be everyone… like I said earlier, we were all on the same page: „Heavy as Possible” – let’s have this common goal, this intention we’re putting into the music. So I think the nostalgy of the people pick up on as much as more the intention, rather than the actual style. ’Cause I think the new record has so much more… it’s more uniform in its approach, there is a much more old school death metal undertone that I think we’d never really had, like as much on this, and then… yeah, I think that this one… again, here always learning to collaborate better. So I think that this was a really good collaboration between all of us and our producer, which is always something we’re trying to do: collaborate as much get everybody to be their best selves. And yeah, bring the fucking heat, you know.

Talking about putting together different ideas: what do you think a killer album should sound like in 2023?

I think that… I think me personally, I think that there needs to be more danger in the albums. And I think it’s coming out a little bit more. I think that less safe mixes, less… more risky songwriting ideas. I think that we started to sratch the surface on that, on this record, whether it’s just a little bit more, less structure in like… oh we should repeat the verse here, like no, fuck it, we need a whole new riff there, like fuck the repeat, whatever. Just more risk, more danger as safety and thinking about what is going to work and what fans want is I think become a little bit too prominent in albums these days.

I see your point. Talking about mixing, could you please tell us something about the recording and mixing of the new album? How would you describe Taylor Young’s work? What do you see as his main expertise? What did he like the most in your music?

Taylor is a master of heavy, so the fact that we wanted all write a heavy record even before he was hired on, was a mass Made in Heaven. ’Cause his studio callet The Pit and his t-shirts say „Home of the perfect palm mute”, like a chug, you know… He’s a chug guy, he’s a heavy guy, and he’s also just like us, were… the take is the take, get a real take, play it as good as you can, and play it the way that you play it. Don’t try to play it perfect, play at the way you would play it – add your nuance, add your style! So there was no putting (butting?) heads there, it was like everything was smooth, and then real tones! You know, we recorded the drums in a big drum room and we all played the song together with headphones. I saw guitar cabs, DI base we all played the songs and recorded the drums. No click! Got the drums done and started doing guitars, all fuckin’ two heads, fucking blended their tones, did everything all badass, made everything as…. we do it all the time, it’s kinda the way we all record, but he… he’s expertise is just heavy and just honest on real tones, so it’s great! And then yeah, as far as like tone hunting and mixing and getting at the sound the way we wanted to sound, it was great, because we had our ideas what we wanted, and he had his ideas what he would have normally done. So we kinda got him to break out of his comfort zone and making it the way he wanted to make it and we kind of met in the middle in the mixing and found ways to make it sound the way we wanted to sound, while he could still be happy with it. He told us, he wouldn’t produce the record, unless he could mix and master it – which we thought that there was like stern. Like we liked that… you would just say fuck no, I won’t record you guys unless I can mix and master, so we like: he’s gonna do a great job, let’s work with these guys, it’s gonna be dope.

That’s awesome! What are your predictions regarding the new album? What do you think you can expect in terms of sales and success?

I don’t know these days, that’s too hard to predict. I bet we won’t sell very many fuckin’ hard copy albums, ’cause nobody buys them anymore, and I think that… I think that in general I think that this record will… people will talk about it, you know. It’s like… I think no matter what… the thing that I could observe with Suicide Silence is that even if you don’t like us, you pay attention of what we’re doing. So like I’m just more… I’m curious to see, you know, what everybody says when it all comes out, that’s all that I really think about it. What I’m gonna say as a reaction’s gonna be, but I think a lot of people will like it, I think people will bring it up to shows, and at the end of the day I always say: we’re a live band. If you think these songs are kinda cool, and you like this, or maybe if you don’t even like this, give it a shot, and do a live show: I promise you will at least keep you entertained!

Talking about live shows: live shows are always critically important for a metal band. What was the “Impericon Never Say Die! Tour in 2022” in November 2022 like? What were your experiences? Approximately how many people wanted to see you, and in which venues do you think you’ve met the most hardcore fans of Suicide Silence?

Well, it’s hard to say, because one, we hadn’t toured in Europe for a handful of years. So like I think five years since we really toured in Europe like a headlining tour, so it seemed like more people were coming out to shows I would say there was a lot of sold out shows. The smallest show we played was in Italy and that was still a really good turn, there was 400 or 500 people there, and… The shows were sick, I mean I don’t really know, how else to say it, like it was every show was awesome, and it felt like… it felt like what everybody’s saying is going on right now: there is a resurgence of deathcore. And, you know, I mean just speaking about London… fuck man, we played in London and there was I don’t know, fifteen hundred people there, and it was… it felt like a concert, you know, like a real fuckin’ like rock show. And yeah, like it’s always the surprise I don’t have to predict this shit, I don’t depend… I expected and however it goes, I think people are coming out to support Suicide Silence lately, and it’s fucking awesome, and I’m super grateful and wanna come to Hungary again, it’s been forever, since we played in Hungary, yeah… so I mean that tour was great, it’s really cool.

What can we expect in terms of live shows this year? When can we hear the songs of the new album live? How many gigs do you plan?

That’s a complicated answer. We’re doing the best we can to be everywhere that we can be. It’s kind of a flood right now of everybody releasing records and everybody hitting the road again super hard, so we’re trying to be smart with when and how we’re going everywhere, but I mean, trust me, like we’re a live band, we’re touring band, we’re gonna hit everywhere, and we’re gonna try to do it in a more mature way than we have in the past, when we were touring two hundred and fuckin’ eighty shows in a year or something, you know. So, I can’t say for sure when we’re gonna be in Hungary or when we’ll be in Europe again, but I mean know that we’re planning it for sure.

Wow, that’s good news! I think this is a little bit different aspect of the life, but I think quite a lot… there are things that an „average” person may miss from the life compared to a musician. Can you try to tell me something about this difference between the life of an average person compared to an artist’s life? How do these highlights of a musician’s life feel like? How could we imagine this life of being a musician?

Well, I think the biggest one is that I’ve always said that relationships are really difficult, either friends or romantic relationships, family… You miss a lot, you know… you’re on tour a lot of times, you miss a lot of things, you’re not a part of certain things. And yeah, I think that what goes through your head as an artist when you’re not at home and you know all that stuff is going on at home that you could be a part of, you have to be fine with the fact that what you love to do is become something that it matters that much to you that this… I need this, and this stuff that is happening than I’m missing, that’s for everybody else. Like, I’m the guy, I’m the person that’s gonna be… I could be in fuckin’ who the fuck knows where I am, and to my friends at home they are like „well, you’re at least in Tokyo, and you’re in fuckin’ you know, Hiroshima, and fuckin’ shit I don’t like in Japanese, but they look at you if like wow, you’re living the Life! You know, like you’re living the Dream! But from my side the world… you know, I don’t really get to be a part of my niece’s birthday, and you’re like I’m not there for my mum’s birthday, or things that happen. You know, so a lot of people go „wow, you’re living the Dream”, and you’re like… Well, actually you know there is a lof of ignorance… there’s another side to that, you know…? So it’s still… it’s kinda like I take this question almost as like you know when people are saying advice for young artists or young musicians, like it’s almost kinda that like… The real thing is you’re gonna be doing this and you’re gonna make this… it’s not like you’re gonna decide that this is for you, it decides it for you, and you can’t get out of it.

Yeah, it’s a difference…

So if you’re going to feel the call to be an artist for your life… and I don’t even really like the term „artist”. I don’t really think of myself „I’m an artist”. I play guitar and I try to be creative, you know? But if you’re called to it, you better be called to it a hundred percent, because trust me, as a 35 year old man that, you know, has been doing this for almost 20 years – I’ve been doing this for 20 years in the band for 18 – there’s not a lot of money. There’s really a lot of glory that sometimes you feel like, you know it deserves and there’s a lot of people telling you: „you have the best life in your head you like…” This is actually… this is a lot of fuckin’ work, man…

I can imagine!

So just do if you feel like, but if you’re gonna do it, you better fucking need it, you need it, you know?

Many people’s lives are shaped by their childhood experiences. Could you please tell me about you as a child? What were you like as a kid? What were your main interests back then?

Well, I’ll tell you that when I was a kid I used to steal my sister’s CD’s. She would go to school earlier than me, and I was in elementary school. So I was in like first, second, third, fourth grade, and she was in high school, and I would go into her room, I would wake up early before school, so I could shower, get ready and I would steal CD’s and I would go into the garage and listen to music on the stereo, ’cause it sounded great. And my dad was a guitar player and he had a guitar down there, and sometimes I would air guitar, with a real guitar while listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stone Temple Pilots and Guns’n’Roses, and this was probably like ’93-’94 while really young. And I knew at that very moment that I don’t really understand what I’m listening to and what this is, but I wanna do whatever is happening on these CD’s. It’s like I wanna be a part of that. I had no idea what it was. And I don’t say it often because it was like Green Day was the one was like I heard Dookie and I loved that energy and everything was so good. And I grew up in a music household I knew from a very early age that I needed to be a part of like I music scene. And I didn’t really know, how to get involved, and I went from… it was… I didn’t really start playing guitar until maybe 10 years after… no, 8 or 9 years after that, but it was almost like I was into certain things until I found guitar and then guitar became all I was about. You know, I had my phases of skateboarding and be a box and hockey and you know, football, and then it was just like guitar.

Thank you very much for being here Mark, it was extremely nice to talk to you! We’re waiting for you in Budapest with a huge crowd for Suicide Silence! And we are really looking forward to see you live here! Thank you for the great music and also thank you for the great interview!

Thank you so much and I can’t wait till the next time in Budapest A11?

Something like that, yeah ?

That boat! Cool man! Thank you so much!


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The interview was taken with Mark Heylmun on 06.02.2023.

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