Deathcore giants Suicide Silence recently released their most controversial album to date, a self titled effort that consists mostly of clean vocals which is something the band have never done before and which has not only divided fans but questioned the musical direction of the album. Steve caught up with guitarist Mark Heylmun during their tour in Mexico to discuss the new music and what inspired them to make such a drastic change.
Steve: So the album is coming very shortly (out now since published), how does it feel to get back out there and get amongst it as they say?
Mark: It feels new, it feels fresh,it feels exciting. It feels like a time to turn some heads and get people talking and piss people off and make people feel things because so many things are happening now, a lot of feels.
Steve: Yeah absolutely and I think you have ticked off a lot of people and may I say, kind of divided people as well and made them think perhaps.
Mark: Absolutely yeah. All they are doing is thinking and freaking out and just feeling things they probably never felt before, not every one of these people but the majority of these people judging by the way it is on Instagram and Facebook. They’re still young and still listening to music that is very fresh and new to them, they’re waiting for new records and expecting something out of it and they have not yet encountered a band that is going to test them like we have decided to do. It hasn’t happened in a while and it’s pretty much the intention behind it, was to make people think, feel and do exactly what they’re doing which is OK by us. We didn’t expect everyone to love it, we already knew if we started using clean vocals alone, that would fucking piss a lot of people off. So if anything it’s working out perfectly, we’re seeing how much people really give a shit and if they give a shit enough to go online and fucking hate and create memes all day then it’s working out!
Steve: Yeah absolutely! I’ve had the pleasure of listening to the album in it’s entirety and it’s definitely stripped back, raw and ugly, all of the above. It actually reminded me and I don’t know if you remember, back in 1999 there was an album produced by Ross Robinson for Amen and it kind of reminded me of that in certain aspects.
Mark: Yeah man Ross has a touch that he puts on his records. It’s kind of hilarious and flattering and amazing to be a fan of his, record a record with him and then listen to your own music and then can be like, ‘I can hear Ross in the music’, and it’s what I liked out of Slipknot and Amen and Glassjaw and At The Drive In and Korn. You get why Ross Robinson is Ross Robinson.
Steve: The last track “Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down” reminded me of Jonathan Davis being locked away in a room for “Daddy” off the self titled ’94 breakout album.
Mark: Yeah I mean that was like off the cuff, had a very live studio session with vocals and that song was…I don’t want to call it a joke but it’s one of the most fun loving songs, one of the songs that kind of got whipped together and the vocals are very free and when Eddie (Hermida, vocals) was singing that part he was literally running around the room and falling and screaming into the microphone and doing all kinds of different [things]. It just felt like giving some sort of energy to the vocal part which, ‘Alright we’re already playing that song live now?’ It’s the most fun song we played in a long time, just one hundred percent vibe and partying.
Steve: So what’s your favorite track off the album and why?
Mark: I like “Conformity” a lot just because it’s probably one of the weirdest songs we’ve ever done and it was the first song we wrote for the record. It really kicked off the exploration of what we could do, we wrote that song and it ended up being like an homage to the fact that there’s so many bands out there that are trying to get on the radio and get spun on this or write a record that’s going to make a billboard that we’re going to like. So everyone is trying to make these songs that’s not for them, it’s for people and they’re trying to get people to like what they’re making so they’re conforming to this forumula and it became so obvious to us like, ‘Dude if we just write something that’s fucking different and weird and we write something that we like, people are going to freak out because everyone is just following this “how are we going to get more fans” mentality’. And that is where “Conformity” came from, it’s like, ‘Fuck that shit, we’re going to do something ourselves’, and that’s why “Conformity” is the secret.
Steve: Yeah it’s kind of like the lemmings off the perverbial cliff that follow the pack!
Mark: Yeah! exactly! If you stray from the pack, everybody is going to be looking for you.
Steve: That’s it! I seem to remember that one of you guys said in an interview that writing this album was taking a complete 180 and crashing it sideways and this is the end result, I would say from a listeners point of view you’ve definitely created that. How did it feel to just sit down and write something so far of left field for you guys? It must have been almost catharctic to a certain degree maybe?
Mark: Oh yeah you’re dead on. It inspired us, it did what every one of our records has ever done to us because here’s the thing. All of our previous records we absolutely have been writing from the heart, there’s no difference between our previous music and now except there was some resistance to trying new ideas on all of our previous music. So every record has inspired us to write the next record and this record basically opened us up so wide and we could look and see that if we put everything aside – we put opinions, we put fears and resistance and hesitancy to trying new things – we put that shit aside and we go in there and we pretend that nobody is going to hear this music and we would be doing this for fun, it creates a very safe place for us as individuals and then when you’re done and the record is done and you’re kind of settled that you just did something that isn’t exactly what you pretended it to be and people are going to hear it, it creates this huge new world of inspiration. I’m incredibly inspired by the fact that we all are so willing to do what we just did and I can’t wait to do it again now as it’s opened up our door to whatever we’re going to do in the future and yeah, it’s absolutely it’s fucking religion. It’s catharctic, exactly what you said. It’s fucking art man, it’s anything that the creative spirit is the only fucking God there is. The only think we can definitively call God is us creating something out of nothing, we’re manifesting music, we’re manifesting paintings, we’re manifesting these things that didn’t exist. We’re creating things in the image of what is real.
Steve: Yep I hear you! So what was inspiring you for this album musically that stood out for you or was it basically just locking yourselves in and putting pen to paper?
Mark: I would say the second, it was definitely locking ourselves in and putting pen to paper. I guess a lot of inspiration and music and people that’s inspired us is so deep inside of us already that we’ve been kind of waiting to show some of that and that’s where this record came to be. It’s finally filling other sides of us that people haven’t heard, it comes through on it. Everyone is already like, ‘Oh it’s Korn, it’s kinda Deftones, kind of Slipknot’. So I can’t really say exactly what music exactly, there was a lot of life influence. A lot going on in our inner circle world that made us just want to say, ‘Fuck it let’s all follow this path and do something strange’.
Steve: So I know you can’t be a fortune teller and I know you were here in September of last year but do you have any plans to head back down under or is it too early to call it at this stage?
Mark: Basically we try to make it to Australia at least once an album cycle, we don’t have anything planned as of now for December and January as that’s when we usually go down there. I can see us making it down there by the end of this year but we don’t have anything locked in. But as you may have read or heard, Australia is our favorite place to go so we’re always trying to get down there.
Steve: Absolutely! Anyway Mark it was really awesome to speak with you this morning, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciated and good luck to yourselves and the rest of the band and definitely hope to catch you guys at some point down here so we can rage and have a beer!
Mark: Yeah man that will be cool!