Home / Interviews / Interview: Mark Heylmun From Suicide Silence

Interview: Mark Heylmun From Suicide Silence

Suicide SilenceHi Mark, how’s things with Suicide Silence?

“It goes well! I’m in Arizona, about to sound check on this record release tour we’re on right now.”

Well, thank you for speaking with me. I really appreciate it!

It’s not a problem at all. Thanks for having me.”

How does it feel to finally be on the brink of releasing a new record? Obviously, there’s been the sad news of the passing of Mitch, and please accept my sincerest of condolences. Unfortunately, I only know too well how that feels to lose your best friend. So there was a lot of healing time, I’d imagine, and obviously the new addition of Eddie to Suicide Silence.

“Thank you for your condolence. It’s not something I’d want for people to have to understand, but all of life’s experiences are lessons in the end. The time heals it a little, but really, we just cope with it, and learn to let it be a part of us. It feels really exciting to be where we are right now though, now that time has passed. There’s a buzz going on within this group of guys, it’s hard to ignore it. That’s really all that can be said. The time we have put into Suicide Silence is beginning to be an inspiration for us to explore ourselves and find new ways of being creative. This record shows that we’re not afraid to try new things and bleed out on record.”

Is that the concept behind the new record?

Finding yourself. Aspiring to inspire people to find themselves. Break free of needing outside validation to be who you are.”

What were the band’s initial reactions to the idea of clean vocals being used in the new record?

We were all curious to see what would come from it. The first song we started to write was ‘Conformity’, and that’s almost all clean vocals. I think, in general, we were very ready to dive deep and go anywhere the music took us, so with that song it all just kind of made sense. The song went through a couple of arrangement changes. We toyed with vocal ideas, and saw that we could do a lot. There was so much experimenting going on in that song that our ideas kind of got us to come up with the chorus that stuck. We could have done a much more traditional chorus, but instead we kind of poked fun at the idea of a chorus, so we came up with that anti-chorus bit. ‘Conformity is the secret’.”

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have heard the new record, which I really enjoyed. I feel like it’s been a much-needed breath of fresh air. Was something Suicide Silence needed to do?

I agree, of course. I don’t think we were destined to get tired of making the same old music over and over, and we would break up or anything, but for us to stay excited, we have to take risks at this point. We have to try and shock, stir the pot, and give a real record to a music scene that is always catering to radio, or to a demographic. We don’t want to say we don’t care about the scene. In all reality, we care about it more than most, so we wrote a record that would hopefully expand it and help it grow… bring some life to it by giving people something to talk about. It really felt like we were damned if we did, or damned if we didn’t branch out on this record.”

Do you feel that Suicide Silence have had to change direction in sound? Not only for a new chapter, but also for the ever-changing alternative scene? I mean, bands writing music nowadays have their own sound compared to what metal sounded like not even ten years ago. A new era in alternative music?

It happens all the time. 10 years before that, it was way different, and 10 years before that it was even more different. I think we just feel like we want to have an eclectic catalogue. We had a lot happen to us, for us, and all that has made us who we are. It wouldn’t be fair to fans of music if we just stuck to the same formula. Some people might disagree, because some people want the music they listen to to stay the same and never change. I think we all wanted to test our audience, and the music scene in general, by pushing our boundaries and bringing something honest to them, not a plastic piece of music made for the masses.”

You’ve released ‘Doris’ and ‘Silence’ so far from ‘Suicide Silence’. What made you choose these tracks to be the singles from the album?

If you ask me, they were chosen because they had a blend of old and new styles. Another reason is because there is no song on this record that wouldn’t shock our average listener, so we went with some of the more shocking aspects of the record to share. ‘Doris’ has a falsetto vocal part that we knew people would freak out over, and they absolutely are. ‘Silence’ has entire versus that is totally different for us. We’re dropping ‘Dying In A Red Room’ as the next single, which is a complete lane-change… pure mood. I think what a lot of music listeners will have to gather from these singles is that this record is a trip, not just a batch of songs we wrote that we hope are gonna stick as favorites. I really think 6 out of 8 of these songs are singles, and all have something unique about them.”

What would be your personal favourite track be?

It’s hard to say. I’m a fan of experimentation and getting as far out there as possible, so ‘Dying In A Red Room’ was really fun to put together… and it’s great to play live… really easy to lose myself in, and just jam. I already talked about ‘Conformity’. That one’s great. ‘The Zero’ has a lot of dynamic, and I can’t wait to play that one live. ‘Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down’ is hilarious to me. It’s so heavy. That one will satisfy all the of the Suicide Silence fans. It’s hard for me to choose.”

Another thing I noticed about your new record is not just the sound has altered, but also the album artwork. What was the concept behind the band ‘portrait and logo’ vibe? Is this just a part of the new era, new sound, new image? Like, ‘Hello, what’s up? Remember us? We’re back!’

Classic albums have the band on the cover. I haven’t seen it in a while, and we thought why the hell not put ourselves on the cover of the record? Love us, hate us, whatever you feel, we’re right here for you to feel whatever you feel. Inside the booklet, the art is by Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God. We took him on a road trip through our home state of California, showed him a lot of places of significance to our upbringing. The logo we just wanted to freshen up, ‘cos the splatter logo just didn’t fit the cover or the vibe of the record. We’ll still use that old logo here and there, but the record is so much different than anything we’ve done before, we wanted to make sure we did something to match the tone of the music.”

I’m sure you’re all aware of the petition going around social media just now for your label, Nuclear Blast, to NOT release the new record! [haha]. What are the bands thoughts and feelings towards such negativity before the record’s even been released and heard?

It’s all a part of it. Nothing that has any meaning or lasting effect is all positive or all negative. You can’t have good without bad, or life without death. I’m not sorry to the people who don’t like the singles, and judge us fully off two songs [haha]. They are what’s making all these bands afraid to try new things. People on the internet saying extremely fucked up things is what makes bands stay scared and keeps them stagnant. What I see, is some real passion for music from these people making a fuss on the internet. They care a lot. So much, they make petitions. Really, it’s pretty awesome to see it all. Can’t have love without some hate.”

Your U.K. tour is just around the corner. Are you excited to finally be able to play the new material in full? Which dates are you most looking forward to? Do you have a favourite city?

We’re on tour now playing new songs, and it’s great. The UK is always awesome, especially London. London parties! Scotland is dope, always a good time going to the Garage for a drink, trying to avoid drunk hoodlums in the streets. I’ve seen people get seriously wrecked on the streets of Glasgow… like football kicks to the head. Really, I’m a lifer, and I love to be on tour and to play anywhere, no matter what. So yeah, March can’t come soon enough!”

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to me. All the best for the new album and tour. I’ll be attending the Glasgow date. It’ll be cool to catch up in person!

Thank you for having me. Find me in Glasgow! Thank you to music listeners! Thanks to Suicide Silence fans. Thank you to the people who aren’t gonna listen to our new record! We love what we do, and we are humans with ups and downs, just like you. We aren’t super heroes, we are just people who ended up playing music for a living. We’re really happy to be so lucky, and with this new record, we hope to show you some honesty, and maybe you can relate. If you do, we hope to see you at a show. Maybe we can hang for a little bit. All and all, Suicide Silence fuckin’ loves you!! Peace!!”

 

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