Interviews

SUICIDE SILENCE’S MARK HEYLMUN: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW

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This year’s Warped Tour has a formidable albeit small deathcore contingent, the core of which is comprised of Emmure, Whitechapel, and California’s tattooed sons Suicide Silence. Competing with the likes of Hey Monday, Andrew W.K., and All American Rejects for the coveted attention of overwhelmingly teenage festival attendees, the group made sure to bring the fucking mosh at the Long Island, NY stop. After some delay on my part catching Emmure’s lively set, I hurried back to the press area to interview laid-back-and-damn-cool guitarist Mark Heylmun about Warped, the boldly minimal video for “Disengage”, and why fans should buy the recently released “Body Bag Edition” of their latest album No Time to Bleed.

Oh, and dubstep. We talked about dubstep.

How’s the response been from the Warped crowd so far?

Awesome. Every single day has been awesome. There have been no bad shows. If the show sucks a certain way, then just turn it into a different show. It’s fun. It’s cool.

Do you think you’re converting some of the pop punk kids over to the death metal?

That’s what’s happening… A lot of these kids are coming up and saying, “That’s the first time I’ve seen you guys. I’ve heard you guys on this, but getting a chance to see it — it’s awesome.” I’m definitely talking to a lot more kids on this tour than I ever have. I’d rather have that.

So you guys are typically classified as deathcore. I know that some bands find that term disconcerting or limiting. Are you guys comfortable with that tag?

I don’t care.

You don’t care about tagging?

It mattered in the beginning when a magazine or website referred to us as deathcore. That was literally something that slipped off our tongues years before anybody ever really said it. It was a joke at practice. I don’t know what it is. It’s grindcore. It’s death metal. It’s hardcore. I don’t know what it is. It’s deathcore grind metal. I think we were just trying to think what kind of thing it is. If you put a formula to something or anything. Dubstep is not new. It’s why it kind of pisses people off at times, because you get stamped. You’re either metal, metalcore, or whatever.

People like to put things in boxes.

Yeah, yeah. That’s the reason why people get mad about it. It doesn’t bother me because we’re not in that box. If anything, we are a part of the construction of that box.

I was watching the video for “Disengage” the other day.

Right.

Surprised at how minimal it was.

How boring it is?

It takes away all the storylines and the things that go into videos. It just shows the band performing.

Yeah.

Is that a statement on what music videos are these days?

Kind of. It was more like we went into the video trying to do something, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. We had the fallback plan of just making a boring live video. It’s just a white background with red or whatever. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, and I think every video we’ve made so far we were happy with. We didn’t want to put out a video that wasn’t completely what we wanted. The storyline went with the lyrics, but just the way that it looked — no offense to the director. He wanted to try something, and we wanted to try something. It didn’t turn out right.

You released a special edition of No Time to Bleed — a year after it came out — with different features and a DVD and all that. Sometimes these things are [considered] controversial by fans — especially young fans –w ho went out and bought the record when it came out.

Yeah, yeah. Why this one?

What’s the rationale behind putting out a special edition a year later?

It’s just, basically, that we want to be there all the time. We don’t want our record to be, “Oh, it’s old now.” Just to keep it fresh and still doing press every single day with, “Oh, the new record is great.” It’s just keeping it relevant. That’s all it is… If you want to think of it as a scam, it’s not a scam, because we threw all the stuff that we’ve been working on over the past year or prior to the making or the making of the record, live shows and we put it together. So here’s a new little DVD with the CD or you can just go download the DVD on the internet. Fuck it. [laughs]

You’re not the only band that’s doing that. The major labels, the indie labels, it’s happening more and more to help boost CD sales.

You got to do something. At least the labels are trying to do something and not just letting it sit. “Oh, you sold 30k that month and only sold 5 the next. We’re not going to do anything anymore.” So it’s like, “Whatever.”

What are your post-Warped plans?

We’re going to headline in October… It’s all pretty much set in stone right now. We’re just trying to put everything together. The sooner we get the press release out, the sooner the [opening] band says ,”Oh, I can’t drop off.” [laughts]

They’re locked in.

It’s going to be a good tour. I know it’s going to be a good tour. We haven’t headlined in two years. We don’t even know what to expect. We tried to get into the biggest venues that we possibly could just to get out and play these venues. We don’t want to play small, shitty places. We want to be able to put on a good show.

I have to ask since you brought it up… You mentioned dubstep. It’s not every day that I talk to someone from a metal band who cites dubstep.

The thing is, why dubstep is getting so popular is because it sounds like if you were to turn the formula of techno and death metal. Instead of having loops or hard snares, you have claps and big pops and effects. It’s cool. It’s like a creative outlet for someone that uses a computer as an instrument as opposed to using a guitar. When I hear all this stuff like Rusko and there’s that other dude that’s “Where’s my money?” or whatever, “More action. Chum chum chum chum,” [bangs his hands] “more action chum chum chiga chiga more…” It’s cool. It’s not the coolest thing in the world. I don’t listen to it, but I hear it. I can’t escape it. My singer [Mitch Lucker] started a site for a dubstep project which is as sick as hell.

I heard the track.

It’s fucking awesome.

It’s really fucking good.

Commissioner. It’s not even his band. He just sings in it. He has a part in it, but it’s just a side project. Suicide is the main thing. I think it has potential, especially if they do other collaborations that they got to do, because that’s all it is. Suicide Silence did a collaboration with DJs. I don’t know why. It just what happened. It’s cool. It’s music. Fuck it.

Suicide Silence’s No Time to Bleed: The Body Bag Edition is out now on Century Media.

-GS

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