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Interview: Suicide Silence


For a small percentage of music listeners, some of us were fortunate enough to witness underground scenes evolve into global phenomena’s. Speaking for myself, I watched the subgenres of metalcore and deathcore organically evolve into colossal powerhouses that symbolized my generation’s contribution to metal as a teenager. Harkening back to my last two years of high school, I remember hearing about this band called ‘Suicide Silence’ that combined the heaviest aesthetics of death metal and hardcore and morphed those blueprints into ear shattering moments of adrenaline-ridden brutality.

While this California act was certainly no overnight sensation, the wide-scale success of Suicide Silence’s debut LP The Cleansing ignited a massive deathcore movement that defined the late 2000s. In terms of musicality, this band’s knack for creating infectiously devastating grooves underneath vocalist Mitch Lucker’s signature low and high growls were unmatched in a scene eventually plagued by conformity. From a firsthand perspective, I could assure readers that few bands garnered such a devoted following in the last decade. Seriously, I’d walk around my local mall or check out New Jersey hardcore shows and kids were decked in Suicide Silence hoodies. When I attended the Rockstar Mayhem Festival in 2011, I never saw an artist on the second stage attract such a large crowd. Following each studio release, this group’s momentum continually grew to the point where the sky was the limit.

mayhem poster

Unfortunately, this blossoming young band experienced the worst kind of tragedy after their frontman passed away from a motorcycle accident in 2012. The loss of Mitch Lucker left the metal community and longtime fans inspired by his lyrics heartbroken. Even worse, the remaining band members not only lost a brother but they watched their hard work and sacrifices nearly vanish at the blink of an eye. Whenever bands suffer a devastating loss early in their career, fans will always debate whether or not these musicians should carry on? Truth be told, listeners should never have any say in the matter. For the surviving members of Suicide Silence, why let tragedy define its legacy?

Following months of inactivity, Suicide Silence decided to move forward when they recruited ex All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida, one of Lucker’s best friends, to inherit the mantle as their frontman. Still grieving from such a traumatizing experience, this therapeutic energy translated into an unforgiving batch of songs that eventually became the group’s latest LP You Can’t Stop Me. Suicide Silence’s triumphant comeback on You Can’t Stop Me showcases a group of brother’s bonded together and committed to keeping Mitch Lucker’s legacy alive. Seeing this five-piece band regain its stature once seemed impossible, yet the addition of Eddie Hermida on You Can’t Stop Me has officially removed the dark cloud hovering over Suicide Silence.

In an exclusive interview with Pop-Break, I spoke with Suicide Silence guitarist Mark Heylmun about the writing process behind You Can’t Stop Me and coping with the loss of Mitch Lucker.


Let’s start off by talking about You Can’t Stop Me, considering how Mitch wrote those exact words as lyrics before his passing, it’s unbelievable how the title reflects where you stand the present.

Mark Heylmun: It’s the craziest thing about everything that’s going on. Once we got those lyrics and we were reading them, it was really telling us and guiding us with footprints to step on what we are doing right now. We were at such a hard loss, we didn’t have any music or anything new to write but we had some of Mitch’s old lyrics. It was basically saying, ‘Be unstoppable, move forward, crush everything, do it honestly and do it for real.’ Those were the first lyrics we read and we wrote You Can’t Stop Me on our white board and immediately used that as inspiration everyday when we walked into the jam room.

Did the entire band sit down and read Mitch’s lyrics together?


MH: It was September 2013 and we all read the lyrics and it was very chilling. Eddie was there too. We didn’t know how to feel at first but it made us feel very good. It was like, ‘Holy shit.’ We already made a lot of steps in moving forward with the band and reading those lyrics and being able to put up a phrase on our whiteboard where we write all of our ideas; it really opened up that can of inspiration. It gave us something that we were missing. If we weren’t feeling so hot one day, it’s like “You Can’t Stop Me.” Let’s fucking do this shit and let’s write something that’s at least progressive in the jam room every single day. “You Can’t Stop Me” was there to put us in the right direction.

Sometimes life has a weird way of making sense during those tense situations…

MH: It’s insane! It’s crazy how this is real life. I mean, so much gnarly shit has happened during the past two-years and just to be where I am right now; it has put me in a grateful position. Everything always works out somehow and you just need to say positive, move forward, and work with the cards that are dealt your way. You need to deal with it and you can’t just let life crush you.

Understanding how fan’s looked up to Mitch, talk about the importance of keeping Suicide Silence alive instead of just leaving it behind.

MH: It is something that we hold very close to us because of how it all started. I knew about Suicide Silence because I was in a local band and I saw them play every cool party and every good little tour that came through because they would open. Suicide Silence because were doing big things and playing with big bands and I wanted to do that. Later on, I joined the band. Along the way, we recruited Alex Lopez, another local dude, and we’re recording our full-length and sleeping in the garage. We were doing everything for the love of it because this was a dream of all ours. It’s a talent that we all shared and we may not be virtuosos but we could write a song that people like. At that point, we had no idea that we even held that capability until we wrote a record and it was just like bam; we had a bunch of songs that people liked. This is something that we do for the love of it and it keeps us feeling accomplished and alive. All of a sudden one-day, our brother and friend is gone, our band is gone, our life is gone, and everything is gone. We don’t have our friend or our band. Honestly, we don’t even have something to wake up for because what we else could we do besides the band? We don’t have much else. That absence really showed us what was important in our lives and that’s each other and what we do together with our music, how people react to it, and how they are apart of that whole process. It just became very apparent that we’re meant to do this shit as a band and as friends. This record is our foot in the face to whoever questioned us or to anyone who thought Mitch was the entire band. We know Mitch was a huge part of the band and we’ll never ever forget that. We are still here and we still need to release what Suicide Silence does for us and for the fans and we weren’t going to let this end in tragedy.

I know Eddie Hermida was one of the first names that came up when you started searching for a new vocalist. Talk about the process of recruiting him and having him join the band….

MH: There’s a local Buffalo Wild Wings where we frequent for band meetings and think-tank stuff like music videos ideas and little things like that. It’s a place where we go to chill. It’s where we came up with the idea for “You Only Live Once” and “Slaves to Substance,” and that’s where the idea of having Eddie in the band came up. We were at Buffalo Wild Wings and this was probably in April 2013 and we hadn’t done anything with the band in January, February, or March. Basically, we were ready to start working because we had been doing nothing for months and everyone was getting tired of being home. He [Eddie Hermida] was really the only person that everyone in the circle agreed upon and thought made sense. We all said, ‘If Eddie’s down, I could imagine working with him.’ He was a really close friend of ours, he’s been on our bus, we toured together, we even lived together, and we all learned a lot together over the years. It just made sense; he was the only name that was brought up where everyone said, ‘That’s cool.’ That’s how we like to work as a band. Unless everyone is down, it’s probably not going to happen. We really like to make everybody happy because we’re a family and a close group of friends. When everyone said ‘Eddie makes sense,’ it was like, ‘Hey, maybe should try that?’ We reached out to him and asked him if he wanted to record his voice on a song and if we liked it, would he be down to write music with us? He recorded vocals on “You Only Live Once” real quick and we heard it within a couple of days and it sounded amazing, fresh, different, and he sounded excited. It actually took from April till September to actually get together and start writing. We were in communication with him and trying to work out the best way possible to make this work so All Shall Perish wouldn’t fall apart, which is kind of what happened and it’s disappointing. We knew Eddie would work and it’s working now. He questioned it and he asked us, ‘You sure you want me to do this?’ We just knew this would work.


I’ve watched Eddie speak during several interviews and his professionalism and outgoing personality immediately caught my attention. How did his presence help the overall grieving process?

MH: When it came to thinking about the memorial show – this shows how close of friends we really are – Eddie’s name was the first to come up because he was local and we knew he’d drive down to do some vocals. And we also thought that we could get Johnny Plague [Winds Of Plague] because he’s right up the street. Once we had all these local singers, we were like, ‘Why don’t we make this huge and get a ton of different singers for every song?’ Eddie kicked that whole idea off and that’s another reason why it was a no brainer to think that he would fit. It was like, ‘That would make fucking sense,’ because he’s always been there for us and like you said, he was there to help us with the grieving and he was also really close to Mitch. We were there for each other.

Did you approach the writing process behind You Can’t Stop Me any differently from your previous LPs? With Eddie’s voice in mind, did that push you to stretch outside your comfort zone or did you keep the same formula in tact?

MH: It’s really weird how life fucking works out. When we finished up The Black Crown, Mitch and me talked a lot about vocal ideas. We did this hindsight kind of thing where we listened to all of his lyrics and vocals and we started talking about doing more things lyrically, in terms of what Mitch could do. And that was the first time that Mitch and me had ever collaborated on lyrics and vocals and that was after The Black Crown. We talked about it and we were like, ‘Let’s try to work together on the lyrics and vocals more on the next record.’ The band was never really involved with Mitch’s vocals because he did it all himself. And the crazy thing about Eddie coming in was that’s what happened. We started working with Eddie more on vocals and we started doing what we would’ve done with Mitch. There are a couple of songs on the record that were collaboration’s between Eddie, Alex, and myself. There are a couple of songs Eddie wrote 100% himself but this was the first time there was a collaboration between the band on vocals. Other than that, that’s the only real difference. Eddie and Mitch work exactly the same way; they need to hear some music and write down what they feel. And that’s kind of how the band works. We need good vibes and we need to go in the band room and jam on what we feel because that’s where all of our ideas come from. It’s just strange to answer that question too, it’s weird how life keeps going and meets back up with itself. I had never written lyrics for a song until this record and it was good to work with Eddie because he was fresh and excited when he would hear something. I have Mitch in mind and I’m trying to write things more ‘Mitch’ like. When you’re writing a record that’s a comeback record ‘quote on quote,’ you feel that pressure to retain the essence of the Suicide Silence sound. You don’t want people to forget about Mitch and you want them to be reminded of him when they hear it. That’s where I was coming from when I wrote the lyrics; I was definitely trying to keep the style that Mitch brought and the flair of his voice and the way certain words landed in certain places. All of us were always really tapped into what Mitch was doing and we were big fans of everything of his and we never told him, ‘No, don’t do this or say this!’ And doing that on this record was just new, fresh, and fun.

Talk about having guest vocalists like George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher [Cannibal Corpse] on “Control” and Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan on “Monster Within,” their signature growls adds another level of intensity to both tracks atop of Eddie’s work…

MH: We tried to do that on The Black Crown too and we kind of did a revision of that idea on this record. We just have a wide spectrum of influences and we could easily have Chino Moreno [Deftones] and David Vincent from Morbid Angel because we really like to show the spectrum. I think “Control” with Corpsegrinder sounds like classic death metal or Suicide Silence deathcore. “Monster” is more of a more Black Crownish bouncy party song with Greg from Dillinger on the punky part. It’s two opposite sides of what we sound like and different styles of what we write. We’re always going to do that sort of this shit.


Going through this cycle of rebuilding Suicide Silence from the bottom up and making this comeback, does You Can’t Stop Me sit atop the catalog considering the overwhelming odds you overcame?

MH: You have to put yourself in our shoes. All of the stuff going on right now, we facilitated on our own and we made this happen. Nobody from our management team ever said ‘You need to do this or there’s a time frame on this.’ We decided to do this and to have the record doing well and being well received, it feels like everything is just at this great point culmination wise. The shows are going great and our fans and even the people interviewing us are excited. We don’t even know if this is a culmination. We’re going to keep moving forward like it says on You Can’t Stop Me. It is just crazy when you really think about what we’ve done in this past year and it feels really good. It’s humbling because we’ve been to this spot before. We’ve been on top and we’ve felt good about what we’ve done and we’ve done it with Mitch and now we’re here with Eddie. We’ve gone through all of this shit and it’s crazy to be back. It’s humbling to know that everything could easily be gone and all this shit could be fucking gone in a second. I’m grateful to still be here and to have people care and want to know how I feel about it. It’s good!


Anthony Toto
Anthony Totohttps://pathbrite.com/AnthonyMToto/profile
Anthony Toto is a senior writer and social media manager for The Pop Break. Works in the music industry and interviews prominent artists, bands, and musicians. Longtime guitarist, Rutgers Graduate, and wholeheartedly believes in the ethereal power of music.

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