Suicide Silence's Mark Heylmun Ceases to Exist

Suicide Silence an act who's truly unstoppable. While they lost their former frontman Mitch Lucker in a tragic accident in 2012, making music and continuing on was one of the hardest decisions the band could ever do but wanted to do none the less. They have moved forward rejoicing long time friend Hernan Hermida or "Eddie" formerly of All Shall Perish to step in as frontman, reconnecting with one another to create what would be their fourth record to date, "You Can't Stop Me". But not only would there be a new record to their name and a new label as well, Nuclear Blast Records with such change and diversity that has come between them there will be no stopping them. Guitarist Mark Heylmun discusses the new album, touring, and some spiritual insight into Mitch's presents.

1. Would you mind telling me the story as to how and why you wanted this band to be called Suicide Silence?

Mark: Well the band was started out of the imagination of one band member named Christopher Garza,  he wanted to start a band that would be the heaviest band in the world. So he thought up the heaviest band name in the world, he thought of Suicide Silence. He then moved on to drawing out the logo on his science schoolwork during ninth grade, this scratchy logo of Suicide Silence that no one could read,  it was the original logo and that logo, band name, existed before the band even started.

2. You guys have been a band for the past 12 years and you're only on your fourth album, don't you think you could have released more?

Mark: You would think so but the band started when everyone was only in high school, like teenagers we didn't know what recording an album was, it required money and for things to happen, really the band didn't put out anything until late 2005 the EP. Then once we got some hype we just toured, we had one EP with a bunch of songs we hadn't put out yet then just went on tour. We had financed ourselves bought a van and trailer toured all over the U.S. and Canada, we had toured with Sepultura before we ever had a record deal or anything. We were milking the "industry" we knew everyone was interested in us and wanted us to sign on to a label, but there was no use putting out a record until someone signed us. So we just toured, toured, and toured then Century Media Records signed us and we put out our debut record in 2007, so it took us about five years to put out a full-length.

3. Why did the change in labels happen and how is the relationship with Nuclear Blast Records going?

Mark:  We signed with Nuclear Blast because we had put out three records with our previous record label and felt our relationship was strong with them but felt we could make a bigger move and try something new. I think in this industry and playing music professionally as a job, I don't think it's always good to stay in one place, and I think creating new relationships and changing the horizons is necessary so the signing with Nuclear Blast was a no brainer. When we first had label interested in us like I told you earlier with the EP having labels interested, Roadrunner Records were the first to look at us, Monte Connor  and Mike were both involved with Roadrunner, Monte made the switch to Nuclear Blast at the time our contract was up with Century Media, it was a reconnecting an old friendship and he wanted us to sign on that it made so much sense. Especially knowing the owner of Nuclear Blast and him loving Suicide Silence to the extent of us playing his wedding, there already like family to us so it's great to be a part of Nuclear Blast.

4. Can you tell us how this album differs from the previous ones? What can we expect and what is the message behind it?

Mark: The progression from this record came from what you're going to hear which is Suicide Silence at our best I feel. We pretty much hit rock bottom when our singer passed away and emotionally moving forward was a difficult decision to make and this record I think for us, an outside perspective something like this to happen, it's a sweet thing to happen, we've gone so much of heartache and hard decisions to be doing what we're doing, it's a strong record of where we are as musicians at this point in our lives. We put everything into this record, it's a really good feeling, we let a lot out and have a lot more to let out, playing these songs they mean a lot to us, and the title of this record is "You Can't Stop Me" that message is not letting anything slow you down or get in your way being unstoppable, for the fans to know that we're here as Suicide Silence and we're here to let them know they can do anything and they can support us like we support them.

5. What was the recording process like this time around? Was there anything different that happened or was it the same old studio thing?

Mark:  Being that we had a new singer, it was a new experience because we had to warm up to him the way he was warming up to us, we're just four guys who have been playing music for quite some time, and he's just a friend who knows us and the music and knows who we are as people. So collaborating together is a whole another story, so learning how we work together was a sigh of relief, so when he clicked when working together making changes of the songs everything worked except there was a new person. All of us our souls are on fire, we wanted to record and write this record wanting it to be the best we could ever do putting pressure on ourselves and one up each other making the best sounding product, amazingly heavy metal record you will probably hear for this year if not the next 10 years, we just put everything into it on this record.

6. The album's title came from a collection of lyrics left behind by Mitch, so were those lyrics bits and pieces or an actual song? Would you consider recording and releasing that song?

Mark:  What happened was that there were two songs musically as instruments recorded and Mitch was going to do vocals on November 1st going into the studio that next day but on Halloween night October 31st he wrecked his motorcycle. So he had only one song lyrically ready to go into the studio and I assume he was going to write the other song while in there, we had just written the music, the lyrics and title "You Can't Stop Me" it was easy to tell that the structure of the song was literally him writing it for this song and why it made the record and is the title track of the record. It just pointed us into the right direction we didn't have those lyrics until we had made the decision to move forward with the band, Eddie was already in the band and we were all in the band room we got to the lyrics of the song, they were what they were we just couldn't believe it type of feeling. We wrote the title of the song on our white board with the rest of our ideas and "You Can't Stop Me" was the influence for this record.

7. Could you describe your song writing process? What comes first – the music or the lyrics?

Mark: It's pretty much always the music coming first. We really like to think of our band as a real band that comes together writing music together the music coming out from the people involved not one person writing it and the band playing it, we like to work with each other if somebody doesn't like it we talk it out, it gets the rounded vibe from all of us. I think that's what makes our writing process different from others we like working with each other leaving room.

8. How did you guys choose who you wanted to have as guest vocals on the new album?

Mark: It came pretty easily, Cannibal Corpse's singer George Corpsegrinder Fisher who's band was on tour with us in 2011 were all just partying it up and being fans of that band as well, we thought it would be cool if he was on the next record and such an honor it would be. So we decided on it and said we would pay your label and you whatever you wanted but he was so amazing that he said he would do it for free. So we booked the studio time and he was happy to do it. Greg Puciatio if The Dillinger Escape Plan had met them in 2010 becoming friends then became closer using the same producer we were a part of the same family so the same thing happened, we had asked Greg to sing on the record and he recorded his part. Our producer Steve had called us and suggested how cool would it to have two singers battling each other singing at one another so that's how the song and those guests were brought on.

9. Can you tell me about the album's artwork and what does it represent, there's a cube and snakes with people all over the place so what's up with that?

Mark:  It's a progression from all of our previous records. On our last record "The Black Crown" the crown had snakes on it in the shape of an "SS" for Suicide Silence. So for this record we came up with this incident of this box with the two "SS" one frontwards and one backwards with the person standing atop with their arms out having that feeling of being free and able to do anything. The box itself contains all of the problems we us a band or the fans or people deal with so unleashing those problems out of the box just feels like a winning at life.

10. A lot of bands have been doing playing albums in their entirety will you guys consider doing this sort of thing?

Mark: That's a good question, we have been considering that for a little while but it definitely it would not be us playing the new record, maybe in a few years our first record hits the 10 year anniversary mark we'll play it in its entirety but we're not sue yet.

11. You guys did release the Memorial Show CD/DVD release which had a live performance, but aside from that you guys have yet to release a live album or live DVD, when can we expect to see something along those lines from you guys?

Mark: The chances of it happening are little. We would love to do that but we'd like to keep it for the people who come out to the show and see us live in-person than just putting on a disc and watching it, seeing us live is something to experience.

12. Why did you want Eddie to take Mitch's place as vocalist and not go forth and recruit someone else?

Mark: The youngster would probably look at it as getting a big gig and stepping into a position as a famous rock star or accepted. Whereas with Eddie is a close friend of ours and  he would treat this job as a task of respect and it's not coming in filling in but dealing with a fan base who has lost an idol and may have looked up too or never got to see us with Mitch. Eddie is a very heartfelt person and what kind of gig he is stepping into and moving forward with as a band with a group of people who has been through a lot, those groups of people and fans who have been there with us.

13. How have the audiences reacted to Eddie's presents as Mitch's replacement in regards to the performances and new material?

Mark: It's been really good. It's been honestly hard to explain, it's been hard to do moving forward, very nervous going out on tour again to see what would happen and what reactions we would receive. We didn't know how it would go, when we go to our first show we had a day off, we couldn't even walk around there was so many kids wanting to talk to us, it was unexpected, wanting to see how we were doing. It was extremely honest and heartfelt seeing a lot of tears and it's a difficult thing to go on tour and face it every day. The fans see us and burst into tears it's pretty easy for me to go back to that spot and miss Mitch and it's really sad but once you go on tour you have to be ready and they were there too and they have lost someone as well. It's a whole new game and new way of going about life and the band is very eye opening.

14. Have you or any of the other band members or anyone you know experienced anything weird happen since Mitch's passing, like has he made his presents known?

Mark:  it's pretty personal stuff I have had experiences and stuff. I've had dreams having a couple of people visiting mediums and talked to people and there have been things that are unexplainable. But he is still here or his energy is still here, he wrote a song about being unstoppable and the fact that "You Can't Stop Me", was the last lyrics he wrote and to fast forward to this conversation right now, I think it's obvious he's still here.

15. How do you think he is feeling about all of this you guys moving on without him do you think he's upset?

Mark: I think he would be furious if we had stopped. It would be back to what we discussed at the start of this interview, why did we only put out this amount of records,  it's because we started this as kids, as something that was a true release not wanting to become something. Everyone wanted it to be as crazy as possible. You know you want to talk about brutal our singer died and we're still going with it. We're trying to be someone to look up too in heavy music, I think he would be really stoked on the record we put together.

16. Speaking of performances you will be partaking in this summer's Mayhem Festival so what can the fans expect in terms of setlist material?

Mark: We don't know what our setlist will be yet. It's very possible to have George Corpsegrinder Fisher come out as a guest for the song he appeared on but we're aiming to be more diverse with our set having more of the old songs than the new, I think the fans would like it more.

17. What other plans do you guys have set for the rest of this year?

Mark:  We're just going to get our feet wet, get this record out there, finish up Mayhem Festival for the summer then can announce what details of what we'll be doing next, but I can say that there will be another U.S. tour before the year is over.

18. Anything else you would like to say or want to add?

Mark: Honestly I just want to thank everybody for being a part of this, this band, the music, being a part of it through all of it, thanks for reading this, without you we are nothing, we are grateful to be Suicide Silence hopefully we can all hang out and rock out!

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