The world is currently shaken, rattled and whirled with all the current mishaps and malice. Thankfully we still have art. We still have performance and culture and all that has changed is the way we engage with it. Deathcore deities, Suicide Silence have announced a virtual world tour this month and I virtually chatted with the magic Mark Heylmun on this concept and more. buy some cheap as chips tickets here https://ssvirtualtour.com/ and listen to the interview or read below.
I don’t know how to give you a virtual handshake but (Become The Hunter) was a sweet album man.
Well, you just did by calling me magic.
It was so good
Yeah, that’s cool man. I’m glad you liked the record It was really fun to put together and I think it comes off that way. I think people can hear that we had fun making it
I don’t want to get too much into the self-titled release because I know you’ve covered that but when you were trying to do something different was that a stressful situation or was that fun as well?
The self-titled record was extremely fun to put together. Obviously, we knew it was gonna be a big roll of the dice and couldn’t have predicted everything that happened from it. Getting to work with Ross Robinson and the way that we approached that record and like, just where we were as a band. It was a good point in time for us. I don’t have any regrets with that record. I look at it also as, without doing that record, we wouldn’t have landed where we landed, ready to write Become the Hunter. The intention was clear after that record for what we needed to do. Everything happens for a reason and y’know it’s all good.
Would you tackle something like that again?
I don’t know if there is a right thing to do as a band in the future, writing full lengths or releasing singles all the time. We talked about maybe going down that kind of route again but more on the single tip. As much as most people bash that record there’s still our die-hard
fans and a lot of people who come out and say “dude like I know that record got smashed but I really like this song and this song” and they know what they like about it.
The squeaky wheel is always the loudest. It got really smashed but y’know… the other thing that didn’t get a lot of coverage was when we toured on that, went and played European festivals, some of the songs on it…they went over really, really well.
Commercially, of course, you see all the bad reviews and you see all the people talking shit on it but it’s not exactly fun for people to go online and say “hey man, all you people talking shit we like this.”…. I don’t think that we’re gonna do it anytime soon but of course as a band, we like to venture outside of the safety zone. That’s the really fun thing to do and that’s why we had such a good time making that record.
And I guess now that you’re doing a virtual tour it’s going to be a bit of a challenge to see what people are actually responding to in this current time. You’ve got obviously a live chat but you can’t make up for that actual connection with the audience you know. How do you do a virtual mosh pit? how do you get people moving?
I started a Patreon and I’ve been doing live streams. It’s funny how people adapt to it. They’ll throw in the emoji of people running and everybody in the chat is putting in emojis of people running and I’m like “Oh my god, I get it you guys are moshing that’s fucking funny.”
On the virtual tour we planned for that, it’s hard to tell how people would respond to it so we didn’t organise it like it was going to be a live show. We wanted to make it a combination of behind the scenes, DVD, a music video shoot and a live performance. So there’s gonna be other aspects of it besides the performance that are guaranteed to be entertaining if you are a fan of suicide silence or even if you’re not a fan of suicide silence.
We’ve made the most hilarious skits they’re just so funny, it’s almost comparable to Dethklok. We did our thing; we wrote skits and made these fun things. You’re gonna see a show but instead of treating it like we’re on stage, talking to an audience and trying to recreate a live show we just made Suicide Silence variety hour. There’s so many exclusive skits and content that we made, that talks directly to the market that we’re playing in so when we’re playing for Sydney there’s gonna be skits that are only for Sydney. We’ve been to all these places and we love these places, we figured this is a way to tell people how much we appreciate them. I’m sure that people down under will laugh at the shit we put together for it.
I’m definitely looking forward to it. It’s interesting in these times that you have to learn to adapt. I’ve had maybe 3 living room moshes just putting on some really loud music have you had any of those? They’re hella fun!
Oh dude 100 percent I watched Gojira live at red rocks and I was spinning around in my computer chair, having a good time with it. That was a sick livestream.
And even doing something like a virtual interview like this, I was just having lunch before, I’ve just smashed down two roasted onions and I’m not worried about you smelling my breath, so there’s perks in all of it
[Laughs] well the funny thing about all the lockdown stuff too is when did people start feeling ok with the cold call Facetime. Never before would I look down and be like “oh someone’s Facetiming me right now, they didn’t warn me or anything.” I’ve gotten calls where it’s ten names all on facetime and I answer and it’s just like ten people drinking a beer all like “YEAH WHATS UP DUDE.” When would that have ever happened?
I know, it’s obviously not ideal and there are somethings you can’t replace. I’m not a touring musician but I’d love to hear what your favourite part of touring is that you can’t replace, but you got to learn to adapt I guess.
Yeah, yeah… my favourite part of touring. This is a very simple answer but just travelling. Travelling is fun for me. I like to go different places; it’s manifested itself in my regular vacation life where I don’t like going to one place for like a week or two. I like to go to a general area and go to a place for like 2 or 3 nights and then go to another place. Touring has transformed the way that I travel.
Yeah because it’s a fulltime job. You’re experiencing these things in a professional sense as well I guess.
Yeah, 100%. Australia, I haven’t been able to go and spend time just by myself. I’m always on tour but usually with Australia there’s a good amount of days off. I’ve gotten to play shows in a bunch of places, met people and then it’s like “oh I know people now.” So if I wanna come back here I’ve got the local hook-ups. That’s my favourite thing about touring is just travelling and meeting people.
Well I can’t offer you much but if you are in Sydney sometime next year, you’ve got my number. [laughs] Going back to those skits, it’s a very interesting concept. Do you have any special skills on display that people might not know about you?
I have a green thumb. I grew weed for a little while and I learnt how to grow like really, really good weed. In that, I learnt that I could grow anything. I’ve grown a ton of berries, potatoes, beans. I would really like in the future to just grow all my own food. I took a permaculture class which is utilizing the least amount of actual energy for the biggest yield. I would really like to have my own little homestead, solar and wind powered and collect rain water and shit like that. I’m kind of nerdy with that shit and not a lot of people know about it.
That’s cool, I can’t wait to watch a livestream of you making a salad out of weed.
[laughs] I don’t have time to do it. The band is such a full-time job and having a farm is another fulltime job. So, I don’t do it anymore and I was afraid to talk about it because it’s not really legal yet but now that it’s legal in California I’m not really afraid to say I used to grow A SHIT TON OF WEED. It’s just a plant, man. Especially with CBD and stuff. I’ll be the first to say I used to be a much bigger cannabis user but I figured out CBD is actually what I really want. Getting high is cool and all but CBD really chills my social anxiety out and helps me sleep especially if you are working out or something it chills your soreness after a workout. It’s so good.
I have a proposition for you. Next time you do a virtual world tour what if you were to animate it. Live animation mocap.
That’s a good idea.
Do you know what kind of creature or character you’d want to be animated as?
I mean I’d probably be some sort of made up creature. Like a combination of a bear a lion and a shark or something like that.
Like something from GWAR?
Yeah 100%. The animation man that’s something to think about…I’m sort of thinking how we could actually do it. Have you ever seen A Scanner Darkly or Waking Life that’s some trippy live animation? I think Keanu Reeves is in a scanner darkly. Yeah that’s not a bad idea. I’m down with all that stuff we’ve got to put this first one on and see if it actually works [laughs]
Nah I reckon it’ll be good, should be great, I wanna see it.
It’s gonna be so sick. We are about to right now, after I’m done with this, I’m gonna go inside and we’re gonna do our first run through as if we were doing a livestream and we’ll be able to watch everything.
If anybody is listening and doesn’t fully know. It is a full on integrated live stream. You watch your gonna see so many funny things, there’s a live performance, there’s gonna be an opportunity so that you will get a poll and we’ll ask you what you wanna hear. You get to pick what song we’re gonna play. The first hour of it is performance and then the last half hour is a Q&A.
This is coming from James Lynch, he’s our tour manager, our sound guy and him and I were talking about this. He’s the master of the steam. He was running a stream for someone out to like 10,000 people. He has the skill set on this. And the camera people on this are the same people that videoed the Mitch (Lucker) memorial DVD. so, this is all our inhouse crew of people and we’re all having a blast putting it together. We’re in this sick room and on top of all this we’re writing riffs, we’re together every day living in the same house. And we’re getting tested for Covid once a week. We’re just stocked on it dude, this is gonna be one of the coolest things I think we’ve ever done in our careers.
That’s awesome man I’m really happy for you. I suppose I should wrap things up and jump to my last question since you should go inside and test things out so I’m not responsible for everything failing. That’d be a lot of pressure. Who is the best band or performer who has ever told you that they were inspired by you?
I think one of the biggest full circle individuals that has said that to us, that made a big impact on me, was Chad Gray from Mudvayne. When we first toured with them in 2009. I won’t lie and say “oh Mudvayne was my favourite band” and all that stuff, but of course I listened to Mudvayne when I was young and I saw them at my first concert which was Ozzfest 2001. Chad and Mudvayne guys hand-picked us to open for them and Black Label Society and Static X in 2009. Chad from day one was like, I love what you guys are doing, and that was major. It really didn’t stop there even Clown from Slipknot; he did the same when we did the Slipknot tour in 2008. I’m extremely lucky and grateful that that has happened to me on a handful of occasions. I’ll never forget that stuff. Anybody that cites us as an influence, that’s amazing. I think the communal aspect of heavy metal and all of us being in a big heavy metal tribe over the world, we’re all connected to the love of brutal heavy and weird shit. It’s not exactly mainstream shit, so we’re all being weirdos and inspiring each other. I hope it never fucking ends. It will never end it will live forever.
There’s some magic in what you’re saying because it’s our community you know. I like all kinds of music and I talk to all kinds of musicians but metalheads… we’ve got the biggest family.
If I see someone with long hair and a death metal shirt I say what’s up and if you’re at a party and you’re the only metalhead, own that shit.
Well thank you for joining me, mister magic Mark Heylmun
Till then don’t commit suicide and don’t remain silent.
DJ Double X