With hearts heavy but de­ter­mined, Sui­cide Si­lence are back in the game and Ed­die Her­mida is ready to in­herit the crown as front­man of the Californian met­allers. By Daniel Furnari. Live pho­tos by Kane Hib­berd.

Blunt - - Contents -

Ed­die Her­mida in­her­its the crown and keeps Mitch Lucker’s mem­ory alive.

“Sui­cide Si­lence’S ex­iS­tence iS Such a larger-than-life thing. it made uS re­aliSe what we’re do­ing when we’re play­ing thiS mu­Sic, and how much mitch and Sui­cide Si­lence have af­fected

the world.” Mark HeylMun

Afull-on Sui­cide Si­lence re­ju­ve­na­tion” – that’s how gui­tarist Mark Heylmun de­scribes the death­core gi­ants’ first time back on stage af­ter an ex­cru­ci­at­ing 14-month break. When Sound­wave 2014 came around, sig­nalling their first tour since the tragic pass­ing of orig­i­nal vo­cal­ist Mitch Lucker in Oc­to­ber 2012 and their first op­por­tu­nity to show­case new front­man Ed­die Her­mida, there was more than a bit of pres­sure rid­ing on that Aus­tralian jaunt.

“We were just so ex­cited and ner­vous to get that first show down in Bris­bane and make it a good one, but of course it went down ex­actly like a Sui­cide Si­lence show al­ways goes,” laughs Heylmun. “About a half hour be­fore we were sup­posed to play, a bass drum trig­ger blew out and we had to find some­body to bor­row a trig­ger from be­fore we went on stage. Ev­ery­thing was go­ing hay­wire, but when we went on stage we had a great time, the crowd was awe­some and we just couldn’t wait to play more.

“It was like the tribe was back! Be­ing on stage with Sui­cide Si­lence is like noth­ing else, we all just put on this show at­ti­tude and it be­comes a whole dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. Ed­die was def­i­nitely feel­ing it and af­ter­wards we were re­ally stoked. It was full of a fresh en­ergy and some real emo­tion.”

Heylmun’s re­lief and enthusiasm at the show is tan­gi­ble and con­ta­gious, es­pe­cially when you re­alise how com­pletely up-inthe-air things were for the band a year ago. Nat­u­rally left reel­ing and distraught af­ter the mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent that claimed Mitch Lucker’s life, the band could barely even fathom the idea of talk­ing about their fu­ture.

“We didn’t do any­thing at all con­cern­ing Sui­cide Si­lence as a band ex­cept to get all of us to­gether to hang out and have din­ner with the dudes ev­ery now and then,” says Heylmun. “We thought the band was go­ing to be over. But at one of those meet­ings some­body brought up the idea of chang­ing the name and start­ing again as a new band. And [Chris] Garza, who started the band, straight away said, ‘If we change the name, I quit’. That made ev­ery­body think about it and we re­alised ob­vi­ously there was still a fire there. Sui­cide Si­lence was go­ing to stay alive.”

When Ed­die Her­mida was asked by Sui­cide Si­lence to record vo­cals over a song in or­der for the band to “hear how some­one else would sound singing with our mu­sic”,

as a close friend of the band and the late Lucker he was more than happy to oblige. But the then­vo­cal­ist of fel­low Cal­i­for­ni­ans All Shall Per­ish had lit­tle idea just what the band had planned for him.

“A week or so af­ter I recorded the song, they hit me up again and told me they couldn’t pic­ture any­one else but me step­ping into the band. When that came about I had a lot on my plate, I had a band that I was com­mit­ted to, and I told them, ‘ What­ever hap­pens, make sure you don’t ask me to quit my band’ be­cause it was my baby, so I wanted to make sure I gave All Shall Per­ish the op­tion to move for­ward with me. I mulled it over for about three months, and then the de­ci­sion to take them up on their of­fer came af­ter talk­ing to a lot of fam­ily and friends.”

With All Shall Per­ish later mak­ing the choice to con­tinue on with­out him, com­bined with the ex­pected flack from cer­tain die-hard Sui­cide Si­lence fans un­happy with the band’s choice to re­place Lucker, these were heavy days for Ed­die Her­mida. But as any song­writer knows, neg­a­tive en­ergy can be a pos­i­tive fuel for that lyri­cal fire, and much of the con­tent of the heav­ily awaited LP You Can’t Stop Me stands as tes­ta­ment to that.

“A lot of it is based around what I’m go­ing through with what people are say­ing on the in­ter­net, and with me join­ing a new band, and all those wor­ries,” says Her­mida. “I guess I’m treat­ing this band more like a diary rather than a plat­form to spread my be­liefs. I’m just talk­ing about what’s com­ing from my heart. I was a lit­tle more de­tached from that in All Shall Per­ish, there were a lot more po­lit­i­cal con­no­ta­tions.”

One of the record’s most defin­ing lyri­cal mo­ments is its opener, point­edly ti­tled “In­herit The Crown”. Both sen­si­tively re­as­sur­ing and proudly con­fi­dent, it’s not hard to tell what Her­mida is singing about on the track – it’s a mes­sage he’s been try­ing to con­vey for the past year.

“The pre­vi­ous record was The Black Crown, so it’s a di­rect ref­er­ence to that kind of lit­eral in­her­i­tance. Mitch was my brother, so step­ping into his place is some­thing I do with grace but also with a lot of pain. The big­gest thing for me was kind of to tell the fans that I wasn’t some­body to be afraid of, I was some­one to help things con­tinue on. I al­ways try to turn things around, and that’s a big thing for me on this record, find­ing ways to tell people that hat­ing on me is not go­ing to change any­thing.”

Thank­fully for Her­mida, he had the full sup­port of the band be­hind him, de­ter­mined to block out de­trac­tors and fo­cus on the task at hand – pen­ning the strong­est, most in­spired al­bum they could con­jure af­ter the most trau­matic and tur­bu­lent pe­riod of their lives and ca­reers. Ac­cord­ing to Heylmun, there was never any doubt in their minds that they’d picked the right man for the job, even if Her­mida needed a lit­tle con­vinc­ing at times.

“We knew that Ed­die from All Shall Per­ish could eas­ily be Ed­die from Sui­cide Si­lence. We had to just kind of give him the con­fi­dence. We told him, ‘ We’re gonna do this and it doesn’t mat­ter that you don’t look like Mitch or what­ever’. Imag­ine fill­ing the shoes of some­one who people looked up to so highly. It’s in­sane, and Ed­die ob­vi­ously was ner­vous but he stepped up to the plate and he did ev­ery­thing he needed to do. He was talk­ing to our fans about Mitch ev­ery chance he got, and that’s why he’s the per­fect guy for the job, he knew Mitch re­ally well and thought of him as a friend and not just as a guy he’s re­plac­ing.”

Speak­ing about the iconic ap­peal of his pre­de­ces­sor and fallen brother, Her­mida is ex­pect­edly rev­er­ent and warm: “He gave his heart and soul to ev­ery show he ever played. He had an amaz­ing band sit­ting be­hind him that was as en­er­getic and down to throw down as he was. He had a vi­sion the whole time, he wanted to be this grandiose per­sona on stage, that’s what he strove for and he achieved it. The guy could get any­body mov­ing, he had such en­ergy and de­vo­tion and he gave it to ev­ery­body.”

“It’s eye-open­ing to see how the fans have re­acted to the loss of Mitch,” elab­o­rates Heylmun. “For us, he was one of our best friends, but not all of those people knew Mitch, they only knew him as the singer of Sui­cide Si­lence, it’s not the same re­la­tion­ship. But see­ing their re­ac­tion and the way they held his life and ev­ery­thing he did so close to them made us re­alise that Sui­cide Si­lence’s ex­is­tence is such a larger-than-life thing. It made us re­alise what we’re do­ing when we’re play­ing this mu­sic, and how much Mitch and Sui­cide Si­lence have af­fected the world. It’s kept my eyes on the mu­sic and on putting things out that are go­ing to make people happy and touch people.”

With the re­lease of You Can’t Stop Me creep­ing ever so close, the band are fer­vently ex­cited and de­ter­mined that it sounds just like a Sui­cide Si­lence record should. Al­though Lucker’s con­tri­bu­tions to the band po­tently shaped what it is to­day, one lis­ten to You Can’t Stop Me should as­sure doubters that the ag­gres­sion and in­ten­sity that has al­ways de­fined the band is more than just a mat­ter of who is roar­ing the words.

“It’s the band man, the guys that are play­ing the songs – they are the sound!” ex­claims Her­mida. “People worry if you re­move one mem­ber from a band that it’ll sound com­pletely dif­fer­ent, but when the mem­bers of the band are as in­volved as these guys, that’s never go­ing to hap­pen.”

Heylmun agrees. “There isn’t a record that has been a full-length yet that hasn’t been Alex Lopez, Chris Garza and my­self. I mean we did have an­other bass player at one point, but bring­ing Dan Kenny into the band brought some­thing bet­ter into the band too. But we write these songs to­gether, we al­ways have, and there’s just some­thing that hap­pens. We don’t know where the riffs come from. They come from a dif­fer­ent place.”

While the band’s fu­ture is now firmly back on the right path, for Her­mida, the set­tling in process is on­go­ing. Maybe his naysay­ers have more in com­mon with him than they think – these kinds of changes aren’t easy on any­one. But he’s get­ting there.

“When I’m talk­ing to the guys some­times I catch my­self re­fer­ring to it as ‘your band’, and they’re like, ‘ What do you mean, our band? It’s your band too!’ I guess it’s kind of like when you move house and you keep writ­ing the old ad­dress for a few months af­ter, but then af­ter a while you re­alise, ‘Oh, I live here now’. Even now though, it’s be­gin­ning to feel like maybe it is my band, es­pe­cially with all the hard work I’ve done.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.