THREE YEARS REMOVED FROM THEIR DEBUT, BASSIST CHRIS ARIAS-REAL TELLS THAT PERTH METALLERS MAKE THEM SUFFER’S COLLABORATIVE SONGWRITING AND MIX ‘N’ MATCH APPROACH IN THE STUDIO FACILITATED A STRONGER SOPHOMORE RECORD.
There are so many birthdays and events that family and friends have that you just have to sacrifice,” Make Them Suffer bassist Chris Arias-Real tells regarding dedication to the metallic cause, during a break from his day job working at a hospital. This sentiment is only exacerbated given they call Perth, perhaps the world’s most remote capital city, home. Thus, even planning an east coast tour can be a problematic, financially draining endeavour. “But your family and friends will have that leeway with you, because they know you’re aspiring to your dream, and what you want to do with your life. So it’s not like a matter of getting a hard time about it, they understand the lifestyle that this brings.” The graft and unwavering self-belief may soon reap substantial dividends for the symphoniclaced deathcore outfit. Having issued 2012 debut, Neverbloom, and previously hit the road with Northlane, Bleeding Through, Job For A Cowboy and Thy Art Is Murder throughout Australia, Europe and the UK, the sextet is unleashing second full-length, Old Souls. Bristling with charred riffage, blackened atmospherics and ‘ core intensity, each member assuming greater ownership of the material was apparently crucial. “There was a huge difference in the way it was written. Neverbloom was written predominantly with two to three people, whereas with Old Souls everybody has actually contributed to the album. There are songs that everyone has contributed to, both individually and as a team. I think it’s the best representation of this band. It’s a lot more special for us, because each of us has given a piece of ourselves to it, whereas some people may not have had that connection with Neverbloom, just internally. They were happy to be involved in the grand scheme of things, but to actually contribute, it means a lot more to the individuals and to the band itself.” Seeking to expand upon their debut’s scope while remaining cohesive musically, Old Souls was boosted sonically by a litany of high-profile heavy music personnel, with Jason Suecof (The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium), Joey Sturgis (Emmure, Asking Alexandria) and Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus) enlisted at various points. “That was something that we wanted to experiment with, because obviously coming into it we knew that we would work with Roland [Lim] again, that’s something that we didn’t want to change. He’s like the seventh member of this band, ‘ cause he’s worked with us on Neverbloom and [EP] Lord Of Woe,” Arias-Real laughs. “But when we did the album, we were looking at a number of different people to mix and master, so we thought we would take a gamble and say, ‘ Why not get a couple of different people to put their touch to it and see how it comes out?’ “I know that might come across as, well, wouldn’t the songs sound different as a listening experience? You might listen to one and think, ‘This song has a particular feel’; then the next one’s got a completely different vibe to it, and just general overall sound. But it actually has come
together really well. Now we have an indication of maybe some people we’d like to work with in the future. There were some people also that we wanted to work with that we couldn’t line up the schedules with.” Due to budgetary restrictions, instead of travelling overseas they conversed with perennially wacky Suecof via e-mail and Skype. “He is a character, for sure. He’s like nobody that we’ve ever worked with, but in a good way,” the bassist chuckles. “I’m sure in person he’s even more… He’s a very colourful individual, that’s for sure. He worked on more of the faster songs on the album; they were tailored to his strengths. “We allocated songs to different producers based upon what type of song it was. For example, the mosh-ier type of tracks were given to Sturgis, because that’s more his vibe. Forrester actually only did one song. We would have liked to have gotten more, but we weren’t able to do it unfortunately. But the song that he did, the title track, is probably the standout on the album. Not just in terms of how we feel about it, but also in terms of how it sounded. It’s very different to anything we’ve done with Make Them Suffer. That’s probably the one we’re most happy with that came back out of everyone we worked with.”
Old Souls will again be issued Down Under via Roadrunner; the substantial staffing and operational revamp the label has undergone in recent years well-documented. The traditional industry model is reeling, but Make Them Suffer preserves the assistance, at least in name, of said brand’s longevity and status. As a rare Australian act on the label, have they been impacted much? “I don’t think so. We had signed with Roadrunner, but right before Neverbloom came out was kind of when the bigger changes happened within Roadrunner. Who we were working with at the time [Darren Cherry] unfortunately was let go. That was a concern for us, obviously, because he had been there for the entire process before we were signed, when we had all the meetings he was very much involved, and he had such a great vision for us. He was genuinely a fan of the band, which really helped. But over the course of the past three years we’ve developed a really strong relationship with Roadrunner and [parent company] Warner now. Especially coming into this album, where I feel we were definitely feeling very positive about the situation.” Strengthening the favourable outlook is an upcoming national jaunt. They also have plans abroad, including returning to the lucrative European market in August. “We’re really going to hit the ground running over the next six months to finish up the year. We’ve only been able to go over to Europe once, and it was fantastic, obviously something we would like to do more, and hope to do more of on this album cycle.”