Can you think of a metal sub-genre that splits opinion quite like Deathcore? No, didn’t think so. Who better to grill about it then, than Mitch Lucker, frontman of the crown princes of the genre, Suicide Silence?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview was originally published on MusicTowers.com. It is re-printed here with their full permission.
Mitch Lucker’s leg is jiggling. Vocalist with rising Californian deathcore stars, Suicide Silence, Lucker is sitting on a small sofa backstage at the Islington Academy – well, below stage actually, the bowels of the building constituting the dressing room area – about an hour before his band takes the stage to headline the Summer Slaughter tour. The vocalist is visably agitated about something.
“I stress over everything,” he reveals. “I’m a germaphobe, I count things compulsively, I over-think things constantly. The less that’s in here,” he says, tapping the side of his head, “the less I have to stress about.”
The one thing he isn’t stressing about is the reception his band will get when they go out on stage. As mentioned in our earlier review, the crowd is begging for Suicide Silence. “Every night it’s been packed full of fucking kids, and full of violence, the wiry American grins. “It’s been great, we couldn’t ask for a better tour.” He’s right about that – topping a bill that consisting of The Berzerker, Annotations Of An Autopsy, Born Of Osiris, Abigail Williams and As Blood Runs Black, the Summer Slaughter tour was the moment that Suicide Silence’s position as the new kings of extreme metal was truly cemented.
“We’ve been working our asses off for a long time in the US, and this is our fourth time over in Europe,” Mitch says, mindful that his band have more than paid their touring dues. “I guess it looks like we went bbrrrriipp like super-quick,” he says, accompanying his mouth-made sound effect with a skyrocketing hand-gesture, “but since 2006 we’ve touring non-stop. We’ve been home maybe a month here, a month there, but otherwise it just non-stop touring.
“The first time we came to the UK and headlined by ourselves, we did it all ourselves. We did it all DIY, we didn’t have a label, we put our CD out by ourselves. We just saved up a little bit of money and came out. We’ve always been a band that’s worked our asses off, and I think now it’s really starting to pay off.”
Watch the video to ‘Bludgeoned To Death’ by Suicide Silence
Lucker has no doubt as to the secret of his band’s rise. “Touring is what you need to do to be a band. Especially because of MySpace, you’ll have fans all over the world, and you need to be playing these places. You’re not a band if you’re just gonna put out a record for kids to listen to. Bands need to have a live show that follows their record, and it needs to be as intense as the record – you get both aspects of the band. You have to tour – if you find touring a hassle, or think ‘oohh no, we have to go on tour again?’, then stop being in music. Honestly, with how downloading is and shit, you need to be a full-time touring band if you want to succeed.”
But back to what’s been causing Lucker stress – when we sat down for this interview, it’d been a week since John McCain had announced Alaskan-mentalist, Sarah Palin, to join him on his US election trail as his vice-presidential running mate. “I try to stay completely out of politics, because ignorance is bliss. The less I know, the less I’m gonna stress about it. I stress about shit really bad because I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.”
“I hate our government,” he says dismissively. “It’s good to live in a free country where everything is that easy, but we’re so spoiled in our own country by how fucked politics are. We’re just digging ourselves into a deeper and deeper hole every year. I’d like to live somewhere outside the US for sure, because we’re gonna get bombed sooner or later. Someone is gonna get fed up with us.”
What people have not got fed up with is Suicide Silence’s debut album, The Cleansing. Released almost exactly a year ago, it pricked up the ears of every extreme metal fan from Alaska to Adelaide. Recorded live (the band recorded performing together, rather than the more common practice of multi-track recording, don’tcha know), The Cleansing still sounds positively carnivorous.
“We wanted to get our first record out as quick as we could, because there were so many other bands doing what we were doing at the time, we needed something to capture our live energy. We thought let’s just do it quick and easy and record the whole record live. It couldn’t have gone any better – it’s exactly what we wanted our first record to do.” It certainly caught the attention of the fans, blending riffs so heavy they’d break your bones and not even notice. “The fact that it did so well – better than any other debut on Century Media ever – that says a lot. We were not expecting that at all – we were all Holy fuck, did that really just happen? That’s crazy!”
Moves are already underway fro their as-yet-untitled second album. “We have two producers we’re looking at really heavily right now. It’s going to be the hugest step-up. Suicide Silence can always do better, and this next record is going to blow away The Cleansing by far. After our headline tour in the states, we’re have two months off and that’s when we’re going to record it and set it all down.” Unlike The Cleansing, the plan is to record this one in a more traditional tracked method, that does mean Suicide Silence are set to replace gut-punch rawness with studio polish. Mmmm, shiny.
“Metal is metal. Heavy metal has been around for a really long fucking time, since the Black Sabbath days. Everything since is just all evolution of heavy metal. Heavy metal is always gonna be around – it’s not gonna go anywhere. It’s just how popular it’s getting right now that’s fucking amazing – you’ve got bands like Slipknot and Lamb Of God they’re debuting at number 1 on the Billboards and shit like that.” He sits back and takes in a breath. As one of the bands that’s managed to make in-roads into the mainstream metal audience (they were one of the bands on the Rockstar Mayhem tour, headlined by MTV-darlings, Slipknot and Disturbed), Lucker’s band seems set to achieve the musician’s dream of commercial success without compromising their musical ideals.
Watch the video to ‘The Price of Beauty’ by Suicide Silence
“Lamb Of God have no clean singing on their whole record – the most non-mainstream sounding band has a gold-selling record in our country, has radio play, and they’re fucking huge. Just [Randy Blythe, Lamb Of God frontman], screaming and being pissed the whole time – all over the world right now with their new record paving the way. Their shit’s on the radio and it sounds hard. If you’re a good metal band, then people will like you no matter what.”
“Heavy metal is always gonna be around – it’s just how big we’re gonna take, how big bands like us and other bands can push it, push it to the limit. There’s no roof on metal – you can just keep going,” he says, a steely sense of self-belief present in to his voice. “Until it’s embedded in the mainstream, when you see bands like The Red Chord [fellow deathcore band on the Rockstar Mayhem bill] or Suicide Silence on TRL or something like that. There’s no reason metal can’t be taken there. None at all.”