INTERVIEW: Eddie Hermida – Suicide Silence

It feels like everyone has had something to say about SUICIDE SILENCE since the release of their self titled fifth album. Vocalist Eddie Hermida seemed well aware of this when we sat down to chat to him ahead of their headline show in London (read our review here). With such a divisive album out it was always going to be an interesting conversation and Eddie didn’t hold back.

So to start with, how would you sum up the last month since the album came out?

Eddie: Dude, it’s been fucking nothing but interesting. Every single day we seem to be in the news for something or other. If I sneeze on stage people wanna assume that I’ve got AIDS or cancer and I’m dying. It’s very interesting, I’ve never had this kind of attention before so it feels really good. Even if it’s not really good or positive attention it still very much feels like the most attention I’ve ever received as an artist, so it feels good.

Did you expect such a divided reaction to the album?

Eddie: I wouldn’t even call it divided. I did expect a very, very negative reaction. In fact I remember being in the studio and telling Ross [Robinson] “dude you need to make everybody hate me, being loved nowadays doesn’t make me feel anything.” It’s boring and onto the next one at that point. Fans are like “oh yeah I like this, now onto the next one and let me add it to my collection of other bands I like.” All these bands sound the same, there really isn’t anyone making statements. You’re wearing a CODE ORANGE shirt and that band are also doing a similar thing and they are getting love for it. But for me love these days doesn’t mean what it should mean. Nowadays it feels like hatred is needed, cos you get people to hate you and then flip the script then it means more.

So when you put out those first two singles, did that prepare you for how people were going to react to the album?

Eddie: Yeah I mean we chose Doris for that exact reason. We could have put out another song and gone the safe way. We could have released a song that was crushing and heavy but we didn’t. We wanted to keep people on their toes and really show people that this record was gonna be different. It’s not gonna be what you want, it’s what we want.

So your aim really was to challenge SUICIDE SILENCE’s audience with this album?

Eddie: It was to challenge ourselves first. We really wanted to write something that potentially could be a complete failure. And it feels good to go in with the mentality of “I don’t really know what we’re doing but I trust the four other guys with me and trust our producer.” That was a really freeing feeling as a musician and I feel like that was the biggest success of it all. We knew that we were gonna challenge listeners because we weren’t gonna give them a computer recorded, sterile, nice sounding and crisp recording. We were gonna give them something that was really big and live. It’s something that most of our listeners aren’t used to. So listening to it through your phone or laptop, you’re just not gonna get the full effect of it. Because it’s such a well rounded live recording. So for me, what I’m asking people to do is to really listen. To put on some headphones and take the record for a walk. It’s difficult for some people to find the time for that as there’s so much shit to pay attention to.

You were saying about fans like stuff that sounds crisp and clean. Loads of people say they like extreme and heavy music but then when you release something like this that is extreme and is horrible they’ve reacted like they hate it. Do you think this shows that people just don’t want to be challenged and made to feel uncomfortable when they listen to something?

Eddie: You know, every day I wake up and have a different theory for how people feel and I think the best mentality that I’ve had was they are gonna be upset no matter what cos they are upset. It has nothing to do with me, my music or what is going on. We just gave them a vulnerable target, and that was the intention. The vulnerable person is usually the strongest. The person who has actually dealt with adversity is never gonna make fun of somebody else. And that’s a beautiful thing, we are allowing people to show their true colours and say what they really want to say. If you hate it, good. If it inspires you to go out and write a better record, good. If you think that we are giving you anything less than 150% then that is where you’re wrong. And that is where you’ll get an honest and real answer from me. If you think I’m faking any of this or you think I didn’t give the record my all then you’re just not listening.

So how significant was it to work with Ross Robinson on this album?

Eddie: It’s fucking end of the world significant. It’s a dream come true for me personally. I grew up loving his work. I know here in England, KORN see this place as where their music first caught. And SLIPKNOT‘s Disasterpiece DVD is here. To me those are two huge bands who always influenced me so working with the guy who established those sounds was a dream come true. And it really was influential on the record.

So the energy on this album was totally different to anything you’ve done before, has this had any effect on the live shows?

Eddie: Erm, I wanna say no. I wanna say that it has actually added to the show and incorporates a break from the pure extreme heavy vibe. It adds a bit of colour and a break from the aggression and take a breath for a second.

Fair enough man, so how have these UK shows been going?

Eddie: It’s going a lot better than I ever expected it to. In the States we had a good run but it was one where I felt like a lot more people were gonna turn out and show support and it was good not to see them, cos it showed that the real die hards were there and that was cool. I was expecting a similar reaction here, where the shows were gonna be a bit less than what I expected. But if anything the shows have been blowing my expectations out of the water. A lot of people have been really enjoying the new songs. They are singing along and moshing to the new songs.  There was a full on circle pit during Listen the other day and I was like “what’s going on right now.” So yeah it’s been really surprising and really awesome.

Do you think that the deathcore scene is too limiting and that bands are too afraid to step outside of what is typically expected from the genre?

Eddie: Well I hope this record does the opposite of that. That’s why this record came about. ‘Cos I felt afraid of making a big drastic change in case people hated it and that fear is what led me. I’ve learned that if I’m afraid of something I should run right towards it and I did that. Hopefully this record inspires all these extremely talented musicians. The one thing I have said to the press that no one fucking says anything about is everybody in these bands is very talented. Everybody I’ve talked about in interviews is talented but I just think the are stifling themselves trying to appeal to a fanbase that doesn’t really give a fuck. And as soon as you do something different they turn their backs on you…

On to the next one…

Eddie: Exactly on to the next one. And it’s like okay I get that you don’t like the music but you’re now gonna go on the internet and try to bash me as if that means anything, it’s ridiculous and it shows your true colours. So why the hell would a band go and serve those people? You stop serving yourself and you stop trying to be a musician. You do something that is way more compromising of your art. That’s where I’m at, at least I’m free. I did what I wanna do and here I am. I’m living through it and people are still showing up. We’ve got good pre-sales for our show here tonight and it’s way better than I expected. And it’s all because I had the balls to do it. And hopefully I inspire other great and talented musicians to do stuff cos I love their music and think they can do a lot better.

You said before that the album takes a lot of work. When I first listened to it I really didn’t like it but now a month later I love it. I spent a lot of time with it because I wanted to work out what you were trying to do. So do you think that maybe in a years time people might look back on the album more fondly?

Eddie: That’s always been the mentality, we’ve always thought that. This is a really good question because yeah I think this album is a grower. It’s meant for you to be alone with, doing your rituals. Like however you really soak in records. When you hear that one song that really catches your attention and then you buy the full album, you’ll get home with the CD and look at the lyrics to the songs as you listen. You let the songs become whatever it is they need to become. You can really hear the nuance and that’s what makes this record. It’s the little small details that make this record really invigorating and really passionate. It’s almost scary at times. I mean like I get chills and tears. I get moved when I listen to this, that guy singing into the microphone is not me he’s some crazy fucking animal…

That middle bit in Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down felt insane to me at first. I genuinely couldn’t work out what was going on…

Eddie: I was literally being held up by Mark and Garza. They picked me up above their shoulders and I was thrashing about this room that had like eight microphones set up and was just yelling at the top of my lungs. What you hear isn’t me singing into a microphone,but just yelling into an open room. That’s why it sounds so insane.

So lastly do you think there is more you can do with this sound for SUICIDE SILENCE? Can you take things even further, go more challenging and horrible?

Eddie: Absolutely, I wanna go further into myself. I want to grow as singer and as a musician. That’s been the biggest goal of this. To expand ourselves and show that we can continue expanding.

Awesome, well thank you very much it’s been a great interview

Eddie: No worries mate, thank you.

Suicide Silence is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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