Suicide Silence has made quite the name for themselves over the years, starting in 2002 in Riverside, California. They have worked hard to produce quality deathcore music, and have received many accolades because of it, such as Revolver Magazine’s Most Innovative Band in 2009 and a song on the motion picture soundtrack for SAW IV. But in 2012, tragedy struck when lead singer Mitch Lucker died from a motorcycle accident. Morning their fallen brother, the band vowed to push on, and hired All Shall Perish singer Hernan “Eddie” Hermida a year after Mitch’s death. I got to sit down with Eddie and talk about the transition of joining the band under such unfortunate circumstances, and how their new album You Can’t Stop Me on Nuclear Blast Records is tearing up the charts.
Jeff Ayers: So is this your first time on Rockstar Mayhem Fest?
Eddie Hermida: No, this is my second time, just my first with Suicide Silence.
JA: You did it with All Shall Perish?
EH: Yea we did Mayhem in 2011 with Suicide Silence.
JA: Did both bands meet on Mayhem? Or were Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish friends before that?
EH: We met in 2005, at a California metal fest. All Shall Perish drove down south the day before, and it was actually Mark [Heylmun] and I who met. We were just bull-shitting together, talking about how both our bands should do a tour together. So in 2006 they were headlining a tour and we were brought on as direct support. We did about 56 shows in 60 days.
Jim Gilbert: Oh my god. You guys were probably in a van right?
EH: Yea it was my first major tour. We were both in vans with trailers. It was crazy, we all became really close. They have been my homies since then. Then in 2011, it just made the bond stronger. All Shall Perish was in an RV for Mayhem, instead of sharing a bus with Suicide Silence. It was ten dudes packed in an RV, and it was brutal. So I ended up sleeping on the Suicide Silence bus a lot, because it was easier. They would stay late and party, and it added an extra two or three hours to my night to hang back, so i did it, because they allowed me to.
JA: So, obviously with the tragedy that fell on Suicide Silence, that must have strengthened the camaraderie between the bands. When you were finally announced as taking over for vocals for Suicide, how have the fans been, have they welcomed you?
EH: It’s been absolutely overwhelmingly good. A lot better than I thought it would be.
JA: It’s always tough, with a transition like that on the heels of a death in the band.
EH: That’s the thing. Mitch [Lucker] always meant so much to his fans, and the fans meant so much to him. Stepping into that role, I was very concerned with how that would be perceived. But coming into it, and seeing how lovely everyone has been, and how fired up the fans are to see the band again, it is such a good feeling. Being able to go out there, do what I do, and have no one judge me for it, and everyone just go nuts, is great. There is a lot of trust involved, and there is also a lot of welcoming too.
JA: You guys just came out with a new record. How has the response been on that?
EH: We just found out that we hit number 16 on the Billboard charts for our first week. We sold 16,000 copies, and it’s the highest charting record for Suicide Silence ever.
JA: That has to feel great.
EH: For a death metal band, it’s so amazing. The number really doesn’t matter anymore, because there isn’t the cd sales that there once was, and there is a huge drop off in numbers from the top five to everything underneath that. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of records difference. But it still feel great. To be in the history books as hitting number 16 on the charts for this week, for the rest of my life that is a good feeling. It is also a statement to where the music industry is. I mean a death metal band can chart in the top 40, and that is ridiculous.
JA: It’s happening more and more with your contemporaries. Cannibal Corpse helped pave the way for this, for many years with only underground recognition, and now bands like you and them are hitting top 40 on Billboard. You can talk of a lot of bands that can and have charted now.
EH: Exactly. Whitechapel is charting, Volume has charted, even All Shall Perish has been up there.
JA: So what’s the plan for Suicide Silence after Mayhem?
EH: Headline a tour. We want to go out there and play as much as we can. We are working on a tour that hasn’t been announced yet, but we are finalizing details on it. It will be a U.S. tour.
JG: You will be back up through this area though
EH: Absolutely. Saratoga Springs, Albany, Syracuse. Upstate New York has a lot going for death metal. I’d like to hit Upstate Concert Hall when we come around.
JG: We were just there covering Gogol Bordello.
EH: I got to see them recently and they are incredible. We were in Europe, and we played this festival called Rock am Ring, and it’s all like Europe bands that top charts, and we were thrown in there on a stage with Crossfaith, Battlecross, Mastodon, and Ghost. We got to see Gogol there, what a great show.
* I was wearing my trademark Boba Fett hat, and Eddie and I had a mutual moment admiring each other’s fandom, because he has a tattoo of Luke and Leia on his leg. Which led the conversation this way:
JG: Going back to Ronnie James Dio, with science fiction, and fantasy, they relate to metal and death metal.
EH: They go hand in hand for sure. I mean, Star Wars, it’s the battle of good and evil. It’s the oldest story there is, the story of Jesus, or the Matrix. It’s one guy, who is the good, but doesn’t know it, and has to go through the trials to figure it out and win in the end. It just goes to show you can adapt that story in many different ways and it’s still going to be an interesting story. To me, that is even a bigger middle finger to the bible story, and to christians and people who are so close minded and would turn an ear from music like ours.
JG: Back to the new album, You Can’t Stop Me. Did you write for this album, how was the contributing process?
EH: We worked a hundred percent together on this. I locked myself in a dingy, hot garage for four months with these dudes, and producer Steve Evetts [The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sepultura] would come out and oversee the songs, and make sure it would all fit.
JA: How was it working with Steve?
EH: Amazing. He is such a genius. He is one of those dudes that wants you to understand that you don’t need all the electronics and digital bullshit to make a good sounding record. He knows how to take analog sound and make it sound huge. This record is huge. Drums are 100 percent natural, as well as guitars save for punch ins and edits. You can hear the flavor of each drum hit, you can feel the lick of each guitar strum, I love it. The mixing and the mastering is how he got such a big sound. He would run my voice, clean, through effects pedals and manipulate them as I recorded. The whole record is fluid and natural like that. I am really proud of the record, and I think everyone is really gonna like what we did on it.