Mark Heylmun is the lead guitarist for the heavy metal band Suicide Silence. The band recently released their 4th studio album titled “You Can’t Stop Me” via Nuclear Blast Records and is featured on this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Mark about the new album, the bands new singer and how they overcame the loss of the bands original vocalist Mitch Lurker.
Adam Lawton: With the new album being out just over a month now what has the overall reception been like from the fans?
Mark Heylmun: It’s been really amazing. To be honest I am waiting for this whole thing to become difficult. This time last year I was looking into the future thinking that things were going to be very hard. I knew we were going to have to be comfortable with whatever happened and just ride it out. The record is out and people a really loving it. Were out on Mayhem right now and it feels like were just killing it every day.
AL: What was it like for the band working on both new material and with a new singer all at the same time?
MH: We had to build a working relationship with Eddie. We were of course friends beforehand but Eddie’s the type of guy who when you catch up to him you have to hear all of what he has going on. Building that new relationship was a lot of fun because he is our friend and now he is in our band. Surprisingly it was a very easy transition as he works in the same way Mitch worked. We would give him a song and he would either feel it or not. With Eddie being new to the band things were very fresh for him and us as well which made the experience very exciting. In a week we wrote 3 songs together. After those first three songs were written we knew things were going to be ok. This was the first time as a band that we all collaborated together on material. It was very much a group effort this time around.
AL: The album features two songs written by Mitch before he passed away. Can you tell us about those?
MH: One of those tracks is actually a really old song that appeared on our first EP in 2005. We wanted to redo it because we have had a lot of requests to hear those songs. We chose “Ending is Beginning” because it just made sense with what we are doing. A lot of friends wanted us to do one of these old songs as well to see if Eddie could really pull this off. He just slayed it! “You Can’t Stop Me” is the other track Mitch was working on and it’s one of the two last songs we worked on with him. “Blue Haze” was the other track which appeared on a B side. The music for both of those songs was done in the same writing session in 2012. Mitch had only written lyrics for one and we had to looks at those and figure out which song they were actually meant for. It ended up being very easy to figure out because of the structure in which the lyrics were written. The song had no title but the lyrics were “You can’t fucking stop me!” so we really took a lot from those words as it just all fit so well with what we were doing and what we were going to have to do in the future. That song really built us up. Even though Mitch wasn’t physically there he still had a lot to do with the latest record.
AL: What was it like on an emotional level revisiting these songs?
MH: The whole time we had it in our minds that we wanted this album to really mean a lot. We wanted this album to be all that it could be. We postponed jamming and getting together with Eddie until we could all be there at the same time. We got those lyrics sent to us and we all read them together. From there we just started jamming and playing music together. I remember that first session and we didn’t even really play Suicide Silence songs at first. We were playing songs by Pantera, Metallica, Sublime and Offspring. Eventually we started doing our songs but it was just an emotional time that felt new and very real.
AL: So far you have released 2 songs off the album as singles. Are there plans to release any others?
MH: We have had the discussion. We couldn’t really decide which songs we wanted to roll out first because we liked all of the songs. There is potential to release a video for every song off the album. We have a pretty good video team that is in our world and we facilitate all those things. We have a bunch of ideas right now on what to do.
AL: Have you found people are more focused on this being the band’s first album with a singer as opposed to it being your senior release?
MH: A lot of people ask if we feel like this is our first record. I don’t think it feels like that because we are building off of what we have learned from each other. “The Cleansing” was our first full length and that album was really done because of the response from our EP. We had a lot of offers come our way and we had to decide which would be best for us and then write a record. We wrote the record because we had gotten signed and that record was our reaction to those events. We learned that we had to put ourselves in a position to where we were motivated to write. We learned a lot over the course of three records and this new album is the culmination. I think after this we have really learned to write a piece of music and I am looking forward to continuing with what we are doing.
AL: With Mayhem Fest wrapping up in August does the band have any plans for the remainder of 2014?
MH: We will be a part of this year’s Knot Fest which is being held in San Bernardino, CA in the later part of October. That’s going to be just an insane time. We also will be heading over to Europe in November for a tour run over there as well.