Following the tragic death of original vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012, Hernan “Eddie” Hermida joined Suicide Silence and the band released its “comeback” album, You Can’t Stop Me (read review), in 2014. Full of new deathcore anthems, the album has been a huge success, allowing the band to tour for nearly two years since its release. The touring cycle began with the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and took the band around the world and back again. But now the band may have just received its biggest gig yet, opening for Korn on its 20th anniversary tour. Like so many others, including me, the members of Suicide Silence—Hermida, rhythm guitarist Chris Garza, lead guitarist Mark Heylmun, bassist Dan Kenny and drummer Alex Lopez—grew up listening to Korn and have been highly influenced by the nu-metal forefathers. It may not seem like it within Suicide Silence’s style of harsh, metallic deathcore, but if you scratch the surface, trust me, it’s there.
At the tour’s stop at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland (read live recap here), Live Metal’s Jeff Maki sat down pre-show with Hermida, and the two gushed like fanboys over Korn, and discussed Suicide Silence’s new Sacred Words EP and the band’s early plans for its next record.
LIVE METAL: First of all, I think you’re doing a great job in Suicide (Silence). And you guys have just been on the road forever it seems like.
EDDIE HERMIDA: Yeah, it does feel like forever sometimes, man. But it really doesn’t because we’re all just so content in what we’re doing and happy to to see all the faces that we get to see every day. So it’s a very beautiful thing.
You guys have toured on Mayhem Fest and obviously done many other tours around the world, but is Korn maybe your biggest break so far with the most exposure?
Yeah, this is just kinda like a big clout tour for us. I mean we got invited as direct support for one of our biggest influential bands. It means the world to us, and it kinda shows that the world is ready for us to do what we’re supposed to do and for us to move forward the way we’re supposed to move forward. The crowds are really lovin’ it every night, and we’re just lucky to be here, man. That’s the biggest feeling, that we’re kinda passing along to each other in how grateful we are to be here.
Yeah, I knew you were a big (Korn) fan from (your posts) on your Instagram and Facebook. I remember when I interviewed your drummer (Alex Lopez) in 2012 (read here) when the band was opening for Machine Head (read live recap here), and back then, I compared you guys to Korn—I called you guys more of a “hardcore-gangsta-metal-type-Korn.”
Yeah, you know, we’re a little baby Korn.
So it made perfect sense to me when you guys were announced to open for them.
Yeah, it did to me, too, man. And, honestly, when we play every night, after we’re done playing, they come out and they shred that first record, and it’s the heaviest thing they got. And it’s just two heavy, slammin’ bands back to back, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Yeah, on the way into the venue I ended up walking right behind (Korn guitarist) Munky, and still, after all these years, at 39 years old, I’m kind of starstruck. I texted my brother and was like, “I’m walking behind Munky right now. I can’t believe it!”
Yeah, I’m only a couple of years younger than you, and I get just as excited seeing them play every night. There hasn’t been a night when I haven’t checked them out. I feel like I’m 13 years old watching them every night, and every single time it feels amazing. Like I said, we’re so grateful and so lucky to be here.
I’ve been into them since they first came out with the first record. I was one of the many people who were spreading the word of mouth about Korn. I was kind of known as the Korn kid back in the day. I saw the Family Values Tour and saw the band play live probably a dozen times. So yeah, it’s kind of coming around full circle for me, too.
Yeah, it’s a beautiful thing. I don’t mean to be pompous in saying this, but in so many ways, it feels like they’re kind of passing the torch on, saying, “Hey guys, we accept you guys in our world, and we accept you guys in this music business and in this thing.” Which to us, it’s kind of like your older brother saying, “Hey man, you’re killin’ it, you’re doin’ a good job.” Or it even goes to say, is that they’re like our dads in so many ways. And they’re telling you that they’re proud of you. So that’s one of those things where they may not be meaning to do that, but it feels like that. And it’s such a good feeling. They’ve all been really nice guys and have been joking around with us. I remember last night I was having dinner and (Korn guitarist) Head pops his head around the corner, stops, does a double take and comes back and says, “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you , bitch!” And we’re just like, “What? That’s fuckin’ hilarious.” And when they play around with each other onstage, you can see that they’re having a good time, which makes us a have a good time and makes us feel really comfortable being on the same stage as them. It’s really an honor, man. It really is.
We’ll get to your band in a minute, but I remember even back at Mayhem Fest in 2014, seeing Head on the side of the stage watching you guys play. I don’t know if he watched you guys every day, but when I saw him, he clearly had this look of approval.
Yeah, and it’s a cool thing that we’re on tour with Islander, too. It’s like a trifecta from the summer of 2014 Mayhem Fest. It brings us back to that, even though the three bands that are on this tour didn’t really hang out much on Mayhem. I would see (Korn drummer) Ray (Luzier) every day and hang out, and on this tour, that’s probably my closest friend in Korn. I would see Head and Munky every so often, and we would talk. Jonathan Davis, I’ve seen throughout the years, same with Fieldy. So we all kind of talked but not really on that tour.
Same thing with Islander. They were busy doing their own thing, and they were a really busy band back then. That was their first tour ever, so none of us really chatted it up and got to know each other, and on this tour, we’re doing a lot of that. And it feels nice, man. Everybody’s really chill and down to earth. Everybody’s just going out there and trying to make a crowd feel good, and that’s really refreshing. There’s nobody talking about money or their issues or how they think they’re cooler or how they think the crowd didn’t react right. Nobody’s complaining about anything, and the crowd’s having a good time. There’s three solid bands, we’re not taking up too much time and they’re seeing a fuckin’ sick-ass show. Everybody’s leaving happy, and that’s how we feel at the end of the night too.
So you guys are releasing the Sacred Words EP (Oct. 23, 2015, Nuclear Blast Entertainment). So is this just kind if an in-between album kind of thing or was it something that you guys just wanted to do?
You know, it was one of those things where we had this Korn tour coming up and we had all these live recordings that we’ve been taking down and doing them ourselves—not hiring an outside source to do our recordings. So were like, “Why not get these mixed down proper, make ’em sound really good and give a live album out to people?” But a live album seemed like a little too much, so we decided to cut it down to an EP and involve somebody to maybe do a remix. And we could use this (album) cover that we actually had but thought that it wasn’t strong enough to be the actual album release. We thought that the album cover that we chose (for You Can’t Stop Me) was a little more concise and spoke what we wanted to say. This one is a little more cartoony and fits perfect for an EP. It’s something that you would almost see on a badass T-shirt or sweatshirt, as opposed to an album cover.
For some reason, I’m getting an Attack of the Killer B’s type of vibe …
No, no, it’s like a guy crawling out of a sea of dead people, like he’s been buried in death and he’s crawling his way through. It was a concept that we came up with that just didn’t really fit the mold of what we wanted for the record. But since we have the art, why not use it on something?
The biggest thing of it all was that we wanted to see how a straight digital release would do. That’s kind of the main goal is just to see if kids are actually responding to digital sales and digital marketing, or if people are just going to download it anyway. In the end, we don’t really care, we just want to know. We want to know where it’s at. So it’s an experiment you could say, but at the same time, it’s also cool to give fans some more content, show that we’re still musically relevant, and that we’re still shredding it live.
OK, so after this tour, what’s next for the band?
Nothin’. We’re actually taking some time off from touring. We’re gonna be sitting in the studio kind of jamming and seeing where the next chapter opens up for us. Right now, we’re just kind of free form falling towards the earth, and we’ll pull the parachute when it needs to be pulled. But at the same time, we’re kind of enjoying this free fall—enjoying the wind upon our cheeks. We’re not thinking too much about pushing too hard on something that we’ve already worked really hard towards. We’ve been touring this album for two years now. Even though it’s only been out for a year and some change, we’ve had music out for a while. So we’ve been done with this record for a long time. We’ve hit all the markets we’re gonna hit; we’ve toured extensively on this record. On the two years we’ve been touring on this record, we’ve hit almost every market twice. It’s time to see where our gears are at, to see if we’re ready to write a new record yet or not.
So you have no idea what a new record could sound like?
Different. Way different. I know everybody says that, but we’re looking to burn bridges, man. We’re looking for kids to either sink or swim with us. If you’re at all hesitant about our band, if you don’t get our motives and if you don’t get our position in the world and you don’t get where our music comes from, then you’re gonna be one of those fans that gets left behind. It’s one of those things where this next future, this next road for us is gonna be something that is really gonna put us to the test for ourselves more than anybody else. It’s almost one of those things where it might even completely bomb, and we don’t care. It’s one of those things where we’re literally at a point that we’re not allowed to not take chances anymore. We’re not allowed to play the safe road anymore. We already kind of played a safe tone with this last record. We were just trying to prove that we still had our death metal chops and that the band could transition into a new singer and still sound heavy, and still sound like their old selves. And I think on this next record, we’re just gonna go for something that’s just really gonna put all of our talents to the test. And if it doesn’t, then we’re not writing the record.
That’s a pretty strong statement.
We’re a brand-new band. Just because the name hasn’t changed doesn’t mean that everybody’s vibe isn’t different. The band isn’t the same group of kids that were writing pissed-off, aggressive music. Everybody’s listening to some really different shit. What does Suicide Silence even mean? If you don’t know what that means, then you haven’t done enough searching, and that means that we haven’t done enough searching either. I think that’s what this next record is gonna be. It’s gonna be the definition of what the name means and us finding that out and pushing towards it, man. Like I said, it’s gonna be a no-holds-barred type of record, and it’s gonna be a record that puts us on some kind of map, be it the most hated map or whatever.
Well, I’m excited for it, and I’m sure fans will be, too, when they read this. Anything else you’d like to add, Eddie?
Absolutely, man. Just a mass appreciation for all the love that has been thrown our way. We feel it from all the fans, and we try to return it as much as we possibly can tenfold. For everybody reading this, you guys are my blood force. You guys are my life force. So thank you all.