6 de agosto de 2009

Exclusive phone interview: Suffocation

Aprovechando la salida del nuevo disco de Suffocation, Blood Oath, conseguimos hablar con el vocalista Frank Mullen. Suffocation como bien saben es una de las bandas pioneras del Death Metal y una de las más importantes sin embargo nunca explotaron en popularidad por diversos motivos.
Costó bastante descifrar el acento neoyorkino de Frank y sus modismos (frases como pretty much y you know, cada 3 palabras) así que agradezco a las personas que me ayudaron con esta entrevista. Dejamos la entrevista en inglés y con los modismos y "errores" de Frank para preservar el mensaje, así que espero que la disfruten.

Zann: We are very interested in knowing about the new album (Blood Oath). What can you tell us about it?

Mullen: Aahhh pretty much you know. It’s definitely the same Suffocation formula we’ve been using in the last twenty years, you know. It’s heavy, brutal, production-wise I think it came out amazing. We use different recording equipments to stuff around. The album itself represents the fact that we took an oath to death metal 20 years ago. We wouldn’t change what we’ve been doing, you know... keeping it brutal. We are not really changing from that, it’s an oath to death metal. We are very happy with the way the album came out.

Zann: So in the new album there are not so many changes from the classical Suffocation style.

Mullen: I don’t think so you know (¿se confundio?)…I mean, you know... It’s Suffocation! I mean we are not gonna put our name on something unless we believe in it. We feel that it’s right. To me it’s Suffocation, the same days what we’ve been doing in the last 20 years. We mature as we continue to play, I think there is a maturity level which comes with each album but I don’t think it’s really anything different or really outlandish from what we’ve been doing. We are fast, we are pretty crazy. We continue to keep writing... We write or came up with new ideas, new ways to put things down, but I still think it definitely defines Suffocation. When you heard it you know its Suffocation.

Zann: I would like to know what your sources of inspiration for songwriting are.

Mullen: Just the music itself. I grab my inspiration from different things what I see going on in the world today. Some events some… whatever, events and stuff that may have happened during my life. You know that’s where I come from writing-wise. There’s a lot of crazy stuff that goes on so it’s pretty easy to us to write things and to write music.

Zann: Do you need a special place to be inspired or you can write anywhere? (Laughs)

Mullen: No… I can write anywhere! (Laughs) It keeps hard. With all the years and all the albums we put out and it gets hard to keep coming out with new ideas and things to put down, but like any band and any stuff you just continue to push through and you came out with the best stuff.

Zann: And what about age, did you think that inspiration is a matter of age?

Yes, with age comes maturity. You are wiser to what’s going on around you. As far as playing-wise…its practice that makes you perfect. You keep practice all these years. You know we’ve been doing this for 20 years. We are pretty solid in what we are doing.

Suffocation was the first band in Relapse Records roster 20 years ago.

Zann: The band has been growing itself

Mullen: Yes, we’ve a lot of music, and Terrance is always consistently writing music and Mike is always working on music. With those two guys writing stuff there’s always something going on. Terrance never stops. He always got ideas and everything run around to its edge. For him it just comes.

Zann: Do you usually agree when some of your partners come up with an idea? Did you always agree?

No, not necessarily. You sit around and then… remember when something it’s not right. Then we all are saying it ‘Hey! That’s not going to work, you have to do something,’ or ‘You have to change that upwards, put something else there’, we all have pretty much saying, and we all want to do the song. It’s not like ‘Ok! That’s the song!’ and that’s it.

Zann: Probably it’s part of the success to put ideas together and consolidate the ideas.

Mullen: Oh, yes definitely! That’s the way to work out the best when everybody is saying something.

Zann: And what about the artwork of the new album? Who’s got the idea? (The cover shows the five members of the band around an altar with the Suffocation logo in the middle, swearing the “Bood Oath” to Death Metal).

That it was our idea and we always give a thought we have, something to an artist who is John Dig. We give him like a direction; we came up with something and shoot it back towards and end. And if we like it we said ‘Ok, yes! That’s exactly what we’ve looking at’ or ‘we’ve got to change this around, may be do a little something more with this’. You know, It’s a collaboration, we go back or forward or whatever but we definitely draw the ideas first.

Zann: Did you think this new album will have the success that you expect internationally?

Mullen: Oh yes! We always hope that. You know, any album that we put at has success. We are internationally growing. It’s what we put together, we are open for that so we hope again that fans and people appreciate what we’ve been doing so I’m hoping that the success of this album could be.

Zann: Is there a DVD coming up?

Mullen: Yeah! We’ve been working on a DVD for a while now and it is in the works. It should be done very soon. We’ll try to end it in the next couple of months. There is like about media was worth off, stuff to be finished on it and set off and everything, so it’s almost done. It’s been a long time we wanted to get as much quality as we could, we wanted to put a behind the scenes stuff, a hanging out at home and party. You know just all sorts of things of these when it just come out. It’s a DVD that I take off and I appreciate. That’s really cool, to pick all that.

Zann: In interviews you are always in a good mood, I´ve been watching some of your interviews. On stage you change completely, you are so passionate. After many years what motivates you to stay true to death metal?

Mullen: It’s the music and fans. As anybody knows you don’t make lot of money in death metal, you’re not rich; we’re not going to make millions. We do it strictly for the love of the music, for our fans. I mean I have different personalities, it’s like many different sides to freak and when you are on stage it’s a fun vicious, it just become brutal. We love what we are doing on stage.

Zann: It’s like a kind of transformation

Mullen: Yeah! Oh yeah! Definitely!

The transformation of Frank Mullen in stage.

Zann: Tell me, do you invent the vocal style? Is it natural?

Mullen: For me it just comes. It’s like my self-made guide. I just push out as hard as I can. It’s the working for me for a long time. I always wanted to just be understandable, brutal and heavy. I go ahead that I was able to accomplish that so I’m very happy with that.

Zann: Why do you think that many new bands are trying to copy Suffocation sound?

Mullen: Definitely many bands out there enjoy what we’ve done. They woke up to the music that we put together, the style we are playing mixes out with any bands. Any band that is starting up knows that have influences. People look in tours, musical aspirations, or whatever… like ‘Ok, yeah! We want to sound like that! We want to feel like that’. Definitely there are bands out there they come up and tell us: ´Hey! You guys are a big influence. We pick our style from what you guys have done’. I mean definitely there’s a lot of influence out there.

Zann: And what about Suffocation influences?

Old school stuff. Suffocation listens to a lot of heavy stuff growing up. We took our inspiration from Trash Metal, Death Metal and also Hardcore. We mix everything together and that’s what became Suffocation. We read Slayer, Creator, Destruction, Venom, Sodom and then there is the thrash stuff which is Devastation and Vio-lence and all that. And then, there was hardcore which is Cro-Mags, Mind Threat, Youth Of Today, Crumbsuckers, you just know we all that stuff... Cryptic Slaughter, so basically we took the different aspects of all music we were listening to and compiling it together, and it become the Suffocation we wanted, with speed and technicality. You know bands like Slayer at that time they were all speed, so we wanted speed. The technicality it was like bands as Destruction stuff and that’s what we wanted, the technicality in there. And then the break downs were used by a lot of heavy hardcore. Cro-Mags has some of the sicker breaks downs at the time, so we’ve been taken basically over everything. And that’s what became Suffocation.

Zann: Do you think that Suffocation is a band which is consolidate nowadays comparing to the old days?

Mullen: I don’t know. I mean I don’t think it’s necessarily consolidated. We’ve just been doing what we’ve been doing for the last 20 years and the formula remains the same, we don’t try to go outside of the box too much because I never experiment with singing or anything like that. I’m not going to try anything... all the over the top and new…. so I think it’s just been pretty consistent.

Zann: Talking about the members of your band, who’s the one that your best get along with?

Mullen: I get along with Mike really well. Me and him we’ve been friends for a long time. We have a pretty good understanding in each other so probably him and probably Terrance. I mean Terrance... we have been friends from over 20 years now too. So both Mike and Terrance are long mates. We all get along but those two guys are known for a very long time.

Zann: It must be like that because otherwise touring must be rather problematic.

Mullen: Yeah, you know, I mean of course when you deal with that personalities anything get rough and crazy and you know it’s like anytime relationship. Now our time is it…. You know…all nice and all great but we know what we want to do and we make it work.

Zann: Let’s talk about something different. You are making a video game or something like that.

Mullen: Yes, it’s a PC game that they’re working on. It should be pretty much wrapped up very soon like a first person shooter. It’s going to have a lot of Suffocation themes within, you know, themes from different albums and stuff correlated with the video game and everything so that’s going to be out pretty soon.

Zann: And what are the players supposed to do? Killing things?

Mullen: Yeah yeah yeah! You basically go around shooting things off and killing things. It’s a first person shooter… you know… you are playing in the park going around and shooting and killing.

Zann: Not singing!

Mullen: No! (laughs)

Imagine a game like Doom 3 (photo) with Suffocation music. Awesome!

Zann: Tell me about the History Channel commercial.

Mullen: We did a commercial for the History Channel for a show called Dark Ages. It was a show about the crazy times back then when how evil and brutal it was.there’s a lot of killing, lot of raping, torturing, everything that was going on back then was just out of control. They approached us, they were looking for a band that represent that. They got to talk to us, they were shooting here in New York. I mean today ‘would you guys be interested in doing this?’ We’ve jump on the opportunity, we said ‘yes, we’d definitely love to do it’ and came up pretty set. It was a commercial run from the wild war .That show was being in the air and it was like a small little series that were about the dark times.

Suffocation commercial for History Channel. The song is Bind, Torture, Kill from the self titled album.

Zann: And would you like to do another one?

Mullen: Yes, I always do commercials. We do commercials, we do anything... we don’t care. (Laughs)

Zann: Let me ask you this, which is the best audience in your opinion?

Mullen: The audience that just go sick... I mean it’s hard to tell I can’t pinpoint down to just one audience. We have sick shows in South America, we have sick shows over Europe, we have sick shows here in the States, in California, in New York, we have great shows up in Canada so I just think that when we play a show the fans are just completely insane and completely into it and that could be any over the world. Those are the best shows.

Zann: Is it the same reaction in Europe, in South America or in America?

Mullen: Oh, yes! There’s a lot of sick reaction all over the place. The fans really appreciate what you’re doing. It got completely nuts and it doesn’t matter where they are. We’ve been in Japan or Australia, all over the world and I can’t really pinpoint down and said ‘All right! Ok! this is the best crowd ever’ because this is always just sick shows and I will never just pinpoint down one and said ‘Ok, yes! You’re the absolute sickers!’

Zann: What do you think about today’s Death Metal?

Mullen: I think that probably it’s depicted everyday with the Internet and the TV now playing videos, when you see heavy music in extreme sports. It’s all over the place right now and we’ve got some violent times going on and they usually anytime in this… violent times and Death Metal usually calms down in a pure fun. Because that’s what the people tends to go to they want to hear something brutal so I think that right now it’s definitely the sickest time it’s gonna be. It’s really usual right now and I’m glad to see that.

Zann: You are touring right now, do you have anything planned?

Mullen: Pretty much doing a tour and stuff we’ve got two festivals in Europe coming up, we may have some shows that may be work out between September or October. Actually, some shows may happen in South America. Everything it’s up in the air. The all things that are definite is Europe and Australia in November. I’m sure that there will be a US tour, come up by an European tour, we get the South America before the end of these year or next year and those are plans right now.

Zann: We’re waiting for you. Would you like to give us a message for your fans in Argentina?

Mullen: Stay brutal and we’ll get out there to see you guys may be this year or next year… so stick around and we’ll be there soon.

For more info visit Suffocation's website here

1 invocaciones del cosmos:

y ahi esta el producto final con lo que costo YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW... usted solo se puedo aguantar esa entrevista jejejeje

pero como dije... ahi esta :)