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Suffocation interview (11/2005)

With: Mike Smith [Drums]
Conducted by: Herzebeth
Published: 17.11.2005

Band profile:


-Hello I'm Herzebeth from Metal Storm, to begin with I want to thank you for allowing me to Interview you, and of course for giving your fans a chance of reading a little more about Suffocation, so thank you very much.

Not a problem, this is what we do.

- Ok, first of all I have a really big doubt that haunted me for years. After the release of "Despise the Sun" 6 years went by without new material right? So, first question, why waiting so long to release a new album? And second question, what did Suffocation did in that period of time? I'm sure hunting rabbits is not the answer.

So much time went by without a new album because the band was no longer together and had no future plans of rejoining and continuing the SUFFOCATION name. During that time we all moved on with our lives working normal jobs and making a living outside of Death Metal. Yes there is life outside of Death Metal.

- After that interval, Suffocation came back with "Souls To Deny", how did the fans and the critics treated this release? Was the band pleased with the results and aftermath of this album?

The fans and critics treated the new album as expected, with high hopes as well as doubts. We were not worried about that though; Suffocation can always perform and write the way we are accustomed to writing. The response has been as good as any could expect; we've been touring for a full year and a half on this release.

We now have to deny souls in order to have quality time off to write the new album for 2006. So I would say the response has been all good. We have no bad shows or experiences to speak of.

- "Souls To Deny" showed a different side of Suffocation, the sound was more polished, the music was way more technical and complex, and even the lyrical content became deeper and almost philosophical; How did the transition, evolution and the idea of this album came up?

With so much time off leading up to this release we all had a lot of music and ideas waiting to be constructed. We don't feel it has strayed too far from our usual sound, style or technique. We are older and wiser now and naturally take a more thought out approach to any product we choose to release. The scene hadn't evolved that much to where we couldn't easily find our place.

- I watched your video "Surgery Of Impalement" directed by Adam Wingard, how was it working with this acclaimed director? It is really weird to see a Suffocation video (other than live-performance of course), was it actually cool to do this video?

Of course to do a video is a cool venture. We all wish to have the same tools the pop stars have had for decades to boost sales and popularity. Videos are definitely a step up for the popularity of Death Metal.

Working with Adam was an easygoing experience. He was a fan first that had submitted to us an idea of another Suffocation song he had put together SYNTHETICALLY REVIVED. He had done this on his own, so we knew he was definitely dedicated to representing us. We gave him the chance, which is what we choose to do with anyone who willingly takes the chance with us. We are happy with the results.

- As I was saying, The sound in "Souls To Deny" is more polished, how can you describe the recording sessions of this album? Was it hard to create and record an album like this one?

It was much easier to write and record this album because we did it in our own studio and took the time we felt we needed to complete it. The recording sessions were as comfortable as we could make it for ourselves in our own surroundings, which is the way we choose to do it from now on. In the past we were always under someone else's clock or demands, which we don't do anymore.

- Let me do one of those awkward questions, Doug Cerrito was an important figure in Suffocation History as far as people know, I'm sure his departure involves personal issues, but as far as the band is concerned how did his leaving affected Suffocation?, Do you know which was the main factor for him to leave the band?

Doug left the band when the band officially departed years back. On our return he chose not to re-enter. When we reformed he wasn't there so his leaving wasn't something we all had to get used to. We just decided to move on and focus on the job at hand. Proving to the world that Suffocation doesn't grow old .We just chose to vacate, we will always hold our own.

As long as a majority of original members are involved, we can always move on with the SUFFOCATION name. We are more solid now than we have ever been.

- Let's go back to the old days, Suffocation released in 1991 an album called "Effigy Of The Forgotten" this album immediately caught people's attention, and it is now one of the most important releases in metal history, what does this album means to you?

It was our introduction to the world, what it means to me is that when we were teenagers with a vision of being musicians our ideas were truly legit and thank God we followed through with it. We knew we were different than most, all we had to do was prove it. I think we continue to do so.

- Suffocation in the early days was one of the most ground-breaking bands in the scene, you even created a whole new genre called "Brutal Death Metal"; what pushed you to develop this kind of music? What does it feel to be called "one of the world's greatest innovators in Metal"?

It's a complete honor to be looked up to for anything. The music we write is a reflection of how we see and feel the world around us. It was the only form that represented the aggression and intensity we felt when playing with each other. We were definitely meant to do this, it's our outlet. It keeps us young.

- What do you think of all those bands that Suffocation influenced to play Death Metal? Bands like "Beheaded", "Deeds Of Flesh", "Spawn Of Possession", etc. that are now making Brutal Music with a lot of technical approaches in the vein of Suffocation. I mean, what do you think of their work and music?

I think they are all good bands and I thank them for using our influence tastefully. We knew there would have to be more to come after us. We are proud to influence as well as play alongside the newer breed that may have doubts about our intentions. We've taken many bands out this year on tour as well as played with countless others .I don't think we've disappointed any of them with our intentions and intensity we demand in our show and music.

Now if a band like Slayer (who influenced us) would take Death Metal bands they've influenced out on the road maybe the scene would have a chance to explode. Instead they are looking everywhere but within the scene they helped to create. WE will do our part to help all of these bands if and when we ever reach the next level of success. We would love to be known as the one band that broke the Death Metal scene out from the underground. Since no one else is looking to do it.

- From the older days which bands were your favorites, the ones that really gave you the shivers and that really inspired you? And from the new days, is there any band that you really like to hear or watch? Metal or not it doesn't matter.

Slayer, Metallica, Death, King Diamond, Atheist, and many others helped inspire different elements along with the obvious Ozzy, Zeppelin, Maiden, and all of the stadium rockers. I don't listen to nearly as much music as I used to.

There are many bands that are excellent in and out of Death Metal. If I feel the need to listen to something I will, but usually I am more concerned as to what SUFFOCATION will need to do next to progress the scene. It's a full time job. At this point we choose to go uninfluenced.

- Just one last question, Can we expect any new Suffocation album in the near future? Or shall we be prepared for another long wait?

I m sure all know by now that we are home working on the new album as well as the DVD. We do not plan to tour again until March of 2006 After 200+ shows this year I think we need to take some quality time if the fans want the best of Suffocation on the next release.

- Thank you again for your time and lines. Can you please add some extra words for the fans reading this Interview?

We are just getting warmed up. The new album will be the outcome of all our desire to absolutely slay, and prove our determination to always please the fans as well as ourselves. To any country or state we may not have hit on this tour cycle, we will be hitting you on the next run. We just couldn't get to everyone at once we tried. The fans request for new material has forced us to take the needed time to create. Peace till


Pictures taken from "Suffocation" official Website

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