Eddie Hermida, arguably one of the best metal vocalists in the industry, has settled in as front man for SUICIDE SILENCE (genre: deathcore). I met up with him during the Rockstar Energy Drink MAYHEM Festival in Bristow, VA to discuss the state of the metal music industry, the purity of metal music, and his favorite band. His gracious handling of the awkward question or two along with his subtle wit made this one of my favorite interviews to date.
I.O.: So, what’s it like filling Mitch Lucker’s shoes?
Eddie: You know, I try not to think of it as me filling his spot just ‘cause, um, he’s dead. <awkward pause> It’d be different if he quit the band. Honestly, I’ve said this over and over again, if he had just quit the band I don’t think I could have done it. It was one of those situations where because there was no other option and because the guys [in SUICIDE SILENCE] came to me first, it was like one of those deals where you don’t turn your best friend down for twenty dollars if they really need it. You don’t deny your friends a meal when they’re sitting at your door hungry. I’m not saying at all that they were in that state, but after thinking about it for a while I was genuinely convinced that there wasn’t anybody else who could do this. That’s why I did it. That’s why I chose to move forward. I felt like I was going to do a good job and they felt I was going to do a good job.
I.O.: On this tour, because it can be rather brutal touring, what have you learned about the band and your place in it?
Eddie: Actually, this tour is really easy. It’s summer camp for us musicians. It’s MAYHEM festival. We’re on a bus. We’re playing huge shows everyday so it’s not like a dud show in there. Even the worst show on MAYHEM is the best show you could ever have. It kind of spoils you a little bit. Not to mention that all the shows with SUICIDE SILENCE have been phenomenal. Everybody is onboard with what’s going on. Everybody’s really stoked for what’s going on. Everybody’s paying attention to what’s going on. There’s not a lot of ignorance going down in the crowd. Everybody’s really positive and everybody’s really, really stoked on the band.
I.O.: How did the band dynamics change from the studio to the live performance?
Eddie: In the studio it’s all very different because we’re recording separately. You write together but you go in a booth just with the engineer and the producer. I’m in the booth by myself. [Live] I’m on stage with my band, so it’s very different, but we practice. Before you go on a tour, you practice your show. You make sure that the show’s on point. It’s like any theatrical business. A show is a show and no one’s going to put on a show without practicing it and making sure that everything is running smoothly and making sure that the stage looks good. That dynamic is very different from recording. Of course personally, the band is really stoked and we’re all just really happy to be here.
I.O.: What are you currently listening to? What is your on-the-road music?
Eddie: This thing called SILENCE. This thing called Absolute Quiet. I really love it. They’re a really good band. And they only come on when you turn off the stereo. It’s a weird thing, but I usually just turn off the stereo and I sit and listen. Usually there’s this loud beep that’s in my ear. It’s called Tinnitus. It’s a side project of SILENCE.
I.O.: Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them.
Eddie: I try to keep it very mellow as far as music goes. There’s so much music that goes on especially on MAYHEM listening to so many bands over and over again. You’re hanging out with everybody. For the most part, when I’m just sitting in the bus I just get in my phone and I just lock the world out and that’s pretty much it. Once you’re playing music for a living, the last thing you want to do is listen to something loud.
I.O.: What do you think the state of the metal community is?
Eddie: The state of the metal community? It’s always needing more.
I.O.: What do you mean when you say the metal community needs more?
Eddie: It always needs more people to promote, more people who love it. It needs to be in the Top Forties, it needs to be like Pop music.
I.O.: It needs to be charting.
Eddie: I mean we are, but it needs to be more of a Take Over. I make a real living at it, but it’s not for money or anything other than the fact that I think other styles of music are very washed up and very monotonous. There’s not a lot of true heart. At the end of the day, all I really care about is the fact that I think that the music we write is a little more pure. It stems from us being musicians early [on] in life and being really attracted to all facets of music. I just really hate that metal gets such a cold shoulder from media, from the world. What you’re doing is fantastic. You’re putting a flag down for metal and you’re putting it on the Internet and that’s beautiful. But there needs to be more people that are involved like you are. There needs to more people who see press as an art and go out and really reinvent the wheel as far as press and metal. There needs to be promoters out there who aren’t trying to stiff bands and stiff their local talent. There needs to be musicians who are aware of how the industry works. It’s an all-encompassing thing. Yeah, you ask me what the metal community needs: it needs more, it needs love, [and] it needs a lot more attention.
I.O.: The interesting thing about metal is that it includes every other genre of music. You’ve got your classical and jazz and blues and everything.
Eddie: Yeah, it absolutely does. It comes from symphonic grounds. There’s a documentary I just watched that pretty much encompassed that. Metal comes from very heavy places. The history of music is very heavy. That’s why I say metal music is very pure. It comes from the desire to really learn your instrument and to make it absolutely extreme and that’s all Music has ever wanted to do.
SUICIDE SILENCE will be back on the road beginning October 3rd. You can check out tour dates and purchase tickets HERE. I personally recommend their live performance as something you do not want to miss. You can see Metal Descent’s review of the MAYHEM show HERE. As indicated in Metal Descent’s review of You Can’t Stop Me, be prepared for metal to Take Over in the very near future. Check out the album stream from Nuclear Blast’s YouTube channel below.
I.O. Kirkwood is a Metal Descent contributor. You can visit her personal blog at iokirkwood.com.