Interviews : Suffocation
With Frank Mullen
The reformation of one of metal's most seminal bands raises many questions. Suffocation, who literally created the low-tuned, groovy New York Death Metal style back in the early 1990's, are back with most of their original members to challenge a metal world now rife with both imitators and innovators. Frontman Frank Mullen answered the call to respond to some of the questions which are presently burning in the minds of death metal fans worldwide.
What was the purpose of the reformation?
The reason for the reformation was because I and the rest of the guys always felt like we had too. Once you play it never leaves your system, and with an unfortunate turn of events, I called everyone else and they were all into it. We just love playing heavy shit.
How easy of a process was rallying the Suffocation line-up?
It was not to hard because I was always in contact with everyone, so when I decided to leave my job in Las Vegas, I talked to everyone and they were all for it.
What have the members been up to, musically, during the hiatus. Any new tricks up your sleeves?
Most of us were having families and working, and some were trying different styles of music.
In all the time that you were away, what were the albums that killed you the most?
I would have to say that I have always been old school with bands like Carcass, Morbid Angel , Terrorizer and Macabre.
Do you think that expectations will be lessened or increased because of your hiatus?
I mean, the expectations, I would have to say, are high. When you leave for so long a lot of people may wonder "Can they still do it?" "Do they have the right tools to accomplish what they once did?" I feel we will be able to keep up with the new stuff such as Dying Fetus, The Haunted and Meshuggah.
How is the writing process now? Are all of the members still making contributions?
Yes, everyone is still contributing, and we have two new songs with another in the works.
How has death metal changed since "Despise the Sun"?
To me, it hasn't changed all that much with bands like Hate Eternal, etc. It just seems people will always yearn for heavy and brutal shit.
What do you consider to be your best song to date and why?
I would have to say "Liege of Inveracity" because it was the root of how our style was and we captured something incredible with that song. I still get chills listening to it.
Your sound is now well-used in the death metal genre. Will Suffocation remain "traditional" in regards to its trademark sound, or deviate to avoid sounding like the other bands which now sound like you do/did.
We will always have the sound and style we always did; it's what works best and if it's not broken, don't try to fix it.
Chris Richards has made some statements as to the intentions of reforming the band. Any thoughts/comments?
First of all, Chris was called about the reformation and he never returned any calls, so for them to even talk to him was ridiculous. He was not part of the reunion, so how would he know our intentions? First and foremost, I love playing our music. If the others things come with it, then that is awesome and yes, I would like to do this for a living, of course.
Is there any label activity yet?
Yes, we have talked to Century Media, Relapse, Nuclear Blast and Roadrunner, as well. Nothing solid yet.
Are you being selective in the shows you play, or just attempting to get out there as much as possible?
We are doing a small tour in the states and then we will do nothing else until the new album. Then we plan to be out for a long time doing Europe and any other over seas market, and then back to the states and Canada.
Why a video now?
We put the video together on short notice just to give our fans something to see; it is also a video for the new song so people can see what we are up to. The next one will be a lot better.
When can people expect a new album?
People can expect the album sometime around January or February of 2004.