For California metal band Suicide Silence, 2014 is a year of new beginnings.
In April they released their new album, You Can’t Stop Me, on a new record label (Nuclear Blast) with a new singer in Hernan “Eddie” Hermida.
Throughout all of it, one of the constants that have bound together the band members is their love of MMA.
Speaking to MMAWeekly.com during a break in touring, bassist Dan Kenny explained how the band got into the sport and how it compares to their music and what’s going on with Suicide Silence in 2014.
MMAWeekly.com: Firstly, Dan, tell us how the band got into MMA.
Dan Kenny: When I joined the band in 2008, I turned the band on to fighting and sports because they really didn’t watch them because they’re very musical. Then (guitarist Chris) Garza started gaining a little weight and I told him that I lived in Temecula, Calif., and that Dan Henderson had just opened a new gym here, and since he loved fighting so much that it was a great idea to train here.
It’s something to look forward to at the end of the week when you’re on tour. Whether it’s UFC, Bellator, or anything, it’s something on TV in our bus that we can all watch.
MMAWeekly.com: While Chris started training and still does, do you have much experience with that aspect of the sport?
Dan Kenny: I wrestled for five years – a couple years in high school and middle school – but I didn’t do much after that because I picked up guitar and was too nervous about breaking my wrist or fingers or something. Especially now that it’s my job to play bass, I don’t want to hurt my hands in any way.
MMAWeekly.com: How do you feel MMA and metal compare and cross over?
Dan Kenny: Josh Barnett is a friend of mine and he’s super into metal. He walks out to Bolt Thrower and has worn a Suicide Silence shirt in interviews before. Dan Hardy is into metal, Carlos Condit is into it, Chris Camozzi is a big metalhead, and Emanuel Newton is as well.
Comparing metal to MMA makes a lot of sense; they have a lot of common. You’re training your ass off before a fight and we rehearse a ton before we go on the road. We don’t want to be practicing on the stage and you don’t want to be practicing when you’re in the cage – you should be ready to go and kick ass.
There’s so many times I’m walking to the stage and I feel like I’m getting ready to fight. I’m stretching before the show, the guys are warming up for an hour; it’s a very intense thing. We play brutal music and MMA is a brutal sport – they’re both very aggressive.
MMAWeekly.com: There are a lot of new things going on with the band this year: a new album, record label, and singer. Can you tell us how this all came about?
Dan Kenny: Our previous singer (Mitch Lucker) passed away on like Halloween night in 2012 and to put it in an MMA sense, it’s like losing one of your most important teammates. You train with this dude every day and then he’s suddenly not there anymore. You kind of lose a little bit of will, but you still want to do it, but you don’t know how.
Basically the only thing we knew how to do was get into a room together and started writing music. We felt the music (we were writing) ruled, so needed to keep going for sure.
We had to figure out a new singer. It was pretty quick because we knew exactly who we wanted (in Hermida) and we got him on board. It took him a minute to grasp what was happening because he and Mitch were very good friends.
We had actually signed with Nuclear Blast before Mitch passed away. They were very supportive and told us whatever we wanted to do after this, they were into it. We presented them some of the new music and they thought it was awesome and put out the new album in July.
It’s kind of “picture perfect.” I hate to use that term, but things worked out well and things are kicking ass right now.
MMAWeekly.com: For newer fans or people who haven’t checked out You Can’t Stop Me, how does this album compare to the rest of the band’s music?
Dan Kenny: There’s a lot more emotion behind this one. There’s some piano in some parts and in others it’s heavier than we’ve ever been. It’s got elements of all three albums before this one. It’s probably the best-written record we’ve ever done. It can please everyone. My friends who don’t like this band that much, love this record; my mom loves this record; they think it’s a well put together piece of art.
I hate to use the term “brutal” too much, but this album is brutal.
MMAWeekly.com: Sounds good, Dan. Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers in closing?
Dan Kenny: Our next tour starts on Oct. 3 in Chicago. We’re going to be on tour all October hitting up big cities with The Black Dahlia Murder, Chelsea Grin, and AlterBeast. It’s a pretty sweet package and we’ll be playing some nice venues. Then we go to Europe in November and December with Thy Art is Murder and Fit for an Autopsy. That will be little more intimate venues, but we’ll hit up a lot of Germany and the U.K., so it’ll be good.
Check out the band on Facebook. We have a brand new album out and we’ve got a lot of touring coming up. Check out our three albums (before the new one) and fall in love with it because I’m in love with it.
Mitch has a foundation, which donates to his daughter’s educational fund, which will help her pay for college. Things are going pretty well with that, but any help counts.