Death Metal legends Suffocation have been around for 20 years and their passion for music seems to only grow stronger with time.
With a new album out and a November tour with Arch Enemy and Winds Of Plague looming, we had a chat to bass player Derek Boyer about what it all means…
Can we start with your name and your role in the band?
My name is Derek Boyer. I play bass, write music and lyrics, and contribute to the production aspects of Suffocation.
You guys recently released your sixth studio album, ‘Blood Oath’. Tell us a bit about the record…
Our latest record "Blood Oath" is in my opinion the best album since the reformation of the band. I believe Suffocation to be a live band so to get a produced, final product the portrays the band "crushing" is a wonderful thing.
You decided to record with Joe Cincotta who handled your last two albums as well. Why have you decided to stick with him?
We decided to record with him again for many reasons. To name a few, our good friend Joe Cincotta is an AMAZING live engineer. He has been with us since the reformation in 2003. His studio (FULL FORCE STUDIOS) in Port Jefferson, NY has undergone complete renovation and equipment overhaul since the self titled album "SUFFOCATION". He knows each of us very well and is capable of satisfying all of us as a whole.
You also decided to re-record the song "Marital Decimation" which is off your 1993 album ‘Breeding The Spawn’. What was the reasoning behind this?
As funny as this may sound, we didn’t come up with the idea… our Videographer Jon Bickford (SUFFOCATION DVD) was shooting while we we talking about what we should do and he blurted out "re-do Marital Decimation!" we all laughed and then Terrance started shredding rhythms from the track off the top of his head (like he had been playing it everyday for the last 17 years!) I don’t remember what I did yesterday let alone rhythms I wrote 17 years ago!
Suffocation have been hailed as one of the first bands to combine hardcore, punk, doom metal and grindcore. Do you agree with this statement? How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?
That’s great to be dubbed one of the first bands to mix such extreme styles! I guess I could agree that Suffocation is one of the 1st Death Metal bands to do something like that. I think that any band that has worked as long as Suffocation has will evolve. You refine yourself as an individual, a musician, and as a team player. The sound becomes who you are.
You guys have been playing as a band for almost 20 years, what keeps you guys going?
In our case, longevity is proof of our passion for what we do. To maintain stamina takes mental focus and serious physical conditioning. It is very much a challenge, but we’re up for it!
…and following on from that, what do you think keeps Suffocation relevant, especially among the thousands of new bands emerging every day.
Our style, our sound, and our conviction is what has kept and will continue to keep us relevant. I have to say it’s killer that there are so many new bands but I don’t just think, I know what separates Suffocation from the rest… All these new bands are using the originators tricks, just different combinations. I can see it and hear it a mile away… Most of them are using extra speed in the fast sections, extra low notes in the slam sections, bass drops (SUB 808’s), jumping around on stage. It’s kinda funny sometimes! Don’t get me wrong – I like a lot of what I’m seeing with the new bands. There’s also a TON of stuff that some of them are doing that I think is "lame" and I’m sure it will die out. You’re not gonna get 20 years out of doing that shit!
The band broke up in 1998 and reunited again in 2002. What was the main reason behind this?
The band bowed out of the industry for a few reasons. I think one of the most important reasons was lack of support. It’s hard when you have big labels changing formats overnight, dropping Death Metal acts and signing some gay new sound that’s gonna sell more records.
What was it like coming back to the band after a four year break. Did you feel rejuvenated?
I could sense a newness amongst the band. There was a sense of pride that you can’t take away. It was time to "BLAST" again!
Who influences your music and playing the most?
Me personally, I’m influenced and inspired most from my classically trained father. He’s who made me want to compose and perform. From there I knew what I wanted/needed to do. Growing up with Thrash Metal I started playing Death Metal and I knew this was it.
You kick off your Australian tour with Arch Enemy and Winds Of Plague in November. You looking forward to coming back to the country?
FUCK YEAH! Australia and the Australian people are AMAZING! I really want to stay there!!! I wish we came over more often, for sure!!!
Have you played many shows with Arch Enemy and/or Winds Of Plague? Do you enjoy tours more if you guys are playing with bands you like?
We’ve done a few festivals with Arch Enemy over the years and WOP was on the Summer Slaughter we just did. To some of us I guess it doesn’t matter who we tour with as long the bands out with us draw. Me personally, I enjoy touring with bands I like considerably more than bands that just attract people to our show.
What are some of your all time favorite bands to play with?
Off the top of my head… I like playing with Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus, Severe Torture, Misery Index, Origin, Decrepit Birth, Necrophagist, Cynic, – I’m sure there are tons more… I’m just blanking out
You’re favourite city to play in?
That’s tough! NYC, Hollywood, Montreal, Ft.Worth, Tokyo, any city in Australia!!! Just to name a few.
If you could organize your own dream tour with 3 other bands, living or dead, who would they be?
Another tough one! I’m gonna go with – SLAYER, SUFFOCATION, DYING FETUS, DECREPIT BIRTH. I just FUCKIN love these bands live!
That’s about it, any parting words for the crazy Suffo fans out there?
See you mutha’ fucker’s soon! Keep it FUCKING BRUTAL!
Suffocation‘s latest album ‘Blood Oath‘ is out now via Riot. The band will be here in November with Arch Enemy and Winds Of Plague. For all the dates and venues click here.