Make Them Suffer

Make Them Suffer are currently touring the country alongside Parkway Drive, to inject some heavy music back into regional Australia to help combat the prevalence of the hippie and the indie music scenes that riddle the outer city regions. (It’s actually not as epic or as malevolent as I make it out to be. I just thought that all sounded cool). More recently they released the rather solid ‘Ether’, their latest single. And it’s created some debate amongst the fanbase about the band’s sound. So I got in contact with Sean Harmanis, vocalist of Make Them Suffer, to chat about the new song, the fans reaction to it, his interest in anime (cause why not), and the scary, near-death experiences that you sometimes get out on the road.

Now, you guys just droppedEther’. I’m not kissing your ass here just because I’m talking to you now, but I do really dig that track, especially the chorus. It gave me some mad Deftones vibes.

That’s sick! Thank you, man. That song doesn’t necessarily show the direction of the next album either, it was just something we wanted to put out. I heard Nick was jamming out the chorus’s riff and I thought ‘Fuck’, we have to put that in a song’. We’re happy about how it came out, and how fans mostly like it too. It’s wicked that they’re embracing change, and when we released Let Me In from Old Souls, after a while it really grew on people. I think it’s because when we pushed that change back then, the fans can expect more of it.

Yes, change can be difficult for some people to accept. I especially liked the emphasis on Louisa’s vocals more in the mix, too. Also, I loved bands response to the negative comments in that recent video that you put up.

We’re dedicating our lives to this band, you know? I work in hospitality in my spare time so I can save up for tours. All of my resources and energy goes into this. We’re aiming for the next ten years and striving for longevity in this band, and that means changing shit up.

I love it when bands begin to change and develop, even if I don’t like the new sound, I appreciate it nonetheless. Now, I found it very funny that people were saying that Rise Records was to blame for the sound change as if they’d held a gun to your heads and forced you to write this music.

It’s interesting, one of the first ever email threads between Rise Records and our manager was when he sent them the CD and they responded with ‘Holy fuck, this is Cradle Of Filth meets Thy Art Is Murder’. They were describing our more “classic” black metal/deathcore sound and that’s what we were signed off. Rise does not have any input in the musical direction of the band.

Yes, I imagine they have zero control over your music. And I think it was Monty [guitar] who put it best by saying, ‘Well, where the fuck is your album then?’ 

Yeah, that’s it! Metal has so many elitists who think that it’s cool to just simply hate on something, on anything. They just wanna get in a keyboard argument with you as that’s what they live off. It can really bring the morale and work ethic of a band down if they keep seeing and reading all of these negative comments from neck-beard trolls.

I think it’s fine to dislike something, that’s fair enough of course, but there should be some form of educated reasoning behind your dislike. Which I don’t see a lot of the time [laughs]. 

Yes, and it’s from the people who I think don’t really know how things work behind the scenes. But I also think that bands don’t really communicate the behind the scenes stuff to their fans enough. I feel as though if a lot more was shared, more people would adopt a better appreciation for what bands do. 

I think that’s a really good point to make, actually. One thing that really jumped out at with ‘Ether’ were two lyrics – Izanami and Izanagi, which are two gods in Japanese mythology. I find their inclusion really interesting, as they back the video’s narrative which seems to be about getting back to mother earth and embracing life and nature.

Yeah, that was part of it; the circle of life and getting back to nature. I also put it in there to possibly allude to future songs with the next album. I don’t know if I’ll do that for certain, but recently, I’ve been getting into a lot of Japanese mythology and culture. I’ve also watched a lot of anime recently too.

Well, it’s good to see that you’re planning ahead already. And with the Japanese culture comment, what are your favourite anime’s, if you have any?

I just finished watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, that was really sick. I haven’t watched too much, but I have seen all of Studio Ghibli, that’s all really good. There was one that I really loved, called The Children Who Chase Lost Voices, and the art style reminded me a lot of Hayao Miyazaki’s style [Spirited Away, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind] and it dealt with the hollow-earth theory. I thought it was very cool.

Right on, I’ll make sure to check it out! I loved anime’s like Ghost In The Shell, Death Note, and more recently, Attack On Titan. Veil Of Maya actually named a song after an Attack On Titan character – ‘Mikasa‘.

Oh, no shit! That’s cool! I find that there is actually a large congruency between metal culture and “nerd” culture. I think it’d be cool to make use of that crossover. 

Good idea! Also on the lyrics, MTS have always had rather poetic lyrics, and there aren’t really many lyrics of yours where it’s just about calling out an ex-partner, or the haters, or saying ‘Fuck God’ and what not.

With writing lyrics, I just wanted to do something that was original. A lot of bands are writing about the same shit; God, aliens, whatever. What it really just comes down to is that I just try to complement the music with the lyrics. Just listening to the piano, it’s like a painting and I want to try and paint a picture with the lyrics.

No, I definitely see that. Changing gears to the current tour, do you find that rural tours like these help to create grassroots scenes outside of the big cities for heavy music? As so many tours skip these areas for the far more common venues and cities.

Oh, of course. Admittedly, we haven’t done as much regional touring as we’d like to. We’ve been thinking about playing in places like Darwin, and that’d be so fresh for those places. Like the first time you saw Parkway Drive live ten years ago; it’s just so exciting and fresh. A lot of these places aren’t as saturated as the bigger cities, and if you played a show in Darwin, it could be a massive thing for those people.

Darwin actually has a mini-festival happening later this year, TerrorFest, and Hellions are headlining it alongside a lot of local Northern Territory bands. 

Oh, cool! Those guys are really smart for doing that, as it’s definitely an untapped resource. I mean, if you can take the effort to come to WA, why don’t you come halfway for Darwin? I think it’s a bummer that so many bands skip them on tours.

Oh, I totally agree, dude. Finally, I asked Winston [McCall, Parkway Drive] this question a while back. Have you had any moments where on tour you’ve thought to yourself, ‘yeah, this is how we die!’.  

We used to hire these sprinter vans. They didn’t feel that stable, and they had this bed inside them right underneath the roof, and you had to slide into them. It’d be the middle of the night and you just knew that there are kangaroos everywhere, and not knowing what to do if one jumped on the road, it’s terrifying. Being on that top bunk you could really feel every bit of movement of the van. You have some pretty scary moments while touring sometimes. Now, for this tour, we’re just in this 12-seater van. I always shotgun the aisle and lay down at everyone’s feet face first so I’m not getting much oxygen… and I kinda just go to sleep that way. [Laughs].

Now, for this tour, we’re just in this 12-seater van. I always shotgun the aisle and lay down at everyone’s feet face first so I’m not getting much oxygen and I kinda just go to sleep that way. [Laughs].

[Laughs] Well I’m glad you haven’t suffocated during your sleep or thrown from your bed while sleeping in the van! That’s all I had for you man, thanks for your time Sean! I hope that the rest of the tour goes well for the band!

Oh, all good man. Thank you very much for the interview!

Make Them Suffer are touring nationally with Parkway Drive. Remaining tour dates below.

Thu June 23 PCYC, Bateau Bay AA
w/ Scars Have Faded
Tickets from Oztix outlets and

Fri June 24 Panthers, Penrith AA
w/ Polaris
Tickets from Ticketek and

Sat June 25 Wollongong Uni, Wollongong AA
w/ Graves
Tickets from Moshtix outlets and

Sun June 26 Entertainment Centre, Sutherland AA
w/ Polaris
Tickets from the venue and

Thu June 30 The Cube, Wodonga AA
w/ Visioner
Tickets from

Fri July 1 Bendigo Stadium, Bendigo AA
w/ Daywaster
Tickets from Oztix outlets and

Sat July 2 The Arena, Geelong AA
w/ Athenas Wake
Tickets from Oztix outlets and

Sun July 3 Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights – SOLD OUT
w/ Ocean Grove

Mon July 4 Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights – 18+
w/ Void Of Vision
Tickets from Moshtix outlets and




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