Suffocation – Derek Boyer (Bass)

Suffocation are readying the release of Pinnacle of Bedlam – their seventh album. In order to celebrate the longevity of one of America’s most recognized and celebrated death metal bands of all time, SMNnews took some time to sit down with Derek Boyer and talk shop. Read forth.

Album number seven for Suffocation is on the way. Out the gate, we have to ask, as the flag bearers of all things death metal ? how have you guys managed to keep doing what you?re doing for over 20 years?

We love playing brutal death metal, it’s extremely satisfying. Composing, producing, and performing this music is our life.


Do you think that death metal has a genre has grown to be something that?s more appreciated in today?s world, or less?

I do think death metal is more appreciated in the world today. We’re seeing more and more extreme music on TV and in movies these days too. Aggressive music is definitely more accepted now than ever.


Pinnacle of Bedlam?s artwork hints at political unbalance and a destitute world full of broken promises. While fantastic to look at, what?s the deeper meaning behind it all?

Pinnacle of Bedlam is one of Terrance’s concepts. Terrance got on the phone with Raymond (the artist who created the cover) and explained his concept. Pinnacle of Bedlam is basically about the tipping point of chaos where humanity hangs in the balance, livable conditions deteriorate, and the future is uncertain. If you read the lyrics to the tittle track you will have a better view into Terrance’s twisted mind than me trying to explain it.


February 15 is right round the corner ? this album features Dave Culross on drums for the first time in 14 years or so. Why the bother to recruit such an old hand with so many aspiring and technically sound drummers out there today?

Dave was without a doubt the right man to pick for the job. It was a no brainer situation for us. Not only is he an amazing accomplished drummer, he’s a great friend of ours and was previously a member of Suffocation (preforming on the 1998 EP, Despise the Sun). We would rather have a seasoned professional than an aspiring new talent.


Zeuss is fast becoming one of those guys that you likely need to be booking a year in advance. How was it working with him when it came to putting the finishing touches on Pinnacle of Bedlam?

Zeuss was a pleasure to work with, extremely professional in every aspect of the process. He definitely created the product we had envisioned.


You sold over 3,600 in week one of Blood Oath being out. We?re looking at three and a half years later, and a hell of a lot has gone on regarding leaking and sharing since then, are you expecting more of an online support for Pinnacle of Bedlam or does it not really matter?

Nuclear Blast seems to be doing a lot of promotion for this release. We have seen plenty of online support so we’re not too concerned…


You?ve shared almost a third of the album online already over the past few months, how have fans reacted to the music that has been posted out there by you and your label?

To the best of my knowledge Nuclear Blast has posted 1/5 of the album online (2 songs out of 10). We, the band, leave all promotion up to EMG (our management) and NB (our label). We’re definitely happy with the reactions we’re getting from the listeners who leave comments.


Suffocation live is a thing of beauty. Earplugs recommended for those with weak ear canals. What can we look forward to on the Suffocation touring front?

We plan to begin touring in April and to hit territories such as North America, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. I’ve even hear talk of South Africa! So it looks like we’ll be getting out there! We definitely look forward to supporting the new album.


For those who don?t know, can you explain Bill Robinson of Decrepit Birth?s involvement in live Suffocation shows last year?

Bill Robinson is a great friend of Suffocation’s. He is the vocalist of California’s DECREPIT BIRTH. Bill jumped in and helped us out last year when Frank was unable to complete one of our European tours. Bill also helped us again later that year (again in Europe).


Drama city perked up when it was assumed ?Frank Mullen has left Suffocation? after being misquoted at the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Months away from Pinnacle of Bedlam being released, how much damage control was needed here?

Our management team definitely had their hands full straightening out that mess. What Frank said in the interview could have been taken wrong and misunderstood, and that?s exactly what happened. We know Frank is going to do all he can and we’re just going to have to work with what he’s available to do.

Speaking of which ? the Long Island Music Hall of Fame! How were the appetizers?

The Long Island Music Hall of Fame was awesome. To be recognized on that level was a complete honor! …And yes, the appetizers were good! haha


Now, there?s the chugga-chugga metalcore breakdown and the patented Suffocation breakdown, which ?deathcore? is thoroughly enjoying, any discernable factor you can point out from a musicians standpoint between the two?

I think the biggest difference between our slams and the new kid’s slam is the complexity of our hooks. We also come slamming into our breakdowns from difficult, fast sections, so in turn our break down riff and the section before it have MASSIVE contrast. I feel the new bands learned how to “slam” and that?s what they rely on. For example, we’re a fast movement band who throws in slam sections, where I feel the new bands just play simple riffs then breakdowns and there’s not much contrast.


New Black Sabbath is set to drop in 2013?criminal or exciting?

To be honest, I love OLD Black Sabbath… but I had no idea they have plans to release a new album. I will wait to judge the album when I hear it.


Is there any desire to be playing death metal well into your 50s and 60s?

Playing death metal is a way of life for me. Who knows how I’ll feel when I reach 50 (if I reach 50). I feel like I could do what I’m doing for another 10 years easily… but I’d probably rather just enjoy my pain medication and work in a recording studio than be traveling when I’m that old, again – if I make it to be that old!


If there?s one thing you could definitively change about the history of Suffocation ? what would it be?

That?s a really hard question. I honestly can’t think of anything off the top of my head that I would change about what we’ve done.
Gun ownership ? do you support it or want to see the limits Obama is recommending be put into action?

There is no fucking way the government should be able to restrict American Citizens when it comes to our guns. We all need to be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Limiting how many bullets we’re allowed in our clips is nothing more than them trying to control us. They can try to spin anyway they want but it’s nothing more than a control issue, and the government wants the control.


The ?pinnacle of bedlam? can mean something different to everybody. It could mean being stuck in a room for of screaming 4 year olds?or it could mean being caught in the middle of a gun battle. What is the ?pinnacle of bedlam? for you?

For me, Pinnacle of Bedlam is about the tipping point of chaos, where all life hangs in the balance, livable conditions deteriorate, and the future looks bleak.


This wouldn’t be an interview unless you were asked? ?favorite song on the new record?? ? so tell us.

If I had to pick just one, it would be Purgatorial Punishment. That?s difficult because I really like Cycles of Suffering and My Demise… Honestly I could go on naming tracks that I enjoy till I named them all… but Purgatorial Punishment is the one I’d have to pull if I was asked to pick just one. I just feel that “Purgatorial” is very well rounded, it possesses all the elements like: slam, groove, hooks, solo trade offs, intensity, and originality.


Before we let you go. Suffocation had (well, still has!) an incredibly popular forum live on ? will we ever get the chance to welcome you and your fans back into our popular domain?

I know you guys have a good thing going on… I do recall Smith being on your forum back in the mid/late 2000’s. It is very cool that you guys have created a place where people can go to discuss bands. You won’t personally find me out there chattin’ away. I simple don’t have the time but I do appreciate the fact that you guys do what you do!


Any last words before bedlam is unleashed?

We can’t wait till the album drops and we’re back out on the road! It’s all just around the corner now! We’ve had the final product for months and we’re definitely ready for the world to have it too!!!!! SEE YOU ALL VERY SOON! Touring starts in April


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