With their daringly ambitious new album ‘Worlds Apart’ out July 28th through Road Runner/ Warner Music Make Them Suffer have got big plans ahead. I had a chat with frontman Sean Harmanis about venturing into a new sound and the anxieties of bringing it out into the world.
Sean… How do you spell your name if I may be so bold?
The fantastic Irish way.
Ah the original way.
I’ve been smashing the new album all day today and for me it’s frustrating since it’s not out yet I can’t talk to anyone about it. I can only imagine how it feels for you having created them first and then to sit on them till release.
(Laughs) Yeah man. It is pretty nerve wracking because this is kind of a different sound for us, so there is that anxiety, I guess, about what people are going to think and how people are going to respond. I’m just so excited for people to hear it full. When we were choosing the singles for this album it was quite tricky because I feel the songs serve so much more justice in the context of the album rather than as stand alone singles.
That would be hard trying to choose. Is that a conversation between the band and the label as to what will be the singles?
I don’t really know how we selected them. Basically we wanted to put out ‘Fireworks’ first because we thought it was in a similar vain to ‘Ether’ and that song was received so well but in retrospect I may not have chosen ‘Fireworks’ as the single but it was something everyone seemed keen on. There is a couple of songs that I would’ve preferred like the song ‘Grinding Teeth’ for example as a single that is an awesome song. It was really tricky cause everyone has slightly different tastes in the band and we all had our own opinions on which singles we wanted to put out. Coming to an agreement was quite tricky but I think that’s what’s good about the album, it does have a little bit of something for varying tastes across the heavy music section.
When it came to writing and recording, as you mentioned, you had the anxieties around your different sound. How’d you battle those demons and say ‘fuck it, this is what I want to do”?
I think that when we put out ‘Ether’, in retrospect that was the real leap of faith because that was the first song we released trying out this “new sound”. We all love that song and when it was received so positively I think it gave us the confidence to be like “Well listen, now we’re going to start writing music for ourselves and music we’re excited about”.
Was this different sound a conversation that happened within the band or did you find that you were just writing in this direction?
It just sort of happened that way. This is what was coming naturally for us and the riffs that Nick (McLernon; Lead Guitar) was writing were in this sort of vain. If you listen to the previous album you can kind of hear how/why this shift might have happened very slowly. But with this record we were more confident coming into it and we had more of an open mind. We’d be asking ourselves if this is what we’re into, is this the kind of stuff we get excited about? I think it’s through that thought process that got us to ‘Worlds Apart’
Reading through the latest press release you mention how members have come and gone in the band and the stress that comes along with being in a band. How do you see the band now line-up wise? Is this Make Them Suffer the final line-up?
Yeah, 100%, we’re super stoked on the vibe at the moment. Everyone is super excited and motivated, enthusiastic and all of those positive words. The new members Booka (Nile; Keys + Clean Vocals) and Jaya (Jeffery; Bass) have been long term friends of ours for quite some time. Nick used to play in a band with Jaya back in the day in the Perth local scene and we’ve known Booka for many, many years and she’s a really close friend of our old Keyboardist. These member changes happened almost so seamlessly for us, it was almost to good to be true. It’s worked out in our favour and I definitely think that this is the Make Them Suffer line-up that you will be seeing for the remainder of the bands career and we’re all stoked.
You’ve just stepped off tour with The Amity Affliction and with this new album coming out what plans do you have tour wise for ‘Worlds Apart’?
We have our national album tour coming up in September I want to say. I’m shocking with dates (laughs). We’ve got Wage War coming over from the states as main support and Alpha Wolf who just released their debut full length. So we will be taking the album around Australia and probably a couple of more times after that. I mean you’ll know when a band is confident about a release that they’ve done when they have those longer gaps between albums because they can fully utilise the touring cycle and give the album the exposure that band believes it deserves. So you will be seeing that from us. We’re going to be touring this album relentlessly and really try to get it out there.
When it came to preparing for and writing the album were there any bands/artists/books/films that influenced your writing at all?
Well I’d have to say my most listened to album at the moment would be ‘Loveless’ by My Bloody Valentine which kind of lead to the adopting of the shoe-gaze influence on a couple of tracks. I’ve been rediscovering Slipknot and delving into the Nu-Metal a little bit. Picking influences for this album is difficult because we didn’t sit down and discuss what we want to sound like. I know with the lyrics I was listening quite a bit of David Bowie and The Smiths, quite a bit of Deftones and Eminem has actually been a huge influence on me on this album. I used to froth out on the Marshal Mathers LP when I was younger. I didn’t intentionally use him but I found some of my lyrical flow came from him.