Hernan “Eddie” Hermida had big shoes to fill when assuming the vocal duties for Suicide Silence. One of deathcore’s most popular rising bands, they’d just signed with Nuclear Blast when singer Mitch Lucker died in a motorcycle accident. Hermida, who’d been in All Shall Perish, stepped into the vacant slot like he’d been in the band forever, and the band’s long awaited album, You Can’t Stop Me, debuted in the top 20. Currently slaying audiences on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Fest, we caught up with Hermida in Detroit to talk about assuming the mic duties, the reaction to the new album, and getting chased by Ice-T’s dog.
How has the tour been going so far?
The tour has been great so far. Everyone has been really, really welcoming and really, really warm. Warm, temperature wise too. The days have been great. This is one of the best tours in America, just as far as how they take care of us and how they make us feel. Everybody feels like a king on this tour and that’s really cool.
Taking over lead vocals for someone that was so loved must have been tough.
At first, it was really hard. The response immediately was generally good. A lot of people were stoked on the idea and a lot of people liked my previous band, especially fans of Suicide Silence, they knew we toured together a bunch. I feel like a lot of the fans who have never seen Suicide Silence didn’t know Mitch. They only knew him through the internet and pictures. They obviously had this idea of who he was and where he came from and when I stepped in it was pretty shattering of that idea. I’m sure they wanted a guy to replace him that looked exactly like Mitch, or someone that had crazy neck tattoos and a 6’5” kind of guy. I’m sure they wanted that and when they got a 5’10” kind of rounder guy it just sort of shattered their dreams. I came in and it wasn’t until I actually started putting in work is when people actually started coming around. I feel like right now I have 100% support and a lot of those haters actually have realized and saw more pictures of me have said ‘hey, he’s actually a really good looking guy. It’s a fact about kids these days. There’s a sense of fashion and there’s a sense of coolness that people want to achieve when they listen to music. They don’t want some Joe Schmoe picking up a mic and singing. They want a guy who looks like a rock star, who acts like a rock star, and feels like a rock star. It’s a weird concept and I’m never going to get it. I come from the school of I don’t even know what my favourite musicians look like. I don’t understand it. I’m trying to meld the two worlds and see if I can come up with a new version of “rock star.”
So, what made you decide to take the role when it was offered?
It was honestly all the support from all my friends and family at home. All my ex-band mates, the All Shall Parish members, just saying “hey dude it’s a good step in your career.” Beyond all that, it’s the fact that I’ve been friends with these guys forever. Mitch was my boy and he left behind a daughter and a wife that are going to miss him forever. If I can do my part to help Kenadee out and do my part to help these guys continue their career and their lives then why not. I’ve wanted to work with these guys forever. Alex and I have always talked about being in a band together and doing some stuff on the side. Mark and I have always talked music and smoked copious amounts of weed. Him and I have always been really good friends. Dan Kenny is from my neighborhood, so, we grew up going to the same shows, doing the same things. It’s one of those deals where I couldn’t say no. It was too many positives for me to just say ‘Nah, I can’t do this guys.’ They gave me the shot first. It’s like being the first round pick of the NFL draft. Think if Joe Montana never said yes. We would’ve never won any Super Bowls.
Stepping on the stage for the first time at Soundwave. What was going through your head?
Don’t shit your pants, pretty much. I was absolutely nervous. We literally practised 5-6 days a week for 4 hours everyday, learning the new tunes, getting everything on point, for about 4 weeks before the first show. So, we were well rehearsed and everything was set in stone. The whole show was perfect. It was done. I wasn’t too worried about my performance I was more worried about what the crowd was going to do say or react. When I went out there they were chanting Suicide Silence. It was madness… it was the best thing ever.
Your new album was recently released. How has the new stuff been received so far?
We’ve been playing some songs on tour and it apparently was leaked about 6 days ago. The response on the internet has been amazing. People are stoked on the new record. They love the new music and the new flavor, the new sound. People are genuinely pumped on where we’re coming from and stoked on how I’ve come to the band as a vocalist. They are telling me that my attack really pays tribute to Mitch. There’s hints of Mitch but its all me, you know what I mean. That type of compliment has been said a lot. For the most part people are just floored and loving every second of the record, so far. It’s only day two so, I’m sure a couple days into that we’ll start seeing a few of the haters and a few bad reviews. There’s always one or two and especially for Suicide Silence. They always have a plethora of hate their whole career. I’ve seen kids come up to me, being in All Shall Parish, and tell me ‘Why is a band like Suicide Silence being successful and you’re not?!’ People will be jealous and people will talk shit. But in the end it’s not going to change who I am and not going to take me away from being out here with my boys tearing shit up.
Tell us about the making of the album and the writing process. I know you guys got one of the lyrics from Mitch. How did the rest of the process come?
It was really fluid actually. We locked ourselves in this really dingy garage of a room, that Dave has had since the inception of the band. They’ve practised there forever and we locked ourselves in that room for basically 5-6 days a week and just grind, grind, grind. But, it was fun. We would get in there and jam some cover songs and then just do the typical band stuff; then we’d get to work. Work didn’t feel like work it was just us jamming out a tune. You kind of map everything out ahead of time and you know where you’re going. You kind of know where the record is going just from the jam sessions. For the most part it was very fluid. They guys helped me out with lyrics and concepts and ideas. I attacked all the patterns myself. It was just us coming together and writing the record. There’s not much else to it. I’m very proud of it.
You guys are streaming the entire album on YouTube. What was the idea behind that?
The idea is that the kids are going to steal it anyway and lets make it easier and just have them not be able to steal it. Just listen to it as much as you want, go ahead. Watch it on YouTube. YouTube will pay us money because you have to watch a commercial. If you want free TV, that’s fine you’ll just have to pay by watching commercials. It’ll suck the life out of you. If you want to support the band by buying the record that’s the way to go but, if you don’t we’re happy to let you listen to it and know the songs and come out to the shows and buy merch. If that’s how you feel like supporting bands, that’s cool too. There’s many facets to support us and keep us doing what we’re doing and we’re happy doing it. You cant forget that we’re all fans of this music.
Working with Steve Evetts, knowing he was pinnacle for Hatebreed becoming who they are. How influential is he in your album?
100%. We had everything very meat and bones when he showed up and he put the skin and the beauty on the record. He put every finishing touch, every last little pause, break. He was the whole writing process and the motivation behind it all. He came in and really sealed the deal. He [Steve Evetts] is a genius and I love working with him. He’s a good friend of mine now and I couldn’t have been more proud to have worked with one of my idols.
With a name like Mayhem for this tour, what’s the wildest experience so far?
Getting Ice-T’s dog chasing me while I’m on the skateboard, trying to bite my toes. With me trying not to run it over, because if I kill his dog he’s going to kill me. He just wanted to play while I was riding my skateboard. This has been calm, as far as tours go. To be honest I’ve been having too much fun to go absolutely crazy. I’ve been just cruising around getting to know everyone. It’s still week two and we still have two more weeks of insanity to go through. I’m hoping there will be crazier stories then.
You go back after the show, tour bus is gone, there’s an iPod on the ground. You’re allowed one album to listen as you walk to the next city. What would it be?
Mr Bungle’s Disco Volante, because, that album is so nutty and just breaks up anything you are doing. You can fall into it and you can fall out of it and could be woken up at a random part. Anything that keeps it interesting I’m into.