The fast-rising star of Upon a Burning Body is getting increasingly difficult to miss. The San Antonio-based five piece is one of Sumerian’s most successful deathcore artists, with Red, White & Green debuting in the top 100 in its first week. And all summer long, the band rocked out on Mayhem Fest’s Sumerian side stage. Rewind back to Mayhem Fest’s stop in Camden, NJ last month. We had the chance to sit down with the band’s vocalist Danny, guitarist CJ and bassist Ruben and talk with them about their label Sumerian Records, their favorite moments from Mayhem Fest, working with producer Will Putney, and how their Texan pride effects their music.
How does Texan pride play into what you guys do? It turns up a lot lyrically, and it’s obviously a big part of the new record.
CJ: It plays in just as much as it does in our real life. There are a lot of really proud people in Texas, and kind of what you get when you go there, so it didn’t really change when we wrote our new record. We didn’t really get to utilize it on the first one, cause it was kind of just like, “Let’s get in the game,” and this one we have a little more say in what we were kind of going for and what we wanted to say, so we were able to put that in.
What’s it like being on Sumerian? Obviously there’s the whole “Sumeriancore” tag that gets implied a lot of times. Do you ever feel that’s limiting to you?
Ruben: No, because we don’t fall into that. I feel like Sumerian’s leading the modern music movement right now as far as metal goes.
CJ: It’s still underground, but it has built an empire. It’s one of the best record labels to be on.
Ruben: Yeah, they’ve represented us awesomely, and we couldn’t ask for a better label.
So, you guys worked with Will Putney and the Machine Shop for the first record, The World is Ours, and for Red White & Green as well. How did you feel about how the new one came out?
CJ: It was good to be able to go back to him and have been able to build a relationship and a friendship with him over the time in between the records, so I feel that the record came out great because he pushed us to do it as a friend. I think he was a little more emotionally attached then just to go with somebody new. So it was special and important that we went back to him. Not to mention that he’s great, so we would have wanted to back anyway. But the fact that he’s our friend is a lot more special.
He’s definitely a killer producer. What’s the goal while you’re out there on stage at Mayhem? You’ve got a lot of different crowds you’re trying to play to. You’ve got Slayer’s crowd, The Devil Wears Prada’s crowd…do you approach it differently with any specific tours that you’re on?
CJ: We do the same thing all the time, so we feel that what we do can win over any of those people. So, we do exactly the same things. Whether we’re playing a show with The Devil Wears Prada or playing a show with Slayer, we’re just going to do the same thing. So that we all know who we are and what we do.
Danny: Especially since we represent Sumerian. None of these people have even heard of that label half of the time, so it’s kind of an older generation. But at the same time we’re kind of representing them, and we’re trying to do the best we can…
Yeah, you’re trying to do right by your people.
Ruben: Yeah, and they put a lot of money into us! (laughs)
What’s your favorite moment from Mayhem so far?
Ruben: Being able to get into the pit every day. With our passes, security will let us go down, so we get in really anywhere. Coming from backstage and getting in the front row and just checking sets is cool.
CJ: I think the highlight of mine was just the other day when Slipknot threw a mixer, and we were just hanging out and Corey was DJing and Sid was DJing. It was mind-blowing to see all those guys, and to know that you were at a party with them. It was really special for us because of how much we look up to that band.
Danny: Huge influence.
CJ: Yeah, sometimes you have to check yourself when you’re there.
I remember getting Iowa in high school and how crazy that was.
Danny: Yeah, it literally changed the face of metal.
Completely. No one was used to hearing that intensity…especially in school cafeterias!
CJ: The scene was getting so rap metal at that time, too, and then Slipknot was like, “No, this is metal, it’s going to stay this way. Rap metal’s done for now.”
To read an additional excerpt from this interview where Daniel weighed in on Randy Blythe’s recent imprisonment in Prague, along with the thoughts of other Mayhem artists, check out our Top 5 installment on the topic here.