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Interviews : Suffocation – “It’s fun to hear who likes what the most” (An interview with Derek Boyer)

By on February 5, 2013


Suffocation – Derek Boyer

American death metal veterans SUFFOCATION will unleash their brand new album, ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam‘ to the masses on February 15th via Nuclear Blast Records. Since the early 90’s SUFFOCATION have been at the forefront of the extreme metal movement. Creating a blueprint for the genre with their debut album, ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’.

Metal Obsession had the pleasure to speak with SUFFOCATION bassist, Derek Boyer about the new album, his set up and the possibility of an Australian tour.

Metal Obsession: I hear that Joe Cincotta produced the new album, ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’. Can you tell us about that experience?

Derek Boyer: Yeah man, We did pre-production for the last 2 years, just making sure we had it all finalised and the way that we wanted it. We got all the material together, we got into full force studios with Joe Cincotta and we knew that we were gonna pretty much track it ourselves with Joe and then that we will be sending it out to Zeus to be mixed and mastered, so basically we locked it down and jumped in the studio. We had a really good session in the studio. We sent the files out to Zeus, got some really cool test mixes back and then we were real happy. We handed it in and Nuclear Blast loved it, and the rest will be determined soon when this album comes out.

MO: Wicked, Personally I’m loving the track Sullen Days, are there any tracks on the album you liked in particular?

DB: Yeah, my favourite stuff is ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ and ‘Cycles of Suffering’, I really like ‘My Demise’, the title track Pinnacles [of Bedlam], they’re all really fun tracks. It’s fun to hear who likes what the most and it’s cool you like Sullen, that’s fun.

MO: Did you have much lyrical input on the album?

DB: Yeah, a little… like a lot of the lyrics, most of the lyrics, you’ll see when you guys get the album and flip to each page you’ll see who wrote what and uh, I got involved in a few songs with Terrance,  but I didn’t write any of my own songs from start to finish. I would just throw in a rhythm here or there or help Terrance with the arrangements and stuff, but I want to say Guy wrote one all by himself. I helped Terrance with a bunch of them.

Terrance wrote probably a few of them all by himself, and then there’s the ‘Breeding Spawn’ track which is an old track. We all made a track up on the spot, the track “Rapture of Revocation”, we put that thing together in one day in the studio, we just started putting rhythms together and slapped that song together so that one have everybody writing on it, Frank wrote the vocals to it, I wrote some rhythms, Guy wrote some rhythms, Terrance wrote some rhythms and then Dave wrote all the drum beats right on the spot, Yeah it was pretty fun.

MO: So what’s it been like have Dave [Culross] back in the band?

DB: It’s really comfortable, you know, Dave is just real chill, and he’s a really great drummer, a super nice guy, real easy to get along with. So it’s been smooth. We played a bunch of shows and did a bunch of touring with him and it’s real comfortable so yeah, not bad.

MO: I noticed the little bass bit in “My Demise” and I’m digging the tone for the bass, what gear did you use for the album?

DB: It’s really just a direct signal, some D’adario string, some real crispy strings with a custom handmade American BC Rich bass and the real hot 18 volt Seymour Duncan electronics and basically I split my signal, I went out of the bass into a Sansamp into the console, also just straight into the console. I think I might of ran through a…ahh.. I don’t remember what it was, a universal audio or some other type of pre-amp, it might of been in between my instrument and the sound, but I think I did hit it with a tube or a 5, a bunch of tubes to like slam the signal, but no amplifiers, just direct.

MO: What gauge strings do you normally use, live and in the studio?

DB: I’m actually a little bit lighter than most people. Most people think you’re going to need a heavier string, and that definitely applies to the guitar, so you’re going to maintain the tension of the strings. But for me, I just like the lighter gauge strings, because I wouldn’t say they’re super light, but the E string normally in standard would be at a 105. I actually play a 100, so like a half down, I play everything a half down, so I think its like a 125, a 100, an 80, a 65 and a 45 so its kind of a mixed set.

MO: What’s your live setup like?

DB: The live setup is usually 1 to 2 8X10 cabinets, you know ideally I’d have an 8X10 cabinet on each side of my drummer and large transits is what I’m really into. I like when the heads have tubes in the preamps, but if it doesn’t, when I’m in the States, I take out my stuff. I take out custom stuff. I have the 1200 watt heads, the 8×10 cabinets with one on each side. Mostly in Europe I’ll end up playing the festivals where you’ll have like the Ampegs, as long as I have 8X10s or 16x10s, you know, something big like 1200 to 1400 watt heads, it’s what I require, something that bangs real hard.

MO:  Speaking of touring, do you have any plans to tour Australia any time soon?

DB: Yeah I think we’ll be down there in the summer months, it’s all tentative right now, we’re working out our North American tour then over to Europe, then South America once in June. I think it’s Asia and Australia, back to Europe and then another US tour to wrap out the end of the year.

MO: Wicked, is there anything else you wanted to let people know about coming up in the Suffocation camp?

DB: Yeah, we just can’t wait to come down there, we can’t wait to come down and play some really crazy killer new shit from our new album for you guys. And we love it in Australia, so we really look forward to being back real soon.

For more information on Suffocation and their new album, head on over to:


Paul Hammond is the guitarist and lyricist for Melbourne based death metal outfit, Internal Nightmare. In his spare time, Paul enjoys writing and listening to music and is a supporter of the local metal scene through his works with Kiss or Kill management and bookings .