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Make Them Suffer have returned with a satisfyingly unexpected and unrelentingly heavy collection of songs, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
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In the rocky lead up to the release of How To Survive A Funeral, Make Them Suffer dealt with distribution errors, multiple release date changes, miscommunication between retailers and …well, the experience of releasing during a worldwide pandemic. If they can deal with all of that and come out of it this strong, we better be able to learn how to survive a funeral.
Make Them Suffer’s fourth album is a relentless experience, and it serves as proof once again that the band have always got something up their sleeve to show variation from their previous works. We sat down for a cross-nation chat with Sean Harmanis, the band’s acclaimed vocalist.
[Hysteria]: So first off, with all the chaos that went on during your release it was clearly not an easy one. With multiple date changes and difficulties with aligning distribution it must have been a unique process. How has releasing an album during all of this been for the band?
Well, so the reason we pushed it back was an issue with the supply chain, we were really unsure as to whether or not physical copies would even be possible with our original release date. It’s kind of good I guess in the hope that it meant more people would have bought it, and we did go out on a limb a bit with the album, we took it above and beyond the level of our previous releases—going to LA and such—so we thought it would be a huge shame to have no physicals.
It’s definitely an introspective piece but we also tried not to be overly negative with it, we feel it’s just as important to focus on the light-hearted elements of the experience of death.
[ Sean Harmanis ]
The other side of that, though, is that everyone’s at home on their computers and stuff so I mean we’ve been getting really surprising streaming numbers with the first two singles. Erase Me was definitely our fastest million on Spotify so we can’t complain about that. I guess that’s a weird flip-side or silver lining of it all.
I imagine everyone’s already out of pocket enough as is but consumption online is really peaking. From what I’ve heard in industry discussions is that there’s more of a coming together and mutual support going on right now, which is actually exactly what is needed.
On that note of industry discussions and changes, how did your signing with Greyscale Records come about?
Yeah so we shopped around quite a bit after we left Rise Records, we were approached by a good few different labels, and we felt that with our previous signings we were quite rushed in the process, but Gresycale were really chill and patient with us, they clearly were supportive of doing it in whatever way we wanted and that definitely helped a good deal, it wasn’t rushed or stressful at all.
With UNIFY 2020, your regional 2019 tour with Diamond Construct and Windwaker and the After The Burial EU tour, are there any key moments making you wish shows were back right now?
Oh it’s got to be the festivals, seeing all my favourite childhood bands like Limp Bizkit and Slipknot playing on the same stage we were on is just wild. We definitely miss the legends in After The Burial and can’t wait to get back touring with them.
How To Survive A Funeral was quite a different experience for you as a band, especially as a result of having flown to LA to work with Drew Fulk on it. What was different about the production process of How To Survive A Funeral compared to previous albums?
Yeah it’s the most in-depth relationship we’ve had with a producer for sure. It was our first time working that closely with anyone on the production side of things to be honest, we’ve self-produced alot of our previous albums ourselves. Worlds Apart was pretty much 100% just done ourselves and then we sent it off to Forester Savell, and before that it was done with a friend of ours.
This one was really different, we went into the studio with barely three songs finished which was very new for us. We specifically wanted Drew to contribute to the production of the songs, especially with arrangements. It wasn’t like he was writing our parts for us but he definitely gave us lots of confidence to try new things. Although [the album] definitely is a refinement of our sound, Drew still added a lot of fresh things we wouldn’t usually try out.
Yeah we definitely notice that, How To Survive A Funeral seems to be a really effective combination of all the best elements from your past discography. Do you feel now, listening back to it, that it’s the most ‘MTS’ album that MTS has written?
I feel it’s all down to the songwriting at this point, we’re so used to writing in that style that it just flows naturally, so if anything we tried to make as many weird decisions to add some curveballs if that makes sense. We know we can do the MTS style but we wanted to add as much as we could to that style while still nailing the established sound.
Could you walk us through the themes and meanings behind the album?
Well the title explains a good amount actually, a funeral is a sad and melancholic moment, but we were sort of making a lighthearted joke on the morbidity of it all with the name. We wanted to focus on that shift from dark to light—and light to dark—that can occur in one’s feelings and perceptions that we wanted to write about. It’s definitely an introspective piece but we also tried not to be overly negative with it, we feel it’s just as important to focus on the light-hearted elements of the experience of death.
What tracks stand out for you on the album?
We all just had so much fun writing Bones and Drown With Me, I feel like those are the most stand out tracks from the writing process.