Latest release: Neverbloom (Roadrunner/Warner)

With their debut full length album Neverbloom about to drop via Roadrunner on May 25, the Perth sextet are about to hitch their wagon and embark on a huge Australian tour. With anticipation buidling among their growing following, we chatted with vocalist Sean Harmanis about the album, the Perth scene and what he’s expecting on the road.

Q: You must have picked the worst time in history to get signed to Roadrunner Records.
A: Well, we’ve had people from the office telling us and emailing us that it doesn’t affect us in any way, so we’re pretty stoked about that. But only time will tell. It doesn’t bother us. I mean, it’s sad that such a major label that’s had such an integral part in metal over the last… long while, but we’re going to be left unscathed.

Q: Your previous release was only an EP, so you’re pretty much getting in on the ground floor with this one.
A: Yeah, so to speak. We’re pretty excited about everything that’s happened, in spite of what’s going on at the label. We’re still pretty rapt about being attached to them after growing up on bands like Slipknot and Korn, so it’s just kinda like a dream come true. It’s one goal we’ve had as a band.

Q: You had a pretty big name in Roland Lim work on your recordings with you.
A: He doesn’t actually play with Birds of Tokyo. It was just one song, I think it was just a pre-production thing he did with them, or a single track. Not an entire album. But he is a pretty big name among Singapore pop artists from what I understand. He does a lot of those, aha!, karaoke-type, watered-down cheesy pop music in Singapore. He’s also done quite a lot of Perth bands. He recorded Dyscord’s first EP, which we really liked and then he worked with our friends Arturo Chaos on their first EP – and now Nick and Craig who were previously in Arturo Chaos play guitar for us. He’s just worked with a lot of friends and he’s come a long, long way as a recorder and producer.

Q: I’ve heard quite a few people comparing Make Them Suffer to Winds of Plague. What are your thoughts about that?
A: I would probably sooner compare us to Abigail Williams or a band like that – Abigail Williams’ first album – than I would Winds of Plague. Winds of Plague are combining the same genre elements, there’s much less of a black metal influence and far more prominent almost beatdown hardcore, whereas we’re taking elements from brutal death metal and bands like Black Dahlia Murder and that sort of middle ground, as well as mosh-core bands like Emmure and Suicide Silence. And I think we’ve got a far more black metal influence.

Q: So what’s the scene like over in Perth? I know from people over there that it’s always had a great music scene across genres, but it’s definitely had a vibrant metal scene. How is it lately?
A: We absolutely love Perth. I think, at one stage, it was going through a little bit of a drought. And what’s funny is, for bands that haven’t left Perth, it’s like, ‘oh well, the scene sucks, and it’s so hard to get out of Perth because it’s on the other side of the world from the rest of Australia’… People say that if you haven’t left Perth, you don’t appreciate Perth. Having left Perth and seen some of the venues in other states, we couldn’t be more thankful for the scene we’ve got. Everyone’s so supportive of each other. Even a band that’s just starting out can get a turn out of two or three hundred kids. So it’s pretty supportive in that way. We love it.

Q: So is it really as isolated as it seems to be, even now?
A: Well it took us quite a while even to just find the promoters really to get us over east. Thankfully we found Matt Leost who helped us with that. It’s pretty hard to network and mingle with other bands from over east. It’s kinda isolated in that sense. But at the same time, if you’re playing an all-ages show, you’re going to be playing at HQ, and that the one all ages venue. Everyone knows where it is, everyone’s been there before, it’s fairly central to the city so you’ll get a lot of people going there. Over east, it’s more spread out and you’ll get some places that are more rural than others so it’s not as convenient in terms of public transport. I’ve noticed over east the scene is more spread out. In Perth, if you’ve got a show at HQ, everyone from all over town is going to be coming.

Q: You’re touring your album, and on some of the shows you’ll be playing with some other bands who are also touring albums. How are you looking forward to that?
A: Yeah, I think Signal the Firing Squad are also touring their album. I haven’t actually had a look at every single date and who else we’re playing with, but if there’s some other tours going on at the same time, that will be cool. Most of the bands we’re playing with are friends that we’ve played with hundred of times so it’s always good to catch up.

Q: How long is the tour?
A: It’s six weeks I think, from June until mid-July. It’s certainly our most gruelling tour; something like 28 dates or something. We’ve only got around three or four days off over the whole time, so we’re looking forward to seeing how we’ll hold up and get to all the shows on time (laughs), and in terms of keeping our fitness and well-being as well.

Q: How well do you get on with the others in the band? Because a 28-day tour in Australia, there’s going to be a lot of travelling. You’re going to end up as really good friends, or not!
A: (Laughs) Generally speaking, we all understand that it really is a long time to be spending cooped up in a van with seven other dudes. Seven, because we’ve got other friends coming. It’s still kinda cool. I think there are times when we get on each other’s nerves and often there’s arguments. Some people in the van get a little grumpy if they don’t get their beauty sleep. But it’s still pretty cool. We just can’t wait to get out there again to be honest.

Make Them Suffer will be appearing with Signal the Firing Squad on the following dates during their Australian tour:

1/6 – Amplifier, Perth WA (18+) with In Hearts Wake
3/6 – YMCA HQ, Perth WA (AA) with In Hearts Wake
28/6 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC (18+)
29/6 – Black Market, Adelaide SA (18+) with Far West Battlefront
30/6 – Bang, Melbourne VIC (18+) with Boris The Blade and Brooklyn
1/7 – Phoneix Youth Centre, Footscray VIC (AA) with Brooklyn
8/7 – Musicman Megastore, Bendigo VIC (AA) with Brooklyn
4/7 – Tuggeranong Youth Centre, Canberra ACT (AA) with Resist The Thought
5/7 – Hot Damn, Sydney VIC (18+)
6/7 – Youth Centre, Manly NSW (AA) with Buried In Verona
7/7 – Unanderra Community Centre, Wollongong NSW (AA) with Buried In Verona
8/7 – Flynn’s Beach, Port Macquarie NSW (AA) with Buried In Verona
9/7 – Open Studio, Coffs Harbour NSW (AA) with Buried In Verona
12/7 – Snitch, Brisbane QLD (18+) with Aversions Crown
13/7 – The Loft, Brisbane QLD (AA) with Aversions Crown
14/7 – Hungerford Hall, Nambour QLD (AA) with Aversions Crown
15/7 – Gladstone Tennis Club, Gladstone QLD (AA) with Aversions Crown