Interview with Sam from Mutant Supremacy

Death metal horde Mutant Supremacy recently released their debut album, Infinite Suffering. Formed back in 2007 by Sam and Nelson, both of crossover band Atakke, it features another musical side of the duo. We manage to catch Sam and talk to him a bit more about Mutant Supremacy and their debut album, Infinite Suffering.

HMT: Hi Sam! Thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk to you! Infinite Suffering was released to critical acclaim from the metal underground, how does the band feel, and was it expected?

You’re welcome! It feels really good, we’ve worked really hard on this obviously, every band who manages to get a record out has put a lot of work into it, and having people listen to it and like it is really rewarding.

How did the desire to play death metal come about?

Well for all of us, we’ve always been fans of all kinds of metal, but death metal has always been more extreme, musically, and we like to push ourselves to make our music as intense as possible. For the band itself, it really came together when I met Robert, because death metal drummers, especially good ones, are hard to come by, and you can’t play death metal without a good drummer.

Infinite Suffering

Let’s now talk about the album. The album was released on both CD and vinyl. What was it that made the band decide to release it on vinyl as well, seeing that the album was self-released?

Because vinyl rules! I’ve always believed that vinyl sounds better, and that actually listening to a record on a turntable is a more engaging experience. There’s an almost ritual quality to putting a record on, and turning it over half way through, it’s a lot more personal then listening to an MP3 on the subway or something. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think that with vinyl I think the listener really interacts with the music. Plus the artwork and liner notes are bigger, and you can do cool stuff with the vinyl itself. Also, for me, I don’t feel like an album is truly released until it’s on vinyl.

It was mentioned that Morbid Dismemberment was written in 15 minutes. What is the writing process like for the rest of the album? What are some of the influences in mind when writing the music for the band?

Ha! Yeah, that’s because I had just met Robert and was going to jam with him the first time in a couple days and needed something to play. The rest of the songs we worked out together in practice. I usually have riffs and structures worked out that I bring to practice, and we put drum parts to them and see how it sounds. Sometimes it sounds different than I pictured it and it leads to different ideas. Sometimes one of us will come up with something spontaneously and that will lead to other ideas. As for the influences, I’m sure you can hear them on the album, old school stuff like Incantation, Vader, Cannibal Corpse, and Autopsy. But all kinds of stuff really, I don’t think you can listen to music and not be influenced by it in some way.

The album also contains lyrical influences from wars. How did the foray and interest in wars begin, and what was it that made you decide to incorporate these influences into your lyrics?

I’ve been interested in that kind of think since I was a kid, and I’ve always read a lot of history, which from a human perspective is mostly about wars. I find that kind of thing to be really powerful, and I’ve been writing about war the whole time I’ve been writing, it’s always been there.

You are also part of Atakke, a crossover band. How different is it with Mutant Supremacy in terms of music writing? What were some of the biggest challenges, coming from a band of another genre?

Bill, the other guitar player in Atakke, has always done more of the writing for that band, for the most part he’ll have the initial ideas and I’ll try and add to them, plus they had about 6 songs already written when I joined. That’s always served to keep the sounds different. Actually when we started Mutant Supremacy it made being in Atakke easier, I had wanted to add a more death metal influence to Atakke and once I had an outlet for that it was easier to let Atakke be Atakke. I really like all the crust punk stuff Atakke is influenced by like Amebix and Sacrilege, and it makes more sense to keep that together then try to do something that sounds like that and also sounds like Morbid Angel. All the bands I’ve been in tor the last 10+ years have been at least slightly different genres, and that’s cool because I like a lot of different kinds of music. Well, slightly different genres of punk and metal, because I like a lot of different kinds of punk and metal.

Similarly, how has being part of another band before the formation of Mutant Supremacy helped in the writing of music?

I’ve been in a lot of bands, a couple where I wrote most if not all of the music, and a couple where I joined and played other people’s songs. I think all of them helped me with writing. You know you have an idea, and it sounds a certain way in your head, and you always hear it that way, at least that’s how it was for me a lot of times. Sometimes six months or a year after recording something I’ll listen to it again from a different mindset and realize that what I was hearing in my head didn’t actually translate to the recording. I’ve got a couple albums I’ve made with other bands that I don’t really like listening to. I’m really happy with “Infinite Suffering”, and that leads me to two conclusions: One, I’m a really slow learner. Ha! But more importantly, I think it’s all about finding the right people to write with.

The vocals are also done with Robert and Winslow. What was it that made the band decide to have 3 members doing vocals?

That one’s easy: Carcass. Before Robert and I found other members we already wanted multiple vocal parts. I also like how punk bands like Oi Polloi and Conflict used different vocalists. I think it adds more layers to a band’s sound.

Would it be possible to tell us a bit more about the concept behind the album artwork?

Yeah! The artwork was done by an artist we know named John Clue, he does painting and tattoos. Basically we gave him a copy of the recording and said we wanted something apocalyptic. Oh yeah, and we gave him a bottle of tequila. After that it was all him. We really fucking like what he came up with, and the vinyl version of the record comes with a 3’x4’ poster of the whole painting. His art kills, he’s also drawing something for the inside of our upcoming split with Nekrofilth, and he draws a lot of our fliers.

In a separate interview, you mentioned that you hope people download your music and listen to it. However, publicity aside, what are your views on music downloading, and do you think that this phenomenon is killing the music industry, in particular the metal music industry?

Downloading has definitely had a negative impact on the industry. I don’t really know what I think of it. On the one hand, it’s cool that people can hear about new bands from halfway around the world that they wouldn’t hear read about or hear on the radio, and that goes for the entire death metal genre. I think if you download something and like it you should buy something from the band, a record or a shirt or something, or go to one of their shows if they play near you. It’s a double edged sword, because you want people to hear your music, but being a band is really expensive. Recording and pressing records costs a lot of money, and so does gas to get to shows, especially for an unsigned band like us, we have to pay for it all ourselves. I think that downloading means ultimately that fans have to be more involved in the scene; they have to seek out the records or merch for the bands they like and buy from independent distros. Downloading is free and we all like free shit, but if you don’t find some way to support the bands you like they won’t keep putting out records.

You also mentioned before that you once took lessons from Alex Skolnick for a year. What was the experience like, and how has it influenced the way you play and write your music?

That was amazing. Alex is the most down to earth dude, he clearly loves music so much and is so humble about his talent and career. More than anything else, he taught me the importance of playing with a metronome, before that I pretty much played as fast as I could all the time.

Alright we have come to the end of the interview, the final words are yours!

Thanks for the support, and hails to all the supporters of underground metal all over the world.

Thank you once again for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish Mutant Supremacy all the best in your upcoming endeavors!

Mutant Supremacy on the internet:
Official website

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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