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Guy Marchais (Suffocation)

Interview with Guy Marchais from Suffocation
by Angela "The Hunter" at 05 March 2013, 2:30 PM

Very few bands have had an impact on the world of Metal quite like SUFFOCATION. For 20 years they have been making ears bleed with their brutal and violent musical creations. Guy Marchais was kind enough to give Angela “The Hunter” a peek into the inner workings of their latest album, “Pinnacle Of Bedlam”, and chat about his photography skills. 

You have a new album coming out in February. Can you tell us a little about it?

Well we recorded it in August of 2012, and it took about a month and a half to record, which is more time that we have spent on any other album. And then we had it mixed by Zeus, who did Hatebreed, Lamb of God, and stuff like that. We tried a few different guys, and sent them songs, just to see what they would send back and how it would turn out. They all sounded great, but we wound up going with Zeus. Had him mix it, and then got all of the album artwork together, done by Raymond Swanland who does Magic The Gathering artwork (my inner nerd just had a nerd-gasm) he did the album cover, and that’s pretty much it. We are just waiting for the album to come out so someone can hear it.

There were 4 years between Blood Oath and Pinnacles of Bedlam. Any particular reason for the wait?

Well it normally takes about 3 years for us between albums. That’s normally the way that we do it. The reason why this one took so much longer is because we just decided to take our time in writing and recording it. We should have started it sooner, but we really just decided to take our time and try to make it as good as possible. We had the capability on this album, actually, to take our time. With the other albums, we were always rushed in some way, especially with Souls To Deny. Even on the self-titled we were able to take more time, but still not as much as we wanted. Blood Oath we took a decent amount of time, but still we were on a schedule. So with this album, they actually wanted us in the studio at the beginning of 2012 and have the album come out at the end of 2012. But, we basically told the label that we really wanted to take our time with this one, and write and arrange this whole year (2012) and record the end of 2012. They had no problem with it, but we get along with Nuclear Blast pretty well so we basically just took our time to try and make this the best.

Are you guys going on tour to support the album?

Yeah, it’s probably going to be in April. Just for the month of April. Then after that, we are looking to head to Europe. We have a lot of stuff happening this year, but nothing set in stone. We’ll be going back over to Europe for the festivals over the summer, and then another US tour possibly towards the end of the year. Then a South American tour and possibly Australia. But I mean it’s all in theory right now, the US tour is being booked.

When you are touring the US in April, do you know who you’ll be touring with?

There are a bunch of names I have heard, but nothing confirmed. So, I guess when that’s known we’ll let everyone know! But we are still working on the US tour right now, a lot of little thing yet to finish.

Are you doing a live DVD this year to go along with everything?

There’s not going to be a live DVD this year, I think. If there is going to be a live DVD, it’ll be after the DVD we have coming out called Legacy Of Violence, which is basically a documentary of stuff from the beginning to now. That’s been in the works for years, but we have a new guy now that  is going to continue working on it for us. Hopefully that will come out this year, so if we do a live DVD it will be after that. The guy that is going to be working on the Legacy of Violence DVD did the DVD for the making of Pinnacle of Bedlam in the studio, which it’s about an hour to and hour and twenty minutes long. That’s a pretty good one too. There are somewhat interviews on it, some personal information or stuff that personalizes what we do. Songwriting, recording, everything that we did while making Pinnacle is on that DVD. It’s pretty interesting, and it has some pretty funny parts on there too.

Now, how long have you been in Suffocation?

Since the band reformed in 2003. But I played with them back in 1989, for a short time, right around the time we were writing Catatonia, then I left to do a couple other bands (Pyrexia and Internal Bleeding) and they continued on with Suffocation. That is really when they become Suffocation, though. I’m glad everything worked out exactly the way that it did though.

Do you have any moments from the tours that stand out as being really memorable,
or just really cool?

I think all the touring is memorable. I mean, it’s like every tour had something going on with it, something memorable. Playing a lot of the big festivals in Europe, the American tours, are all memorable for me like crazy. I love photography, so when the band first reformed I would walk around with my camera out, and took like 3000 photos of each one of those tours. I’ve done all sorts of things, including video, so all I have to do is look back at them and say “Yeah I remember that so well.” So there’s a lot of cool stuff to tap into. A major thing that happened in 2012 was we got inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. It was pretty cool! I mean, it was for Long Island but if you look at some of the bands that have been inducted, you go holy cow I can’t believe we’re in that, you know? We are the only death metal band in it, and probably the only band that hasn’t gone gold (laughs) Bands in there have sold platinum and multi-platinum, so it’s pretty flattering.

I was just going to ask you about that. Were you present for the ceremony?

Yeah, actually every member, past and present, except for Josh since he lives in Australia (he was unable to make it), was there. We were all on stage together, and each of us actually received awards. Which was pretty cool that they recognize everybody.

Well, where did the name Suffocation come from?

It came from Frank, and I’m pretty sure he got it from the first Morbid Angel album Altars of Madness.

Do you have a favorite Suffocation album you still listen to?

It’s probably going to be the same ones that everybody says. Effigy and Pierced. I mean, I’m not on those, so of course I love them the most cos I get to look at them as a fan, as from a fans point of view you know? And I get to play them live. The songs we play off of Souls Deny are great too, but the production wasn’t that great. The songwriting and music were great. With Blood Oath everything was amazing on that album. With Effigy, for the old school feeling and the songwriting on it was intense, especially the song Brood of Hatred, it’s such a fun song to play. So yeah, I’d also have to say if it was something that I was on, it would be Pinnacle of Bedlam.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Shit, I don’t know. I think in five years my car will be paid off (laughs) It’s not even that expensive, it’s just hard to fucking pay bills and shit! But in ah, 5 years? I’d like to be doing some bigger tours, having my own photography business on the side, you know?. There’s no way I see us playing this stuff into our 60’s and 70’s (laughs) You know, I’m already 44 so I don’t know. . But then you look at Slayer and Metallica and they are like, 4 or 5 years older than me so I mean if they are still doing it, I know I can. I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of keeping everyone else together to do it. Honestly, if I can still be playing music and paying my bills, I mean if this band can make my life a little more comfortable at paying my bills, I’ll be doing this until I’m 70. If it gets worse, and I can’t pay my bills, I’ll have to do something different. I mean I love playing in the band, and we love touring and playing live, but if it ain't helping us live, then it’s kinda hard. I’d have to do something else to be living, which makes it even harder to play live. That’s kinda like where Frank is at right now. He’s got a good job, but he can’t take off that much time. But he takes off as much as he can for the band.

Do you have any side projects?

Suffocation is my main focus, but I have Pro Tools LE on my laptop, and I am always messing around with some home recording stuff. I have like a punk band kinda thing, and then I have a bunch of mellow acoustic shit that I have done, some other metal/death metal shit that I have done, just for fun. I also go fishing, and have my photography and video shit. I just filmed a movie called Cool As Hell. The writer/director is James Bolsamo, which is his third movie, and I was the director of photography. That actually just came out. We just got the DVD’s back the other day and sat down to watch it. I didn’t edit it, I just filmed it, and let him edit it, and he did a pretty good job. It looks pretty good so, it’s kinda watchable (laughs). It’s a B movie, slapstick horror kind of comedy. It was fun to do.

Cool! So do you have a Facebook page that you have some of your photography on?

Yeah I have a few Facebooks. I actually I have to look it up real quick; I actually don’t remember the addresses. Yep, it’s /vitigi.guy. That would be my photography one.

And lastly, what are the pages or websites for Suffocation?

Are main page, I mean OUR (laughs) main Facebook page is all we use; we actually got rid of the webpage and just use Facebook. So that’s basically all we use.

That’s all I have for you, and thank you so much for doing the interview today. We at Metal Temple appreciate it, and wish you guys nothing but the best on the road ahead.


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