Suffer In Your Jocks

31 May 2012 | 8:45 am | Simon Holland

Striking while the iron is hot comes naturally to Christopher Arias-Real, bassist for Australian deathcore outfit Make Them Suffer, a band on the verge of a career-defining national tour. Simon Holland examines the band’s approach to cracking the big time.

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"It does suck coming back to reality,” Arias-Real admits from the stiff-collared confines of his nine-to-five office job. Fresh from recording their first full-length album, doing multiple tours, making a killer music video and the process of ramping up for a hectic national tour, he may be forgiven for finding the mundane interior and pallid lighting of an office a little dull. “You have a tour filled with amazing shows, really connect with the crowd, you don't want it to end, it's an indescribable feeling. It's all we really think about. Everyone in the band thinks the same thing, all really focused and focused on achieving our goals with the band. I guess in a way working is just a means to an end really, it just helps us fund our dreams.

That statement alone sums up the drive and intensity with which Perth deathcore outfit Make Them Suffer approach their craft. There's work and then there's work. The multitudes of alarm-clock-driven days blur together like a zombified sub-reality that melds into the blazing shows for which the band have become known. Breaking all kinds of ground, they're set for big things, the vanilla day-walking set for an end.

“I'd love for it to turn out that way,” Arias-Real admits. “I mean it all really depends on how the album does for us, I mean it's all really in the air. If it were to turn out that the band was generating enough money to support itself, that'd be fantastic, for us to just live, not necessarily off it, but live off it so we could tour consistently and just focus purely on music. It'd be amazing to do that. Hopefully, if it all works out, then maybe that might come from it, but we just gotta keep pushing. There's a lot of work to do.”

The Make Them Suffer work ethic is relentless. Their first full-length album, Neverbloom, has just seen release and marks a new level in the development of the band's sound. The addition of some clean vocals and carefully planned song temperament builds towards a monumental release. “In terms of the overall sound of the album, we've still kept the real core sound of it. The biggest thing we've done is we've opened a lot more doors with our sound. We've changed the song structures a little bit, tried to write some different types of songs, not so much different, just, particular influences shine through more in particular songs. One big difference I think that people will find is that although we've always been renowned for having songs that are like, five or six minutes long – blast beats, fast riffing, breakdowns and all the rest – with the album we've really tried to change it up a bit and have some songs that are a bit shorter, a bit more melodic or heavier. We've just really tried to grow as a band and to try and showcase it through the album as much as we could. Even the faster songs we have on there, even between them there are things that make them stand out amongst each other. We've made them all their own entity.

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The release of the album is reinforced by a particularly awesome music video. To a generation bred on social media and online content, the clip has proven liquid gold with a shade over 90,000 views in under two months and covers already spawning. The importance of such material is not overlooked by the media-savvy members of Make Them Suffer.

“It was a pretty awesome experience. A good friend of our vocalist, named Joe Henderson filmed the video with his crew; he's actually a uni student studying Film. That was his first attempt at a music video, but honestly, we were blown away by how it came out, totally blew our expectations out of the water. He's so amazing to work with, as well. It was pretty gruelling, the band shots in particular. We did the band shots in one night, at the Fremantle Town Hall. We played that track probably ten times in a row. The song goes for like, six and a half minutes, so you can imagine, it's pretty exhausting but definitely a fun experience.”

The tour is set to blitz anything the band have attempted before. With sleepless nights now down to single digits, Arias-Real speaks quickly with evident enthusiasm. “This is gonna be our first headline tour and it will be our fourth tour, fourth time going over, so we're pretty excited. We're pretty nervous, too. I mean, headlining is pretty intimidating, especially with how things go off the album. The schedule's a lot more off and on than any of the tours we've done. I think there's only two or three days off in the whole three weeks. So there's one particular run where it's like, seven or eight shows in a row. That's gonna be interesting to see how we go. But I think we'll adapt to it pretty well.”

The operative word there is adapt. In a world ruled by survival of the fittest, the band has had a few close calls with the gods of chaos. Crashing the band's van is perhaps an event they'd like to avoid for the next tour. “We had two accidents actually,” Arias-Real admits sheepishly, quickly adding “The weather played a big part in that. It was terrible weather in Sydney at the time. We just slipped on the road and, running into a light post just on the side of the van, nearly pulled off half the door. We were broke after having to pay for that. It came at such a bad time for us on the tour. Pretty much all the money we ever made up until that point we had to put into van repairs. The worst part about it was we had just spent all that, and then taking the van back from the repair shop, it was crashed again. So it just seemed like we seem to have these uncanny things happen to us on tour.

“It does bring us closer together, makes us all there for each other – hard times. You can very easily take out your frustrations on each other, and it happens. I don't regret that those things happened. I look back and I laugh; I think it's funny now. At the time it wasn't funny. I think we can all look back and laugh and all say that we're a lot closer now having experienced that. It also makes us prepared, if anything like that happens in the future, we know… We know now to be extra careful.”