Terrance Hobbs - Suffocation

How is the tour going so far and what is it like to be on the road with Nile?

Well the shows with Nile have been great so far. We've had pretty good attendances, the people have been really receptive and all the guys in Nile are super cool dudes and really awesome players. Basically how it came about was just our management had been talking to their management and something just happened to pan out where they had a new release and obviously its later for us now after the release of 'Pinnacle of Bedlam' but with their new release and we were wanting to do some more tours. We had already covered a lot of the world like Australia, New Zealand, South America and the States so we hadn't really hit Europe and we weren't doing the festival season in Europe this year so it seemed like a good idea for us to just team up and go out do Europe with them for the release of their new record.

Obviously there were few festival shows for you this summer in Europe but is that something we can expect next year along with a new album perhaps?

Next year will be more of the festival stuff for us I guess. We're actually working on a new record now but its still a little bit premature for the public lets say but I can tell you that the material is really really good, we're really proud of what we are putting together right now but were looking at getting the new Suffocation release out around the middle of 2016 so lets hope that were not out on the road too much as it will take away the time needed for us the get the record to you guys.

'Pinnacle of Bedlam' is one of my favourite releases of yours so would you say the new record would be a continuation of that album or is it something completely different?

I feel in an overall sense that Pinnacle of Bedlam was kind of like a bit of 'Pierced from Within' and 'Despise the Sun' style you know what i mean. Really, all the records to me are about as equally as technically diverse to each other. Especially in like stamina areas, its just technical guitar solos but I think 'Pinnacle' was put together better than those earlier records like more time was taken on the vocal aspect, more time was taken on the just trying to make things more melodically and also the production value and so on and so forth. To me if it was a 1-10 rating I'd give it an 8 with 10 always being that unachievable number that you never get but everyone else can say what they think it is but to me in hind sight when you listen to it for a year or two or three your like 'oh fuck I should have done that there' or 'oh shit I should have done that there, we should have done that riff there but it wasn't written yet' so its always like that you know but I think its a pretty solid record. Hopefully it will withstand the test of time and in 20 years time people will go that was a pretty sick record.

So you give a personal rating of 8 to Pinnacle so what gets a higher rating than that then?

I mean I'm just trying to work on a 9 you know what I mean so I still need some time because that album would probably be out already.

Are there any songs that you kind of dread playing live due to the technical aspect of the song?

For the live aspect its pretty gruelling just from beginning to end so it doesn't really matter. We normally just open up with 'Thrones of Blood' just because its one of those songs that people can just grasp on and it also gives the sound engineer a minute to dial us in because its always the worse on the first song you know. After that its pretty much just blinding pure hatred so as far as the technical aspect goes its pretty much technical the whole entire time so I never really look at it that way but yeah theres certain parts in the set and certain bits from 'Pierced from Within', 'Liege of Inveracity' songs of that nature and even 'As Grace Descends' from Pinnacle has its fair share of technical parts. We really just try to make sure we bring a powerful set to everybody and hit the bases with the records as much as possible.

So is Frank currently back on vocal duty and will he be permanently back in the band anytime soon?

Unfortunately Frank isn't with us on this tour but he is still with us so I have six members in the band just so that everybody knows but basically what it is is that Frank has a lot on his plate with his job. He's been doing this job many years and he recently got a promotion and its very hard for him to get time off. I mean he still gets weekends off here and there and those times we get him to fly out to do some shows with us or to do something more local but the reason he's not over here in Europe, you guys haven't seen him for the last 3 trips over here over, is because he doesn't have the time to come over here and do this. Its not because its anything personal, we are all friends and its the best it can possibly be but we have Ricky Myers who plays drums and is actually the main man of the band called Disgorge from California. He's a really good friend of ours who we've been on tour with a few times and he is a really great musician. Frank happened to hear him do a cover of one of our songs and Frank actually thought it was himself. He was like 'what is this, an old pre production or a live show we did or something' and we were like no this is Ricky so he said 'you guys have gotta grab this guy. Grab him now because you know I can't do the tour'. We were like ok thats what we will do so we asked him to come and Ricky was eager to do it. It kinda fell into place for him as before he was the drummer in Disgorge he wanted to do vocals. He's done a really good job for us. Don't worry about Frank though. he's gotta do what he's gotta do and you will see him here and there somewhere along the line.

So going back to the whole writing and recording process that your currently going through, is Frank involved in that still?

Yeah absolutely. Frank and Ricky will both be fully involved in this next endeavour we do so it should be a treat for you guys.

Are things still going strong within the band since your reforming back in 2003? Would you say things are better than ever?

Well I think now that we're a little bit older and after that hiatus I figure some people are really driven to just do it and some of us have other thing s on their plate that they are committed to and as far as the fan base and everything like that then I think its pretty good. Everything's been really consistent. Us die hard metal heads are the most devoted mother fuckers out there and thats just the way it is. Its supporting everything out there from spotify, to your local cable channel and thats because the fans support the bands, they go out and buy the records, they come and support the shows and sometimes you have got to take the good with the bad. There might be crappy shows but you still play them and then theres other shows that are really fantastic like us being on tour with Nile and the majority of these shows have been really good. Even the smaller venues have been off the fucking wall and it just goes to show me that you have to spend a lot more time actually playing and being out in front of the public before you can play those bigger shows. You know if these new bands aren't going to stay together as a unit like this one is banging this ones girlfriend and that all becomes a big issue then I don't think you should really go and get involved in playing in death metal too much. Other than that its something that I really love, people appreciate it and you keep your integrity throughout the years and you just keep bringing heavy shit

Does it make you proud that you were a part of the original death metal scene?

Yeah to a certain extent. I mean, there were a lot of thrash bands and thing s like that that were out before us so to me thrashers just didn't have the same technology as us and the knowledge that people have nowadays especially in the drum department. Drumming from 1980 up until now has gone on leaps and bounds and now its just like a ridiculous thing. I'm actually very proud to be a part of it to some degree but I still always look back to the greats like Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Dio and Iron Maiden of course who are still withstanding the course of time so fucking metal to those dudes, fucking sick so I'm pretty happy to be a part of that underground scene and I'm glad that I'm still chugging away and that I'm still alive to be a part of it

How does it differ today compared to 20 years ago? Would you say its in a more positive place now?

Yeah I'd say its in a more of a positive place now. As time has gone on, new styles of metal have progressed out there like metal core and stuff, you know god forbid I don't listen to that stuff much but its still keeping kids interested in that heavy metal edge aspect to it so for that I can't take anything away from it and its still bringing new, younger kids into the fold of metal and the old school metal that were and others are doing. It really does have its up when you look at these new festivals that come out like Soundwave for example down in Australia, it showcases a trillion bands and like Wacken, Hellfest which is killer out here man, I love it. It's doing really well so with all these festivals going on  all the people here in Europe keep it going strong for metal. I think its still pretty consistent. In the club circuit a lot of bands have a hard time and its hard to make ends meet, its just like saying goes 'you've got a musician with $5000 of equipment in a $500 car to go to a show to make 50 bucks. Thats really whats going on out there so I'm pretty fortunate to be on tour with these guys and have to experiences that I've had.

You mentioned the European festival and I know all bands love the festivals but how do you feel about the festival scene in America? Obviously there has been a lot of talk recently regarding the Mayhem Festival.

It's pretty shitty in the States. You know the talk about Mayhem Festival with one person saying this and one person saying that. Well I have to give it up to Jungle Rot because those are my boys no matter what and I love them and of course I love Slayer too but its really just a matter of organising a festival where its just going to cover all the aspects. You can't be putting down a Victory stage thats paying to be on that festival and showcasing a lot of bands and those tents are fully packed and selling tons of  mercy and shit like that, you can't place blame on those guys and thats kind of a shitty aspect to it but I think Maryland Deathfest, if you guys ever want to go to a festival in the states then there it is, Maryland Deathfest has been going great and I think they are on there 14th one now. I've been fortunate enough to play the first one, the third one, the fifth one even last year so its really growing and its a really intimate festival, its not a festival that has 20'000 people at it, its probably got 8 or 9000 people there at most and their bringing over all the heavy bands that they can to the states so I have to give it up to them for that. Knot Fest is a pretty cool festival, Housecore of Horror Festival is very good with an amazing line up which is going to be very cool, New England Hardcore Festival has always been a good staple there but these festivals are kind of pale in comparison to things like Graspop, Hellfest, Wacken, Party San even Brutal Assault is rocking which is an amazing festival and I think us americans could really take a lesson from like the way its marketed over here to what how it could be over there and somebody just do it. Other than that though its really just the club circuit for us, its good that Maryland Deathfest are starting to do things over here and that Obscene Extreme is reaching out us to us in the States now which is a great festival as well. Bloodstock is killer as well man you know we played at 12 in the afternoon and I watched people come crawling out of their tents, everyone had a hangover, it was awesome. That shit was dope.

Out of all the other original death metal bands that started around the same time as you, which one would you like to have been a part of if you weren't in Suffocation?

I really couldn't tell you that but I've played with so may different bands and musicians from Long Island its kinda like a blur now but I'd probably be playing with Pyrexia or maybe Internal Bleeding but theres tons of bands I like so I'd probably been in Mortician too, Theres been so many bands that we've been associated with over the years whether we've played with them, rehearsed with them, shared a recording studio, grown up together, went to the nearest rock and roll festival at a local high school together so theres tons of musicians but I do know this, it would be metal. It would totally be fucking metal and theres no doubt about it.

Well its been great to talk man and thanks for taking time out on this awesome tour to speak to me.

As long as you guys enjoy it, I hope to see all you guys out here at our shows and smoke weed everyday.