INTO THE BLEAK: SUICIDE VIRUS Q&A

“You will hear no E-chord chuggy breakdowns. Nor will you hear superior shreddery. The Suicide Virus is about feeling whether it be dissonant, hate-filled sonic violence or slow, dreary melancholy…”. So proclaims the unholy amalgamation of extreme metal that is The Suicide Virus, a hellish 1 man project from Cheyenne, Wyoming. ZT recently spoke to mastermind Than Wilson (ex-Deadspeak, Dethroned) about insomnia, genre morphing, and the band’s new album…

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ZT: You’re the sole member of the Suicide Virus – is this due to necessity or because you wanted to do things your own way and maintain a purity of vision? Would you ever consider adding members or do you prefer handling everything?

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TW: The Suicide Virus was started as an outlet for me to write music that might not have been appropriate for any band I was currently involved with, but something I didn’t want to just let die. It wasn’t a purity factor as much as it was a way to pay homage to some of the other music I enjoy. It is a graveyard for dead riffs. I would say that the new material is much more of a pure vision; from the overall sound, art and general theme. I kept the name around mainly because nothing was
ever released so the name never had a sound attached to it. When Deadspeak disbanded, I decided to actually release something myself as I have been playing music for 20 years now and I can’t fathom not doing so. I didn’t want to just join a new band or start from scratch really so I figured I would do this unless/until I found the right people. I would not be opposed to having other musicians as long as they shared my vision.

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ZT: Being a multi instrumentalist, are you self taught?

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TW: Yes. I’ve had friends and band mates that I have played with who have helped me grow as a musician immensely but no proper training.

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ZT: How does being the sole member influence/affect your music?

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TW: Probably so because there is no other direct influence on my playing.  I am only writing for myself.

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ZT: How does the Suicide Virus differ from Deadspeak and Dethroned? Was it a conscious decision to have your own band, separate from the others?

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TW: As of this time, neither band exists anymore. Dethroned was, at the time of the split with Excommunion, more of Christbutcher’s [vocals/guitars] writing, aside from a couple riffs. The newer material included more of my riffs, however, after disbanding I used some of the riffs from Deadspeak, as did the other members with their respected bands. With Deadspeak, we were five people with similar but not the same tastes and that is reflected in the music. The Suicide Virus generally has more of a blackened death metal direction, not unlike Dethroned, but more so than Deadspeak. As far as being a conscious decision, I think it was. I have always liked having outlets, other than what I was currently doing.

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ZT: What influences the Suicide Virus’ music and visuals? What role does “insomnia and a healthy dose of ADD” play in influencing you?

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TW: When I can’t sleep, I create. I generally can’t sleep due to the fact that my brain never shuts down. I constantly have the urge to be doing something, be it music or art, therefore most of my writing is done while sleep deprived.

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ZT: You’ve “morphed from grind to black metal to funeral doom and everything in between”. Is this reflective of your personality, or a desire to not be restricted by genre?

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TW: I would say it is a little of both. I truly enjoy a lot of extreme music and generally when I hear something that I am inspired by, I try to include it into the mix. You will never hear any non-metal elements sneak into The Suicide Virus. I just like creating and like to explore different genres and make them my own.

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ZT: Tell us about how important feeling is in your sound, and the appeal of “slow, dreary melancholy” over breakdowns, for instance…

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TW: I just prefer that type of writing style. Like any subculture, you have to dig to find the good music. I would rather align myself with people like that versus the new wave of garbage death-core and hipster bullshit.

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ZT: What are the concepts/themes of the Suicide Virus? Can you give us an insight into the lyrics?

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TW: Lyrically, it is very bleak. Mainly anti-religious and anti-human sentiment as well as fucked up things that have happened around me; suicide, murder, and death in general. The concepts follow the lyrical theme.

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ZT: Do you do all the artwork/design for the Suicide Virus? Tell us about the work you also do with tattoos, graphic art, shirts, logos…

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TW: Yes, I design everything. I am a tattoo artist of 14 years and am fortunate to have a job as great as I do. I also print t-shirts upon occasion and do art for other bands when I have time.

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ZT: How do you think ‘World Slaughter’ was received? Why did you decide to self-release it?

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TW: I’ve had good feedback thus far. I self released ‘World Slaughter’ mainly just to put it out. It’s not something I was trying to get mass recognition for. There are only 300 copies in existence and I’ll keep it that way.

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ZT: The new album is called ‘The Bellowing Death’, right? How is recording coming along? What was writing for it like? Where/how are you recording it?

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TW: I’ve actually decided to title the album ‘Exalting Godless Sacrament’. It fits the darker theme of the album much better. Recording is almost complete. I’m going through and adding some atmosphere and getting a couple of guest vocal parts done. The artwork is nearing completion as well. Last album was pretty simple, in terms of packaging. Since it is a much more focused album and more thought out, I wanted to create artwork that reflected that as well. I’m recording it myself again, the last album was the first real recording I’ve ever done, aside from shitty 4-track stuff or digital 8 track recordings. I traded in a bunch of unused gear and got a basic studio set up. Its not a pro set up by any means but I enjoy doing it so fuck it.

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ZT: When can we expect it out? Will you release it independently again or seek a label?

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TW: The album should be out closer to the end of the year. I plan on releasing a limited vinyl version of it, followed by a CD version. If someone shows interest in releasing it, I wouldn’t be against the idea.

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ZT: Christbutcher of Maveth/Cryptborn features on the new album. How did this come about? Why did you choose him in particular? Will you still be doing vocals too?

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TW: He is actually only doing a guest vocal track. We have been friends for years. Deadspeak were big fans of Excommunion and asked if he would guest on one of our tracks. Shortly after his guest appearance, I was asked to join Dethroned. Aside from being friends, I truly think he has some of the mightiest vocals ever. Not to mention that Maveth and Cryptborn are 2 of the best bands out now. He also guested on the track “Worldslaughter” from the last release.

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ZT: Lastly, tell us what the metal scene is like in Cheyenne and feel free to give us any closing words.

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TW: The metal scene in Cheyenne is strange. It goes through stages. Sometimes good but lately seems to be dwindling a bit, as far as shows are concerned. We are fortunate to have a great record store, Ernie November, that hosts free shows.  They also carry everything popular chains will not, including a great death and black metal selection. There are a handful of really good metal bands in the area like 666 Pack and Condemned Remains, which both include former members of Deadspeak and Dethroned. PlagueHammer, Reproacher and Incinerated are also local bands I support.
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Thank you for taking interest in The Suicide Virus. Be on the lookout for the new album ‘Exalting Godless Sacrament’!

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Check out The Suicide Virus HERE

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