Exclusive Interview: Suffer No Fools talk “We Die As We Live”!
To accompany our review of their sophomore album “We Die As We Live“, we spoke to vocalist and guitarist Ali Khan and bassist Alex Bain about all things Suffer No Fools and their answers to our questions are as great at the album itself. Which is pretty damn amazing, if you like a face melting solo and some vocal harmonies delivered with high octane enthusiasm…
For obvious reasons, your name Suffer No Fools reminds us of Mr T from the classic 80’s series “The A Team“, which may or may not have influenced the Power Trip song “Suffer No Fool“. But from where did you get the name?
Alex: It’s just a creed to live by: don’t suffer fools. If someone is wasting your time and/or energy don’t let them, just walk on by. It’s an attitude that we’ve adopted as a band, we don’t have patience for time-wasters or people who might cause more problems than are needed in day to day life. Theres enough sh*t going on in the world without giving your energy to negative people, you don’t need those in your life.
How does it feel to finally get this second album out there? It’s clear that a lot of time and effort has been put into it to make it sound great, so you must be immensely proud of it?
Alex: It feels great, it’s long overdue. With the current situation it’s a great opportunity to sit down and really listen to new music, it’s certainly something that I have enjoyed doing while being inside. We are very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve without the backing of any labels or support companies, the music speaks for itself, but we are glad that all the reviews we have received so far have been overwhelmingly positive.
Ali: We certainly are proud of the work we have put into We Die As We Live. It has not only been the music side of it but this album has brought the band much closer together due to the fact that its a collaborative effort from all of us. Personally speaking this album has been my best work so far in terms of vocal melodies, lyrics writing and guitar solos/melodies. I can’t wait for the metal community to hear what Suffer No Fools has been up to since the last record came out and believe me, you will be delighted to hear what is on there.
What was it like working with Joe Lyndon, who handled mixing and mastering as well as recording of the drums on the record?
Alex:Joe is a long time friend of mine, so working with him was a pleasure. Joe’s approach to recording drums, and his mixing/mastering of the album was exactly what I was expecting it to be: professional. The attitude he had towards the whole process was fantastic, he was really the one who instigated the relationship between him and the band, he had an eagerness to work with us on this album that was awesome. I think there was also a mutual respect between the band and Joe, his level of professionalism was, in my opinion, matched by the band as a whole, something that I’m sure Joe will attest to. There’s been far too many situations in the past, wether it was with promoters, musicians, or whatever, where there has been a certain level of apathy and carelessness in dealing with situations which require professionalism. We didn’t have any of that working together which was a breath of fresh air.
As a band, even listening to your previous records we have felt that you’re ones that wear your influences on your collective sleeves. As a group have you ever had any arguments about parts sounding too much like an influence?
Ali: There’s has not been any arguments from my side when it comes down to our music sounding too much like an influence. I think we all have a distinct way when it comes to music composition. It’s true we have our own individual influences and there might be times when you can hear them on the new album but it’s got a SNF twist to it which makes it a lot better and relatable. All good bands in history have had influences and those influences have helped them come up with anthems that audiences sing along to now. I think with our music writing ability which is backed by our individual influences and bringing it all together under one flag, we have been able to find our own sound.
Listening to the album it’s really obvious how important the vocal harmony aspects with different voices are to your bands sound and how they really help to set Suffer No Fools apart. When you were writing the record did you have to tone anything down or pear anything back in order to get balance into any of the material?
Ali: I came up with the vocal harmonies and I am a big fan of harmonies in general. I love hearing a good harmony wether it be on a guitar or done vocally. The Hotel California outro guitar solo is a prime example. This time around I applied the idea to the vocal melodies in We Die As We Live. A little inside info, I composed the vocal melody and harmonies for the song ‘I Am Reality’ entirely on a guitar. I have a good ability to come up with harmonies in a very short amount of time with less effort involved so I think it’s a good thing to have, as you said it sets us apart from other bands. In my opinion there is not a lot of singing going on these days these days with new bands, which has taken a bit away from metal as the metal genre has always been supported by good vocals, Judas Priest anyone?
Which songs are you most looking forward to playing live? We really enjoyed the Alice In Chains overtones of “Six Feet Deep“!
Ali:Ah That is definitely a compliment. I am looking forward to play ‘Survive’, it’s got a very upbeat vibe to it. Also ‘Nothing To Fear’ awesome song, awesome feel, strong and steady tempo. It will be fun to play that live to an audience because surely they will enjoy it as much as we will playing it.
Alex: For me it’s ‘Liar’ as it will test the durability of all of our right hands with its non stop thrash riff!
There are no guest appearances on “We Live As We Die” so if the opportunity arose for someone to lay down a guest guitar solo or vocal for future material, who would you put up to the task?
Ali: Fantasy based Answers:
For guitar solo, Richie Faulkner from Judas Priest or the legend himself Michael Schenker !
For vocals Till Lindemann from Rammstein
Alex: We’ve collaborated a couple of times with other bands we are friends with, Tom from Bad Frankenhausen played a solo on our Children of the Grave cover and Joe from Dorylus did some vocals on a cover which we may or may not release at some point in the near future. I’m up for collaborating with either of those guys again.
We could quite easily see you playing live with the likes of The Raven Age or Bullet For My Valentine on a European tour trek so if the opportunity arose, which countries would you like to play in and with who?
Alex: We are always eager to play shows wherever we can, it’s always great to get in front of new potential audiences that will enjoy our music. I wouldn’t want to overstep our place so it would be great to play with bands at our level or ever so slightly above us, having said that there’s a ton of bands that we are friends with that I know we would have a riot playing a tour with, bands like Bad Frankenhausen for example. As for where we would play, that’s a tough one, I think the Scandinavian countries would be great as there’s a long cultural tradition of metal bands coming from out of there and making a big impact. Germany too for the same reason!
“We Die As We Live” by Suffer No Fools is out now! You can pick up the release here while their merch is here.