Suicide Silence Guitarist on Gatekeeping: It ‘Makes The Scene Stronger’

Mark Heylmum: Tilly antoine, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons
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Suicide Silence guitarist Mark Heylmum believes “gatekeeping makes the scene stronger.” Of course, there is a little extra context to be aware of in regard to this statement.

It was during a recent conversation with where Heylmum expressed his “hot take” about gatekeeping. Regarding his beliefs about the matter, Heylmum feels that the “conversation” that gatekeeping generates serves to make “scenes stronger.”

Prior to sharing this take, the guitarist speaks about how, during their earlier days, Suicide Silence was an odd duck of sorts in a crowd of metalcore and death metal bands. Speaking about what it was like coming up among other big bands, Heylmum shares the following:

“Where we’re from, there was the Orange County scene, with AtreyuAvenged Sevenfold and Bleeding Through. They didn’t like us and we felt like we had to not like them back. It was adversarial but, when you’re in Baton Rouge and playing to 450 people on a Wednesday night, you’re like, ‘Fuck them! It doesn’t matter.’”

The Suicide Silence guitarist goes on to add the following:

“We didn’t look ‘death metal’ enough either, and our breakdowns weren’t really things that death metalheads wanted to hear. That was the linchpin of all the heckling that happened when we toured with Nile, Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse. We did all those tours and that’s what you’d hear: people talking shit about your breakdowns.”

It is after talking about the heckling the band received that Heylmum goes on to express why he thinks gatekeeping “makes the scene stronger.” Per the guitarist:

“My hot take is that gatekeeping makes the scene stronger. I know that that sounds weird but – if you don’t have people talking shit and saying, ‘This isn’t this or that’ – you don’t have the other side saying, ‘Yes it is!’ or ‘Fuck you for even saying that!’ It creates the conversation that makes scenes stronger. I’ve seen that since I was young and I’ve been a part of that.”

What do you make of Mark Heylmum’s points about gatekeeping? Do you agree, or do you think gatekeeping is a negative thing flat out?

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