Guitarist Ray Suhy is best known as the current guitarist for Cannabis Corpse and Six Feet Under, as well as ex-guitarist of East of the Wall, but he also has an impressive solo project that shows his talent for explosive instrumental songwriting.
Suhy’s new EP, Fulmination, is a diverse collection of songs from the guitarist.
Decibel caught up with Suhy to talk about his inspiration for Fulmination, expectations and managing his solo career on top of Cannabis Corpse and Six Feet Under. Stream the EP below and read on.
There are a variety of sounds on Fulmination. When you write a solo record, where do you draw inspiration from? How long did it take you to write Fulmination?
With Fulmination I wanted to combine a few different worlds. I’ve always loved instrumental metal guitar records. I grew up listening to all the 80’s Shrapnel Records guys. I wanted to combine that approach with riffs that were a little closer to Mastodon, Behemoth and Gojira as well as use the tonalities from jazz and fusion that I love.
I began writing the material that’s on the EP about 7 years ago. Some of the riffs were originally meant for my bands East Of The Wall and Colepitz but they just never stuck. I compiled them and started fleshing them out a couple of years ago. My goal was to take these riffs and craft heavy songs that could hold up as instrumentals and that also had some interesting melodies and solo sections. I struggled with this for a while because I didn’t want it to come off as too much of a wank fest. I wanted it to be intense and a good listen above all else.
You also play guitar in Six Feet Under and Cannabis Corpse. How do you manage a solo release between playing with those bands?
When I got the Cannabis Corpse gig, it definitely put Fulmination on hold. I had to learn their set for tour and then immediately when I got back home I started working on recording our new record, Left Hand Pass, which is coming out later this year. In the middle of working on Left Hand Pass, Chris Barnes wrote me asking if I wanted to join Six Feet Under. I couldn’t pass that up! I’ve always loved SFU and Chris’ vocals. So all of that good stuff pushed back my work on Fulmination by about a year. After the SFU tour last December, I decided to buckle down and finish this thing up.
19-year-old drummer Victor Montanaro recorded the drums for Fulmination. How did you meet Montanaro and how did he end up drumming on the EP?
Victor was a student of mine at Lakehouse Music Academy in Asbury Park, NJ. I immediately noticed that he had great technique and the ability to navigate shifting time signatures pretty effortlessly. I gave him rough demos of the songs and asked him to send me videos of him playing through his parts for the songs. I was blown away with what he sent me and I immediately booked studio time. I wanted the drums on the EP to be pummeling, precise and intricate and Victor really delivered in those regards. His part at the end of “Cess Pool” still blows me away every time I listen to it.
Do you feel any pressure to write music that sounds a certain way because of what people might expect from you based on your current and previous bands?
That’s a great question. I never try and write music to please anyone but myself. I might have an easier time if I did but it never feels genuine to me and never comes out as good as I’d like the times I’ve tried to do that. It works best for me in the writing process to never think of “is so and so is going to like this” or “what crowd is going to like this the best.” As soon as those thoughts creep in, everything shuts down for me. In my opinion, it’s always best for a musician or artist to go with what excites them the most and completely disregard what other people’s opinions of it might be.
Fulmination comes out June 16 on Cessation Engine Records. You can find it here.