SUICIDE SILENCE guitarist Mark Heylmun opened up about his political views during a lengthy interview with Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast. The 32-year-old musician, who replaced SUICIDE SILENCE's original lead guitarist Rick Ash in 2005, said that many people put too much emphasis on the world's political affairs when their everyday lives are not drastically altered by living in a time of historically anomalous politics.
"I just think it's such a strange thing that people concern themselves with world politics, when it's, like, really, how much does the leader of any country bother you or really affect you at all?" he said (hear audio below). "If anything, it's up to you how much you decide they affect you, because they're not doing anything to you directly. Your local politics, whoever your fucking city councilman, they have more effect on you."
He continued: "When it comes to music, people need to pay attention to the art in general, 'cause the arts are what is affecting the world on a grand scale. The artists and what they are doing, as they've always been the ones that are starting the grassroots movement of everything. These massive fucking political parties and whatever, they need the endorsements by the artists to get the votes and stuff like that. It's a strange push-pull that we have, where we think that the governments have a massive effect on us, but they don't."
Heylmun also touched upon Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose work and movement have done much to raise the issue of climate change at the highest political level. But the 17-year-old also stirs up derision and scorn among those who see her as a mere puppet of eco-evangelism.
"It's unfortunate that the influence that that has, too, on a global scale, 'cause then you just get the younger and younger people that are — again, like we are discussing — being concerned about things that they shouldn't be concerned about, because it really isn't affecting them directly," Mark opined. "Whether or not Greta is — I don't wanna say that she is being told what to say, 'cause I don't know the truth. But I read some of it, or [liberal billionaire] George Soros, and who's funding some of these things, and I don't know the truth. I don't think anybody knows the truth, and when someone's trying to tell you that they do know the truth, usually you should just [run the other way]. But it's unfortunate, because it feels as though she is influencing the youth to have a certain stance, and when the youth has a voice to say certain things, it's tugging at a certain emotional state of the world. And we shouldn't be exploiting the youth to get messages out."
The guitarist added: "Everything is at an extreme, and it always will be at an extreme. People talk about the future, but there is no future — there is right now. We're living in the future, and if you don't really realize that, I think you're kind of blind to it. We're living in some strange, strange times, and there's no telling what really is gonna happen."
Mark went on to promote the the narrative that America is divided between the red states and the blue states, mainly the coastal areas versus the large hinterland, the urban educated with higher-paying jobs against those in the heartland with lower-paying blue-collar jobs.
"Traveling throughout America, dare I say it feels like we are not one country," he said. "It feels like there's such a divide in the kinds of people that we have. And I don't wanna bash the Bible Belt, or the middle of America, but the difference between them and the people on the coasts — that's where all the blue is, and there's a massive divide, and that's where [Donald] Trump wins. It's just a different spot. I don't know how else to put it. It feels different. Same with Texas. I feel like Texas could be its own freakin' country."
Saying that he is "all for" Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist candidate competing in the Democratic primaries, Heylmun predicted: "I think if Bernie can take this one, that's gonna change, I think, the viewpoint of how people are looking at the United States, 'cause right now we're out of it, dude."
Heylmun also weighed in on the widespread belief that much in the 2020 political environment and in Trump's campaign tactics point toward a replay of his upset victory.
"Well, anybody is better than Trump," Mark said. "That's pretty much how it's gonna go. And if Trump wins again, I very well could just leave America."
According to Heylmun, Trump's 2016 victory and possible re-election could be the start of a new era of celebrity politics in America.
"It's only get weirder, dude," he said. "You've seen 'Idiocracy'," referring to director and co-writer Mike Judge's 2006 science-fiction satire, which depicts two time travelers who arrive in a future U.S. where everyone has become stupid and anti-intellectual, corporations own the government, and the president is a foul-mouthed populist. "We really living in that sort of era. And I wouldn't doubt that Trump's influence on celebrities… I almost feel like more celebrities are gonna be running for president in the next decade."
SUICIDE SILENCE's sixth studio album, "Become The Hunter", will be released on February 14 via Nuclear Blast.