In a double barrelled feature, Room Thirteen talks to Matt Zane and Sin from Society 1 about their awesome performance at Download 2005 and to Steve Joyner and Joseph Saunders; the men behind Matt Zane's amazing suspension performance.

Society 1 first rose to notoriety in 1999; Matt Zane (Lead Vocalist) and Sin (Guitarist/Pyrotechnic) talk to Room Thirteen just after their performance at Download 2005.

Room Thirteen: Having just played the main stage were you surprised at how many people attended your performance?
Matt Zane: Honestly, yes. Initially there were about 8,000 people but people just started running to the stage area as we started to perform. Everybody was quite shocked and basically questioning whether we were actually going to perform what we had promised. When I was first raised up, I was stationary for about two minutes. After that we just went for it and swung all over the stage. People were like "Oh my God I cant actually believe that this is happening". I donít blame them because this has never been done before.

R13: Some people may think that this is all just a gimmick to attract crowds to your performances. Do you think that the suspension does detract from your music?
MZ: Everything detracts from your music if you do anything other than just stand there and play your instruments. Van Halen were great musicians but they did splits and jumped around and went crazy. Kiss were all about mixing their performance with their music and that is where we come from. Does it detract from the music? Yeah! Is it a big gimmick? Yeah! But life is a big gimmick. Its just so happens that our gimmick is so much bigger and more extreme than everyone else's, so people tend to take notice.

R13: I believe there was a world record you were trying to break. What exactly was this record?
MZ: We actually broke two records today. The first was most attended suspension in history (approx 20000 when they exited the stage) and the second was the longest sung set in front of that many people. There was also the fact that I did it with four hooks. Normally I do it with six.
R13: What made you change from six hooks to just the four you used today?
MZ: When we first announced we were doing this there was a lot of people who were saying "Oh I've a performance artist hang with one hook for a minute". So we thought right ok we will take off two of the hooks and try it with just four that way no one will be able to try it!

R13: This might be a really obvious question but did it hurt?
MZ: Of course it did. Everyone thinks that the pain goes away and it becomes numb but it doesnít. When you go up your adrenalin disappears and it starts digging into your flesh more. Your ribs hurt along with the connective tissue and I was swinging around pretty violently today. Its bleeding now and probably will continue to do so for the next fifteen hours and it will take about a month to heal. Unfortunately we go back to the States tomorrow and go back on tour on Tuesday.

R13: Is this something you try to incorporate into all your performances or do you just save it for the big shows?
SIN: We try to do this just once a year as it takes that amount of time for Zane to recover and therefore we like to save it for a special show. We figured that you cant really top Download so this would be the place to do it.

R13: If people missed this show when can your fans next expect to see a suspension performance?
MZ: I donít really know as it depends on what offers come in. Download were good enough to let us do it here. We're not even opposed to doing it here again next year.

CoRE (Constructs of Ritual Evolution) uses live music, dance, acrobatics and body modification to paint a vivid image for its audience. Room Thirteen caught up with Steve Joyner (Director and Executive Producer) and Joseph Saunders (Make Up Artist and Piercer) to talk about the preparation and technical requirements required to perform a four hook suspension as seen at Download 2005.

Room Thirteen: How long have you been involved in suspensions?
Steve Joyner: We have both been involved in suspensions for just under ten years.

R13: Please could you explain the sort of preparation that goes into a four hook suspension such as the one seen performed by Matt Zane in the Society 1 Performance?
SJ: There are many different levels to there is the preparation the individual performer have to complete and there is the preparation that us the piercers have to complete in order to put the hooks into the performers back. There is also the rigging of the stage that also has to be taken into consideration. This all crosses over too so we, the piercers, are closely linked to the individual performer and the stage hands. You have to know exactly what you're dealing with. The Main stage is a very large stage with a lot of height. We had to know rigging wise what we were dealing with, and we also had to know exactly what Zane wanted to achieve with his performance.

R13: Is there a guide to exactly how few hooks could be used in a performance?
SJ: There's a weight to hook ratio that means if the performer is less than 200lbs he can go on up on four hooks or more. You do see people going up on two hooks but for shorter periods of time. Zane's four hook performance was very extreme.

R13: What sort of safety precautions did you have to take?
SJ: From knowing how to put puncture wounds into the body to knowing whether Zane had drunk alcohol the night before. Both Joseph and myself are safety people and we are there before, during and after the performance. There are so many things we have to check but least of all that the flesh is not tearing, the wound is not opening and the rigging is correctly situated. As all our training has been done in America and our certificates are not officially recognised, there are also paramedics on stage with us who are fully trained. Our biggest worry is in actual fact the weather. If he gets too cold then he could go into hypothermia.

R13: Does it take a special relationship between yourselves and Matt Zane to allow such a performance to take place?
SJ: Yes, Joseph and myself were both onstage with him throughout. There does need to be a bond and with the meditation that he's been doing he would only allow a select few into his circle. After he's pierced only Joseph and myself actually talk to him.

R13: World-wide is this a trend that a lot of people follow or are there only the select few who have the determination and the will power to be able to complete a performance such as Matt Zane's today?
SJ: World-wide there are thousands of people involved in suspensions. However out of those thousands of people there aren't that many who are this extreme. I teach a seminar in America and Canada that is all about how to perform a suspension properly. You see so many people trying to get into this that its becoming an issue of safety. The worst case scenarios were where people were being dropped due to faulty rigging, hooks incorrectly inserted or the wrong sort of metal hook being used.

To learn more about Society 1 please see their website

For more information about CoRE and other aspects of suspension please visit their website