A Conversation with Adam of Killswitch Engage

Another interview I did for Cool Try. Another conducted in early 2017.

I know that by this point I was trying to capture a conversation but still not doing all too well with that aim. Perhaps a little bit better on this one than the prior-two, but I asking my questions too much as questions. I also think I could’ve asked harder questions.

Probably could’ve phrased a few things better.

I think the flow of this interview is good. It’s an easy read.

Other than adding a full stop and some slight spelling mistakes, this interview is as it was.

Words in bold are mine.

Along with most of my review and interview work, this review is also on Culture Eater.
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Killswitch Engage are in Australia to do a few concerts playing Alive or Just Breathing in its entirety as a celebration of its anniversary.

I had the opportunity to talk to Adam Dutkiewicz about the tour, so the opportunity I did take.

____ from Cool try, how you goin’?

Adam: I’m good, how you doin’ man?

I’m not bad. Well, first of all, welcome to Australia.

Adam: Thank you man.

As I understand it, you’re doing a fifteenth anniversary tour for an album that you obviously released fifteen years ago.

Adam: We’re doing the Alive or Just Breathing fifteenth anniversary tour right now. Just thought it was a good idea to just play it for everybody.

Fair enough. What made you decide that you wanted to celebrate this album’s release?

Adam: Well, we did that tour in the states and people were really stoked that we did it, but there were actually a lot of requests come over here and do it as well, so we decided that it would be a good idea to come on over and play it and there was a lot of excitement and people were stoked on it. We just want to give the people what they want man *laughs*.

So you like playing for the fans, which makes sense. Is there anything you’re doing different with the songs, or are you just playing them faithfully?

Adam: We’re playing the record the way it’s intended to be. I think we only had to switch around a couple of songs because of a tuning issue, but I think it a cool thing for us to get out there and play the record and have the fans have that experience where it’s almost like they’re jamming an old record that they love but having the band play it in front of their face, you know what I mean? That kind of thing.

So essentially playing the record as faithfully as possible, but using stage presence more to present it in a different way.

Adam: Whenever you see any band live, stage presence lets the song take on a bit more of a personality, you know?

Yeah, that’s true. Neurosis actually played recently on the shores of Australia for the second time ever, which was nice. As everyone knows, they pretty much record only live. In a live setting, even though it’s still as hearing the recording, because they’ve got the stage presence there, it becomes a lot more lively and a lot more feel-based.

Adam: Absolutely. Stage presence can make a show feel show much different [as] you’re watching somebody play something instead of just listening to a record.

So, with going back to these songs, have there been any that you haven’t played for a while? Have there been any that you haven’t played live at all? Was there a bit of a trepidation with revisiting the past?

Adam: Of course we had done this record before in the States for the anniversary, but when we came out to do this tour, we definitely were not prepared to play some of the songs that we haven’t played since that tour. There’s some songs that we rarely play that we’re doing.

We definitely had to shake off some rust and dive way back into the memory banks to get some of the songs back up, but it feels good to play the old stuff. It kind of brings us on a walk down memory lane. It’s pretty cool.

I think a lot of the kids in the crowd are really stoked and happy to hear the record, you know?

Yeah, I know what you mean. What is it that you think that makes people resonate with this record in particular?

Adam: I don’t really know why. Maybe it was when the record was released. At that time, that’s when nu metal was still kind of hanging on. This record had such a different sound than when all of that mainstream nu metal that was happening – all of the bands that sounded like Korn and Limp Bizkit were getting all of the attention.

I think maybe that’s why a lot of people held onto it; with that memory that it was something fresh, something new.

Of course, we look back on the record as a very fond memory because that’s when we went from being a garage band to a band that people cared about, so it was a big moment in our career for sure.

When you initially made the record, were there any troubles with it, or was it a fairly smooth process?

Adam: It was a bit problematic actually, because of an A&R guy we had at that moment. He was a neurotic mess and he was calling the recording studio every day, checking up on us and telling us that we needed to sound more like other bands and all this other kinds of stuff. That was probably the biggest pain in my ass the entire recording and production. He was *laughing* really hard to be with at times.

Other than that it was the usual hard work. Trying to get the guitars lined up.

I think Jesse was really, really pressured. Probably I think it had to do with that A&R guy. Lots of phone calls, “you need to sound like this you need to sound like that”.

He was also still struggling to learn how to project his voice and he was still a relatively inexperienced singer.

I think we’ve grown so much since then too, so now we look back on it and be like “man, we were just kids back then – we didn’t know what they hell we were doing”.

Fair enough, but that kind of inexperience would leave the record having some sort of youthful energy to it.

Adam: Exactly.

Even though you would have been unsure of what you were doing, that could have come through in a sort of admirable way on the record.

Adam: Yeah. I think that there are a lot of bands that have a magic in some of the records that they do when they’re young and starting out and don’t really know what the hell they’re doing. They’re just going for it.

I think that attitude can come off as a true rock ‘n roll spirit, you know?

Yeah, I know what you mean. Obviously that gets refined over time. More records come out. More experience as you add more kilometres on the road.

Do you think that can be lost along the way?

Adam: You mean like losing the young drive and the passion?

Yeah, losing the passion, then you end up having touring become some sort of a cynical process.

Adam: You know, it’s up to the band. You definitely have to stay passionate and stay motivated and feel like you want it ’cause it’s a thing. It’s an art form, so if you don’t do it with passion and drive, then it’s going to be shit art, you know? It’s that simple.

If you have something to say and you care about what you’re doing and you through your heart and soul into it, people can notice that and I think that’s when people gravitate towards it.

Do you think the other problem might be that why some people lose it along the way might have to do with them not being fully aware of the downsides of touring?

Adam: Oh yeah. Touring can beat you up for sure. It’s not everybody. You really have to enjoy being away from home a real lot. It’s a tough thing to do, but some people like it, some people don’t. It’s just the way you can hack it.

Do you think that maybe in knowing that you have to love being away from home you also have to know that you’ve got somewhere to return to when you get tired of it?

Adam: Yeah, of course. It’s always extremely nice to come home after a long tour. You just feel like a wandering vagrant after being on the road for two months. When you’re finally back with people you’ve missed and you love and all familiarity, it kind of makes you feel like a human again.

True. Obviously you’d probably have a few days, maybe a week of readjusting but then you’d get back into the routine of doing things whilst you weren’t on tour.

Adam: Yeah. Exactly.

Now that you guys are performing this record, what’s going to happen after it? Plans for hitting the studio again, or another tour?

Adam: We’ve got another tour in the states with Anthrax coming up about two weeks after this tour. After that we’re probably going to be doing some shows here and there. Not sure how extensive we’re going to be touring because I know that me and the other guys are starting to get antsy about writing some new material and thinking about doing another record.

We’re just excited about making some more music. We’ve got it in our blood. We’re ready. It’s boiling man. We’re ready to make some tunes again.

[We did] a lot of shows last year and we’ve got a bunch this year as well.
Like we were saying, it’s a tough thing to do, being on the road all the time so we’re all looking forward to cooling down a little bit and making some more music for sure.

Well, I’ve got one last question for you. Do have any concerns about what you’re doing for this tour unintentionally shaping the sound the next record, or is that something you guys can bypass?

Adam: I don’t think it’s going to shape the sound of the next record. We’re all really driven song writers so we all get home and let the vibe pull out. I don’t necessarily think playing shows really affects the way we write our material – at least for me. I get inspiration from everything. Not just tours and shows we’re playing.

Whatever is around me. Whatever I’m experiencing in life. Being depressed or being anxious or being happy; it’s really what dictates where I pull ideas from.

Yeah. It’s a weird thing to say, but yeah *laughs*.

Fair enough. Well, you’ve been a pleasure. I hope the rest of the tour goes well and you don’t get caught in the storm. Have a good one.

Adam: It’s been raining nonstop in Sydney since we got here *laughs*. Thanks man. Thanks for your time.

No worries. Thanks for the opportunity.

Adam: Take care man.

Bye.

Killswitch Engage are touring from Friday the third of March to Wednesday the eighth of March.

About Stupidity Hole

I'm some guy that does stuff. Hoping to one day fill the internet with enough insane ramblings to impress a cannibal rat ship. I do more than I probably should. I have a page called MS Paint Masterpieces that you may be interested in checking out. I also co-run Culture Eater, an online zine for covering the arts among other things. We're on Patreon!
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