Phil Freeman of Roadrunner Records recently conducted an interview with vocalist Jesse Leach of Massachusetts metallers KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Roadrunner Records: So what can you say about the next record at this point?
Jesse: I’ve got a couple of songs done. I’ve got a bunch to go, but I’ve got a lot of ideas. I listen to it every once in a while out here [on the road] just to keep me familiar with it, so when I get home and attempt to finish the record, it’s still fairly fresh in my mind. Sonically, this is definitely — it’s got a more urgent feeling to it. It’s a lot faster, there’s definitely huge melody going on, but the songs are a lot shorter. Not one song really goes over the three-and-a-half-, four-minute mark. I just anticipate lyrically and vocally it to be a very urgent record. We’re at a state in this world right now where someone needs to talk about what’s going on. There’s a lot of apathy in this world, there’s a lot of really screwed-up stuff in our government and the world’s governments, and the whole class vs. class thing, the protests that happened all around the United States — there’s a lot of unrest, and I think it kinda needs to be touched upon. And it’s up to the metal community to have a voice, and that’s what I’m aiming to do with this next record — make it very important. Make it matter.
Roadrunner Records: Given that you’ve been out of the band for 10 years – obviously they’ve welcomed you back, but is everybody on the same page regarding what the songs will be about? Are you running the lyrics past them as you go?
Jesse: Oh, yeah, this band is a total democracy, which is great. Coming back into it, the guys basically said, “Do what you wanna do — we trust you,” but I like to show them my progress, so I send them demos, I’ll show them my lyrics and concepts for the songs. And so far, every single person’s been really excited about my ideas, and probably just the energy that I’m bringing to the project.
Roadrunner Records: Do you write much on the road, or do you need down time?
Jesse: Yeah, you kinda need down time. It’s tough out here. Being a creative person on tour’s tough, because you’re so used to a schedule, and it sounds funny, people who don’t do it wouldn’t really know, but it’s tiring. You don’t really have a lot of creative time when you’re out here. You’re trying to socialize with the other bands, doing your show, and to be creative you’ve gotta hide somewhere and get privacy, and that’s rare on tour. So I’ll go for long walks by myself outside of the show grounds and attempt to write, but it’s really tough out here. I’ve had a few days the past two weeks where I’ve had a little bit of creativity, but outside of that, the road isn’t really conducive to creative thought, for me.
Roadrunner Records: How does writing for KILLSWITCH differ from writing for TIMES OF GRACE, or even for your old band, SEEMLESS?
Jesse: I think for TIMES OF GRACE, that was just — that record happened at a particular time in my life where I couldn’t help but write those lyrics, ’cause that’s exactly what I was going through. I think with KILLSWITCH now, I’m looking outward to the world, and I want people to be able to relate to it on a bigger level. TIMES OF GRACE was a very personal album for me and Adam [Dutkiewicz, guitar], and as far as SEEMLESS goes, I mean, SEEMLESS has been gone for years now. I’m definitely a different person than I was in the SEEMLESS days. I think more importantly, with the KILLSWITCH stuff going forward, I want it to be crucial, I want it to matter. I want people to be able to relate to it, you know?
Read the entire interview from Roadrunner Records.