Killswitch Engage Interview
This interview was made in Paris the25th of January.
Ben has met Joel Stroetzel the guitar player.

First, how is going this european tour ? You were in England a few days ago, how was it ?

Actually we've had a really good time so far. It's nice to be out with this group of bands. Everybody is good friends. Everybody enjoys each other music. Definatly a lot of fun. The crowds also have been great.

How did you choose the support bands ?

Well, All That Remains is somebody that we've wanted to tour with for a long time. Adam (guitariste) has worked with them in the studio. We've been friends for many years. Twelve Tribes are new friends too. Howard (chanteur) has been managing those guys. So we become friends with them. So it's a big friend tour you know. So it should be a lot of fun.

Do you have a funny story about the dates you made in England ?

Nothing to crazy man, it's been really laid back. Lot of people drinking whisky and having a good time. But nothing to much out of the ordinary ! Not yet !

"Alive or just breathing", your second album had a hugh success in Europe. It opens many doors to Killswitch Engage. How did the public reacted to your new album "The End of Heartache" ?

Very well. It was kind of like when we first started playing it, it was a little bit different, a little bit awkward on stage for us. But it seems that as soon as the record came out people started to recognize the songs. People were singing along and stuff like that. Because obviously with "Alive and Breathing" we did a lot of touring on it. So it becomes very natural to play those songs. Everybody become more familiar with them. So at this point now I think that people know the record pretty well, and are having a good time with it.

After on album and a lot of touring, Howard Jones is now accepted as the singer of Killswitch Engage by the public. Did you had any doubt or fear when he joined the band ?

We knew from the start that Howard was a great performer. He has an amazing voice. We didn't really knew at the beginning what he was going to do as far as writing. Blood has Been Shad his other band, really too different styles to figured out what he will actually do for Killswitch Engage. But he did a great job. I can't complain. I think he's very confortable now. We've all become good friends. And like you said, everybody accepted him. He's pretty much at the point where he's a better singer.

You had a new drummer for about a year. How did all those line-up changes affected the band ?

Well, Justin is more energetic than Tom. Tom was a very straight forward metal drummer. Justin is a little more oldschool. I think he makes things feel a little bit more energetic. When he came to writing songs, he had a lot of input on how to arrange things. Tom wasn't really big at the song writing. He was more a performer. So it's nice to have some additionnal input for songs writing when we were doing this last record. It was really cool.

With insight, how do you feel about your last album "The End of Heartache" ?

I think everybody is proud of it. We definatly worked hard on it. Very long days in the studio. With "Alive or Just Breathing" we spread it out over the course of a few month. We had a lot of time to play with things. A lot of time to get to the whole thing a lot more prepared. This time we had limited amount of time to finish the record. Because people on Roadrunner wanted to make sure that we had a record coming out pretty quick. They said, now you have a new singer, you gotta have a new record coming out. You can't mess around in the studio for 6 month. But we did our best, make it happened so.

About the artwork of "The End Of Heartache", it is pretty close from the 36 Crazyfist one. Did you have any problems with Roadrunner ?

Yeah it actually looks similar. Well people in Roadrunner were a little concerned about that at first. 36 Crazyfist were doing their thing, and Mike our bass player, whose doing all our artwork, was doing our thing. And we had no idea that the 2 were going to be so similar until we actually saw them. We thought a lot about changing our, we felt bad, we didn't wanted to do the same thing. But when we saw guys from 36, they were ok, different kind of skin, different color of heart. It's not quite the same thing. But at first it definatly was a scary thing.

Many Roadrunner bands have released a DVD at this time. Have you planned to record one of your show on this tour?

We were originally supposed to do it in London a few days ago. But didn't end up doing it at the last minute. We figured that we've been out so long at this point. I mean Howard has been having trouble with his voice, so we wanted to make sure that everybody has a little bit of time off before doing it. But we've been working on footage for a DVD. So hopefully we're gonna have it out sometimes next December. That's our goal. So we'll see.

About the soon re-release of your self-titled debut album, can you tell me more about what are the differences between this new release and the old one?

We thought that this would be a cool idea. The original record didn't had a good distribution. Not too many people were able to get it. Especially in UK and in Europe, people have a hard time finding the old one. So we figured that if we have to put it out, maybe go back to the studio and remix things. We didn't recorded anything new. We just cleaned up some of the tracks, remix it, make the sound a little bit cleaner. We also added in some unreleased demo tracks that we did many years ago. Also some very rare tracks that we recorded live. That was it. Including all that as weel as a new artwork so that people can check out.

How do you feel about these songs compare to the newer material?

I guess that listening back to them now, there are a lot things that we could have done differently. They seemed, I guess, kind of throwned together compared to the new stuff. But I think that was just how we where at that time. We were young at the time. Those are the first songs we wrote together. It was like, let's do this, let's throw some songs together so that we can play some shows. With "Alive or Just Breathing" we spend a lot more time with the arangement you know. We tried to make those albums a lot more mature I guess.

Have you planed to play those old songs here in Europe ?

Euh I'm not sure. We are going to change our set tonight. We do something different each night, just a little bit, just for a few songs. Sometimes we play "Temple from the Within", "Vide Infra" and "In the Unblind" from the first record.

How did you feel to have Jesse, your first singer, on stage a few weeks ago?

It was great man. It was a good time. Providence is his home town. He would come to the show anyway. So we talked to him saying "Hey men, you should come and sing a song with us, it should be a good time". So he did "Take This Oath", he did the backing vocals on the record. When we played that songs, he come up on stage and was very excited about it. I think that the crowd really liked that. It was kind of cool to see Howard and Jessie together. We showed everybody that he's still a friend, there is no hard feeling between us.

What are your plans for 2005: a new album, a one-year tour, any festivals … ?

Well probably a lot of touring. We're gonna be doing a tour with The Used in the US. The Taste of Gaz Tour. It should be interested because we've never played with bands like that before which are more rock'n roll. After that we might take some time off and come back to Europe for a while. Probably we will do the Download Festival, maybe hit some places where we haven't been yet. There is talk that we'll do the Ozzfest. It's not sure yet. We'll see what happens. I guess after that it's all up in the air. But I don't think that we are going to have time to do a new record for a while.

Do you have new materials for a new record ?

No. Nothing yet.

I have heard that you were supposed to do the Unholy Alliance Tour in Europe with Slipknot and Slayer. Why finally you did not do it?

The main reason that we didn't played on that tour is that we were very busy month previous to that tour. If we have accepted to do that tour, everybody was becoming crazy at that time because we were on the road for so long. It would have extented the tour to much and I don't think that we were prepared for that. So unfortunatly for us we couldn't make it, but everybody kind of needed some time off to rest you know. Hopefully we'll make it up in June in Europe and try to do some stuff.

You have done a Canadian tour with Slipknot.

We did a short tour with them. Just a few dates. I think 7 or 8 dates. It was great, a lot of fun. They are really nice guys.

Do you have any funny story to tell?

Nothing really men, once again (lough). We were out there with Slipknot and Unearth, really good friends. So everybody were just hanging out, chilling you know. That was cool.

What is your favorite word? I guess I'll say "whisky" for now. (big lough) I might change it in some weeks but for now that's it !
What is the word you hate? I really have no idea men. Those are hard questions for me.
What turns you on creatively? Music, obviously.
What turns you on spiritually? Same thing, music.
What turns you on emotionally? Once again, music.
What turns you off? Negativity, bad attitudes.
What is your favourite curse word? Let say "mother fucker"
What sound do you love? I like the sound of a piano. I wish I could play the piano better.
What sound do you hate? Nails on a balck board.
What is your favourite place on earth? Home.
And the one you hate? I haven't really been places that I have hated.
I'm pretty lucky.
Which persons influenced you the most during your life?
I guess my parents and my family. A lot of of musicians influenced me, but as a person, I would say my parents. Who were your heroes when you were a kid? I can't really remember. I'm not too sure.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I'd like to try recording engeneering or stuff like that. I've done some of that in the past but I've never actually worked with a band. I've just done things on my own. Maybe some day if I can expend a little bit, that would be cool.
What profession would you not like to do? I would hate to be a firefighter, that would freak me out !
If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you will arrive at the Pearly Gates? I'd like him to tell me that I wasn't to much of an asshole during my life ! Saying "Hey man, you're all right, come on in !"

We would like to thanks Sabrina (Roadrunner France) and Joel Stroetzel for this interview.

Interview Ben
Translation Tataye

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999