Sworn Enemy Interview
This interview was made in Clisson (France) the 23rd of june 2007.
Manu and O.S. have met Sal Lococo, the singer.

How’s the new tour going?

It’s going pretty good so far, the festivals have been really good, we’re playing in front of a lot of people and the reaction has been really good so I can never complain about that. I enjoy watching people dancing and beat other up, it’s a lot of fun for me, I got a good vibe I love it, it’s awesome and that’s how it’s been every night... So far it’s been really good.

From yesterday we never seen so much people in that place...

Really? That’s awesome!

And the people seem to have a great time during your show and you also seem to enjoy the show...

Well it’s like one hand washes the other they give energy I feed off the energy so I’m going to give back more energy, that’s how Sworn Enemy is. We’re about a lot of energy, the music we write is very energetic and it makes people want to mosh and stuff, so that’s what we try to do, we try to make everybody have a good time, I want everybody to have a good time, and if everybody’s having a good time I’m going to have a good time if I’m sweating like this I’m having a good time. (Laughs)

We already seen your band on stage and this time was a lot better than the other times, during the Resistance Tour ’03 and with Madball in the south of France...

Marseille right? I remember!
Well we got better as a band we have a new drummer and for some reason he’s so good that we play good behind him, he’s like a machine and I can’t thank god enough for letting him join this band and because he’s been a blessing so far. He’s amazing so makes us a better band.

Sworn Enemy does exist for a long time now but it seems that you never really toured that much in France?

We don’t tour Europe that much we’ve come one time every year, 2003 one time, 2004 one time, 2005 one time last year one time, and this year one time, so I mean it’s not good because people keep saying "please come back" but then again when you come back too much people get tired of us so if we come less people want more so I think it’s kind of good. This year we’re going to actually come back again I think we’re going to be coming back for the Persistence Tour with Hatebreed, Agnostic Front, and Ignite, you know that’s going to be really good so I’m looking forward to that, because the first time we played Persistence Tour in 2003 was first time we ever toured Europe and it was so much fun.
And I think we have like, I’m not a saying it’s 100% positive but Tim from As I Lay Dying said he wanted us to some over to do a little run in the U.K with him so maybe we’ll play in the U.K, with As I Lay Dying for like a week or two so that would be three times this year not bad, I mean that’s the first time we ever came more than once.

We’ll talk about a bit later, but is this the same Tim who recorded your upcoming record?

He recorded the new one that would be coming out hopefully October. I don’t know but record labels they tell you something and you never know what happens when it actually comes out we’ll see when that happens.

Could you maybe present a bit of Sworn Enemy to the people who don’t know you yet?

Well that’s a tough question I hate when people ask me that one I don’t know what to say , I mean I guess if you never heard of Sworn Enemy you’ve never seen us before, you’d have to probably have to check us out live, because we’re more of a live band, than a record band you know. Like the record is good, to me the record is great I don’t know what other people think of it but in order to really what Sworn Enemy is about you have to really come see the live show, because the live show really explains what we really are about. We’re about live energy, having fun, having a good time, those are all things that you can’t really see on a record, you know you don’t really know what a band is about, until you see them live, and for us we try to bring out fun we want to make people dance we want to make people to have a good time, we want to bring a lot of energy to the crowd and in return I want the crowd to give me the energy back, you know that’s what we’re about. If you’ve never seen us you should come out for a show and check us out!

From "As Real As It Gets" to "The Beginning Of The End" your style changed a bit...

... A little bit...

... To me, now you sound definitely more metal than hardcore... Is there any reason of that?

I think it’s a natural progression in music because even if you back to "Negative Outlook" (1999) there’s still songs on there that are all metal you know. I mean we come from a hardcore scene in New York but the music we played was mix it was both metal and hardcore, we never were a straight hardcore band, we were never Madball, we were never Agnostic Front, we were never the Cro-Mags, we were never Gorilla Biscuits, we were never Bold, we weren’t the Youth Of Today, we were never judge that wasn’t our thing. Our thing was to be just Sworn Enemy so we always played our mix of metal and hardcore, because growing up we all loved the thrash scene we loved Metallica "Master Of Puppets", we love stuff like Testament, we love stuff like Exodus, we love stuff like Anthrax... All that stuff is in us too with that and with all the hardcore too we all mixed it and try to blend it. It’s just to me you could only I think do the same things so many times before it gets repetitious so as a band as we mature and grow the music is going to mature as well. You know it’s like more influences come out like Jamey and Lorenzo the two guitar players they love Marty Friedman you know, they love the guys who do the leads, the fancy stuff you know, sometimes people want to show off their talent. They don’t just want to be a rhythm guitar player, they want to be a lead guitar player to show how good they can be I guess. That comes through "The Beginning Of The End" as a couple more leads, the music is a little more mature, it’s a little more metal in it, but we still do what we do, we still sound like Sworn Enemy, we’re never going to change that.

How’s the reaction of your most hardcore fan ?

Well in this day and age I don’t even know what hardcore kid is anymore, I don’t know what they look like anymore, they look a little different today. It’s not the same so I don’t know what that question’s indication of, because I mean if you look at some the bands you look at today like... here’s a good example our friends from this band called Job For A Cowboy... have you heard of them?


They are considered a hardcore band, now they sound like Cannibal Corpse but they’re a hardcore band so I don’t really know how to answer that question because I don’t have the answer for that I can’t tell because today the kids they listen to, you could look like someone who listens to hardcore but you listen to Thrice, it’s very, very different. You can’t tell anymore back in the 80s it was very simple you see a skinhead, he listen to hardcore, you see a guy with longhair he listens to metal, you know. Now you can’t tell anymore, I don’t even know if we have any hardcore fans anymore.

And I remember you saying in a interview that for you hardcore doesn’t exist anymore...

To me it stopped being hardcore when the music style changed you know there’s only a few hardcore bands that really play hardcore today you know, there’s Agnostic Front, there’s Madball, there’s Terror, Sick Of It All, you know I mean you can count all the bands on two hands, in 1986 you can count all the bands on hundred people’s hands and feet, it was very different. Nobody plays that no more it’s like a dying breed almost you know this is the new age, this is what it is now. So maybe how our music progresses this is how hardcore progresses maybe what we play is hardcore, I don’t know. It could be metal, it could be hardcore but in today’s day and age we are I mean people could still consider us a hardcore band but I want to just take all the labels out and just say we’re not a hardcore band we’re not a metal band we’re just underground music and that’s what I want to call us.

It’s more about the spirit...

Of course! The spirit never goes nowhere, that stays right here that’s it. That’s straight up what it is. It’s all about keeping the energy keeping that vibe you know what I’m saying, I mean I always loved hardcore and I will never stop loving it, every day I’ll listen to fucking Cro-Mags! This is my favorite band ever this is the greatest band ever, the greatest record ever made in my eyes, this is number one "Age Of Quarrel" (showing his tee-shirt), there will never be a better record! People still try to do this today and can’t, nobody could ever do this, that was the greatest record ever, that’s all I have to say about that... (Laughs)

As we said, you’re going to release your third full length "Maniacal", and what do we have to expect from this new record?

Lot of thrash! Maybe a little bit more than the last record you know a lot more, still the same energy, maybe even more energy because it’s a lot more faster, you know we went to a lot more fast and stuff you know more double bass a little bit. Definitely one thing everyone’s going to notice for sure it’s got a lot of leads, a lot of leads but you know...

Yeah, The Marty Friedman style!

Exactly! (Laughs) But hey look Parris used to play leads all the time on the Cro-Mags records you know used to always do it on the leads, so it’s not necessarily a metal thing, it’s just a particular style if you choose to do leads and they’re tasteful, then it works! There’s definitely a lot of leads in this record, it’s trashier, more upbeat tempo, its faster and I think the breakdowns are a little bit harder, we’re not doing the same, now we add more flavor to the breakdowns to make it sound a little bit better you know.

I’ve heard that Tim Lambesis and Joey Z are co-producing the record so you’re not going to work anymore with Jamey (Jasta) and Zeuss?

We haven’t worked with Jamey and Zeuss since "As Real As It Gets", so working with Tim is great actually. On this new record we worked with Joey Z from Life Of Agony so you know when we were growing up everybody loved Life Of Agony in the band, like "Rivers Runs Red" is a top 5 all time favorite records, so it was pretty much an honor to work with him and have him come in and help us you know do some magic with this record. And working with Tim is like a piece of cake now, it’s easy after the last record. We knew what we were going to do, we had a vision, we went into the studio and we did it and that was it. And Tim is right there he’s like put the icing on the cake you know, he has that little extra flavor to help us out it’s always good to have an outside opinion of your music because sometimes when you write and within the band you don’t really know exactly what that other person is thinking so it’s good to have Joey Z and Tim to say "Alright, well why don’t we try this?". Sometimes better ideas come from more minds that are working on something the better it sounds. Hey I’m all about sounding better, they are a great team to work with.

And I’ve heard that you got a new drummer for the recording session...

Just for the recording, we got Jordan Mancino from As I Lay Dying. Dude this kid’s amazing! He’s like Dave Lombardo with better hands! His feet are like super, wait until you hear the record it’s going to be like "Oh my god!!!" you know he’s that good! And our new drummer Is friends with Jordan so Jordan teaches him, he’s learning from Jordan and this kid is going to be super, his feet are like, he sounds just like the record he could do it perfect, it’s good to hear that so many things that he plays, it amazes me how good he is so I’m really happy about that.

You said that new record may be release in October...

Hopefully, that’s in the States though, I don’t know about the European release...

And it will be release in the US by Ferret or Abacus?

Century Media! I think Abacus no longer exists...

Well I thaught you’ve changed your label, we heard that...
And a few weeks ago, we talked with Jorge from Merauder and he told us that they had some problems with Century Media in the past with there 3 records. How is it working for you?

Well we weren’t with Century Media in the States, we were in Abacus, and I think Abacus is no more now so I think we’re going to go 99.9% chance we’re going to go with Century Media, so I can’t tell you I don’t know we haven’t done nothing with them yet, this is going to be our first. So in five months from now I’ll be able to anwser that question. (Laughs)

Well we saw a guy from Century Media and he didn’t know that you were in Century Media...

Well you know what we’re not playing the main stage and we’re not big you know! How much bigger do we have to be? Were you in that room? Were you in that tent? Did you see? Those kids were going crazy! That’s pretty big to me! There was a lot of kids in that room.
I will see Robert, the other Century Media owner at With Full Force.
We’ll sit down and we’ll talk to him and fill us in on everything, because he’s the one who signed us to Abacus that was his label he’s signed us, he’s good people that takes care of us.

For "As Real As It Gets" you had a one record deal with Elektra...


That was amazing for a band in your style...

Pretty much!

Why didn’t you put out the next one ? Not enough sales...?

No that record label got bought from someone else, it doesn’t exist anymore they got bought by Atlantic and Atlantic didn’t want us, and we were dropped and we were labeless for about a year, before Robert came told us about Abacus and wants to sign us. So I mean it was a good thing and a bad thing signing up to a major label like that kind of I mean we got lost in the shuffle because we were small, and they worry about Fabulous, Missy Elliot, Metallica and all that stuff. But they helped us to getting us exposed to a big audience, helping us get on Ozzfest so that was great, it was good exposure for us, so I mean I got no hard feelings, things happen for a reason and you know whatever its over. Now we’re on Century almost and we’ll see how that works out.

And do you remember how much you sold of "As Real As It Gets"?

I think 32 thousand records sold, bought, that’s all that was ever made we sold every record we ever made, they never shipped anymore they stopped making the record and every time we asked if we can get the data’s for the record they tell us "no we can’t even make anymore it’s whack", you won’t find that, the only place you’ll find "As Real As It Gets" is in a moms and pops store or on eBay, it never will be made anymore, it’s just sitting, if it’s anywhere it’s in a moms and pops store, you won’t find it. Every record ever made "As Real As It Gets" has been sold. That’s not bad it’s pretty good if they would of made fifty, sixty thousand we could of sold fifty, sixty thousand but they stop making the damn record.

That’s a pity especially for the fans who wants that record...

It is a pity man! I know, you can’t find it nomore, you have to download it or have to make a bootleg from somebody’s or go rob it. (Laughs)

New York City is of course the epicenter of hardcore and music in general. For me there are a lot of amazing bands like Madball, Subzero, Cro-Mags, AF, Sick Of it All, MPB, Merauder, House Of Pain, Vietnom... Is it hard as a band to get "recognition" in those circumstences, or is that turmoil quiet helpfull for a band like Sworn Enemy?

It kind of is, there’s so many bands you could go on how many bands coming out of New York over the last 20 years and it’s tough To live underneath them, you know what I’m saying? Those bands are the bands that everybody loves and you will go and see and sometimes we get lost in the shuffle. I mean we do good in New York we have our fans but I like to be as big as those bands. (Laughs) It would definitely be fun you know I wish I could be huge in New York because that’s my hometown you know and I love it, but unfortunately we’re not huge, but we do ok, we do pretty good, I’m not going to complain we got out fans come out and support us.

On the song called "We Hate", who are you talking about?

See that songs isn’t directed towards anyobody. I wrote that song for the people that song is for who you hate, it’s for who that person hates, it’s not necessarily for who I hate, I was just writing a song based on the fact that somebody’s’ got to hate , I hate a lot of music, and I know there’s a lot of people who feels the same way, everybody has to feel the same way I can’t be the only person who talks like that. Is there music out there you hate?

Yeah of course!

So who do you hate? Tell me some kind of genres that you hate?

Emo of course... with all the makeup and stuff like that...

Yeah that shit’s gay, I hate that shit! It’s retarded, they could all fucking die. See that’s how I wrote that song for you who you hate I wrote the song , that’s what that song is about, it wasn’t meant for me personally, it’s meant for everybody to understand who enjoys good music and well we got to vent, you go to let it out, you got let out your anger, I let it out in the song, and everybody could let it out in the dance floor, that’s what the song is about.

Your lyrics aren’t alert to political stuff from being from new York city, do you have something to say about the events about September 11th and the Bush politics and stuff like that?

Well I’m not really a big preacher I don’t like to tell people you know this is right, "this is right, do this, do that", that’s not my style, but you know I’ll have those days where I’ll have to say something and in order for me to say something without being to overboard I write it in music you know and that’s how I express myself. I let people know what’s going on around me by them reading my lyrics, I don’t really want to be a preacher that’s not my style because no one really likes to be talked blah blah
"Do this, this is right, you got to live like this, you can’t eat that, you can’t eat this, don’t smoke weed, don’t do drugs, don’t drink don’t bahabahaba", nobody likes that you know. For me to try to express my opinions I write It down on my music and hopefully people will get to understand how I’m feeling you know, that’s how I like to be I don’t really like to talk to much about it or just get into it, because I don’t really know how many people really even care you know maybe people enjoy the music what it is instead of just paying attention to the lyrics, me I get something I look at it, and I read, I like to read, do everything you know that’s the kind of person I am. Being lyricist that’s what I do maybe I could learn something, I like to always learn, I’m like a sponge, I absorb a lot of information and I guess that’s good being a lyricist makes it good writing I could write something on paper, you know what I’m saying, I don’t really like to try to preach to much about because it’s no fun, life is about having fun, it’s about having a good time, so I would go to a bar and drink a few beers. (Laughs)

But do you have any opinions about the Bush politics for example?

Bush can die. I don’t care about bush, bush is a dick, actually I kind of feel bad for him. Because he doesn’t even have anything to say, he’s just a figure head, he’s a puppet, people are pulling his strings, he does what somebody else tells him to do, he’s just there to take the fall when the fall happens so I kind of feel bad for him in that sense. He’s not even really the leader of the country, he’s just a nobody and his politics are for shit.

You think American people suffer from bush politics?

Five thousand people lost their lives on September 11th. Is that enough suffering, how families suffered that day? Some people don’t even have memory, they can’t even go to the grave site and visit their tomb, nothing! Because there’s no body, there’s nothing, there a lot of people suffered that day you know and why! For greed, it all boils down to money, oil, it aint about no holy land it’s about who the fuck has the oil that’s what it’s about, it’s about who’s going to get rich, who’s going to get fat pockets, I don’t care about fat pockets, my pockets ain’t fat, they’re thin, that’s why I do what I do because If I get too seriously I get angry you know that’s why I don’t talk about politics, it’s all bullshit you know, you put on a TV fucking every other day there’s something negative why don’t they start putting some positive shit on TV? On the news why do the news always report the bad stuff because it makes them good news if you’re hearing about the fireman saving the cat from the tree, nobody gives a shit why? Because it ain’t good news nobody cares. People wan to hear about the fucking forty people that just died in Iraq, people want to hear about the car bombing in Israel, people want to hear about Bin Laden fucking found him over here and they blew up his mountain and got away again, nobody wants to hear about the good shit they all want to hear about the bad shit. You know what if the media started publicating the good stuff maybe the fucking world will be a better place stop showing the bad shit maybe, show half and half, instead of hundred percent and zero.

It’s the same problem everywhere, the same in France, in the news they’re always talking about bad stuff...

And all that does is bring out negativity, it just makes people angry, it makes you more angry you know, there’s enough anger and hatred in the world we don’t need anymore, you don’t got to help make it any worse, you know? Make the problem better solve it!

You certinaly knew Sob (Merauder guitar player). Do you remember a funny story happened with him?

A funny story about Sob... it’s weird because we would see Merauder on the road a lot and hung out in the same joints and every time I run to Sob, I’d be like "Yo what’s up Sob?” and he never remember my name. (Laughs) He’d always be like "Dude what’s your name bro? ", "It’s alright Sob don’t worry about it, it’s all good" he could never remember my name, it always made me laugh, what a bonehead man! Yeah but Sob is good dude, definitely and Meruader is an awesome fucking band, you know it’s a shame how things happen... Hey you know what? I guess you got to look at it like this now he’s in a better place, for the people that believe and have faith he’s in a better place right now so hopefully everybody gets to see that better place. Are you guys religious?


Ok so you don’t believe so you think when you die you go underground and that’s it?

That’s true!

Ok that’s fine hey you could believe whatever you want, me I come from the roman catholic so when I go underground I’m going to up there and I’m going to be hanging out having a good time and up there I’ll see Sob and he wont’ remember my name (Laughs).

You toured with Anthrax, right?

Yeah last year that was awesome !

And I know that you prefer Belladona than Bush...

Yeah you have to prefer Belladona, Belladona is the man! "Among The Living" man! Come on that’s one of the greatest records ever!

Yeah I saw them with Belladona, it was two years ago and I think with Bush three years ago and I prefer a lot better with Bush than with Belladana! (Laughs)

Are you serious? No way! That’s crazy! I mean Bush made a great record with them, "Sounds Of White Noise", that’s a great record but it kind of to me it wasn’t really Anthrax. I think of Anthrax the first record I think of is "Among The Living" and that’s Belladona, that’s a classic right there I put up there with fucking "Master Of Puppets" and "Reign In Blood" that’s a classic record. I got to go with Belladona besides, Joey Belladona toured with them, he was cool as fuck he was a good dude so that makes me like him more. (Laughs)

Here’s the real question : have you heard that they have a new singer?

Yeah Corey from Stone Sour/Slipknot, yeah!

What do you think about that?

I don’t know. I don’t even know why’d they do the reunion with belladano if they’re not going to do a record with belladano that’s weird I don’t know but I mean Corey is a good singer too you know you can’t nothing away from him he does his own style, he does Stone Sour, he does Slipknot, he’s a talented musician, he’s a talented writer... They may pull of a good record with him, we’ll have to hear how it sounds like it’ll be weird not hearing bush or belladano, it’s going to be new guy but it made for the better it may be for the time to change you now what I’m saying?

(Both at the same time ) We’ll see! (Laughs)

Ok maybe you have last words for your European & French fans?

I’ll tell you what man I love Europe, I love the European fans because they show a lot of passion and a lot of energy when we come over here it makes me want to come here all the time and play and I really appreciate that a lot and I hope that all the European fans get to check out our new record when it comes out in century media it’s called "Maniacal". Do us a favor, pick it up when you see it because we want to come back... Many times, many times...And first in December...

And we’ll be back for the Persistence tour with Hatebreed, Agnostic Front, Ignite in december so come check us out.

Yeah it’s going to be insane, I cannot wait!

The last Ignite record is awesome...

Yeah, It’s awesome the best record they ever did, I think so I mean every song is great...

The guys at Spiritribe voted and this record was album of the year... even if i personnaly prefered the Icepick record...

Real Recognizes real ! (Laughs)

Icepick... Jamey Jasta, Hatebreed man! I want to be big like Hatebreed, I want to be able to makes this for a living not have to go home and get a job, I wan to have my band pay me! (Laughs) That’s what I’m all about. (Laughs)

Interview Manu & O.S
Translation Sophia Coss

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999