KILLSWITCH ENGAGE bassist Mike D'Antonio recently spoke with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the Riverside, California radio station 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire". The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's upcoming American co-headlining tour with PARKWAY DRIVE:
Mike: "We've become fast friends on this whirlwind world tour. We did Australia with those guys first; then we did about four weeks in Europe; and now, it's another four in the States. God, they're gorgeous little surfer boys, bringing all the little girls out. It's pretty amazing to go to a KILLSWITCH show and see that many girls at the front barricade. [Laughs] It doesn't usually happen."
On choosing a setlist:
Mike: "We should plan it out better. The past few tours, we really tried to shake things up. We really wanted to get into some older tunes, or maybe some b-sides that we don't usually play. We've been revitalizing a bunch of stuff that we haven't played before, or haven't played in a long time, which feels great. It adds a little more momentum to the set, and it's not paint-by-numbers — it's like, 'Wow, what could possibly be next?' In that respect, we don't know every day what's going to happen, so it's usually our tour manager saying, 'Okay, who's doing the setlist tonight?' We've been taking turns doing it, coming up with crazy, different scenarios of different songs we want to hear, and then it kind of gets voted on. Our sound guy, our tour manager and our lighting guy ask us daily, 'Okay, so what's happening? Come on guys — get on it.' We're a little lazy."
On the title track of the group's 2004 album "The End Of Heartache":
Mike: "We've played that song every single night since we wrote it, and we've actually not been playing it [lately]. We've been adding different tunes in there and taking away songs that normally people might expect to hear. I don't want anybody to get sad or anything, but I'm going to guarantee that it's going to be a little bit different — and for the better."
On the group's longevity:
Mike: "This is twenty years for us now. You don't expect your band to last more than three or four years, never mind twenty. I think I'd attribute to us being such good friends, and being able to make it work. It doesn't always work out that way."
On signing with Metal Blade Records:
Mike: "We couldn't be happier. Brian [Slagel] and all those guys at Metal Blade are the nicest people ever, so we're really, really excited to be hanging with a new crew and trying something different. They've just been nothing but amazing from the get-go. We've been friends with them for a while, so it seemed like a pretty logical choice."
On when to expect a new album:
Mike: "It's been recorded. We actually recorded too many songs. It kind of threw Jesse [Leach, vocals] for a bit of a loop. We had, like, 22, 21 songs that we actually completed all the music for except for vocals, and then it was time to sit down and do it, and it, like, fried his brain. [Laughs] It took a little while longer to write the record and finish the record. I think we did, like, maybe 17 tunes with vocals, and there are still a few left over that we're going to save for a little bit later. The record's not going to have that many, for sure. We'll have some extras to play with and figure out something to do [with them]. We've narrowed down the track listing; we are mixing now; and all systems [are] go to get it out for 2019."
On the artwork for the forthcoming album:
Mike: "I think it came out really neat. It's completely different than any other KILLSWITCH record you've ever seen, I'll tell you that... I think I personally went into it saying, 'This has to be completely different.' It's going to be kind of a new chapter with the band — maybe a more heavy-handed, metallic and aggressive chapter. We'll see, but Metal Blade's bringing a little bit more out of us than we thought we had left in the tank. This album cover, definitely, gives that allure to it. It's probably my favorite cover we've ever done."
On why vocalist Brian Fair (SHADOWS FALL, OVERCAST) didn't take part in "Negative Mental Attitude", the 2018 album by his side project DEATH RAY VISION:
Mike: "Brian's got two kids. He lives in Missouri and the entire DEATH RAY camp lives in Massachusetts, so it got to be pretty tough. We did two records with Brian, and the very last one, it was pretty clear that he had family obligations. The band wasn't really making a lot of money, and, of course, if someone lives far away, you've got to fly them out. It just didn't make feasible sense the way it was going. We talked with Brian and told him we could see that he had a lot on his plate, and we would love to alleviate if that was the way he'd like to so choose. He said that was a good idea, so we got Jeff Gard. He was kind of a diamond in the rough [who] lives right down the street from me. The entire band now can practice eight minutes from my house. We can play shows. We're just having a blast. There's no expectations with DEATH RAY VISION — it's just fun. Whenever I have time off, I jump right into this band and have a blast with my old buds. I just really like to play. It's a little different from KILLSWITCH and I'm not sure the music meshes as well, so it's cool to have a different outlet, to be able to write a little differently and to reminisce about '90s hardcore, which is more along the lines of what this sounds like."
The American leg of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's "Collapse The World" co-headlining tour with PARKWAY DRIVE kicks off April 18 in San Francisco.