USUALLY WHEN YOU TALK TO BANDS AND ASK THEM ABOUT THEIR ALBUM THEY GO LIKE: „OH, WE JUST WROTE THE MUSIC FOR OURSELVES TO MAKE OURSELVES HAPPY, BLA, BLA, BLA!“ WHEREAS YOU GUYS DID PRETTY MUCH THE OPPOSITE THERE: YOU PUT UP A POLL ON THE WEBSITE IN WHICH YOU OFFERED THE PEOPLE TO VOTE FOR KILLSWITCH STYLISTICS: MORE METAL, MORE SINGING, MORE BRUTAL, ETC… Adam: Well, it was actually pretty funny because the polls exacted what we were wanting to be doing anyways. So it worked out nicely like that. You know, we just wanted to kind of take our sound and evolve it a little bit and it seems like our fan-base agreed. So it was pretty sweet! Worked out nicely! ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, HOWARD, IT MUST HAVE BEEN A HUGE COMPLIMENT BECAUSE ALMOST EVERYBODY IN THAT POLL VOTED FOR „MORE SINGING“. HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL, BEING ACCEPTED THAT WELL AFTER YOUR PREMIERE ALBUM WITH KILLSWITCH? Howard: Hey, it works for me! Because, hey, that’s what you got! (laughs) Yeah, that’s cool! I guess that means they like me (puts on a fake whiny accent) …and you like me! Give me hugs… SO YOU’RE NOT NERVOUS ABOUT YOUR SINGING ANYMORE? Howard: Uh, naa… I guess not! Yeah, I just try to enjoy myself . So yeah – I guess I’ll just sing more! (sings a high note and laughs) IF I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WEREN’T DRINKING BOOZE I WOULD GUESS YOU’VE HAD A FEW… Howard: No, I’m just naturally stupid! (laughs) BUT HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR SONG-WRITING IN ANY WAY THAT THE POLLS REFLECTED THE FAN’S WISHES? HAVE YOU BEEN TRYING TO INTEGRATE THE RESULTS? Adam: (pauses) Naaa…! (both laugh) Howard: No, I mean, we wrote the album rather quickly and we didn’t rush it. It just kind of came out and just naturally went in that direction. Adam: I guess, that’s the thing about this record that we were pretty stoked and everything just felt natural and kinda just fell into place, didn’t t it? (Howard agrees) Yeah, so just bang-boom-bang- dang-ding-done! (laughs) Howard: I think the whole thing was written in basically a couple of weeks? Adam: Yeah, like that! The skeleton was created in two weeks and then we kinda put the meat on them bones as we went, you know. Pretty sweet! BUT YOU WROTE THE LAST ALBUM “ THE END OF HEARTACHE“ MOSTLY ON TOUR, SO THIS TIME… Adam: No! It was pretty much the same actually. Like the last record we did, „The end of heartache“ we did do the whole… You know, people kinda get their own ideas and bring them to practice and then we all kinda put it all together. This is exactly the same with what we did for this record. Kinda like, people show up with their ideas and just go through them and, you know, the whole thing is we are trying to make it so everyone can come and tweak each other’s ideas and change each other’s ideas, just because, you know, it’s like, we like to keep it all where everyone can put their two cents in and be a part of it because it just seems more personal to all the band members when they actually get to put their foot in, really get in there, and dig deep! YOU (TOWARDS ADAM) AND JOEL ARE THE ONES THAT STUDIED GUITARS AT THE BERKLEE CONSERVATORY FOR MUSIC, SO MY NATURAL GUESS WOULD HAVE BEEN THAT YOU COME UP WITH THE SKELETONS FOR THE SONGS…? Adam: I’ve been known to write some things for sure! (Howard chuckles) Howard: Yeah, Justin went to school, too. He… Adam: He went to school to hit things! Howard: Yeah, so he got his master degree in hitting things. But yeah, so he is… it’s like six or seven years of music school for him. Yeah, that’s a lot of schooling. I THOUGHT IT WAS ONLY ADAM AND JOEL GETTING THEIR DEGREES THERE! BUT THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE FANS OBVIOUSLY ARE QUITE HIGH. WOULD YOU SAY THEY WILL BE SATISFIED AFTER THEY LISTEN TO THE ALBUM? Adam: I’d say so: It’s definitely a new take on our sound but it’s still our sound. We don’t sound like something different too much, you know. It’s like, there’s lots of elements that keep us KILLSWITCH ENGAGE but… you know, this is definitely a natural progression towards the direction we’re supposed to be going. So, yeah! Howard: It’s like we changed from, you know, like little teenage kids with bad complexions and, you know, our voice was changing and we had very little pubic hair to adults. So, you know, here we are! Adam: We sprouted pubes on the riff of life! (Both laugh) Holy shit… Howard: Oh, that’s terrible! BUT WHAT IS QUITE OBVIOUS IT THAT YOU ADDED MORE MELODY AND YOU ARE SINGING WAY MORE, BASICALLY EVERY SONG HAS AT LEAST ONE CLEAN VOCAL LINE AND BROADER, BIGGER CHORUSES. Howard: Yeah, I think that’s a good definition. But we… Yeah, we do that! (laughs) BUT THIS IS CERTAINLY SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU MORE ACCESSIBLE TO, FOR EXAMPLE, MAINSTREAM RADIO. ONJ THE NEW ALBUM YOU ACTUALLY DO HAVE A FEW GOOD RADIO SINGLES ON THE ALBUMS. HAVE YOU BEEN TRYING TO MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT MORE RADIOFRIENDLY THERE? THE QUESTION JUST EVERY MUSICIAN LOVES… Adam: Uhm, not necessarily, actually. It’s pretty much like, we were kinda following the direction where we just like melody, you know. Melody is pretty fucking cool! Like, not only are we into metal, we like all types of music and – hell, you know – we are all music nerds, especially me. You know, I’m a fucking music nerd. I just love cool melody. It’s awesome! No matter if it’s in the guitar lines or in the vocal lines. So it’s definitely something we fell good about introducing a little bit more. And I kinda feel like with the more melody we introduced into the record it kinda gives a little more space in, you know, gives a little more emphasis on the screaming when it does happen. So you have more of a contrast and I just think it’s more entertaining to listen to because you have all these peaks and values, all these ups and downs. You know, so that’s what we do. Yeah! Howard: We never really specifically went for radio or anything like that. But I mean, some of the… Like the songs, they are still heavy but basically any decision for like a song that has a vast amount of singing in it, I just decided: „I’m gonna sing that!“ Just for a little variety. You know, so no one can really blame anybody for that except me! (laughs) It’s my fault! Adam: Go Howard, good job! THAT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE AN INSULT, I WAS JUST TRYING TO SAY IT’S CATCHY AS FUCK! YOU CAN’T GET THE MELODIES OUT OF YOUR HEAD, AND THIS IS WHAT MAKES OUT A GOOD RADIO SINGLE. ARE YOU AWARE THAT THIS MIGHT BE THE ALBUM THAT DECIDES ABOUT YOUR FUTURE WHETHER YOU’RE GONNA BE REALLY HUGE OR JUST HUGE…?
Adam: I don’t care! (both laugh) I think the most important thing was that we make a record for the people who, you know, gave a shit about the band from the beginning, you know. Don’t get me wrong, it’s – sorry about this, I spit at you – don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely cool to introduce ourselves to new fans and what not but, you know, we grew up as dudes into underground music so all the core fans are really the fans that are just… fuck, they supported us so much from here and now, we owe them a record that’s just straight up our sound and what we believe in, what we do. Yeah. And this is what we believe in, so there you go. Howard: Yeah. We ain’t gonna be the next NICKELBACK. (laughs) Nothing against the guys in NICKELBACK, cause they’re nice guys. But, yeah, we’re not gonna be the next NICKELBACK or anything. You know, it’s like, yeah, we do some singing and everything but we’re gonna make heavy music cause that’s what we like. Adam: I am thinking about curling my hair and growing a goatee! (Howard breaks out in laughter, Adam starts singing) “Never made it with a fohawk” Howard: Oh, that’s how you remind me! (uncontrollable laughter by both) ADAM, SOMETIMES PEOPLE REFER TO YOU AS A LITTLE BIT CRAZY. WHAT COULD THEY POSSIBLY MEAN BY THAT? Adam: (with growly voice) Fuck ’em! (can’t stop laughing) I’ll fuckin’ eat you. And if I eat you I will take on your powers! ADAM, YOU PRODUCED AND MIXED THE NEW ALBUM “AS DAYLIGHT DIES”. Adam: Sorry about that! WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING FOR YOU AS YOU WERE PRODUCING THE ALBUM? IT’S YOUR OWN MUSIC YOU’RE PRODUCING AND MIXING… Adam: Yeah, it’s definitely stressful because you’re of course worried because it’s your fate of the band and all that good stuff and bla, bla, bla. But… Howard: (a little reproachful) Hah! Adam: Huh? Howard: How do you like it? I had to worry about the fate last time. Oh, oh – new singer! If this doesn’t go well it’s all my fault! Go, blame the black guy! So, yeah – if this album sucks it’s your fault! (laughs) Adam: Hey, naa… Oh, whatever! No, it was definitely a little stressful, a little hectic, you know, but at the same time I love doing it. It’s my job, you know, and, yeah, whatever – it’s all good! I do the best I can… Howard: Yeah, he did a good job! Adam: … by drinking myself under the console! Aw God… works great! Howard: Adam did a really good job with it. I mean, we finally just finished it and just listening to the mixes and everything, it sounds really good. You know, I’m really happy with how it turned out. So, can’t wait to get the thing mastered, I can listen to it once and never listen to it again. Well, treading into Andy Sneap’s footsteps production-wise has got to be a challenge.. Adam: (with a rough voice like a wrestler) I’m coming out for you old man! (hysterical laughter) You crooked-eye bastard! You mix good, but goddamn – you can’t see straight! (with his normal voice) Andy Sneap has got a crooked eye, slightly. I love that dude, though. Just know this, know this! (laughter) Howard: And the man loves to drink himself to the point of oblivion. Andy: Yeah, he’s a good guy! SINCE IT IS YOUR OWN MUSIC YOU’RE WORKING WITH – DO YOU EVER GET TO THE POINT WHERE YOU’RE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU’VE DONE – LIKE REALLY HAPPY? I DON’T THINK YOU CAN… OR ARE YOU BEING OVER-CRITICAL? Adam: Yeah, I do that! (laughs) No, I definitely get a little over-critical sometimes but I guess it’s also my job to kinda wake up and realize when I’m being an idiot. Like: “It’s fine! Leave it alone!” And then or course freak out about all over again in like a day or so. Whatever that my be. Howard: To quote Brent from MASTODON you know, their guitar-player: “A song is never finished!” You always think: “Man – I wish I could have done this better!” or “This song would have sounded a little better if the guitar would have done this or the vocals had done that!” Adam: I guess a song kind of just keeps evolving, no matter how old or young it is. Like, no matter when it was recorded because I’m sure like, you know, a band wants to just play it a little differently every time. So even a song that was like recorded in 1970 might turn into something that is a little different, you know, like now, nowadays. You know what I mean? Yeah, things always change. Howard: Also to quote Brent from MASTODON: “Pee in my butt and make a baby!” So, yeah, I don’t know how much we can trust him. Adam: “Pee in my butt and make a baby!” HE SAID THAT…? TO YOU? Howard; Yeah! He said that. (laughs) WHAT DID YOU REPLY THOUGH? Howard: I think I replied with about five minutes of “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”, over and over again. (Adam repeats the quote) He is a different man. He is a great man but definitely a different man. Adam: Pee in my butt and make a baby! I should use it more often. Howard: Yeah! It should come up in normal conversation. I HEARD THAT THE TOUR WITH AVENGED SEVENFOLD WAS CANCELLED A FEW DAYS AGO. WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THAT? Howard: It was never started. (laughs) Adam: No. I guess they jumped the gun. They thought we were gonna tour with them and we didn’t. (Howard laughs) No, they offered us a tour with them. And well, we actually wanted to just end up doing a small headline run ourselves the whole time. They just kept offering and offering and I think… Howard: We politely declined. Adam: Yeah, maybe there was a miscommunication with them and their managers or whatever but we never said yes. And maybe they just thought we were going to say yes. I don’t know. BUT IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THEY GOT INTO NEWS RECENTLY FOR SHOWING OFF THEIR REDNECK-ATTITUDE A BIT TOO MUCH AND THAT THEY ARE PRO-BUSH? Adam: Are they pro-Bush?? OH YEAH… Adam: Where are they from? Howard: Orange County! Adam: Hah! Howard: Oh, and good luck with that! (laughs) COMING BACK TO YOUR MUSIC – THE TITLE TRACK OF THE NEW ALBUM “AS DAYLIGHT DIES” – DID I READ THAT RIGHT THAT IT’S LIKE AN ANTI-BUSH SONG? Howard: Not necessarily anti-Bush. I mean, yeah, he has done a fantastic job over the past six months. (Pauses, then coughs and snorts) Yeah… (laughs) I am funny, aren’t I?! But it’s, like I say, it’s not necessarily directed towards him. I mean, it would be very, very easy to judge his actions and all that stuff but it’s basically just a cry to say: “Let’s change something! Let’s do something quickly because time is running out and this is… things are going progressively from bad to worse. And in our own way we can have some sort of change, in your personal life, in life outside of your home – gotta do something! So that’s what that was. WELL, BUT SOCIETY IS INEVITABLY CONNECTED WITH POLITICS AS WELL… Adam: It’s a very broad stroke. Like, even there’s other songs on the record that talk about negativity in this world just through society and the way people treat each other and just…you know, just a very general, just how there seems to be this big cloud of just (makes a disgusted sound) “Uch!” over a lot of things nowadays. That’s all! So, the: “Uch!!!” Howard: People just don’t seem to care about other people and that’s very disturbing. Every… Wow – I just got shushed. Yeah, every one is so concerned about doing their own thing and it just… the needs of others get forgotten. And that’s just bad. I mean, you gotta do what you can to help, you know. It’s just like my family, my friends mean the world to me and just, I think that how you treat your family and friends that’s how we should be treating people in general. And so that’s… Adam: No, I won’t sign that CD! Howard: (hysterical laughter) ARE YOU BEING MEAN TO FANS SOMETIMES? Adam: I’m not. No! (Another stroke of laughter) I’m just making fun of Howard. Howard: Oh yeah. I tend to get affeared of crowds. (laughs) “affeared”. BUT HOWARD, YOU OBVIOUSLY ARE A VERY HUMOROUS GUY, VERY LEVELLED, VERY GROUNDED. YOUR LYRICS OFTEN DEAL WITH VERY DARK, VERY DESPERATE SUBJECTS. IN WHAT MINDSET DO YOU NEED TO BE IN TO COME UP WITH SUCH DISTURBING LINES? Howard: I think everyone has a darker side or has a part of them that they struggle with and that kind of thing, it can be pretty easy to tap. I mean, especially with metal music. I mean, that’s where guys just… you know, they’re writing, they just draw from that, just that little dark pool inside their black little souls. Adam: Howard is not happy all the time and no one isn’t really happy all the time. I’m sure there is days where he just wakes up and it’s raining and he sits down on his couch with a bowl of “Mac’n Cheese” and watching “Hollywood Squares” and is just angry as crap – and just starts writing things. Howard: “Hollywood Squares”… (laughs) Wow! Actually, I’m usually I’m just watching “Guten Tag, America”! (laughs) Oh, wow… THE LAST ALBUM “THE END OF HEARTACHE” WAS BASICALLY ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF “HOPE”, ON THE NEW ALBUM “AS DAYLIGHT DIES” THE WORD “LOVE” APPEARS IN ALMOST EVERY SONG – WHICH IS A VERY UN-METAL SUBJECT TO SING ABOUT. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SING ABOUT LOVE? ANY PARTICULAR REASON? Howard: I mean, whether it’s in a metal song or not, you know, that’s… love, hope, desperation; those are all facts of life. So maybe that’s what we should have called it. Remember that show, “Facts of life”? (him and Adam start singing the title song): “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life!” Yeah! So, anyway, just… these are things that every person struggles with, that I struggled with, that Adam has struggled with, that Adam has struggled with. You know, and since these are all things that Adam has struggled with it’s something that I figured I should write about because Adam has struggled with them. No! Just honestly, I heard the music for some of the songs and it just… you get a vibe and just kinda go with it. And what can I say, I’ a big guy with a soft heart. (WITH A SYMPATHETIC TONE) OH… Howard: Hey, be quiet! (laughs) Howard: What can I say? Adam: A soft guy with a big heart! THE FIRST SINGLE “THE CURSE” REMINDED ME STRONGLY OF YOUR HIT SINGLE “ROSE OF SHARYN”, EXCEPT MAYBE FOR THE OPENING BEAT, WHICH IS VERY “ROCK ‘N ROLLY” BUT THE WHOLE STRUCTURE RESEMBLES “ROSE OF SHARYN” A LOT. WOULD YOU AGREE THERE? Howard: I can definitely see the similarity in music. No, definitely different subject. It is more like a … This subject, this is more of like an extension to “The end of heartache”. At least, yeah, subject matter – only gay-er! (laughs) Yeah, we’ll probably catch a little grief for that. So… (laughs) and by we I mean me! Oh well, sorry about that! ADAM, DID THAT COME TO YOUR MIND AS WELL WHEN YOU WERE WRITING THAT SONG, LIKE: “OH, WAIT A MINUTE, I THINK I SENSE A SIMILARITY THERE!” HAS IT STOPPED YOU FROM GOING INTO THAT DIRECTION WITH THAT SONG? Adam: A similarity how? Lyrically? …STRUCTURE-WISE, ESPECIALLY THE ENDING PART WHERE IT GOES INTO THE CLEAN SINGING… Adam: To “Rose of Sharyn”? No! I think it’s totally different. Howard: Yeah, it’s different. I mean, I see the similarity in like, it’s got a rock-feel to it, but I don’t think it sounds like… I don’t think it’s structurally… Adam: “Rose of Sharyn” starts off with a verse whereas this song starts off with a chorus and the pre-chorus that’s just all chug riff, whereas that pre-chorus is all melodic. Nah, it’s totally different. (laughs) Sorry, I wish I could agree with you but I can’t. I’m sorry! WHAT ABOUT TOURING PLANS AFTER THE ALBUM COMES OUT IN NOVEMBER? Adam: Oh yeah, there’ll be a large tour. Large, very large! OWN HEADLINING TOUR, I GUESS? Adam: First we do the States and then we come to Europe. (starts rapping and snipping his fingers) “First we do the States and then we come to Europe, first we do the States and then we come to Europe, mhmhmhmhmhmhmh!” Yup! ADAM, YOU ARE ALSO PRODUCING OTHER BANDS, LIKE FOR EXAMPLE OVERCAST RECENTLY. WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A WORKAHOLIC? Adam: Yeah, I also call myself an alcoholic! (to Howard) I knew, you were gonna do it! I did it for you. Howard: You saw me leaning in to the mike to say it. Adam: Yeah! Alcoholic, workaholic, beef-aholic, slimjim-aholic. Whatever, it’s all good, I like it all! Howard: Who eats Slim Jim’s? Adam: Snap into it, tear into the spice. BUT YOU’RE BASICALLY FOCUSSING ON KILLSWITCH ENGAGE IN THE NEXT MONTHS? Adam: Nope! (laughs) No, no, no, no… Yeah, we’re kinda busy with this thing, so… Yeah, that ole KILLSWITCH thing, we’re gonna rock out for a little while. BUT YOU STILL FOUND THE TIME TO PRODUCE OVERCAST? Adam: Uhum, that’s true, I did! CAN YOU TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT IT? Adam: Sure, Mike D.’s old band there. They decided to get together to kind of recreate some of their old songs to make them more modern. So, yeah, that’s what they did and hopefully, it looks like they’re gonna put it out, I don’t know, sometime next year. We’ll see. SOME SONGS ON THE NEW RECORD ARE A BIT MORE TECHNICAL THAN YOUR OLDER MATERIAL. ADAM, WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING SONG TO PLAY? Adam: Oh, man, “Break the silence”. that frickin’ riffs are stupid. (chuckles) They will get hard to play. Nah, that one is a toughy. You know, I’ll definitely have to be a little more stationary when we play that one live if we do. So… “STATIONARY” DOESN’T SEEM TO BE THE RIGHT WORD WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR STAGE PRESENCE… USUALLY YOU’RE ALL OVER THE PLACE! Adam: Well, I try to, you know, get into it. (laughs) No, just trying to have fun on stage of course. But yeah, some of this new stuff I’ll actually gonna have to pay attention to what I’m doing for once. “Oh yeah… riffs!” Howard: That song is very, very riffy. So, I don’t know, we may have to hold off trying to recreate river dance on stage. Adam: Yeah! Howard: Oh, well. Adam: Riffer dance!! We’re doing a musical dance number called “Riffer dance”. (imitates a guitar riff ending with a high note) Riffer dance! (both laughing) Howard: (in tears) Holy shit! WHEN YOU’RE BEING ON TOUR FOR SEVERAL MONTHS – IS THERE ANYTHING YOU HATE IN PARTICULAR WHEN BEING ON THE BUS? Adam: Some of those things are pretty good.., Howard: I hate being on the bus, hate being on the road. Naaah… Adam: Nah, it’s cool to travel, it’s definitely cool to travel. It sucks to be in, you know, the ghettos of North America when you’re on tour for sure cause that’s where the shitty metal clubs are. You know, but it’s always awesome to be to places where you normally wouldn’t… Hang out with cool people and, you know, just chill out. It’s fun! Howard: Yeah! I think the only thing that sucks is when the bus starts smelling like sausage and mouldy cheese. Yeah, that tends to be a problem. That usually happens within a couple days. There is a couple of fenders from our whole crew, you know, there’s a couple of guys that can make that bus reek in just the quickest time. Adam: It just feels like somebody took like cooking spray and put it all over the seats and then it smells like: “Someone making sausage in this bus?” TERRIBLE…ADAM, YOU WERE SUFFERING FROM PRETTY BAD BACK PROBLEMS IN THE PAST WHICH WAS THE REASON WHY YOU COULDN’T PLAY THE “TASTE OF CHAOS” TOUR IN EUROPE LAST YEAR. HAVE YOU FULLY RECOVERED? Adam: I highly recommend surgery to anyone who wants it. Even if you don’t want to, just go get something taken out of your body, you’ll feel awesome! So, to answer your question: Yes, I feel great! (chuckles) SO IT’S NOTHING THAT WOULD STOP YOU FROM TOURING ANOTHER YEAR OR SO? Adam: As long as I stay healthy, yeah, and I don’t have that surgery again everything will be ok. Howard: Yeah, he’s back to his normal antics on stage. Yeah, there was – towards the end there – he couldn’t move at all. So he was pretty bad. Adam: Taking pills and drinking bottles of wine and just punching things, getting angry at what not. ON YOUR WEBSITE YOU ASK THE QUESTION WHY EUROPEAN FESTIVALS ARE SO MUCH BETTER THAN FESTIVALS IN THE US? WHAT MAKES US FESTIVALS SO SHITTY THEN? WHAT’ THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM? I RECKON, OZZFEST MUST BE FUN… Adam: Well, there is a lot like… Festivals in the States aren’t like one big thing like they are over here. They always travel so the crowds are smaller and there is that whole thing called Middle America… No, no! Crowds are smaller and, you know, it’s just… the fans there are just… I don’t know, it seems a little more gimmicky over there, isn’t it? Howard: I could see that. Is that actually on the website? Wow, I should look at that thing. (laughs) Adam: Are you saying we have a website? This is cool! Holy shit! Is our band name on there? Howard: What’s the address? (both still laughing) RECORDED ON SEPTEMBER 21ST IN COLOGNE / HILTON