The lifestyle of touring can often be somewhat of a misnomer. Similar to that of a military private, returning to civilian style life can surely be an adjustment. Mainstayers in the Metalcore arena, Killswitch Engage are one of the defining Metal bands of the mid 00’s. Singlehandedly carrying the genre under its crippling weight, the band refuse to crumble under the pressure. Having released their latest blueprint for bands to follow, Incarnate, the band were jettisoned out to a huge world tour, culminating in a final performance with Bullet For My Valentine at London’s Brixton Academy. As we wound down the year in 2016 we spoke to resident mad man and Metalcore mascot, Adam D about the hardships of touring and their brand new album Incarnate.
Ok so I am here today with the legendary Adam D!
Adam D : Legendary ass!
How are you man?
Good! Pushing through I’m good!
This is the last day on the tour?
There’s two shows here, we’ll be done tomorrow night.
And that will wrap up, how long has the touring schedule been?
Oh my god! This specific tour has been about five or six weeks? Yeah man, it’s been a long haul. We just came off what was about a little over two months befor this. It’s been a busy year man, we’re all ready to go home.
Ready for Christmas!
Oh yes, absolutely, sounds lovely right now.
Incarnate, it’s been out for a while now. What have fans reactions been like to it?
Well, we play several songs from it live and really people have really gravitated to a couple of songs, especially “Hate Nu Design” that one seems to go over really well. It’s cool! It’s great to be touring on a new record and have people accept it and not boo every time we play a song from it you know haha!
You also, when the record came out, had I think it was five back to back shows?
In New York yeah.
What inspired that?
It was our management no, our label, they thought it would be a good idea to hype up the record release. It was being released that week and no better place to do it than New York City! We’ve always had a great fan base in New York and there are so many clubs in New York and we just thought that it would kind of be a neat thing to hang out there and have a residency for five or six days and do five different smaller clubs. We grew up that way, we love the small club vibe and it was a lot of fun! We debuted a new song off the record every show. It was just a cool way to kind of kick off the release of the record you know?
Was it a different vibe playing smaller shows?
Definitely. I much prefer that.
Really? Why is that because it’s more intense?
Yeah I love people jumping on stage, stage diving just being part of the show it’s a good time.
As you mentioned, with such a hectic touring schedule how do you remain focused throughout the time at you’re on tour?
I don’t know haha! I don’t know anymore. ILl be honest we’re all a little burnt out now but it’s just pressing forward and not taking it for granted and just loving what you do that makes the difference.
You’ve been doing this for how many years now?
Wow! Have you got any pre tour rituals that you do?
Pre tour rituals? Just the usual pack a lot of socks haha! You can never have too many socks!
What about the actual writing of Incarnate was that a totally different thing to Disarm The Descent?
No, exactly the same thing. We always demo things on our own. Four band members, we will demo things on our own and then we will collaborate and if we don’t feel good about a specific idea that someone has made. Say I would write a song and if people like it, then we just use it but if people are like “Oh I think we should change this part and this part” we’ll get together and just work on it together and rewrite some parts and make it feel like a complete song. Then after, once we have demos that are ready to go that we feel decent about we will then send them to Jesse for him to start writing vocals over. It’s always been that way for us, except in the beginning we used to name a lot more. Now we live all over the place, it’s kind of hard to get together.
It’s more of a logistical thing?
Do you ever find yourself creating a sort of formula and then thinking Oh I’ve written this sort of formula before and then you kind of try and experiment with different things?
Yeah, I think people tend to get caught in what feels comfortable. I’ve written songs and then just thrown them away completely because I just think that that feels too similar to somethings I have done before. The. I just throw it away. I think we’re all guilty of that for sure.
What about the album’s artwork? What does that signify?
Pretty sure that it was a vision that Jesse wanted to do. Inspired by some dream he had I think, it sounds crazy! I think he had some dream about a man being pulled down by some snakes or something like that holding him down and he thought, man that needs to be our artwork! And I was like “Alright man!” Then the illustrator, I forgot his name already but I thought he did a great job. It’s cool!
So what’s your favourite track off the new album if you have to have one?
I guess I like “Hate By Design” because it seems like people gravitate to that one live. For me it’s all about what the fans like, you know? It’s the difference when playing something live. When you see the crowd react to it of course it’s going to be something that you want out of a live show. That’s going to be my favourite, whichever one the crowd likes the most.
Because of the way the songs are written of the lyrics?
I dunno! The lyrics are pretty decent, one of the first songs that we released off the record.
So what are the plans for 2017?
Take a damn break, haha! We’ve got a bit of break coming, then we’re going to be playing Australia and New Zealand and then we’re probably going to have another US tour.
I know, fuck me goddamit haha!
And you’re going to play Alive Or Just Breathing in Australia, what prompted that?
Well we were originally going to do that when we were going to do the Soundwave tour. That was two years ago? That’s the one that completely fell through. The promoter didn’t pay some bills or something. So that was huge, huge ordeal Eighty something band’s got cancelled, it’s a tremendous festival. It’s like if Download got cancelled. The fans asked for if so I guess we will bring it back this time.
Just a one off for the Aussie fans?
That’s cool! It’s because they’re so far away isn’t it haha! You’ve produced quite a lot of albums in the past, do you find it hard to look at material as an objective kind of way just as a musician or do you have your producer hat on?
I guess I always have my producer hat on. I just love music, I’m a fan of music. When music is good it’s good and it hits ya! I’m always listening, you’ve got to feel the music.
You’ve also released recently the Serpentine Dominion album, was that kind of an outlet for Death Metal that you have wanted to do for a while?
Absolutely. I love listening to Death Metal. I always loved Cannibal Corpse and George is a great singer, I was just surprised that he wanted to do the project in the first place to be honest with you. It’s a lot of fun for me I enjoyed doing that!
So what are some of your favourite Death Metal bands?
Well I do love Cannibal, (Corpse) I’m really, really into this band Aborted right now. They’re so shreddy man. So fucking fast!
Their new album… it’s ridiculous!
Yeah it’s great man! I listen to a lot of classic stuff too some old Suffocation.
Yeah I grew up on that stuff man, Morbid Angel Déicide era. Fantastic shit.
Once Upon The Cross kind of stuff.
Yeah of course, of course!
As it’s nearing the end of the year, what has been your favourite film, your favourite gig and your favourite album of the year.
I just watched a movie on a long flight, it’s a movie that came out a long time ago with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Yes! I’m not a movie guy but that was done so well and was just so gnarly. What a movie. My favourite gig…
It can be either one you’ve played or attended…
You know probably one of those New York shows! The last one that was fucking hysterical, there was this guy that would come on stage and try and steal my beer. We would throw him off the stage and then everybody at one point in our set jumped on stage. Literally there was probably 50 people on stage. One person fell into Justin’s drum set. Show stopper. We had to halt the show and set the drum kit back up. It was so much fun It was a good show. And record, fuck, to be honest with you, I can’t really remember what was released this year haha! I don’t fucking know!
Apart from Killswitch of course!
Yeeaaah haha! I actually I like that Radiohead record, I think that came out this year. It’s good, that’s the best since probably In Rainbows. I like Rainbows but this one is really good!
There’s also, I think it came out today, the DVD. What was that revisiting the past.
A long fucking process man. A lot of back and forth with that record company. They weren’t helpful at times haha! It was a long time in the making. I’m glad it’s finally out. It’s a nice story about how Jesse came back into the band. Then there’s a bunch of random footage from our touring cycle, Japan show and there’s some footage from the States, there’s some stuff from Europe and I’m pretty sure there’s some Download footage. Lots of stuff!
Is that all from the Disarm The Descent Tour?
Was it a totally different vibe this time, when Jesse came into the studio?
No, not at all just the same kinda thing! Jesse and I have done many records, we’re very comfortable together. Let’s make some music!
Nice and easy!
He ran into a bit of problems with the whole inspiration thing at times. He kind of hit a wall, writers block if you will and kind of halted things, delayed our process a bit but once he got his steam back we were able to finish it.
Finally have you got a New Years résolution that you might try and keep?
To not drink as much wine as I did last night haha!
Killswitch’s brilliant new album Incarnate is out now via Roadrunner.