Roadrunner & Artist News
A Lesson In Killswitch Engage
Posted on February 12, 2008Ever wonder how the band came to be called Killswitch Engage? We asked Mike earlier today, and here's the tale: "well I had the Killswitch part for a while.. I was watching THE X-FILES and the word popped up and I thought it was cool. The Engage part came cause there needed to be some sort of adjective to "enhance" the Killswitch Part. At 1st no one liked it "it is too STAR TREK" everyone said... but it grew on everyone after a while.The final decision to keep the name came when they fell in love with the logo." Mike also comes up with most of the song titles. You learn something new every day.
So, you remember we told you that the band were hunting a new drummer? That Adam was going to return to guitar? Tom Gomes is the new sticksman. What can we tell you about him? Fresh from the mouth of Mike comes this: "he was the drummer for Adam and Joel's band AFTERSHOCK, so we all know him from that. He is 24 I think and he has been raised a vegetarian since birth. He plays drums like a machine... very steady and consistant".
What else in the world of KsE? Mike reports, "the record is being tweaked at the moment by Andy Sneap... but it is VERY close. It will be done this week". He also tells they are hopeful of touring with Candiria in the near future - unfortunately only in the US, but good to get out on the road playing shows for the first time in 6 months. Having spent the weekend slaving away to meet art deadlines, he also writes "artwork for the record is in and ready for the pressing plant. As far as the artwork goes... it was my 1st attempt at watercolors... I had fun. Most of the components (real objects) of the cover were scanned in by me. I broke a clock to get some gears... I cut up paper for the front image. The cover is about 15 different images rolled in one. I just like trying new stuff. I go about things "improperly" on purpose to see if the outcome can work to my advantage - lots of trial and error. I like the look of mixing "true life" items in with photoshoppy backgrounds... my girlfriend was mad that I broke the clock for the gears - all in the name of art!" Yes, Mike is indeed the designer.
Remember we told tales of the US press trip below? It started off a little uncomfortably too... "Adam lost feeling in 1/2 his body due to a pinched nerve... he is doing good, but it is hard to function... most of it is due to sitting in a bad chair at the recording studio.. and he says he fell asleep on the plane on the way home and slept wrong." We're sure A&R man Mike and mixer Andy weren't involved in any foul play at the studio - not that we've heard of anyway. Mike tells us that Adam is doing much better now, just waiting for feeling to return in his fingers. "He practiced with us Sunday and everything sounded great." Stressful times though - get well soon Adam.
Adam returned back from the mix sessions in the UK with Andy Sneap on Monday (Feb 25). Sneap is now working solo, doing a few final tweaks on the mixes, and then mastering.
The band's UK press officer has been out in the US hooking up some cool Kerrang! & Metal Hammer folks with the band. We got an email from Mike, KsE's bassist. What did it say? "Everything went well yesterday with the gang.. boy did they look tired! The best part was the hotel they got booked at.. be sure and ask her about that one! fun times Miked". Now you are as curious as we were, yes? One enquiring email later, Mike replied, "From what they told me it was a gay hotel complete with drag queens, gay porn magazines and poodles! The way they described it was great! It was amazing. I told them they must have thought the name of the magazine was "Man Hammer" instead of Metal Hammer! Miked KsE " Fun and games indeed, these tales from the road. Never a dull moment.
Friday Mar 15 at the Elysium (in Austin, Texas), KILLSWITCH ENGAGE will be performing at the Century Media Records showcase which will also feature the following artists: Shadows Fall, Diecast, Haste, Scar Culture, etc. The show promises to be nothing short of staggering. Wish we could be there. Note that Shadows Fall frontman used to front the band OVERCAST which featured Mike D from Killswitch Engage on bass. It's gonna be a big reunion.
So how did Mike (bassist) spend his weekend? Sending an email update to us about the band, that's how. And here, hot off the email, is his report: "So Adam should be in the UK at this point taking 1 plane to Nottingham and another to Leeds. The photo shoot went great, Photographer Daniel Moss was very cool and had lots of ideas for the shoot. We started the day off at 10 AM at boarded up INSANE ASYLUM that had been closed for 15 years... very spooky, lots of noises could be heard from inside the buildings (which have been empty and boarded up for quite some time). After lunch we headed to a tobacco farm for some strange shots under these crazy stringy things. We finished off the day at a broken down railroad track bridge.. very UNSAFE I might add, but Daniel had no problems ordering us on the rickety bridge for some posing. Wrapping up at 6PM it was a hard days work.. and VERY cold I might add, some of us were told to take off our jackets to "add something different to the photos"... we all thought it was just to make us all cold. Fortunately I was the only one who got the flu out of everyone.. oh well, all in the name of rock and roll. fun stuff... talk to you soon Miked". Thanks Mike, we appreciate the words... we're sure the photos will look great... and get well soon!
Release has been set for May 20th. This is the last weekend Killswitch Engage has in the studio recording their upcoming debut Alive Or Just Breathing?, as next weekend (Feb 8) KsE drummer / producer Adam will be heading here to the UK to mix this debut with Andy Sneap. BUT, before he goes, Roadrunner crew will be heading up to Westfield, MA where the band has been recording, with the purpose of the inaugural KsE photoshoot. Word is that Roadrunner personnel with be spending Tuesday (Feb 5) scouting locations in Westfield for the shoot, and that on Wednesday (Feb 6) the actual deed will occur.
So, word coming down from the A&R department is that Killswitch Engage has about four sessions left until the recording of their Roadrunner debut is complete. As of right now, producer and drummer Adam Dutkiewitz is scheduled to fly to Nottingham on Feb 8th to mix this bad boy with acclaimed producer Lord Andy Sneap. Mixing is to commence on Feb 10th. So, what does Andy have to say about this upcoming KsE project? He has been quoted saying the following, and we couldn't have written it any better ourselves: "KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, a new Roadrunner signing who, if like me you miss power chords, riffs and guitar squeals in this day of detuned, single note, toe touching nu-metal garbage, will not disappoint."
Thoughts on an incredible creation coming from a small studio in Westfield, Mass. So, Killswitch Engage's A&R Rep here at Roadrunner (Mike Gitter) took RR US web dude Chris into his office early last week to hear the latest of the Killswitch Engage recordings. Four songs he played - "Temple From The Within", "Transfiguration", "My Last Serenade", "Self Revolution". What did Chris think? "Wow". At some point while Mike had this new KsE material cranking, his phone rang. Without turning the music down even a fraction of a decibel, Mike picked up the phone...one can guess the guy on the other side asked "what are you listening to?" "Some shitty band," mused Mike with a smile on his face. Turns out the call on the other line was KsE's current drummer (more to come on that) and producer of the music, Adam Dutkiewitz. With the music still playing, the two discuss dates...calendars get examined...dates are agreed upon...songs titles are listed...and somewhere along the line the words "Eight more days with Jesse" is spoken (meaning 8 more days of vocal tracking is left).
The door to Mike's office is open. Sitting on the couch outside just happened to be Machine Head's Robert Flynn (guitar/vocals) and Adam Duce (bass). From their demeanor, expression, and enthusiasm when talking with Mike about the band, you could tell they were impressed with what they were hearing. During his conversation with Robert and Adam, Mike proudly tells "we've put out some very expensive records that don't sound as good as this...and we're only 60% of the way there." Some big sounds are coming from a small studio in Westfield, Mass. Indeed. Since that day last week, Mike reports today Jan 15 that KsE is nearing completion of their Roadrunner debut, titled Alive Or Just Breathing. Word is that only vocals on two tracks along with some random touch-up work remain.
Did You Know? Adam Dutkiewitz is only the drummer in the band by default. He is actually a guitarist by trade. Apparently, it's true. Carl, our manager of new media at Roadrunner US, frankly tells "he's one of those dicks that can do everything." (yes, Carl has known Adam since well before KsE signed with Roadrunner, and he says it in a loving, perhaps even envious tone). Well, with recording almost complete, word has it Killswitch Engage is readying a new touring line-up that brings drummer Adam D. out from behind the kit to play GUITAR. While, the change is not totally 100% just yet, it looks as if KsE is adding drummer Tom Gomes, who played drums with Adam and fellow six-stringer Joel in the defunct metalcore mob, Aftershock. Says bassist Mike D'Antonio of the much needed line-up shift: "Things are clicking... we are having a blast with the new songs.... should know soon if the 5 piece is set in stone." Once again, weirdly enough, Adam is a guitarist first and a drum leviathan in Killswitch by default. Adam's shift to rhythm guitar has been something the band has long been discussing and it looks as if Killswitch Engage has found the right man for the job.
Did you know that KsE drummer Adam is vastly multitalented? He graduated from BERKELEY (world renowned music college) and plays every instrument in the book, produces, engineers... the whole works. He is producing the KsE album and Andy Sneap is mixing and mastering.
Did you know that when Mike isn't being the KsE bassist he works as a designer for Clear Channel? What does he do exactly? Well, last week he did an Ozzy billboard for Times Square in New York... yes, it's true. If you live in NY, look out for it! Of course, he had to do a Creed one afterwards, but you know, every job has it's highs and lows, or lows and highs, whichever way you prefer to look at it.
Did you know that Adam is coming over to the UK to oversee the mixing/mastering of the album in Nottingham? To save £$, the rest of the band are staying home, but they're not avoiding the cold weather. As I type this, Mike tells me it's snowing right now.
Did you know the band are planning to hit the road touring in the US from March/April through June? However, Mike tells, "no clue as to who we are going with. I do know there are several bands interested in taking us, only time will tell. We must get this record FINISHED 1st and foremost..."
Did you know the album title "ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING" is a chorus in the KsE song called "Just Barely Breathing"? How did it come about? Mike divulges, "I really liked the title and pushed to get everyone in the band to okay it. In short, not only is being in a band making us whole and "ALIVE", but it also represents us as a band and the chances we are taking to "make this thing work". Sappy? Maybe."
Did you know rumour has it the cover art is done but is being kept under wraps til closer to release? What's it like? "Hard to describe", says Mike. You'll just have to wait and see.
Until next time, that wraps up this game of Did You Know. How did you do? By the way, it's Mike who does most of the official band site updating and he's redone lots recently. Check it out at www.killswitchengage.com