Killswitch Engage: Interview with Mike D’Antonio

Killswitch EngageKillswitch Engage will release their fourth album, As Daylight Dies, on Nov. 21. The band hasn’t changed its sound or veered off the course it has been on for the past several years. It’s pure KsE: the roaring and singing vocal duality of Howard Jones, the twin guitar attack of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, the gnarly drumming of Justin Foley, and the rippling bass of Mike D’Antonio. KsE didn’t go softer; they got heavier. Beautiful melodies coexist alongside guitar work that could shift the Earth’s plates.

We spoke to D’Antonio, who has some fond memories of the great state of New Jersey, and who is super-psyched to be headlining the Saints And Sinners Festival in Asbury Park, NJ.

This story will run in The Aquarian, the weekly entertainment paper in New Jersey.

I know The Aquarian. I used to design ads for the paper. I was designing ads for Clear Channel, for shows. We did most of the East Coast out of the Boston office. I was just doing design, not promotion. I did a lot of Massachusetts, some New York and some New Jersey.

So you’re familiar with The Aquarian and the Garden State. What’s your favorite place to play, or memory about playing in New Jersey?

I was gonna say, before you even said ‘in New Jersey,’ that it’s got to be in New Jersey, my favorite place to play! Club Krome was always really fun, and I have some fond memories of lugging equipment up the stairs at the Melody Bar.

Ah, the old Melody Bar in New Brunswick.

Yeah, I’ve played many, many times there with Killswitch and with Overcast. We played a lot of colleges too. I’ve spent a lot of my childhood in New Jersey.

As Daylight Dies does exactly what I wanted Killswitch to do. You were at a crossroads, where you could take that melodic stuff and expand on that, or you could have gotten super- experimental. You didn’t go light or get experimental; you didn’t try to do something Killswitch don’t do. This record reminds me a lot of Alive Or Just Breathing. It harkens back, even though there’s not a chasm of difference between Alive Or Just Breathing and The End Of Heartache.

I almost felt like it should have been the record even between Alive Or Just Breathing and The End Of Heartache. It actually makes sense that this record would remind you more of Alive Or Just Breathing. The collaborative effort for this record was a lot like Alive Or Just Breathing, whereas The End Of Heartache was more of an Adam D. thing. Because we were all so burnt out from touring and playing in general, the only person who really came up with a lot of the stuff for that album was Adam. When we approached this record, it was back to basics. It had been three years since we did a record, and we were all really anxious to write. When it came time to step into that room and start writing, everyone had so many ideas it was almost too many, which was as good as you can possibly hope for.