Killswitch Engage: Interview with Mike D’Antonio

It’s going to take more than crappy computers and jacked-up hard drives to keep Killswitch Engage’s melodic metal from the masses. Every time this five-piece is finished and ready to hand over a new record to their label, Roadrunner Records, something always goes wrong. But 10 years and five records as a band has taught bassist Mike D’Antonio to back everything up—over, and over, and over again.

Triple protection might seem like overkill for most, but not to this graphic artist and grease truck junky who could use the extra space for all his KsE artwork. From posters to album covers, D’Antonio designs all the artwork for the band, which includes the most recent feline-influenced cover art for the band’s latest self-titled release.

On their fifth studio album, KsE could have continued to produce the same sound that earned them a Grammy nod and a gold record. But instead, they decided to take a risk and follow-up 2006’s As Daylight Dies by pushing their signature sound even further. Enter Brendan O’Brien, whose production credits include AC/DC and Rage Against The Machine. The famed producer, who admittedly hates metal records, jumped on board to co-produce with guitarist and longtime KsE producer, Adam Dutkiewicz.

For the first time, the five-piece left their home studio in western Massachusetts and moved down to Atlanta to try something new. But despite all the firsts for KsE, they continue to deliver the goods.

In a small meeting room, high up in the downtown Manhattan office of Roadrunner Records, I got a chance to preview the unfinished tracks with D’Antonio, who at the time was halfway through the Music As A Weapon Tour and feeling pretty lucky to be able to take showers every day.

How’s the tour going so far?

It’s different in that we get to take showers on this tour. It’s an arena tour so we get like a hockey dressing room with lockers and stuff. Showers are awesome to have everyday, because you don’t usually get that on the dingy dark club tours.

Real quick, what’s your favorite thing about New Jersey?

Grease trucks at Rutgers, awesome, awesome subs. They come with everything on them. I get the Fat Veggie Brian, which is a veggie burger, French fries, lettuce, mayo, marinara, cheese sticks, and bread.

You know you can name your own if you eat three in row?

That’s brutal. Have you done it?

Ha ha, I want to.

You’ve got to set aside a good week of not eating to get that down.

Yeah, but I think it’s worth it to get a sandwich named after you. You could be eating the Fat Mike or the Fat Adam.

I think Adam attempted and only got two down. I think nowadays his stomach is so bloated and ready to go he could probably do three no problem.