Killswitch Engage

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“I’ve only maybe been home maybe a month in the past year,” Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio says. “I don’t see my wife nearly enough. Or my dogs. I just tell her to pretend I’m in the army, but I’m not getting shot at. It’s the only drawback to having one of the greatest jobs in the world,” he laughs. “There’s always going to be drawbacks to any job that you do, but this is a gift from heaven to be in music and to have people come out and like your stuff. I’ve been in many bands that didn’t work. They just fell by the wayside for some reason or another, and this one worked. It feels great that you can produce something that people will like and that they want to go out of their way to see. Or, they want to have you come all the way across to Australia and play.”

It’s amazing to think that just five years ago the band were in limbo. Former frontman Howard Jones had quit and Killswitch Engage were unsure whether or not to continue. In that time, D’Antonio got back in touch with some old friends to form Death Ray Vision from the ashes of Overcast, who he played with, prior to Killswitch Engage.

“I really like playing with those guys. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your element and play with different people here and there. You can learn a lot if you’re not playing with the same people over and over again. It was real easy to throw some stuff together for that band, and at the time Killswitch wasn’t really doing much. It was the interim between Howard and Jesse [Leach, vocals] where we weren’t sure what was going on with the band. At the time I just wanted to play shows. It didn’t matter if it was a bar show to 20 people or a festival here and there. Throwback hardcore with a little bit of metal was a style of music that I thought was really fun. I got together with Brian [Fair] from Shadow’s Fall and Pete Cortese from my old bands Overcast and Seemless and busted out some songs. We made an EP and then a whole record on Bullet Tooth Records, and that was a lot of fun.”

With no new releases on the horizon for Death Ray Vision, D’Antonio has nonetheless been busy. “I’ve been writing a lot of demos, and I’m sure some of them will end up being Death Ray Vision stuff, but it’s not something we plan on doing super often. Killswitch is going super nuts right now with touring.”

Luckily, original frontman Leach (who had left the band in 2002) rejoined the band, and in 2013 they released ‘Disarm The Descent’. Earlier this year they went on to release album number seven, ‘Incarnate’.

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“It was a bit different”, D’Antonio admits when asked about how the recording process for ‘Incarnate’ differed to ‘Disarm The Descent’. “It was a bit more cohesive this time around because Jesse was in the mix writing with us. On the last record, the music was all done when Jesse joined the band and he just had to put his stamp of lyrics on it. With this one, he was with us listening to demos, talking about parts, working out lyric ideas. Everyone in the band writes, so we all bring demos to practice and listen to and talk about. Sometimes we move them over to ProTools and play around with it with everyone’s input. It was great to have Jesse’s input and to have his ideas shining through, especially with the artwork. He had a lot to do with that as well.”

D’Antonio designs all of the album artwork and merchandise for Killswitch, which is a passion he’s had for a long time. For the artwork on ‘Incarnate’ a bizarre dream was used as inspiration. “Jesse had a weird dream about a person sprouting roots and going into the ground while his or her arms were lifted into the air. Cranes were circling above and snakes were coming up from below. It was sort of a good and bad, I guess. It was a challenge to figure out exactly how I was going to meet the criteria but that’s one of the fun parts, especially when you nail it and that was what happened.”

Next year, Killswitch Engage will embark on their sixth tour of the Australia. A country that D’Antonio loves but not for a reason, you’d expect. “I love your fruit bats,” he laughs. “They’re crazy looking. I’ve seen one hit a wall and get stunned and fall on the ground and flap around and then fly away. Those things are massive! They’re bigger than my dog. I have two pugs, and they would be frightened by a fruit bat. Last time we were there we went to the Botanical Gardens and checked out the fruit bats hanging upside down from the trees and watched them fly over the harbour when the sun was going down. That was awesome; it was like a vampire  or a Batman movie.”

Written By Matthew Barton

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1
MARCH
2017

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Auckland
Powerstation

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7
MARCH
2017

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Melbourne
170 Russell

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3
MARCH
2017

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Sydney
Enmore Theatre

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8
MARCH
2017

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Perth
Metro City

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4
MARCH
2017

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Brisbane
Eatons Hill Hotel

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5
MARCH
2017

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Melbourne
170 Russell

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