Interview With Joel Stroetzel of Killswitch Engage
I’m sorry for being such a slacker and never being able to get around to posting anymore. Having just launched http://sicasylum.com has become like a second full time job for me as of late. But with all of the hard work comes a little bit of a reward. I got to speak to guitarist Joel Stroetzel of Killswitch Engage recently.
Killswitch Engage is as household of a name as you can find in metal. Even with all of the fame of touring with the biggest bands in the world and all of the largest festivals in the world, they always make time to speak to their fans and to the media outlets that aren’t just Rolling Stone or Billboard. Love them or hate them and even through the personnel changes they’ve always stayed true to themselves and their music from day one. They’ve sold over four million albums just in the states, and their April 2nd release of Disarm The Descent could be an album just as instrumental to their career as Alive Or Just Breathing or The End Of Heartache, which should concrete their place in American music history even further. I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to founding guitarist Joel Stroetzel about the past, the present and the future of Killswitch Engage.
John G: You guys are releasing Disarm The Descent in less than two weeks, but it took almost four years between albums. With everything you guys have been through over the past few years, was there ever the fear that this album would never happen?
Joel Stroetzel: Oh yeah we were definitely in question man. Especially about a year and a half ago we thought “what do we do?” Not sure where things were at but it’s nice to be doing it still.
JG: I will say I had a chance to review it and I love the new album. It sounds like a mix of both past and present bands for Jesse and the rest of you are always top notch. How do you feel the true fans of the band embrace the album?
JS: I’m not sure, it’s a little different. It’s kind of a mix but it’s a little more of an aggressive record for us anyways. There’s kind of a lot of people out there that are diehard Howard folks and I think some of the older KSE fans from way back will really dig it I think. I’m just curious to see. We just tried to do our best and make a record that we would listen to. If people like it they like it. If not I’m not sure what to say. I guess it is what it is.
JG: You can always expect the mindless internet backlash for not making another album just like Alive or Just Breathing.
JS: (Laughs) Oh, I’m sure. There’s gonna be a bunch of that I’m sure. But it is what it is man.
JG: Is there any kind of story behind the album title?
JS: Yeah it’s actually something that Mike D. [D’Antonio – bass] kinda came up with when Jesse came back. For a couple of years things were kind of just not moving, kind of going down. What’s gonna happen here? Is the band gonna break up or are we gonna have to start new stuff? Mike came up with the phrase “Disarming the Descent” and then Jesse just kind of thought about it. Kind of summed up the last couple of years. Basically stopping the downfall of this band is kind of where the title comes from. So Jesse used Disarm The Descent.