Killswitch Engage: “A few things might blow up during our Bloodstock set”

Ahead of their first-ever UK festival headline performance, Killswitch Engage’s Adam D shares some secrets on what their Bloodstock set might contain, as well as looking ahead to new music…

Killswitch Engage: “A few things might blow up during our Bloodstock set”
James Hingle

For over two decades, Killswitch Engage have been at the top of the metalcore mountain, laying waste to venues the world over with emotionally-charged battle cries like My Curse, Fixation On The Darkness, My Last Serenade and The End Of Heartache. Despite this gold-plated catalogue, a coveted UK festival headline spot has always eluded them. Until this coming Friday at Bloodstock.

As the Derbyshire weekender has grown in size and stature since its inception in 2005, the fest has broadened its horizons from more traditional metal fare to some of the modern-day success stories in our scene.

With the likes of Trivium, Lamb Of God and Gojira all topping the bill at Catton Hall in recent years, the festival has given the 2023 opening night headline slot to Killswitch Engage, a band whose reach and influence stretches across acts on all different stages.

We sat down with founding member, guitarist, and caped crusader Adam Dutkiewicz, to talk about headlining for the first time in the UK, bassist Mike D’Antonio’s artwork, and where the band are with new music following 2019’s Atonement…

Hello, Adam! How does it feel to be headlining and playing Bloodstock for the first time?
“It's pretty crazy to be headlining Bloodstock – it is nuts! Obviously we've not been back to the UK for quite a while – I think we haven't been back since 2019. So, yeah, it's crazy that we haven’t been there since before whole pandemic thing and whatnot. It's gonna be pretty awesome to come back and play for all the lovely folks there – I'm stoked!”

This is going to be one of the biggest shows you’ve ever played in the UK. Does it feel invigorating to be still achieving new things over 20 years into your career as a band?
“Oh, it's amazing when you think about it, you know, how we're still doing this after 20 years and playing a show of that calibre. We’re just very lucky to still be out there still doing something new.”

And with it being such a momentous occasion, do you have anything special planned for your set?
“Maybe a few things are going to blow up, maybe a few lighting tricks. We've definitely stepped up some production to make it kind of shine and do something special and unique.”

Is this a good time to take stock of your relationship with your UK fanbase?
“Yeah, the UK has always treated us well and the shows have been wonderful over the years, so it feels awesome. It’s almost like we're hanging out with a bunch of old friends and seeing people we haven't seen in quite some time, and we're all going to party together, so it's going to be great.”

You’re also going on directly after In Flames, so people will be fired-up…
“That's awesome for us! They’re friends of ours and they were obviously one of the biggest influences on us when we were starting out as well, so it'll be awesome to see that.”

KSE bassist Mike is also showcasing his art at the festival. Does it fill you with pride seeing one of your bandmates having another aspect of their life celebrated?
“Yeah, that's very cool. Obviously Mike's been doing it for quite some time now, so the fact that he's getting a bit of recognition for it is a very cool thing. I think it's great and if people can they should definitely go and check it out."

Is there any other talents of yours that you would like to showcase if you were given the opportunity to?
“I can drink beer really well? (Laughs) But no, I'm here to play music and have a good time, and play guitar.”

It’s been nearly four years since your last record, Atonement. Have you guys got any updates on where you are at with a new album?
“Yeah, we've been writing for quite some time now. Jesse [Leach, vocals] has been working out some lyric ideas and demos for the last few days, actually. We’ve got a lot of songs kind of rolling around right now. I'm thinking about getting back into the studio after this tour and getting to work, and I'm hoping we'd like to have the record done by the end of the year. But it might take a bit longer than that, so I would assume new music next year, for sure.”

The Atonement cycle did get knocked by the pandemic, but how do you reflect upon that record now? Is it material that stills fresh due to it not getting the run out it deserved?
“Yeah, I really like that record; it was a lot of fun. It's a lot of fun to play the thrashers on that record when you've got them in the rotation as well. I think we just ended up releasing that record kind of at the wrong time, but nobody knew what was going to happen with the whole COVID thing. It's part of the reason why it's taken us so long to get into music again, because we wanted to get it out and we are only really getting to play those songs now. So, yeah, I still very much love playing the songs from that album live.”

Finally, once you’ve got the summer out the way, can we expect Killswitch back in the UK for a proper tour?
“We definitely hope so! The priority now will be to get a new record recorded after this tour, but once that is done we will definitely be back if the UK will have us!”

Killswitch Engage headline Bloodstock at Catton Hall on August 10 – 13

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