Mike D'Antonio: Killswitch Engage Feels Like A Band Again
Killswitch Engage has gone through some major changes during the past few years. Since 2000 the Massachusetts' metal act has put out six studio albums, sold more than four million albums in the U.S. alone, and is known as one of the defining bands for the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
Up On The Sun talked with bassist and band artist Mike D'Antonio about bringing back the band's original singer, the new generation of metal, and the band reunion he would like to see.
Disarm the Descent is the band's newest record, released in April. It's also the band's first album since 2002's genre-defining Alive or Just Breathing with original singer Jesse Leach. Leach came back to the band in early 2012, replacing Howard Jones, who'd been the vocalist on fan-favorite album The End of Heartache (the song of the same name was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance.)
Since the release of the release of Disarm the Descent, Killswitch Engage, rounded out by guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz, drummer Justin Foley and bassist Mike D'Antonio, have been touring nonstop. New York City fans got a special treat on October 12, when the major metal act plays an intimate show at the tiny Santos Party House as part of the second annual CBGB Festival. Now they are heading to Phoenix to regale us with some metal alongside Lamb of God, Testament and Huntress.
So you guys have been touring non-stop this year since Disarm the Descent came out. Are you getting sick of touring yet?
You're right; it's been non-stop. We've actually been touring since February with little to no time off. Before this tour we had a few weeks off, so I was getting used to being home.
Am I sick of it? You know, it's a job and I'm lucky to be doing it for a living. It does wear on you, and I miss seeing my wife. But the band pays the bills.
Do you have any sort of touring regimen that keeps you from going crazy?
Well I'm a graphic designer as well, so any time I'm feeling lonely I crack open my laptop and do some design work; it puts me in a completely different mindset. That helps a lot.
I also play a lot of video games. We have a lot of really cool roadies that come out with us, too. It's all about personalities on the road, and having other people to hang out with besides the band. We're fortunate enough to have some really good friends that are roadies.
What type of graphic design stuff are you working on?
Well, all the record covers for Killswitch I've done. I've done some for Shadows Fall, All That Remains... and stuff for a lot of different festivals. I've been doing it since 1992, and my design company is called Dark Icon Design.
I'm currently doing logo stuff for bands, but I also do books, and a broad range. I'd be happy doing a mortuary logo; I just like doing design period. I actually consider myself a graphic designer first and foremost before I consider myself a musician... it just happened that one of them led to a career. [Laughs]