Rejoice, one and all, for the true masters of heavy music, Killswitch Engage, have set their course for our shores. Things will be a bit different this time round; a bit nostalgic, as the band will be performing, in full, their stunning 2002 epic Alive Or Just Breathing in full.

It’s not as though the band are short on new material either. Just last year, they pulled back the sheet on their brand new album Incarnate. The release was a focused blow that went straight for the jugular. Lyrically, the album was enthralling as vocalist Jesse Leach weaved yet another intricate tapestry of love, loss, struggle and overcoming.

As they prepare for that absolutely prick of a flight down, we caught up with Leach to pick his brain about the lyrical intent of the album, his plans once he touches down and the tough question we’re all eager to know…Did he enjoy Star Wars: Rogue One?

The Neversphere: Incarnate is such a tight album. It does feel as though the band really consolidated what it is to be Killswitch and brought all the fundamentals to the forefront for the album. Is that a safe assessment?
Jesse: Yeah, we did. But I also think that came with effort. At least for me, I would say. It wasn’t something that just came out. I really wanted to make sure that I was bearing my soul on this record. I had to take a bit of a break from the whole process to rediscover what I wanted to say and rediscover what direction I wanted to go lyrically.

There was about a two week period when I was in a pretty dark place questioning my intent and what I had to say to the world. And I’m glad it happened, it changed my perspective. But I think that’s good for lyrics, suffering. You’ve got to bleed a little for your art. It’s either that or you put out fluffy crap that no one cares about.
The Neversphere: I think that’s got a lot to do with why we still pick up Killswitch albums. As people we enjoy the home truths and the hard lessons contained with in.
Jesse: [Laughs] I mean, such is life. If everyone can relate to struggle, then everyone can relate to wanting to overcome those struggles. That’s what I try to play with, lyrically, in my writing.
The Neversphere: Now that incarnate has been out for a few months, have the fans brought anything to your attention in the writing that you may not have consciously been aware that you put in?
Jesse: That’s a really good question. Not that I can recall in my mind but I’m certain that some of the art – If I can use that word without sounding like a total elitist snob dork, sometimes music takes a life on it’s own. To me that’s so much more important than whatever my intent was for writing it, which is why I’m careful not to over-explain stuff and I’m careful to word things a certain way where it can be taken as a general statement.

The song Strength Of The Mind, I’ve talked to many people, people who’ve broken down in front of me in tears talking about what that song means to them. Every though my intention for writing that song may have been different from their story, there’s no way in hell I would ever correct them. I think the fans interpretation and the life the song takes after we’ve written it is so much more important.
The Neversphere: These days sales and charts don’t seem to carry too much weight. For you, are those interactions with fans the mark of success for your art?
Jesse: Yeah, for me that’s the ultimate goal. The reason I still do this is because I want to have an impact on people. I want to write song that matter. The best thing in the world for me is to meet those people who are super emotional about it and have a story to tell behind the song. It reaffirms why I got into this.
The Neversphere: So you’re about to kick off the headline Australian tour in support of your debut Alive Of Just Breathing. That horrible flight down really doesn’t seem to deter you guys, does it?
Jesse: Dude…worth it [Laughs]. We love playing Australia. We wish we could play more stuff there. But there’s just politics between booking agents and stuff. We’d like to do a couple of days in each city, and spend some more time there but we’re just happy to be getting back.
The Neversphere: I feel by this point you guys are honorary Australians. Surely you even have your own favourite pub by now…
Jesse: I’ve got a couple actually [Laughs]. I did a DJ tour that was hosted by a great tattoo barbershop from Melbourne. Anthony, the owner brother me over so I became really close with that whole crew. So, Melbourne has a lot of my favourite places. Unfortunately, well, fortunately I was having way too much fun so I can’t tell you off the top of my head which bars I was at I’ve had fun with those guys.

Melbourne is my favourite place, but there’s a great bar in Sydney over near the bridge, It’s in a old historical district (Ed note: The Rocks? Surely The Rocks.) It’s named after Sir something…it’s an old, old pub and the spirit of the original owner apparently haunts this place. They brew their own beer. They brew their own beer. The next time in Sydney I’m going to leg it there.
The Neversphere: It’s not the Lord Nelson is it?
Jesse: Lord Nelson! There it is. (Ed notes: Called it) When I did my DJ tour we were in Sydney for three or four days, I was there every single day. [Laughs].

The Neversphere: I also have to say I really appreciate the Star Wars poster art for the tour. Everything is just so Star Wars mad at the moment. I’m sure you’ve had enough time to think about this answer now, but did you enjoy Rogue One?
Jesse: Yeah, I did. It was a nice surprise for me to enjoy it. I’ve seen it about 10 times now. I think it’s the best of the new ones. Forgive the pun but it gives us A New Hope as Star Wars fans. [Laughs] I went there.
The Neversphere: There was some alleged leaked script for the next one, so The Last Jedi. I’m not sure if you saw that or not…
Jesse: No, I didn’t – No. That’s a spoiler right? Why can’t people just wait and watch the movie why do they have to leak scripts?
The Neversphere: I don’t want to ruin anything for you but all i’ll say is I desperately hope it’s not true.
Jesse: Oh…Oh no… [Laughs]

…Interview over. Moving on.


Killswitch Engage Australian Tour Dates
With Fallujah
Tickets on sale now

Friday, March 3
Enmore Theatre, Sydney (AA)
Tickets: Select Touring

Saturday, March 4
Eatons Hill, Brisbane (AA)
Tickets: Select Touring

Sunday, March 5
170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Tuesday, March 7
170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Wednesday, March 8
Metro City, Perth (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring