Joel Stroetzel on a healthy band morale & Incarnate ahead of Killswitch Engage’s Australian tour

Killswitch Engage‘s presence within the global metal scene has been a revered one for years now. In their latest album (the band’s seventh) Incarnate, Killswitch Engage locked down some of their most furious material to date – music that industry and fans alike flocked to.

This March, the US group will be in Australia with Incarnate, their first trip back Down Under in some time. Speaking with guitarist Joel Stroetzel, it’s a trip the band is anticipating eagerly.

“We try to get down [there] every year too, but it’s been a while.” he explains. “We were very sad about Soundwave not happening as we always looked forward to that, so we’re overdue!”

As our interview is taking place, Killswitch Engage prepared to embark on another run of tour dates that would have them away from home for some time. A great precursor to their Australian shows, kicking off this particular album cycle has given the band a solid indication of just how well the new record has landed with their passionate fan base.

“Things have been really good, actually.” Stroetzel says. “I think we’re at the point where we’re fairly comfortable playing the new songs live; we’ve tried most of them out at this point. It’s fun and it seems like they’re getting a good reaction. It’s tough to tell from record sales, we don’t always know how the songs are being received until we actually start playing in front of people. It’s nice to see that people seem to be digging them.”

When it’s come to the making of Incarnate – Killswitch Engage’s first album since Disarm the Descent in 2013 – Stroetzel explains the band’s dynamic through that specific creative process.

“I think in the last few years, we’ve handled the last few records in very similar ways, as far as writing and recording.” he says. “We all try to write a few songs apiece and bring whatever extra riffs we have to the table. Everybody listens and once we’re happy, we start piecing things together; usually the songs that end up on the record are the songs that Jesse [Leach] gravitates towards. It was the same when Howard [Jones] was in the band. We always kind of approach it the same way.”

Of course, Killswitch Engage have gone through it in the last few years. Instability within the band, time off and a general period of regrouping have brought them to this point: very much looking forward and setting sights on what’s next.

“There were a couple strange years when Howard wasn’t sure if he was going to do the band anymore and we took extended breaks after he left. Then Jesse came back and we all realised that, ‘Hey – we can still do this. This is awesome.’ I think everybody felt rejuvenated. It was like, ‘We can have fun with this, we can keep doing this’. I think the morale has improved a lot within the band over the last couple of years, which is great.”

“One thing we’re all thankful for is that we all still have fun together, regardless of the situation, so we’re not necessarily stuck. We just set up, do what we have to and adjust the set accordingly. I think there are a lot of different elements to the music, so we can get away with doing different kinds of tours, which is fun.”

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

March 3rd | Enmore Theatre, SYDNEY | Lic/AA
March 4th | Eatons Hill, BRISBANE | Lic/AA
March 5th | 170 Russell, MELBORUNE | 18+
March 7th | 170 Russell, MELBOURNE | 18+ (Sold Out)

 

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