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Interview with Howard Jones


Metalrage:
How are doing? I read somewhere that you have sleeping problems?

Howard:
Sleeping Problems…Yeah I have them. Always on tour, or even this morning, woke up at 7.30. And I went to bed like, 3.30 or 4 or something. I just got up, did some push up's and took a shower!

Metalrage:
But isnt this way of life tireing you out or something?

Howard:
I'm just always tired. I sleep very poor. The last tour was most likely the worst tour so far. Adam is a normal person, he wakes up in the morning and have litres and litres of coffee. But when he wakes up, I was always awake and watching movies on the bus. And I'm usually the last one to go to sleep as well to.

Metalrage:
So you wrote the lyrics for the new album, did you try to emulate Jesse's style and lyrical content? And what about singing those old songs live?

Howard:
Some of the material is similar to the songs Jesse wrote. Me and Jesse are raised the same way, and we talked about it. But other songs are different. I stayed pretty much in the positive vain. And that is pretty similar. As far as the live stuff; Its just like singing along with your favorite cd. But I just do it in front of a crowd.

Metalrage:
But aren't you afraid that people won't feel connected with the lyrics anymore because of several differences?

Howard:
Not really. I write for myself. Not for other people. We are happy with what we do. If the connect it's ok, if they not it is ok too.

Metalrage:
On the upcoming european tour you guys play both festivals and small venues. Isnt it weird to see a different crowd everyday?

Howard:
No, I kind of like it. I like the differences. It is boring when everything is the same. I think that the differences is one of the reasons that people get into a band. It is a completely different life. There is nothing quite like it. The variety is good. This day a Big crowd, then 300 people. I have got no problem with that. They both have their advantages. I like the big stages with many people, but the close ones are more intimate.

Metalrage:
Do you guys have time to explore a bit, and check out bands on festival dates like, for example, the Graspop Metalfest in Belgium?

Howard:
We never get time to check out bands. It is so rare. The only cool thing is that we played with a lot of that bands. We are playing with Anthrax in Japan. We can see them there. But a lot of times we don't get the chance. We haven't got time to explore. This is pretty much as far as I get. Only at this part of the road. And after I'm done today I probably eat something accros the street but that's it. You see the world but everywhere you go you see one section.

Metalrage:
On a promo tour like this, every night a new hotel, different country, doesn't it get the same?

Howard:
That part of the job stinks. But it is part of the job. It is what it is. It is a part of what we do, you hope decent people interview you because it is your only exposure with that part of the world where you are. I get to, maybe, talk to 5 people in this country. And if they suck…you just hope for the best.

Metalrage:
About the recording process. There was quite a pressure on you I think? Or didn't you feel it like that?

Howard
In a way there is. More just my own pressure then from anyone else. People keep making a big deal about the comparisation. thing. Wow, a new singer. Will he be as good as the old one?! It is different, who cares you know! And that is why Jesse sang a song with us on the album, we don't care. We are still good friends! If you like the band now, great. If you like the band before, great. If you like before and after, great. I've known Jesse for about 10 years. When I moved to the east coast of the states, my bands first show was with Jesse. I have known him for ages.

Metalrage:
So this is the first time you sang together on an album?

Howard:
Well, actually he was going to sing on my other band's (Blood has been Shed) album. But that never happened. But we have played tons of shows together. We just worked together as friends. I asked him: "Hey Jesse, come play with us on the album". He said "OK". That was it man. Not a big deal at all.

Metalrage:
You are a different singer then Jesse. Was there some anticipation to give fans the standards they want?

Howard:
I've been in the band for like 2 years now. He is not coming back. If you like the band for what it is, that is great! I just don't get the whole comparison thing. There are other bands that switched singers and than it becomes a different kind of band. But both bands are great bands. But the comparison thing is the most backhanded compliment they give me. Stuff like, "I was very sceptical about the new singer, but you were really good". But that is not a compliment man. Just say it is a good show! We get that all the time. That is the reason I'm in the band, because I sound different. They didn't want somebody that sounded the same, that would be dumb. Every band that wanted the same vocals again only got worse.

Metalrage:
Do you think the band will ever change it's style of music?

Howard:
I dont think much about that! The new album is definitly different. It has a different drummer and singer. It is bound to be different. We didn't go into like a preconceived notion. We just had to write a new album and did it. And after that we recorded it.

Metalrage:
About the new drummer; how did Justin end up with Killswitch Engage? I remember Tom (Gomez, old drummer) saying in an interview that he loved playing in what basically was his favorite band.

Howard:
I said: "Hey Justin, you should try out". There you go. But regarding Tom..the constant touring, it can get old. It just wasn't him for him to keep doing it. You do the same thing for a year and a half, it's just hard. Its really a day job, and you probably have experienced the way a job can tire you out. It's really not so different. This job can get a little bit more fun at the time but in the end, it is all the same. It can also be pretty stressful, and pretty boring. I don't think that people reading or writing about music knows what is really all about to play in a band. A lot of times, it sucks, because you are away from everybody. Like me, I don't sleep well and I even sleep worse on the road. You are eating very poorly. You don't eat good food. Unless you are a big band like Metallica, then you can get whatever you want. But if you are Killswitch Engage you have to be happy with a half decent sandwich. It is just a passion.

How often do you get the chance to have your passion as you job? I've been doing bands for 12 years. Doing all the work for a show that lasts 30 or 40 minutes. That just get old. Its alot of work for a few minutes for fun. You do it for that little bit of payoff. The one thing that is great about exposure is that you can get people to help you out. But the disadvantage is you have to pay them. Than means less money for us! And we aren't making a ton. The people are just really deceived about what the music industry is all about. You have to be really selling if you want to make millions. Here some of the guys struggle to pay the bills. Or they live with their parents (points to Adam). It is a sacrifice. And that is why bad comparisons or criticize make you go like "Whatever, I just given up my life for this! You don't like it, fine. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing because I like it. And I'm playing before friends, can you say that about your work? Probably not!"

Editor: Amen!

Metalrage:
KsE is band that plays heavy music, but also follows the almost typical "pop style" or writing, intro, verses, choruses, etc. Melody seems to be very important as well. Did you have anything to say about the songwriting process?

Howard:
We are a band where people write and love melody. And that is the problem with a lot of heavy music. It is not structured at all. And for me, that is like chaos for the sake of chaos. It is kind of boring to me. Three of the guys in the band have been to school for music and they understand the art of structure. Structuring a song out well just works out. When you plan out the song, I like that. Over the last year and a half, the songs came pretty quickly. And if you write a song and there it is, then its just great. But basically, the rest of the guys handled the music. I'm not a music writer. It is best that I keep my hands out of that. I'd be around and they ask for my opinion, and I will say something like: "Cool", "Great", or "Nah". Its no big deal.

Metalrage:
Do you still have time for your other band, Blood has been Shed? Any chance that we can get some cds over here?

Howard:
We do stuff when we can but Killswitch Engage is taking up our time. We just got off our tour with God Forbid. About the cds, I think Roadrunner Records is going to do that.

Metalrage:
Adam has alot of knowledge and capabilities as a producer, which results into a band that is able to basically record and professionaly work on their own stuff before the "real" studio recording happens. Do you think that it is important for bands to produce and finance the beginning of their career, just to know what its like?

Howard:
I think there is a place for every kind of band. You got Staind, they started like a cover band, and started writing some of their own songs, got noticed, and got a deal. But they're great band, take it or leave it. There is a time and place for everything. But I do agree that a band has to start at the bottom. Playing shows in the neighbourhood. With very few people and basically sucky shows. It teaches you to be humble and it shows you that it is not all glamour. You don't write a few songs and go out and stand on a huge stage. It doesn't work that way. Where this band is right now is like, awesome. But where Blood has Been Shed is right now is awesome too, so hard work usually pays of.

Continue Reading
» Interview with Howard Jones
» Page 2: Interview with Adam Dutkiewicz
» Page 3: Interview with Howard Jones
» Page 4: The End