A few days prior to performing with Killswitch Engage at this weekend's New England Metal & Hardcore Festival, returning frontman Jesse Leach gave an extended interview to the Boston Phoenix in which he discussed auditioning for the band, how metal has changed since he was originally in the group, and much more.
Says Leach of his audition, "There were a lot of reasons for it, but I’m trying to treat this with as much respect as I can. I mean, in reality, this has been a very successful band for the past nine years, and yeah, I had something to do with it when I helped start the band, but I didn’t do what they did, I didn’t do what Howard [Jones] did. And I thought the best way to show these guys that I wanted to be part of this process was to audition. And it wasn’t just to prove it to the band, it was to prove it to myself. And when I go out there onstage, I’m gonna be singing a bunch of Howard’s songs. I have to - those were the songs that put this band on the map! So I had to put myself in a headspace that I might not have put myself in if I just walked into the gig."
He discusses his views of the contemporary metal scene, too, saying, "Metal has changed, but I’ve changed as well. And that’s what’s exciting about rejoining this band and doing the new record. I’ve always been a fan of the music that they call metalcore, this crossbreeding of hardcore and metal, but what passes for metalcore today I’m not a fan of...I’ve been doing music all along, and what’s most important to me is the message, the message and emotional conviction. And that’s why I’m so excited to work with Killswitch, especially the way they’ve been blending this soulful R&B feel with the whole metalcore thing. I mean, the stuff that Howard came up with, these awesome songs like 'Rose of Sharon' or 'Sorrow,' you can sense the conviction in his voice but it doesn’t come off like bleeding heart emo, he walked the line without getting sappy, and it was a challenge to get into that headspace and do those songs justice."
The photo above was taken at Sunday's show by Jeremy Saffer; there are many more on his Tumblr page.