Not long ago (December 26), ArtistDirect.com published an interview with Killswitch Engage frontman Jesse Leach. If you missed it—'cause of the holidays and all—it's well worth checking out. He talks about the Times of Grace album Hymn of a Broken Man, recording Killswitch's Alive Or Just Breathing back in 2002, and perhaps most interestingly, his love of reggae in those years.
"I was just obsessed with reggae music and culture," says Leach. "I really wanted to follow in the footsteps of one of my favorite bands Bad Brains and inject positivity and spirituality into the music. When I got the opportunity—we had been signed to a label, and I knew a lot of people would be listening—I was really careful with what I was going to say, and I wanted to put out a really heavy positive spiritual vibe in the lyrics. I look back on that, and it's great and I love it. I've matured over the years, and I've experienced some ups and downs. I've changed a lot, but the initial spirit behind what I set out to do with this band is still there."
He describes how he got into the music, saying, "In high school, when I fell in love with hardcore and punk, that's all I listened to for a good year of my life. Anything else was just garbage to me. I was an elitist little jerk in high school. It was all about hardcore and punk. One day, somebody played Bob Marley for me, and it just hit me. The same person who showed me Bob Marley was really into Bad Brains. Then, it all made sense. Bad Brains are into reggae. Cro-Mags, Underdog, and 108 injected reggae here and there. I got into the Clash after that. From there, I was like, 'Bob Marley's good. Who else is good?' I'd go to the record store and buy anything I thought looked cool. I started to find deeper cuts. It's stuff your average college reggae kid wouldn't know about like Israel Vibration. I became immersed and obsessed with reggae culture."
Killswitch Engage's next studio album, Disarm the Descent, will be available everywhere April 2.