Would it be too much of an exaggeration to call Adam Dutkiewicz of Roadrunner Records metal mainstays Killswitch Engage the chillest guy in heavy metal? Admittedly, I haven’t met enough of them to truly say so; however, I was lucky enough to sit down with him to chat about the Killthrax Tour and can promise he's an absolute blast. We discussed his experiences on the road, Canadian vs. American craft beer, and their killer "Holy Diver" music video.
Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the Killthrax tour. How did it come about? Adam Dutkiewicz: We’ve been friends with the Anthrax crew for awhile. We’d been talking about the idea of touring and how great it would be for awhile, and it ended up blossoming into this whole thing. We hand picked the opening line up, and was been awesome.
What was it like touring with one of The Big 4? Dutkiewicz: The thing that really trips us out is... we flip the playing order each show; so sometimes we open for them and sometimes they open for us... it feels weird playing AFTER Anthrax. It’s always an honour to play with a metal band that has such a history and so many dedicated fans.
The openers for the first tour were diverse; extreme metal with Gojira vs hardcore/post-hardcore with Code Orange and Devil Wears Prada, etc. How did you go about curating such a line up? Dutkiewicz: We’ve been friends with The Devil Wears Prada guys for quite some time, and have toured with them before... I love those guys so much. They were available and we thought they’d be a great merger of styles that could bring different types of fans to the shows. As for Code Orange, they’ve only been around for a little while, but I love them. They’re absolutely brutal! It’s a taste of something different to start out the shows. And of course, I love watching them every night.
Watch Killswitch Engage's cover of "Holy Diver" and get your shred on!
I know you guys have a huge catalogue so this might be a loaded question, but at the moment, what’s your favourite song to perform live? Dutkiewicz: That’s a question, alright! There isn’t a specific one, it’s really the one that people like to sing along to. Every show is about crowd participation for me. If people are singing back and yelling and excited, obviously that’s what we want and why we play shows. Versus if we were to play a song where people look bored or tired, we know now to play it again and it’s certainly not much fun.
How were the crowds on that tour? I imagine it must’ve been pretty wild. Dutkiewicz: Great! A lot of the shows were pretty much sold out or completely sold out. At some shows, you could sometimes see that there was definitely an Anthrax crowd vs. a Killswitch crowd. But for the most part, everyone just came out and had a killer time.
Listening to anything cool right now? Dutkiewicz: I’ve been listening to a lot of Power Trip. They’re a younger thrash band. They sound like they’re from the '90s, but they’re not. We listen to all sorts of shit, though; we put on drinking music at night all the time. We love all styles of music.
This one is a bit of a personal ask; I honestly love the video you guys recorded for your cover of "Holy Diver". Can you tell me more about that? What was it like to film? Dutkiewicz: It was a LONG day, but it was still a lot of fun. The length of the day just sucked. It was a 20 hour shoot or something like that. But it was fun because we’ve never done a video like that. I’m glad we did it! It’s so rad, and such a great example of how we don’t take ourselves too seriously. That’s what it should be about at the end of the day; having fun and being entertaining. We really had a blast doing that cover.
What’s your favourite beer to drink while you’re in Canada? Dutkiewicz: That’s a tough question! I’m not trying to downplay Canada’s beer, but you guys are a little slow on the craft beer thing. I think America has an edge on you guys. But, having said that, and a lot of Ontarians will probably hate me for saying this, but a lot of breweries in Quebec have some cool stuff going on and have for awhile. Quebec may edge out the rest of Canada.
I’m not 100% inclined to disagree; have you tried Dieu du Ciel? Dutkiewicz: Yes! That’s the one I was thinking of. That’s some of the nicest beer I’ve had in Canada, it’s fantastic. As you can tell, I fucking love beer.
Watch Adam's interview on our My Hand is Cold series.