The Killswitch Engage star continued its lofty assent throughout 2016 – beginning back in March after dropping their critically acclaimed LP ‘Incarnate’ to an adoring public. With the release of their second DVD ‘Beyond The Flames Vol 2’ and the final days of their UK tour nearing, GIGsoup were able to catch up with Killswitch Engage drummer Justin Foley to find out what life is really like on the road….
You’ve obviously had a successful tour, we’re 10 out of 12 dates in?
We are we’ve only got one more show left.
Tomorrow isn’t it? How are you finding it so far?
Great, it’s going great. The finish line is right around the corner which is awesome.
So you guys are on tour a lot, what would you say you miss most when you are on tour away from home?
My cats, definitely my cats. I have two. Yeah I miss them so much.
Between today and tomorrow what do you do to keep yourself busy? Have you seen a lot of London?
Mostly try to sleep a lot, I do a lot of walking around during the day time. We had a day off yesterday and we went out and walked around a bunch, and went to a lot of different places, we’ve been going to, it seems every day off we’re right next to a Brewdog pub. So we’ve been going to all the Brewdog pubs which is awesome.
Yeah there are definitely a lot of those around. Preparing for a show I can imagine you have a lot to do to get ready. Do you have any preshow rituals? Dancing around the dressing room ect?
(laughs) I just try to stretch out a little bit, just my hands and my arms and try to stretch them. Nothing crazy and then I’ll just hit a pad for a little bit and that’s it. Yeah, I don’t do a whole lot; like some people have whole practice kits. I’m like ehh, I’m alright.
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Do you not get tired? Your arms and legs?
They do. Especially at the end of the tour. Like I’m just getting old so my arms are feeling it a little more than they use to, so I can tell my body is a little tired and beat up right now, so Its kind of like alright I need a little rest now.
Personally I can’t tap my legs for longer than five minutes without getting tired, so playing a whole show I can imagine its tiring. As a band do you guys choose the set lists of your shows together? Or how do you go about it?
Um, we talk about it a little bit. But for whatever reason the other guys kind of have defaulted to me to writing them. I don’t know why? But yeah we talk about the songs we want to do and whatever. So this tour we’ve been doing different ones like different set lists. Just like most of the days they’d be some stuff that’s the same as other nights. But there would be some songs we’d rotate stuff so it somethings different. Like today and tomorrow will be very different sets, just gives people a different show every time they see us.
That’s pretty cool. Now in March you released ‘Incarnate’, which is an amazing album. How was the writing process for that?
Yeah, it went pretty smooth. We all kind of write on our own now and then we’ll kind of get together and play demos for each other. That’s sort of how we do it now and we had a bunch of ideas and way more songs and before we knew it we had a whole bunch of songs so its cool to more material than to not have enough material. And it just seems to go pretty smooth really and pretty enjoyable record to make
And today is the release of ‘Beyond the Flames Vol2’. Will there be much of the writing process for ‘Incarnate’ in there?
Yes! Today, out today. Not so much. Yeah it was weird; we started to do filming for the idea on the previous record ‘Disarm the descent’ and it was more about how Jesse re-entered the band and was like a documentary stuff about it and then it kind of kept stretching on and on and it just bleed into this album. As far as I can remember there’s not actual writing footage or anything like that. But there’s stuff from like shows from all over the place. The previous DVD from like 10 years ago has one show, and this one has eight or nine? Songs from a whole bunch of different shows.
What would you say you’re favourite song to play live is?
Probably, it switches around. But right now its ‘In Due time’, I love that one a lot. It’s really fun and people are into it. Its always fun when people are singing back to it, makes it an easy one to choose.
That’s definitely one I’ve sung back to a few times. You’ve been playing drums since you were 13. What made you decide on drums? Why drums and not say guitar, or piano?
Right. I actually use to play trumpet before that. And I guess I sort of liked music before that but I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to do. I was just playing trumpet and I was like ‘ehh’ music’s call, and my friend had a drum kit and I would go to his house, I didn’t really like him but he had a drum set so I would go to his house to play his drums. Then eventually I got mine and sort of took off from there.
You have your masters in percussion performance, you’re classically trained. So taking that into consideration, how did you end up playing metal?
I’d always been in metal bands before that and like when I went to college I didn’t know what to do, and I was like well I like music. So if I don’t do music I probably wont make it through college so I just picked music, and I think the one I really learned and can apply any where is that listening to people. When you’re playing with any group of people whether its a metal bad or a string quartet you’re always listening together people and that helps you play together. So that’s probably the main thing that transferred over to this band.
Killswitch is a massive influence on the young people today, and was incidently the first metal gig I went to as a teenager. What were your influences as a kid?
Well the first one when I started playing drums is Led Zeppelin like millions of drummers and that was like the big one. Zeppelin kind of started it but then like Thrash was the next thing. Um, the first couple of Metallica records and Anthrax back in the early 90’s. That sort of stuff and then I went from there to; that kind of kicked the metal door down and I went all over the place from that.
What about now? What are you listening to now, and has you hitting the repeat button?
Yeah, I just well, I have been bouncing around a lot through a bunch of stuff. I’m trying to think of what I’ve been listening to a whole bunch lately. I’m so bad at this now, I just put on random ones. I guess the latest Radiohead album, I’ve listened to that a tonne. So that’s probably the really new thing I’ve been rocking lately.
So what’s next? For yourself and for Killswitch?
Go home and snuggle my cats, endlessly. And then we’re going to Australia and New Zealand in the beginning of March, I think like March 1st? Until then we have nothing but some time off because we went pretty hard this year, which is fine because the record came out and that’s what you do with a new record you tour. And obviously the DVD came out.