My Prog Hero: Jesse Leach

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Killswitch Engage’s frontman on his love of Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson.

“When I was growing up, my dad used to play me all the Rush, Yes and Pink Floyd albums. I didn’t know anything about the prog movement back then – I was more of a punk and hardcore kind of guy – but if something has the right feeling, then I like it, it doesn’t matter what genre it belongs to. I mean Pink Floyd’s Money is a perfect example of hearing a song and loving it without realising how genius it is.

I think I first heard Porcupine Tree around 2002, when In Absentia came out, and I must have listened to it for about a year solid. All the different time signatures and the jazz influences made me go back and really pay attention to my dad’s record collection. Steven Wilson is a genius. Opeth’s Blackwater Park is another of my favourites. I love his production and have total respect for him.

The Sound Of Muzak is my favourite Porcupine Tree song, it’s from In Absentia. When I first heard the lyrics, they just blew my mind; they’re about how the music industry crushes your ideas and your creativity and it really struck a chord with me. That song changed the way that I write. I think Steven Wilson’s lyrics are generally really poetic and they help you to escape from what’s going on around you. I like music that I can feel; I’m definitely more into that side of things than focusing on the technicalities of it.

I’ve seen Porcupine Tree a couple of times live but my favourite show was when Opeth did an acoustic opening set for them – that was just incredible and I had goosebumps all the way through. I’ve never met Steven Wilson though – I wouldn’t even know what to say to him if I did! I’d probably just embarrass myself and come across like a complete fan boy. I feel the same way about Mikael Åkerfeldt. We were actually on the same boat at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards earlier in the year and I didn’t say a word to him the whole time!”

Killswitch Engage’s Disarm The Descent is out now via Roadrunner. See killswitchengage.com for more info.