Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage: Kings of metalcore?

(Image credit: Jake Owens)

It’s chilly as shit in Nottingham this morning – but not for long. Later tonight, the 10,000-capacity Motorpoint Arena will play host to one of the most anticipated metal
tours of 2019.
Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage have united for a heavy metal smackdown the likes of which we’ve rarely seen. It’s a moment of greatness for the metal scene. A time for legacies to be fulfilled. Gods collide. Flames erupt. History is ma–
“Argh, my back hurts,” moans Adam Dutkiewicz as he strolls into the backstage room Hammer is currently sitting in. “I broke my fucking ankle!” adds Winston McCall, greeting Hammer with a warm handshake and the first of many belly laughs he’ll let out over the next 40 minutes.
Wrapped up in winter coats and beanies, and sharing anecdotes of the various ills that have befallen their bandmates on this tour, neither the Killswitch Engage guitarist nor the Parkway Drive frontman quite scream ‘Heavy Metal God’ right now.
But then, what better reason to unite them both for a candid, fun and no-nonsense chat about their history together, the internet ruining everything for everyone and… farting. Lots and lots of farting. You never got this shit with Dio

So, this is an exciting tour – two of the biggest metalcore bands of all time…

Winston: “‘Metalcore’…”
Adam: “That label again.”

Why is metalcore still such a dirty word, then?!

Winston: “It’s weird that it’s a dirty word. I think the fact that it’s remained and remained as a dirty word is…”
Adam: “Maybe it’s the bad metalcore bands that make that word dirty.”

That’s your fault, surely? Half of them are inspired by your band!

Adam: “Yeah, bands like Killswitch Engage, we ruined it for everybody. Ha ha ha!”
Winston: “I think it’s the same thing that happened with nu metal – and that’s what they said about metalcore originally. It was, ‘This is the new nu metal, it’s gonna be dead.’ And then suddenly, there was this revival of, ‘Keep metalcore real!’ It’s like, ‘When was it real and what does real even mean anyway?’ I don’t give a fuck, it was just a label.”
Adam: “We’re just two metal bands.”

(Image credit: Jake Owens)

You guys have both come through in an era where there’s more debate and arguing about metal than ever, to be fair.

Adam: “I hate the internet for that reason. I try to avoid it.”

You’re not big on social media, are you, Adam?

Adam: “No! It’s fucking annoying. ‘Hey, look at this muffin I’m eating!’ I don’t care about your fucking muffin.”
Winston: “My Instagram is still there but I haven’t posted in a year. The reason I started in the first place is because everyone was doing it and it was like, ‘You’ve got to go on this thing, it’s gonna help promotion’ and all this. After a few years I realised that it’s just a promotion tool, for everybody. You’re deluded if you don’t see that. When the album came out, I posted a picture of it, and that was the last thing I posted. Like, ‘This is why I joined, all these people have interacted with it, it’s been really nice, but I’m out, man. I don’t want to contribute to this thing any more.’ It’s fucking evil. It was so shitty to feel like all of a sudden you’re curating your life into ‘content’.”
Adam: “So many people are doing it, too, even people who aren’t in bands.
It controls them. I don’t understand these people who base their days on spending an hour reading about the things that people are up to instead of getting on with their lives. Get on with it! Go do something! Sitting staring at their phones while they’re having dinner. You know you can
have a conversation, too?!”

(Image credit: Jake Owens)

Jesse’s been quite vocal about the effects social media has on his mental health, right Adam?

Adam: “He needs to get the fuck off the internet!”
Winston: “I’m still there looking at pictures because I want to see what people are up to. It’s research for me now; I wanna see how other people’s tours are doing, their production, the songs, whatever, and I do catch myself reading a comment and it makes me feel [bad]. Like, it’s just a fucking opinion! Everyone has one!”

Have you guys toured together before this?

Winston: “We’ve toured together once, 10 years ago. It was Killswitch, Dillinger, Every Time I Die and Parkway. It was, like, our third time in the States.”
Adam: “Wow, that was a long time ago.”
Winston: “So long ago. It still feels weird. I’ve seen you guys, like, twice since then. But that happens with touring! Unless you’re on the same package, you just end up revolving the world at different times, like ships in the night.”

Adam, you actually produced Parkway’s debut, 2005’s Killing With
A Smile
. How did that come about?

Adam: “[Turning to Winston] You guys got in touch with me, right?”
Winston: “Yeah, it was Luke’s idea [Kilpatrick, guitarist]. ‘We’re an Australian band, we can do an album, but how are we gonna do it within Australian production standards?!’”
Adam: “Think of the standard of metal in Australia at the time, too. Nothing going on.”
Winston: “Not on an international level. Even when Killing With A Smile came out, I’m pretty sure MySpace didn’t exist. So before social media, you had to have a record distribution to be heard, so the idea of having a ‘quality’ recording actually mattered.”
Adam: “Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t give you that…”
Winston: “I can actually remember the conversation where we were talking about hitting up Adam. It was about three o’clock in the morning, we were driving through the desert in Australia, and we were like, ‘So who’s gonna do our record?’ Luke was like, ‘Adam from Killswitch. He’s done all the records we like, we love Killswitch, so if we’re gonna do this, let’s fucking do it properly.’ We borrowed money from our parents and we took the money from the t-shirt sales from the last tour, and Luke hit Adam up, and we made a record in two weeks.”

I don't care about your fucking muffin

Adam D

What was Adam like to work with in the studio?

Winston: “Great. A fucking legend. He is responsible for making us musicians. I can undeniably say that Adam taught us how to actually be a fucking band and write songs. At that point in time, metalcore was just like, ‘We played this riff for four bars – we need another one! Now another one!’ And you just write songs that go for six minutes and contain 60 riffs, and every riff is different for the sake of being different. And they weren’t necessarily good songs. Then we’d go to Adam and he’d say, ‘Why can’t you use that riff again? It’s a good riff, play it again!’”
Adam: “Just give the people what they want!”
Winston: “Yeah! And all of a sudden it started making sense. We have no musical knowledge or theory; we’d literally been learning on the fly the entire time. So Adam was our first ‘teacher’. We will always give him credit for that.”
Adam: “Aw, shucks. Thanks, man. The fact is, though, that they had all the things that they needed to make
it work.”

Were they easy to get on with?

Adam: “Oh, yeah. They’re all the nicest dudes in the world. The only thing that’s changed is that they’ve grown up now. They were kids!”
Winston: “Like, literally kids. I think Ben [Gordon, drums] was 17 years old when we recorded that album.”

Adam, do you recognise the band Parkway are now compared to the five kids you worked with on that first album?

Adam: “Yeah, of course! There’s still a lot of similarities, for sure. There’s less double bass, though, which makes me very upset. What I’m really a fan of are the singalongs at their shows. Jesus Christ. Their shows have just become this entity. It’s just incredible to see.”

(Image credit: Jake Owens)

You never look at their towers of flame and spinning drumkits and think, ‘Bit much…’

Winston “Ha ha! ‘Come on boys, dial it back...’ The thing is, the singalongs and stuff, we went on tour with Killswitch, and on that tour, the singalongs were fucked up. The biggest choruses. The fucking biggest. Songs that in 50 years’ time are still gonna be acknowledged as classic. And standing side of stage, hearing people react like that... it’s fucking awesome. But then you come back to us, and it’s like, at that point in time I’m not singing, and as far as I know I couldn’t even do that with my voice. In our heads we were like, ‘Where’s our melody? It’s in our guitars.’ So we decided to write shit that’d inspire people to have that same reaction to the melody, but it’s just not gonna be vocal. And that’s where the ‘Woooooahs!’ started coming in. Actually, the UK were the first to start singing along to our guitar. We played Idols And Anchors at a show in Bristol, and it was suddenly, ‘Woaaahh! Woah woahh!’”
Adam: “Have you seen them in South America? Singing every riff!”
Winston: “It’s fucking great. But as soon as that kicked off, it was like, ‘That is what we want from a crowd reaction.’”

Speaking of which, the last time Killswitch came to the UK was with Maiden. So you’ve toured with legends, you’ve toured with young bands; do you still take inspiration from the bands you tour with?

Adam: “It’s just awesome to be playing in front of different crowds. People that go to Maiden shows aren’t necessarily people that go to Parkway shows, you know what I mean? It’s not that I didn’t like the Maiden tour, but on this tour you get out there and you see straight away that these crowds are awesome. Maiden crowds are just like… it was so disheartening to go out there and play in front of those crowds some nights. The first 10 rows are people that show up early to see Maiden.”
Winston: “In their Maiden patches and shirts.”
Adam: “And they’re just stood there like this [crosses arms sternly], like, ‘Hurry. Up.’ Ha ha ha! Oh god.”
Winston: “It’s gotta be the hardest tour on the planet.”

So would you guys ever work together again?

Adam: “Absolutely.”
Winston: “Fuck yeah.”

What would you like to do?

Winston: “I don’t know! A super-band where there’s, like, 10 members and two drumkits.”
Adam: “Two drumkits?”
Winston: “Yeah, everyone needs more drums. One of them just on the floor, spinning around in a cage.”

Adam taught us how to actually write songs

Winston McCall

Have you thought of doing an ‘Adam D’ album? Get some friends in, jam out in the studio…

Adam: “Actually, yeah, I have. With a bunch of dudes? I’m always writing music, and maybe, you know.”
Winston: [Turning to Adam] “If you did a solo album, what would it sound like? What’s not going into Killswitch that you’d wanna do?”
Adam: “Funny you ask! I did that Times Of Grace record, and I’ve just written another one, and it’s completely different. If you mixed Deftones with something more like Explosions In The Sky…”

If you guys could ask each other one question, what would it be?

Winston: “What does the new Killswitch record sound like, and can I come and listen to it after this is done?”
Adam: “I’ll show you guys, yeah! Um, I dunno actually. It’s Killswitch, but more extreme on the levels. There’s faster songs with more double bass, and there’s more ‘rock’ songs.”
Winston: “I’m breaking the big news stories!”

Yep, that’s an exclusive courtesy of Winston. And Adam, what’s your question?

Adam: “Who is the reigning king for farts within Parkway?”
Winston: “Jeff [Ling, guitars].”
Adam: “Jeff is? I was gonna guess Ben! ’Cause back when we recorded the first record, he would not stop farting.”
Winston: “He was on the protein powder then. That was horrible on tour. You want an exclusive? During Deep Blue’s recording, they had a ‘fart mic’. So we spent a day finding the fart that we were going to put on the record, and digitally warped it around so no one knows it’s a fart.”
Adam: “This is amazing.”
Winston: “I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m letting the sound of shit air coming out of your arse be the middle point of this record.’”

Probably for the best...

Winston: “Well, they look back on that record now and they’re like, ‘We should have let the fart in.’” 

Parkway Drive headline Bloodstock this August. Their latest album Reverence is available to buy now via Epitaph.
A new Killswitch engage album will land later this year.