KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Vocalist Says He Knows 'Every Single Lyric' Of DEF LEPPARD's 'Hysteria' Album

September 20, 2019

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE vocalist Jesse Leach recently spoke with France's United Rock Nations. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the first rock/metal album he purchased:

Jesse: "It's definitely not massively heavy, but DEF LEPPARD 'Hysteria' was the first record I bought. I still to this day love that record. I know every single lyric on that record. I think it's brilliantly produced by 'Mutt' Lange, and it's definitely a staple of heavy metal for me."

On the album that made him want to make music himself:

Jesse: "MINOR THREAT — their self-titled record with the different seven-inches on it, with 'Screaming At A Wall' and 'Straight Edge' and 'Filler'. That was the album, that's the singer, that is the whole idea, that was the first band that made me want to do what I do. It was the sheer intensity and screaming of Ian MacKaye, and to this day, they're still one of my favorite bands, no doubt. If someone puts on MINOR THREAT, I'll throw things. I'll punch a wall. It just really gets me going every time. I'm a massive fan."

On the album he's listened to the most often:

Jesse: "Hmmm... Brian Eno, 'Music For Airports'. It's an ambient record that has four tracks on it, and the first track in particular is sort of my anti-anxiety, anti-stress song, so it's on constant rotation on a weekly basis when I start feeling stress or I need to relax. Just the way he plays the piano on that song, it's very meditational. It's definitely part of my weekly routine. That song's playing constantly in my headphones or in my house. I love Brian Eno's ambient work. He's a genius in my mind. I love metal; don't get me wrong. I love hardcore; I love punk. But where I am with my life, I listen to a lot of very meditative stuff. I think it helps balance out when you tour with a metal band and you're constantly surrounded by it. It's really good for your head and also good for your perspective to step outside of the genre. I've never been a one-genre person — I've always loved all types of music."

On his favorite album art:

Jesse: "I've always loved — and I don't know why; it's just a striking, striking image to me — MASTODON's record 'Leviathan'. The artwork on the front of that, it's magic. It's iconic. I don't know what it is about it. Maybe it's the color scheme, maybe it's the subject matter... When I first saw the artwork for that record, it stunned me. The colors, just something about it — so beautiful."

On the album that best sums up his life:

Jesse: "BAD BRAINS, 'I Against I'. I just think that the lyrics, the sounds, the topics, the feeling of that record are very much a part of who I am as a musician. It influenced me very much, and I love that there's topics of love and topics of suffering. It's just pure poetry, and [vocalist] H.R. wrote with such ambiguity that you can kind of take what he's saying and run with it on your own. Some of it's pretty abstract. It's a very underrated record. I think it's a brilliant record, and definitely a huge part of my musical DNA."

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's latest album, "Atonement" — the band's third since the return of Leach, who rejoined the group in 2012 — was released on August 16 via Metal Blade Records in the U.S. and Sony Music Entertainment in the rest of the world.

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