R13 grabbed a few minutes with guitarist Joel of Killswitch Engage before their appearance on the Taste of Chaos tour at a sold out Manchester Apollo.

R13:So you've just done the Australian and Japanese legs of this tour, had you been to those places before?
Joel: We have, not extensively, it's our second time in Australia. It was a lot of fun, much bigger crowds than the last time we were there, we were playing these tiny clubs and we were the first band on the bill so it's a big change for us and really cool.

R13:The bands on the tour are quite different in terms of musical styles, so what have the crowds been like? Have you found one band gets a bigger reaction in certain venues?
J: It's actually been pretty awesome for everybody so far! It's kind of strange especially for us as it's a younger crowd than Killswitch is used to playing to for, more of a punk rock kind of thing when we're usually out on the metal tours you know?

R13: Do you prefer playing these bigger venues or do you miss the sweaty intimacy of club shows?
J: Haha there's a magic to both you know, when you do the bigger venues you get dressing rooms and showers, things like that but at the same time it's fucking cool playing small places. I kinda miss the whole people on stage thing and getting into people's faces, makes you feel like you're part of the crowd more. That's the one thing I hate about the big stages is the barricade 15 feet away, it's kinda impersonal.

R13: You've released an album pretty much every year for the last three years ...
J: Yeah about every year, year and a half
R13: So is this trend going to continue this year?
J: It won't be this year, probably 2006
R13: Is that something you've started already?
J: No not really, we're not one of those bands who can ever successfully write on tour, so nothing as yet. We're going home after this, this our last tour of this record, so we'll go home and hopefully work on some new stuff.

R13: With Adam producing 'The End of Heartache' and Howard saying you'd made the album you wanted to make and that you were happy with it, does that imply there were things you weren't happy with on the previous albums?
J: Oh definitely man, especially after a year when you look back and think 'oh yeah we should have done this' or 'we should have done that'
R13: Is that because you had limited time or budget?
J: I maybe think it's us not knowing what we wanted as much, it seems like every time we make a record we get a little more focused on what we want to do, the type of tones we want to have and the song structure, things like that. I think it's just happened naturally, getting to know each other more over the years.

R13: You've had a few line up changes over the years, do you think that contributes to it? Does it have an influence on the way the sound comes out on the records?
J: Oh definitely man, definitely. The first two records I think you can tell with the writing, I think the sound changed a lot having Adam switch to guitar, we went for a more metal kind of sound, a lot more guitar harmonies and things like that going on. Justin's style is more of an intricate drummer than Adam was, his style was more of a powerhouse, you know beat the shit out of everything! Things tightened up a bit having Justin join and obviously having a new singer changes the sound quite a lot. That's probably the biggest thing.
R13:So has that changed the way the sound has gone or do you think it would have developed the way it has anyway?
J: I think it would probably have developed into something similar anyway but it's always nice to have more people involved, that's one of the great things about having Justin, he's a very creative guy and he plays just about every instrument and really likes to be part of the creative process so he's a nice addition to the team you know?

R13: The review R13 did of you at Download described your music as '... so heavy, but it's beautifully orchestrated. Intricate without ever being too fussy and always melodious', do you think that's a pretty fair description?
J: Haha that's pretty cool man! That's kind of what we go for I guess, try to keep it as heavy as possible but still make sense musically. Even if you listen to our song structures they're not that different from pop music really, it's just that the music happens to be heavy! It's the way we arrange the parts not the actual parts themselves. We just try to keep things simple as far as arrangements go.
R13: The one thing I got from listening to your material is that the melody stands out, the really hard stuff is always countered to a point by a good tune and a good melody, rather than being out and out noise.
J: Everybody likes so many different types of music, rock, pop, blues, classic rock, obviously metal and hardcore so it's kind of like a little bit of everything I guess.

R13: You've been without Adam on this tour, how have you been managing without him?
J: It's a little weird out on stage but we've done it in the past, we started out as a four piece for the first couple of years of the band. The challenge comes with the new material that was written for two guitars, it's a little harder for us, one of the techs Josh is filling in on 'End of Heartache' because that's one of the songs where you just can't do it all on one guitar. The rest of the set we just try to fake it! It's obviously not the same without Adam but the main thing is we didn't want to cancel the shows and we found out that he wouldn't be able to come at such short notice we couldn't really get anyone else in.
R13:He's really been suffering with that hasn't he?
J: Oh yeah, for a long time, he only had surgery about a week ago but it went very well so he's got a month now to recover.

R13:You filmed a show for a DVD recently, is that out yet?
J: I think it comes out 21st November or something like that, it should be out soon.
R13: Is that a straight show or are there lots of extras?
J: Lots of extra stuff, it's like a 75 minutes set, a few hours of interviews with our friends, families, record label people, other bands that we toured with. There's a lot of funny stuff on there, it's pretty entertaining! Hopefully it doesn't make people think too less of us as people!

R13: You've been doing the Taste of Chaos tours for most of this year haven't you?
J: Yeah, well we did US and Canada as well.
R13: So have you any plans to come back and do a Killswitch headline tour?
J: Oh absolutely man, it'll probably be sometime later next year, summer time. It all depends on what happens, I think at this point we really need to get a new record, we've been playing the same songs for a while, I think people are starting to get sick of them! Haha. It's time for some new material in there, as soon as we can do that then we'll be back out there.

R13: Do you still have as much ambition and passion for the band as you did at the start? Do you feel like you've 'made it' yet or is there still more to do?
J: Oh I think there's always more, you always want to do more. Shows have stayed as much fun or got even more fun every time, it seems like every time we play somewhere it gets a little crazier. It's great.
R13: In terms of the music do you see it as an ongoing thing, meaning that you never really know how what's going to come?
J: Yeah we never really have it too planned out, we just see what happens when we're all in a room together.

R13: In terms of the shows, playing this size venue, is this as big as you think it can get or are you thinking along Metallica size?
J: This is bigger than we ever thought we would get honestly, playing places like this is just crazy!
R13: And it's sold out as well!
J: Yeah it's crazy man. We're just a bunch of guys that used to play in bars and halls and I think it's kinda crazy that we've got to this point you know?