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Killswitch Engage: “Open your mind beyond metal”

Killswitch Engage singer Jesse Leach on why musical diversity is the way forward

Loyalty to heavy metal is an admirable thing, but should it prevent us from exploring other types of music? Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach has eclectic tastes, and he believes you should too.

"As with anything in life, diversity has a strength to it. It expands your mind. You think differently. I think that if you just stick with one thing, like metal music, it’s going to affect the way that you write and you’re only going to be able to write so much that is interesting to people. There are definitely bands that can get away with doing that one style and not put people off, but those bands are one in a million. So for me personally, it’s much more interesting to get out of that box and experience different things, different sounds and have my mind expanded.

I definitely have certain bands that help me feel a certain way when I’m in different moods. And to actually help me change up my mood as well… that’s why I’ve always had reggae in my life. It’s a type of music that can change the way I feel, energise me and give me a different emotional response. But if I want to go on a long, crazy bike ride or do some exercise, then I’ll put on Gojira or Mastodon or some grindcore stuff. Because of the way it affects your brain, it makes you realise how important music is. I don’t think people understand how much music can change the core of who you are and sway you in different directions.

It’s therapy, too, so if I’m feeling bummed out then I can put something on to help me through that feeling. A lot of people within metal don’t understand the reggae love, apart from my man Benji [Webbe] from Skindred, and they maybe wouldn’t quite be ready for me to do a reggae project. But I have a deep love for that music. It puts me in a good place and touches parts of my mind that metal won’t ever be able to. But so be it. People are going to be closedminded. I think that metal is such a lifestyle thing for so many people that they don’t dare open up to anything else."


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