Sworn Enemy Interview

Band Name: Sworn Enemy
Interviewed: Sal
Date: 2009-06-03

Previous Sworn Enemy Interviews
The Gauntlet: Where are you at?

Sal: We are traveling through Michigan.

The Gauntlet: I'm sorry, what part?

Sal: Detroit, but it's all right. They are in shambles right now. The recession is just ripping the city apart. It is really bad over here. The show was great though; there were a lot of kids. Detroit has always been a good metal town. It is not called Detroit Rock City for nothing.

The Gauntlet: Total World Domination is out in 2 weeks.

Sal: I am really looking forward to it. I always get excited before an album comes out. We get to play new songs for all the fans.

The Gauntlet: Have you begun playing the new material live yet?

Sal: Not the new material. Once we get to the next tour, we will play 2 or 3 new songs off the new record. I know "Still Hating" will be one. I don't know what the other ones will be. We will decide soon but it is still up in the air. I think we will decide the next couple songs. We usually leave it up to the fans, but I think we will make ourselves happy for once.

The Gauntlet: If the band isn't happy, the fans won't be happy.

Sal: Exactly. If the fans don't see a band giving 100% on the stage, they won't give 100% on the dance floor. One hand washes the other, we both need to be happy.

The Gauntlet: Los Angeles is such a weird area to play.

Sal: It sure is. You can play both the best show and worst of your career there. It is very strange. You can come back 2 months later to the same club you killed it at and then it is just dead. It is crazy.

The Gauntlet: I look at the fans and they aren't the same fans at the last show for the band.

Sal: It is crazy. If you look at today's scene, it is turning over every six months. There are people coming in all the time and others leaving. I have to say, this happens in LA quicker than anywhere else.

The Gauntlet: With the upcoming album, the band went back to a single producer?

Sal: Yes, Tim Lambesis. It makes it a whole lot easier. Two producers…we tried it, I liked it. There were some headaches involved with it. I think things are better with one though as nobody bumps heads. We were trying it out, we were the guinea pigs, we learned.

The Gauntlet: Were you happy with the last album?

Sal: Everyone was happy with the way the last album turned out. It came out great, it is just everything after the record and while the record was being made was bad. It wasn't the music, it was just the business side of things.

The Gauntlet: Sworn Enemy has a fairly short release cycle between albums.

Sal: I think that is how it needs to be from now on. Things got to be quick. If you take a long time, you seem to be forgotten.

The Gauntlet: The way the music business is, you make the money off the touring and merch, not the CD.

Sal: That is defiantly the way the music business is. You need to look at it like the kids who are coming in every six months don't know you and need something to recognize you by. Kids are coming in and leaving really fast. They might not wait for the next album if it takes you too long to put out the next album. It is almost like starting over but with a name. You need to keep putting out music so they remember you.

The Gauntlet: How was working with the new-ish members?

Sal: It was awesome. Everybody just had that natural feel for each other. People came in, 1-2-3 they did their parts. I came in and did the vocals. It was like a work of art. Everybody knows what they got to do and they just get it done. Everybody had something to give on this album, all 5 of us. That was a big thing for us to make everyone a part of it. We all had our say and I think it is our best record ever. We are a band.

The Gauntlet: Is Tim Lambesis a no nonsense guy in the studio?

Sal: Yeah. Especially after the first record. When we did Beginning of the End with him, I had never been in a studio with a producer who does what they are supposed to do till Tim. He ripped songs apart. In the beginning, we didn't see eye to eye at all. He would take parts of songs out and change them. I was like 'wait a minute, I wanted that there.' I had to learn that this is what he is being paid to do. I see his view on certain things and certain things I didn't. After the first record, we learned how to work with him. On this last record, I was telling him what he was gonna do before he did it. We worked really well on the songs.

The Gauntlet: Did you train him or he train you?

Sal: It was a mutual thing. I was kinda picking his brain and in his head before he knew it. I just know how he works. When we work, it is he and I off by ourselves and everyone else is off doing their thing. On this record, lyrically, this was my best for me. Tim is just in general a great dude. He is a really good producer and that is why we keep going back. He does a great job.

The Gauntlet: Sworn Enemy has really been evolving one album to the next. Working with the same producer, do you need to lay some groundwork for Tim to make sure he is keeping up with where the band is today and not yesterday?

Sal: When we get to the studio, we basically brought him what we had. We had 10 songs 80% done. We then go in the studio and work with him. He tells us what he likes and what he doesn't like. We then go back and try to correct what he doesn't like but still keeping it so we like it.

The Gauntlet: Does it get harder and harder going out on tour?

Sal: I can't speak for the other guys in the band but for me, I love to play. Even since the beginning, the only time I truly love is being on the stage. The other 23 1/2 hours suck. Nobody likes to drive or load and sell merch. I love that half hour I get and I love it to the fullest.

The Gauntlet: What do you do the other 23 ˝ hours?

Sal: Nothing much, thank god for the internet. A lot of laying down and being bored. You can get a lot of things on the internet, including bands albums.

The Gauntlet: Is Total World Domination already up?

Sal: No, not yet. It is not what you want to hear, that your album is out before it is supposed to.

The Gauntlet: I got it from the label.

Sal: And that is fine when you get it for review or to do an interview. We need that.

The Gauntlet: It has to be really hard though because if an album is leaked early, it is coming from those closest to you. It is either from the label being sloppy, from a journalist who you have probably met somewhere along the line, or someone in your camp.

Sal: [sighs] Yeah. It is always like that though. What can you do? This is the way I look at it. There is a band, everyone else around us is trying to live off us. Everyone else out there in the industry is trying to suck our blood. Your best friend in the industry could be trying to suck your blood. The bottom line is we have to fend for ourselves. We have to make choices. It is tough, we have to look out for what is best for us. We will take into consideration people's advice, but that is the nature of the beast.

The Gauntlet: Did it take you long to realize that?

Sal: No, just one record to realize that. Then we realized how the industry was run.

The Gauntlet: Sworn Enemy is at the point of its' career where you have to have fans coming up to you with Sworn Enemy tattoos.

Sal: I wouldn't recommend it to anyone to get a Sworn Enemy tattoo. If you are going to get one, that is great. You are going to have that on your body for the rest of your life. That goes for any tattoo, but especially a band tattoo. I wouldn't recommend anyone get a band tattoo though. If you love the band that much and are that into it, sure, that is the biggest form of flattery. They have been scarred for life with my name on them.

The Gauntlet: It is like you say, scarred for life. Who is to say that those other 23 1/2 hours of the day you aren't sodomizing young boys? Then the fans are stuck with a band associated with young boy sodomy on their forearm.

Sal: [laughs] I can let it be known now, nobody is doing that in the band. That isn't in our agenda and you don't have to worry about us.

The Gauntlet: I am sure a lot of people have Michael Jackson tattoos and look what he became. Those are the people you see wearing sweaters in the Summer.

Sal: Yeah, they are probably upset about it. I have my own band tattooed on my back. I am alright with that. I know we won't write bad music or be freaks like Michael Jackson.

The Gauntlet: That is cool though. Sworn Enemy has been true to their art from day one. You guys aren't some fad band playing whatever sound is 'in' for the moment. I feel bad for guys like Dez Fafara [DevilDriver], he still has a Coal Chamber tattoo. Guy has to hate going out in public.

Sal: Aww, poor guy. It is like those basketball players that cover their arms up. It sucks for him.