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August Issue
more... ArtistsBassistsGuitaristsAdam DutkiewiczMetalMay 2013Killswitch Engage

Interview: Killswitch Engage: Ironhearts, Redemption, and Big Digits

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Interview: Killswitch Engage: Ironhearts, Redemption, and Big Digits


Adam Dutkiewicz (Photo by LDOphoto.net)

What about all the solos—there are a lot more than on the past few albums?
Dutkiewicz:
I don’t know why the hell I did that. Now I’ve got to pay more attention live! [Laughs.]

Stroetzel: I think it’s just gotta happen naturally. We wanted to have a high-energy record and express how excited we were to be playing again, and there were a few moments where we were, like, “Y’know what, a solo makes sense there. Let’s try it out.”

So there wasn’t a conscious decision to bring solos back?
Dutkiewicz:
Not at all. Everything I did on the songs I wrote was completely by feel—like, “This feels right here, let’s try this.” It was just for the hell of it, I guess.

Adam, you’re a pretty big Eddie Van Halen fan—is the two-handed-tapping part of the solo in “In Due Time” a little tip of the hat to him?
Dutkiewicz:
Yeah, that’s one of the, like, five [EVH-style] licks I can play [laughs].

Did you play the harmonized parts later in that solo, or was that Joel?
Dutkiewicz:
Yeah, in the studio, whenever Joel or I write a specific song, we usually just have that person track all the guitars on it. It ends up being tighter because that person is more familiar with the riffs.

Mike, what’s the most difficult part of laying down the low end for Killswitch?
D’Antonio:
Stepping up to the level that Justin [Foley, drums], Adam, and Joel are at, in general, is a pretty difficult situation for a self-taught guy like me. Those guys went to music college and all that stuff. It’s very intimidating—I’m surprised I’ve held up so well [laughs].

Is it because sometimes they use more academic terms to communicate ideas or …
D’Antonio:
It’s just the riffs—have you seen Adam’s hands? They’re humongous! He can do some pretty amazing stuff, but I’ve got some of the smallest fingers going. Sometimes I have to dumb-down a riff by playing it at half speed, or use open strings to fill it out. Even Joel has difficulty with some of Adam’s stretches.

Dutkiewicz: Yeah, I have big digits [laughs]—which is a curse for things up higher on the neck …

Because it’s more cramped for space—does that make you tend to avoid playing up there?
Dutkiewicz:
Not necessarily, I’m just a little sloppier than most up there, I guess … that’s what she said [laughs].

Mike D’Antonio’s 2013 Tour Gear

Basses
Ibanez MDB3 Mike D'Antonio signature models

Amps
Ampeg SVT-VR heads driving Ampeg SVT Classic 8x10 cabs

Effects
Tronographic Rusty Box preamp, EBS MultiComp, EBS UniChorus, Tech 21 SansAmp RBI, Korg DTR2000 tuner

Strings, Picks, and Accessories
DR Hi-Beam strings (.055, .075, .095, .120), custom Dunlop Gator Grip 1.14 mm picks, Planet Waves American Stage cables, Planet Waves solderless cables, Rebel Clip-Lock straps, Audio-Technica 5000 Series wireless

[Laughs] So what are the advantages of those massive mitts?
Dutkiewicz:
[Suggestively] I don’t know….

Guitar-wise….
Dutkiewicz:
You can just do different chord voicings. Someone with small hands probably couldn’t make a two-full-step reach as easily.

Does that ever lead to situations where you really like the sound of a chord that’s stretched out and Joel is, like, “Dude, I can’t play that!”?
Dutkiewicz:
Yeah, Joel will get mad at me at times for certain voicings, but either I’ll play one part and he’ll play another, or he’ll just buck up and figure it out. He can pretty much play anything.

Stroetzel: [Laughs.] Indeed, Adam has some large digits! A lot of the chord voicings in his songs are challenging for me—he can stretch further on the fretboard with his 1st and 3rd fingers than I can with my 1st and 4th fingers. I’ve got Polish kielbasa fingers!

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