KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's JESSE LEACH On Mental Health Issues: 'It Continues To Be Something I Struggle With'

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's JESSE LEACH On Mental Health Issues: 'It Continues To Be Something I Struggle With'

Cutter's Rockcast" conducted an interview with vocalist Jesse Leach of Massachusetts metallers KILLSWITCH ENGAGE prior to the band's May 16 concert at The Rave in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with PARKWAY DRIVE in support. You can listen to the entire chat via the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On whether it was nerve racking to move to Metal Blade Records after spending their entire career on Roadrunner:

Jesse: "No, it's great. It's liberating. It's nice to change it up. Metal Blade are, like, die-hard. Everyone who works there is a die-hard metalhead. There's no half-stepping; there's no guy who kind of half-dabbles with music. There's none of that. They're all metalheads, so it's perfect. It's refreshing. There's not that crossover of you got to deal with a major label that has a different agenda. It's like Metal Blade, the buck stops at [label owner] Brian Slagel, who is a full-on metalhead."

On when the band's next studio album will be released:

Jesse: "We don't know the exact date. We'll hopefully get the exact date this week because we're doing press. But there were some setbacks. I had to have vocal surgery. I had a little bit of writer's block; I was going through a bit of a divorce right now, so my life has been kind of screwed up, but it all helped fuel the fire, so hopefully August you guys can hear the behemoth. [Laughs]"

On his openness about mental health:

Jesse: "I feel like it's kind of my responsibility, but it's something I do on a regular basis and personally, from talking about it, has helped me so much. I feel like that's the least I can do is keep that conversation gong, even if it's exhausting at times, even if it's hard to do. There are days out here when the last thing in the world I want to do is talk to somebody. I want to stay in my bunk and sleep the day away. Everyone who deals with certain mental illnesses knows what that is like. That's just fuel to my fire, I think. My life was saved by being able to talk about this kind of stuff, so I feel like if anything I do can help anyone in that way, whether it's just letting people know they're not alone, why would I not do that? It's something that's near and dear to my heart. It's become sort of a passion source, something I feel like I have to do."

On what he would say to someone who is having mental health issues:

Jesse: "Anyway you can to let people know you need help. The conversation is so important and that feeling again of you're not alone, that is so important because I think one of the biggest causes of suicide is feeling alone, feeling like people won't understand. There's always somebody out there. There's somebody out there who probably has it even worse than you do and really drop some knowledge on you and change your whole entire perspective. That's happened to me a few times. It continues to be something I struggle with; it's not going away. That doesn't mean you don't continue to talk about it and continue to push through that uncomfortableness that you may feel or that awkwardness, and that's it for me. The only alternative to that is you take yourself out, honestly, man. I have friends who have done it and it kills me because they know I'm there for them, but you have to sort of own it within yourself. You have to learn tools to know how to ask for help and not everybody has that. Getting therapy is really good. Taking the right pills or whatever gets you through, whether it's medical marijuana or whatever the case may be. I'm an advocate for any of that stuff — whatever gets the job done and helps you feel like you're getting help and you're less alone."

Last August, Leach wrote lengthy social media post in which he once again admitted that he had "a mental illness," adding: " I too have anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression and addictions. I do and say things 'out of character' when I am mentally 'high or low' — it's just part of the distinction of the illness."

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's next album will be released in the fall via Metal Blade Records in the U.S. and Sony Music Entertainment in the rest of the world. The follow-up to 2016's "Incarnate" will mark the Massachusetts metallers' third full-length effort since the return of Leach, who rejoined the group in 2012.

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