Interview with Sal From Sworn Enemy
Sworn Enemy frontman Sal Lococo took some time out while on tour with Pro-Pain this past June to let us know about his bruising NYC unitís latest Century Media release TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION as well as of what life in a metal band perpetually on the road
Talk about the process of working on TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION. Tim (Lambesis, As I Lay Dying frontman and producer of the disc) is awesome. I havenít worked with too many people, but he definitely is my favorite producer to work with. I donít think Iíd really want to work with anybody else. This process was a little bit easier than the last one. We actually had a full unit intact to be able to get the shit down. We had everybody taking place, doing their part for this oneÖjust basic, regular Ė everybody get together, we write songs, bring them to Tim and he helps us restructure them. We work them and put them together.
Whatís the difference between this album and the last album besides the cohesion with everybody working together? The sound of it. This one we took back a little bit to more of an AS REAL AS IT GETS, more of an ignorant type thing. Instead of us trying to mesh with the music thatís out there today and trying to please everybody else, we just were like ďFuck it, just please ourselvesĒ and letís write what we want to write and just be stupid about it, like how we were in the Castle Heights days. Do what got you there. Donít try to be something else, you know? Do what got you there and just be yourself and thatís it.
Have you guys seen any sign of a recession out there? Oh, there definitely is, man. Yeah, you can see that the economy has been putting a little damper on things, you know? Not as many people as youíd like to see and the people that are coming, you know, sometimes they canít afford to get the CD, get some merch or shit like that. The economy has taken a toll. Just talking to the people at the shows they say, ďYeah, I wish I had money to go to more shows and I saved up my last couple of red cents to come to this one.Ē
Whatís the touring schedule looking like for this album? I havenít really thought about it yet. We are going to go back to Europe in August Ė at the end of August, the last couple days of August and the whole month of September. After that, everythingís up in the air right now.
Who were some of the influences you had basically for writing this one? Since you guys said you took it back, Iím figuring you guys dug out some Leeway, Cro-Mags? I donít really have to dig those out. Those are implanted in my brain. It was a culmination of just me personally. Iím over it. Iím over the music scene. Iím over the industry, Iím over everything about it, you know? And that gave me good writing material. So on this one I just used my head a lot and used my brain. Itís so easy for me to be ignorant, I donít have to do much for that.
Will you guys be doing any videos? Howís Century Media treating you, you know? Century Mediaís been treating us awesome. We have no complaints. I donít know if weíre going to do a video for this one or not. Iím not sure if itís in the budget right now. But I donít really want to get into that and thatíll just make me hate some more.
At least itís good fodder for some lyrics, though. Thatís the main thing, you know? Oh, without a doubt, man.
Youíve been doing this so long. What keeps you going? The chance that I might actually break through. Thereís always that opportunity that hey, maybe I can do this for a living and also the fact of the feeling I get playing and when I see people going nuts to my shit. Thatís what really keeps me going. My hope is one day I can break through and make money, but just the fact that people enjoy the music and still go crazy to it is what really motivates me.
Have you thought about doing anything on the side musically? Other members have side projects workingÖanything for you? Maybe going on the other side of the board? No. I donít really want a side thing, I donít think. I like to focus my energy on this. But the behind the board, thatís a possibility. Iíd have to go to school for that first and learn cause that takes some time to figure out the schematics of the board and everything like that. When it comes to hearing shit, fine. My ears are great Ė I know exactly what I like and what I want to hear and shit like that. I think actually Iíd be a really good producer. I know I could help singers with their lyrics and restructuring songs Ė I tear apart songs now in my head, you know? But on the engineering side of it, when it comes to actually pressing buttons and stuff like that, I have no clue. Thatís something I wouldnít mind playing with in the future but if I did do it, I wouldnít just do it for metal bands. I love rock as well. Actually, I think I could hear for rock better than I can hear for the music that I play. I would do it Ė I would open up my insight to everything. I wouldnít just shelter myself to one little thing.
This is your 4th full length nowÖwhat have you guys not done that you guys still have got on the big board that youíve got to conquer this time around? South America and Australia. Thatís definitely in the future.
Any bands out there youíd think about touring with or anything youíve seen? Anybody blowing you away lately that youíve actually caught in your travels? I think Iíve toured with everybody that there is. Iíve been out there for so long. But I mean, weíre the type of band that we play with anybody. It doesnít make a difference. If youíre willing to play with us then hey, thatís great. Not that many bands are barking up our tree to want to take us out. We always seem to be the ones that are taking somebody out. We donít always have to headline. I fucking hate headlining. Iíd love somebody to step up and be like, ďHey, Sworn Enemyís been paying their dues for years. Letís help them out. Letís put them on this tour.Ē Nobody wants to do that for us, so I bide my time and I wait. Thatís all I can do.
What are you doing in your downtime lately? Still living out in Long Island? Yeah, still out in Oceanside, relaxing. Thatís it. Taking it easy. But weíre on the road a lot, man. Whenever I do find that Iím not doing something, Iím at home just relaxing. Watching the Yankees of course.
Talk about your New York roots, man. What do you miss about the scene? What have you seen through the time youíve come through thatís changed for the better or for the worse? Well, when youíre talking about this scene that Iím in, Iíve seen the changes in the clothing, the way the people look. When I first started going to hardcore shows, I was a small guy. Now you look at the shows, Iím a giant. People used to wear clothes that you could tell were somewhat into like, metal or hardcore. Now guys look like girls, sort of. You know, thatís not the minority anymore. Thatís the majority and Iím at a loss for words.
Hatebreed just put out a cover album. Would you guys consider doing that? A cover album? Iím not really sure. I guess if the opportunity arose and people wanted us to do it and it looked like it would be a good opportunity to make some more fans or whatever or just give back to the scene? I guess, yeah. I never really thought about it myself or for the band or anything like that. But I mean, it seems like it would be fun just to do covers and I can just do songs that we loved as kids growing up.
Whatís the toughest thing about touring? The twenty-three hours youíre not playing.
What do you do during them? I donít know Ė try to find time to not think. Play a lot of online games. Thatís about the extent of it, you know? When you have too much time on your hands, youíre always thinking. I hate using my brain.
What keeps you guys so aggressive and volatile? I think itís the New York in us. Everybody in New Yorkís got a little bit of hate in themÖyou canít explain it, you know? I guess a little bit of everythingÖthe music industry, the scene, everything. All the shit that you have to deal with from labels and stuff like thatÖall that adds fuel to the fireÖand then youíve got stress at home or whatever, you know? Itís a little bit of everything.
With you guys being around so long, whatís the set list looking like? We just put the songs that we like to play. Whatever we like to play is what goes on the set list. We do try to put a little bit of everything on there from all the records. We want to make everybody happy, kind of.
Whatís the message of this album? Itís all about just letting people know, look, we ainít going nowhere, motherfuckers. Weíre right here. Weíre here to stay. Like Sheer Terror said, ďLike it or not, we are here to stayĒ. Thatís the only thing that keeps us going. To be honest, I donít even know how the hell Iím still here, why the hell Iím still here. I find myself sometimes when Iím mad, maybe I should really just get a job and just chill out and make some money and not be a fucking dirt bag anymore, but I donít know, man. I think Iíd be lost without it. I just love it too much.
Who have you not met that you still want to meet? You know, I think Iím over the meeting of peopleÖlet me put it like this. I met a couple bands and some of the dudes in the bands I just didnít like and it just totally changed my whole perception of that band, so I donít think I really want to meet anybody else and just lose more bands like that. Iíve grown to not like bands because Iíve met people in them. Iím not really one to care about meeting people, but as I have met some and they were dicks, then that was the end of it. Iím over with that band. So I donít think I want to ruin any more of my childhood heroes, so Iíll leave it at that. Sometimes those people are really the rock stars that they think they are andÖyouíre not, dude. Just because you sold this many records and that many people like you, youíre just a normal guy like everybody else. You can still get your ass kicked, you know? Youíre not special. Youíre not anything. What makes you above everybody else? Treat people the way you want to be treated.