is a crossover metalcore band from New York City, formed in 1997 as
Mindset, a product of the extremely expansive and influential New York
Hardcore scene. Since its inception the band has centered around
vocalist Sal Lococo and guitarist Lorenzo Antonucci. The band played
shows anywhere they could, making an incredible name for themselves in a
very short time. In 2001 the band released their debut album ‘Negative
Outlook’ on Jamey Jasta's Stillborn Records. The record was a brutal mix
of old school hardcore punk and new school breakdowns and attitude, and
it quickly gained the band attention in the entire hardcore scene. In
2003 the band released ‘As Real As It Gets’, it was clear that the band
was expanding their style as the CD featured a large thrash metal
influence, as well as abrasive, near-black metal styled vocals on Sal's
part. The new style and worldwide distribution led a large number of
heavy metal fans to Sworn Enemy, as did tours with bands such as
In early 2006 ‘The Beginning Of The
End’ was released on Abacus Records, a division of Century Media
focusing on underground metal and hardcore inspired bands. The new
record displayed even more thrash influence. The end of 2007 saw the
release off ‘Maniacal', co-produced by Tim Lambesis (As I Lay
Dying) and Joey Z (Life Of Agony). Lambesis and Z are both taking a very
hands-on approach to this album, producing what is sure to be Sworn
Enemy's finest work to date. "Maniacal" takes Sworn Enemy to new heights
with more of a thrash edge that has a fast bounce to it while
relentlessly blasting the listener with thick heaviness that calls to
mind a likeness to bands such as Exodus and Testament as well as early
Megadeth and Anthrax.
With a new
album under their belt the future is looking bright for Sworn Enemy,
recently we talked to guitarist and founder
here we go.
Your album 'Maniacal' will be released in a
couple of weeks in Europe, so of course we'd like to ask you a couple of
questions about it!
First of all, I'm not familiar with
your band so could you tell me something about Sworn Enemy ? How did
this band get together and could you tell me something about your
Lorenzo and Sal formed as a band in
1997, the band was called Mind Set, we played shows as mindset for a
good 3 years until we changed our self's Sworn enemy in Late 1999, the
1st EP came out "negative Outlook" on stillborn records in 2000 and from
then we toured our asses off. Major musical background: Slayer ,
Metallica , Cro-Mags , Biohazard , Anthrax , Sick Of It All , Agnostic
Front, MadBall , Pantera , ST, D.R.I. ect….
How did you launch into writing the
material for this album? Did ideas come easily so that you just had to
write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?
We just kept writing riffs we thought
were great and kept arranging the music, the writing process was crazy
as we had no drummer so there were a lot of ups and downs.
What were the goals you had in mind
when you started to record 'Maniacal', any elements you definitely
wanted to have on the album?
A lot of thrash feel to the music, we
all grew up loving thrash and felt we always had it in our music. We
also wanted to write something different from what's popular today.
Was it a conscious decision to do
it this way?
Yes, our last album was going in the
same direction as Maniacal, We wanted to keep that feel in our music and
just wrote naturally. This is the best work for us to date.
What do you think that are the main
differences between your previous albums and 'Maniacal'?
A lot more leads and more fast parts,
and the lyrics have matured a lot since the last 2 LP's. We are all
happy with this record's outcome and can't wait for the people to hear
In song writing, what is the utmost
important ingredient for a song according to Sworn Enemy? And is there
any typical way that a Sworn Enemy song comes into being?
Going crazy while you write your
riffs, like if you were ready to go into the pit and mosh. You have to
feel it as if you were in the crowed. That's the start of our writing,
then everything starts to fall into place.
Is the music written independently
of the lyrics or do you try to reflect lyrical ideas through the music?
The music inspires Sal to write lyrics
, I don't ever recall Sal doing it otherwise.
You have a pretty outspoken opinion
on society, which is often voiced in your lyrics. How important is it to
you that people pay attention to the lyrics apart from listening to the
music? And can you tell me a little more about the lyrics, can you
explain for example song title's like "The American Way" or "Talk Is
We try to explain everything we see
through our lyrics. It's very important that the people listen to both
the music and lyrics because it’s all telling a story that you can take
in your own way. “The American Way” is about how greedy and corrupt our
government is, the way they lie to you and make you feel you're in a
special place. “Talk Is Cheap” is about getting even with somebody that
crossed the line and you kept warning him to back off.
About the song writing – how do you
work on new songs? What comes first, lyrics or melodies? Is it like you
sit down and write a new song because you need more material now or do
you wait until you get an idea?
Music comes first , then melodies then
lyrics because it's the easiest way to write lyrics when most of the
music is done. It's also the best way to record as the lyrics are most
likely to be recorded last.
Could you please describe the
implications of the title 'Maniacal', what does it stand for and is
there a special meaning behind it?
When we were in the writing process we
felt like animals in a cage and we wanted to break out, the best way to
explain our feelings was to say we were Maniacal.
Are there any particular bands that
have been a big influence in your song writing, metal or otherwise?
Metallica , Slayer , Faith No More ,
Madball , Pantera , Biohazard , ANTHRAX , Life Of Agony
Do you have any favorites on
'Maniacal', songs that you think are somehow above the others?
"A Place of Solace" because it's the
hardest song ever lol.. and "Weather the Storm" because it's the most
we've ever gone musically.
How much time did you spend
recording the album and in which studio did it all happen?
It took us three months in total,
writing , pre-production and recording. We recorded in Labesis studios
and Method of Groove studio.
The production was done by Tim
Lambesis and Joey Z, what made them the perfect producers for
Tim produced our last record 'The
Beginning Of The End', and we said we would always go back to him for
that sound and vibe we get working with him. Joey Z has been one of my
favorite guitar players since I was about 15 years old and when I heard
he wanted to work with us it was all over. He has a great mind for
'Maniacal' is your second album
for Century Media. How did you get a deal with Century Media Records,
how is your relationship with them and do you have free reign as a band
to do what you want creatively or otherwise, or do they impose any rules
on what you do?
We have a great relationship with CM
and yes this is our 2nd record with the label and we are very happy to
be a part of the family , we get to do what we want musically. Sal met
with Robert Kamp one day at The With Full Force fest in Germany and we
had no label and from there the sparks started, thank you Robert.
Have you received any feedback on
your album yet?
It's the best feedback so far from any
of our previous releases, and we know its our best album to date.
Are third party opinions (press,
fans, etc.) on your music important to you? Or are your music and band
the only things that matter?
Everybody’s opinion matters because
without our fans we wouldn't be able to continue touring and selling
records and without the press the fans wouldn’t know about what’s going
on us with us. We write from our heart but have to please everybody we
Overall, are you pleased with the
outcome of the songs or would you have liked to have changed anything in
Not at all save it for the next
How would you describe your own
music and what are your musical influences?
We are fast and heavy with lots of
grooves, and lots of breakdowns.
The metalcore scene or as we say
'The New Wave Of American Heavy Metal' in general exploded in the last
four or five years in the United States, hundreds of bands seem to have
popped up. So what is the difference between Sworn Enemy and other bands
in this scene?
First of all, we're not anything like
a metalcore band, 2nd of all we were here before the wave of metalcore
at least 2 years prior, there is always a wave of music where bands just
start to pop up. Look at the death core scene.
What is your opinion on the 'metalcore'
scene these days, what do you think about the overload of this kind of
bands at the moment and is there anything missing in the scene?
It's dying out if you ask me, the only
bands still with somewhat of that sound are As I Lay Dying and Unearth.
Those are bands who hold the crown, and they will remain to do so.
With all the touring and over five
albums under your belt, how far has Sworn Enemy surpassed your original
dreams and what would you say is the most rewarding part of being in the
We've been around the world and played
for amazing different cultures and that's all I can say because I’m
How do you see the future for Sworn
Enemy, what can we expect after this year and do you think, for
instance, that the band will still exist five or ten years from now?
As long we still can go on stage
nothing can stop us….
Is there anything left unmentioned?
Any last statement?
Go and buy our new record ‘Maniacal’ ,
it’s worth your time and please support Sworn Enemy.
Sal LoCoco - Vocals
Lorenzo Antonucci - Guitar
Jamie Hunt - Guitar
Sid Caballero - Bass
Buckwalter - Drums
Negative Outlook (2001)
Integrity Defines Strength (2002)
As Real As It Gets (2003)
The Beginning Of The