After a nearly five year gap between albums, veteran crushers Sworn Enemy return with Gamechanger, which was produced by Machine Head’s Robb Flynn. Frontman Sal Lococo gets us up to speed on the album and other topics.
Chad Bowar: What led to the nearly five year span between full-length albums?
Sal Lococo: Sometimes things just work out like that. It definitely wasn’t planned to take five years to write a new record.
Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Gamechanger compared to previous Sworn Enemy albums?
Pretty much the same process in writing this record as compared to the other records. Me personally, I don’t know any other way to write a record.
How did you decide to work with Robb Flynn, and how was the experience?
It just happened to be luck that our bass player’s business partner/best friend is great friends with Robb Flynn and he set it up for us to work with him. I’d give the experience an overall satisfactory rating of 9. I think this is the best record Sworn Enemy has ever done and Robb and Zack (engineer) helped make that happen.
What inspired your lyrics this time around?
My inspiration really hasn’t changed over the years. I still write stuff based on personal, not personal, religious and political views. There’s so much good stuff to write about within all those topics.
As you get older, is it harder to muster the aggression, anger and passion Sworn Enemy albums are known for?
Not at all. As a matter of fact, I think I get more bitter as time goes on with certain aspects of the music industry which definitely keeps me in the right frame of mind to pound out aggression.
How did you come to sign with M-Theory Audio?
Marco immediately sent us a contract like the next day after hearing the record, so to us it seemed he was really into the record and would do the right thing for the band.
How does that affect your goals and expectations for the album?
My goals are to reach as many people as I can and with that being said we will keep on Marco to make sure that he does the right thing by us.
You’ve filmed a couple of videos for the album. How important are videos these days?
I’m not really sure if they are as important as they were like 30 years ago, but they still are a very good outlet for people to see the band and hear the music.
You have some May tour dates with Sacred Reich on the calendar. What else is coming up tour-wise for 2019?
At the moment we got some Europe stuff and working on a lot of other stuff I’d rather not say cause I don’t wanna jinx anything. (laughs)
How do you go about constructing a setlist, and does it change from show to show within a tour?
I let the other guys write a set list. I’m not really involved in that. I just sing what they write down.
With social media, today’s album promotion process is very interactive and transparent for bands. Do you embrace it, or do you miss some of the mystique when a band would release an album without much advance fanfare?
I’m older so I miss the mystique of the old school. Social media is great but it’s also a big pain in the ass when anybody can message you at any time they like and if you don’t respond it can be frowned upon.
Is there a Sworn Enemy album that you thought was overlooked or underrated when it was released, but in retrospect has held up very well?
When we released Beginning Of The End (2006) I really thought that record was gonna put us over the top and make Sworn Enemy a household name. It didn’t have the impact I thought, but it has held up over the years as a great record.
Do you remember the first time you heard a Sworn Enemy song on the radio?
To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I ever heard Sworn Enemy on the radio. I don’t have satellite radio and we wouldn’t be played on mainstream radio.
What younger metal/hardcore bands do you think have what it takes to keep the flag flying for the next generation?
We played some shows last year with this band called Purgatory that had an awesome sound and of course my boys in Dissent are hard as fuck. Definitely check them out
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I enjoy hockey and basketball. I’m a big sports guy. Love watching my Yankees play and going to games.
(interview published April 5, 2019)