By Kelley Simms
NYC metallic hardcore veterans SWORN ENEMY, fronted by original vocalist Sal LoCoco, established itself in 1999. Throughout numerous lineup changes, and a five-year hiatus which saw the rest of his band members jump ship, LoCoco has picked up the shambled pieces. After 2009’s Total World Domination, produced by AS I LAY DYING’S Tim Lambesis, LoCoco found himself bandless. On its fifth full-length release, Living On Borrowed Time, LoCoco and his all new band is on an upward trajectory. Stomping through 11 savvy, street smart tracks, the band combines old-school hardcore rhythms, new-school breakdowns and thrash metal influences. It’s mostly a tried and true formula, and it’s what the band does comfortably well. Even after all the band’s hardships, LoCoco proclaims he’s not going away anytime soon.
BraveWords: Please give a brief history of the origins of the band.
Sal LoCoco: “Sworn Enemy had a few different names before it settled upon the name. But for the most part, Sworn Enemy started in 1999 from the streets of Queens, NY. Just hanging out in different studios having fun on the weekends to later on being able to tour the world.”
BraveWords: Being the only original member left since the band’s inception, what has been some of the hardships you’ve faced throughout its existence?
Sal LoCoco: “Well, after 2009 I lost four members of the band, so that can really put a damper on things. Trying to find new members is always a bitch and trying to find new members that click is even harder, especially when it comes to being on the road with complete strangers. At that point, I pretty much thought the band was done.”
BraveWords: What was the reason for the band’s hiatus after Total World Domination?
Sal LoCoco: “After losing all my band members, that’s why there was a long hiatus. After finding the right people to be in Sworn Enemy, it took time to gel and learn to work with each other before we were able to finally get some music together.”
BraveWords: Living On Borrowed Time is your fifth full-length, what was your mindset while writing it and describe the end result.
Sal LoCoco: “To be honest, I never really change my mindset when it comes to writing for Sworn Enemy. It’s usually one of anger and negativity. I don't know anything else. Since things never came easy for me or the band, I think this reflects on a lot of the tracks on the new record. I’m really proud of Jeff (Cummings, guitar), Mike (Pucciarelli, bass), Matt (Garzilli, guitar), Danny (Lamagna, drums) and myself. I think we put together a great record and plan to let everyone in our music scene know it.”
BraveWords: What was the writing process like for the 11 tracks that grace the disc?
Sal LoCoco: “Long and tedious process to say the least. Once we got Mike in October of 2011, the band was finally reformed, then the writing process started. We needed time to learn each other as well as how to write together. But in a nut shell, I’d say the wait is worth it once you hear the new stuff, and I'm sure we will write even better stuff on the next one.”
BraveWords: Are you influenced by classic NYHC bands such as AGNOSTIC FRONT, SICK OF IT ALL or CRO-MAGS? Who are some of your more heavy metal influences?
Sal LoCoco: “That goes without saying. One can't be helped but to be influenced by his peers in this scene, especially being a part of this great NYHC scene that New York has. Some heavier stuff that I love that has influenced me is bands like SLAYER, PANTERA and early METALLICA. I usually have at least one of their records in my CD player.”
BraveWords: Can you briefly describe your bandmates and what each one brings to the band?
Sal LoCoco: “Trying to describe each band member individually could take up a lot of precious typing space. But just know this, that each one is a character and I have a great time with each one of them. I wouldn't change any one of them for anyone in any other band. They each bring a respect and professionalism that is unparalleled to any in this scene and I'm glad to have them with me.”
BraveWords: Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics and what are some of the injustices in America you like to bring to the forefront?
Sal LoCoco: “Wherever I can find inspiration; as in the news, in a book that I'm reading, something in my personal life. I will use it if I can write lyrics about it and it is interesting. Lately the topic I've been on about is how politicians and government officials are so corrupt. I know this will never be fixed, but we seriously need to do something about it.”
BraveWords: What’s your upcoming touring plans and what does the future hold for Sworn Enemy?
Sal LoCoco: “Right after the record comes out, we are hitting the road and then not gonna look back. Hopefully the future has some big plans for me and Sworn Enemy, because I’m not going anywhere.”