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IBG Interview – 8 Questions With… Malacoda

Over what has been a difficult time in our history these past couple of years, Music has been the escape we need. There is nothing better than diving into an album and letting all worries and cares fade away for that hour. Our new friends from the Symphonic Metal outfit Malacoda have been offering these escapes for years. Now they are back with a new EP The Year Walk releasing on December 3rd.

We had a chance to chat with the band to get a deeper look behind the scenes. Enjoy the interview:

First off, how did the name Malacoda come about? 

I had always been interested in medieval literature and religious texts from that period, and one of the most enduring ones was Dante’s Divine Comedy. I had read Dante’s Inferno when I was young and I feel like it changed my life. I still have yet to read something as profound about the human condition than Dante’s works. There’s a demonic character in the Inferno named Malacoda who kind of provides a twisted sense of comedic relief and he leads a party of demons throughout a section of the Inferno torturing people. He’s this kind of enigmatic psychotic creature that has a lot of drama, horror and morbidity about him, but it begs to read more into the character. I really liked how the name sounded, because it didn’t sound really evil or demonic. 

How would you describe your music without any of the boring generic genre descriptions? 

I would describe us as being quite varied. Every release cycle has been a bit different. I’ve always likened us to Paradise Lost in the sense that they’ve done everything- an electronica record, a doom metal album, a death metal album, an alternative rock one. We haven’t been as varied as them, mostly bouncing around between more progressive stylings and symphonic, but we’re different. 

Which bands have had the greatest influence on you? 

I think the band that had the most long lasting influence on me was Katatonia. Even though I’ve worked on all kinds of music, their production of their albums has always made me want to get better at mixing or recording. They are the only band that I can think of that consistently gets better with each release, and has been doing so for the past 20 years. They’re a metal band, but they aren’t really a metal band. There’s lots of metal elements in their music that make them prog, but they aren’t really a prog metal band. Their genre doesn’t really matter- the songs are just awesome and they really know how to create a vibe and sound that isn’t like anyone else. 

What is your songwriting process? How does a song come together for Malacoda? 

It really depends on the record we’re working on. Sometimes it’s just listening to a lot of music that we are inspired by in the moment and trying to figure out how we can do something that pays homage to that or that we think we can pull of well, other times it’s just me and a guitar or bass just sitting down and playing with some ideas I have in my head. I always have ProTools up and record every idea I come up with, and usually by the end of a recording process it’s quite a different song from where the demos started. I think music is a living, breathing thing- it’s okay for it to change and grow as you are working on it. 

Tell us about your latest EP. 

The Year Walk is the third EP we’ve released this year, it was mixed and mastered by Jeramie Kling of Inhuman Condition and Venom Inc. We have a guest keyboard solo by Gabriel Guardiola from Immortal Guardian on the track “Beaten Path” which is super cool. A few songs we tracked with former Malacoda drummer Michael Farina, he helped us out during the pandemic when we had drummer issues before Kabir joined the band. I think this is my favourite of the three EPs from this year, but I had written the majority of these songs in 2017-2018ish for another project. So I’m happy to move on from this one and work on something new now. 

What do you hope that the listener takes away from your music? 

I hope that the listener is inspired to indulge in their own creativity or escapism. I think with these EPs we really tried to hone in on the “music as escapism” side of things. We are in the middle of the worst pandemic in my lifetime at least, so I think some people could do with some escapism right now.

Share some advice for other hard-working bands striving for success in the new music industry? 

I think being self-sufficient is important, but knowing when you can’t do something at the best quality is also a good skill to have. A bad piece of music, or a half-assed video, or something that just cuts corners and isn’t honest will never do well. During the pandemic we couldn’t do 75% of what we wanted to at the level we usually did in the past, so we had to get creative and outsource things like lyric videos and stuff. I think the key to success in this is to do it for yourself first and foremost, and just always be learning and willing to learn. 

What does the future hold for Malacoda? 

After The Year Walk releases on December 3rd, I don’t think we have anything planned really. We’re working on new material as we speak but we’re really taking our time with it because I don’t feel that I’m personally at a place in my life where doing another symphonic metal record is something I could pull off convincingly anymore. We’ve been doing a lot of soul searching the past few months and I think we’ve found a direction we want to work towards, so we’ll be spending more time working on our own artist development so to speak.

Keep up with more from Malacoda HERE.

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