by Cameron Watson
It’s been two and half years since Mallory Knox released new music.
But now the Cambridge five-piece are back with their new album ‘Wired’.
Ahead of their highly anticipated Edinburgh gig, Brig’s Cameron Watson chats with lead singer Mikey Chapman about what to expect from their new album and upcoming live show.
What can people expect from the new album?
So the next record is a bit of a solid step forward for Mallory I think. We’re a few years older and a few years wiser and I think we have crafted a record that reflects those lessons we’ve learned over the last few years. I think, we’ve put a lot of effort and time into recording it the right way and the way we want it to so it’s got a rawness and an edge that we have been looking to achieve in our sound for a long time. I think you’re going to hear a lot closer to what we conceive to be us now. ‘Asymmetry’ was a nice window into us a few years ago; this is a fantastic representation of sort of where we are as people and musicians in 2017.
I’ve listened to ‘Wired’ and I can definitely say there has been an evolution in the sound since ‘Signals’. What sort of direction are you trying to take now, if there is a conscious decision to move into one?
I don’t think necessarily there is a conscious decision. I think there’s always a development. Bands have always got to be progressing, not changing necessarily but, moving forward in some sense. How you write lyrics, the sound you’re creating – I don’t know – it’s a hard question that. I think we’re just sort of doing what feels right, what we enjoy and hoping I suppose that people feel the same way. We always write the music we love to listen to and we would enjoy if someone else put it out. As long as that carries off as a vein of what we are about I will be happy.
Are you looking for this to break the top 10 or are you more excited for the fans to finally get a hold of Mallory Knox’s new music?
I mean that’s the crux, first and foremost. The priority is the fans. The reason we do it is to entertain, to make people happy. Getting the music out there is exactly what it is about, people have waited patiently for long enough now and it’s about time we got some feedback too. I’d love to know what the fans think. Some record executive can blow smoke up our a*** all day but yeah, if we’ve got fans online speaking truthfully and honestly about the songs, that’s the real value of where the music comes from.
That being said – there’s always a dream to have a top ten record or to even make number one. The nature of our industry is that from week to week, one week there’s maybe barely anything out and you can sell a small amount of records and make the top ten, the next Monday AC/DC bring out their back catalogue and they sell tens of thousands of copies. So I never put too much hope in that – not because I don’t believe in the record – because the industry can be very competitive. But, of course I’m absolutely hopeful and it will certainly be a tick off my bucket list.
What were your musical influences for this album in particular?
There wasn’t any specifically. We never sort off sat down and intended to write in a specific way. The only one I can think of off the top of my head for myself would be ‘Black Honey’ by Thrice. The lyrics are absolutely stunning and think it’s the best thing they have ever done, it was on a lot while we were in the studio. There’s a lot of Brit rock influences as well on the record. James is massively, almost dangerously into Oasis and all that kind of element and threw in a few influences there unknowingly. There’s a range and mix of things I couldn’t tell you until I listened to it and went “Ahhh there”. You’ve got to try and find a happy medium between emulating someone and carving your own path. I hope we’ve done that.
From ‘Wired’, I fell in love with ‘Falling in Love’. How did that one song come about as it’s very different to the rest of the album?
Ah amazing! Yeah sure, I mean we always love to have one of those moments on a record. Previously we had ‘She Took to the Lake’ on ‘Asymmetry’ and ‘Bury Your Head’ on ‘Signals’. I think for me, ‘Falling in Love’ is that one on this record. It was written primarily by Sam so I can only give you my second-hand knowledge of it but it’s a kind of realisation of the scenario and state you’re in and taking personal accountability for it. My scenario, my existence, my relationship with this person, my sadness is all on me, I’m responsible and I had the power to change it and I chose not to and as a result I’m in this space now. We always try to enforce an ambiguity to our songs and this song should absolutely be about what you suit it to be but for us, it definitely has a more personal edge and one that I certainly related to immediately when rehearsing. As such, it allowed us to give a more invested performance in it, because we all in some way have had one of those realisation moments.
What’s your highlight of the album and what songs can you not wait to play live at gigs?
Good question. I think for me, what I love about this record is that there are moments that exist throughout the record. I love a good moment. You can go through some energetic, hard, powerful songs then into a low-key, emotionally driven sadness. It takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotion. Most lyrically, we have a song called ‘Saviour’ which has a social, political message which we don’t do a whole lot of but, I think it cried out for it. It’s one of the better songs we have written as a unit. I’m really looking forward for people to get their teeth stuck into that. I think there’s going to be some wicked songs that people are going to vibe off of – and I’m really looking forward to seeing if people vibe off ‘Better off Without You’. It’s had such a fantastic response so far and everyone seems to be really enjoying it, just the tempo and the nature of the song should bring some good times at the shows.
Another great thing about bringing out a new record is when you first tour it there may be songs that people are vibing off of and loving, and moments in those songs that are going to create some big moshpit, everyone goes crazy and you didn’t see it coming. We think “Oh it’s just that little bit” but when you get to the show, everyone’s tearing each other’s hair out and you think “Did not see that one coming”. It leads to these fantastic, unseen experiences.
The tour starts pretty soon, so what’s your favourite part about playing in Scotland?
I love the people in Scotland. I really do. I’ve got such a love for the Scots. The intensity and warmth about people up North. One of my favourite things to do is to sit in a café or bar and just people watch in Glasgow. I love the nature of a big city, I’m from the countryside so it’s always nice to see that amount of people, the culture and the way of life and in Glasgow it’s a slightly exaggerated version. I love the city itself, it’s a beautiful city, slightly rough around the ages like any other city in the UK but I think it has such a great heart and soul about it. It’s always a pleasure to be up there.
What can the Scottish crowd expect from Mallory Knox live?
Much of the same really. We love the buzz the Scottish crowd gives us, we vibe off that and feed off it and it really improves the show and makes it that much more exciting and intense. I’m really looking forward to rekindling that relationship that the live scenario gives you, especially with the Scottish crowd.
Mallory Knox’s latest album ‘Wired’ was released on 10 March.
Mallory Knox will be playing in Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on 29 March.