If you were in a band and your frontman left, what on earth would you do? Flail around a bit for sure, right? For Mallory Knox, when vocalist Mikey Chapman departed last year, they just got on with it. “I don’t think people know what to expect from us anymore,” says Sam Douglas as they gear up for a new record.
Hey Sam, how’s it going?
Hey, it’s not going too bad. It’s been a while waiting for this record to come around, but we’re here, and we’re ready to get going.
It felt like you really cracked on after the line-up change last year, how have you found adjusting to being a four-piece?
In terms of transitioning into a four-piece from a writing point of view, nothing really changed at all. I knew there would be no issue there. It’s when we had to revisit the old songs and rework them to enable me to be able to sing them as well as I can that took some adjusting to. It was almost a case of having to rewrite some of them and strip the songs back to where they were when we first wrote them. I’ve always written the songs, but once it was written, we then tweaked it here and there to get the best out of our old singer. It took a few rehearsals to get them where they needed to be, but I think we proved over last year that we can still do this.
Did Mikey leaving effect how you approached your new record?
No, not at all. I think we all wanted to do something completely different creatively on this record and, if anything, Mikey leaving helped us embrace that even more. I don’t think people know what to expect from us anymore and truthfully; we aren’t that bothered if people aren’t gonna like where we’ve taken Mallory. This is the record that we wanted to write at this specific moment in time, and perhaps we were a little guilty of not doing that on our last record, so it was important to me, anyway, to make sure that didn’t happen again.
Have you guys had any other significant life changes, band related or otherwise, since ‘Wired’?
We’re all at an age now where we aren’t really young guys anymore, and it’s become more important to look at our futures not just from a Mallory perspective but as individuals too. ‘Wired’ came out in early 2017 and so much has changed since then. I’d say between that record and this one it’s the most I’ve changed as a person, and I think what happened with the band played a part in that. We all felt very burnt out, and we needed a break, I didn’t think it would have been this long, but there were a few moments where I questioned if I still had the passion to leave home and travel and tour. Creatively my love for music never went, and I don’t think it ever will, but it was all the other bullshit that sometimes comes with it that takes it out of me and makes you question if this is for you anymore.
What can you tell us about the album, are there any recurring lyrical themes?
There was never an intention to. I just write what I feel at the time and what suits the song, or sometimes what the song brings out in me. I’m not gonna sit here and say that writing a song is cathartic and takes me to a magical place and all that, but it can bring out emotions you didn’t know that were there and sometimes that can even surprise me. I think I’m absolutely fed up with the majority of society that’s for sure. That might make me sound miserable & bitter but having to realise every day that I exist with some of these people has made me become that way. With social media being how it is now it’s pretty hard to get away from. There’s always something new for someone else to moan about that in truth probably doesn’t affect them in any way at all.
Have you tried out any new tricks in the studio?
I think it was the lack of tricks that we tried in the studio that has made this record what it is. We were very aware that on our last record that some songs were overproduced and we wanted to avoid that this time. We’ve never been a band that uses Apple Macs to write; we’ve never had backing tracks when we play live. With Mallory it’s definitely a case of what you see is what you get and we really wanted to embrace that on this record. I think we’re now proud of the fact we’re one of the only bands that still do it all the old fashioned way and I think with the record it was always going to be recorded in that way. It’s by far the truest and rawest record we’ve ever done, and this was the perfect time for us to do it.
Do you have a favourite song on the record?
I do. There’s a song called ‘White Lies’ which is gonna be the first single off the record and I’m not scared in saying that I think it’s the best Mallory song ever. I remember when I listened to it for the first time as a finished piece in the studio, and it made me feel like I was listening to the first song I had ever written. It’s the most excited and proud I have been of a song since we first started doing this back when everything was all brand new and fresh and exciting. I think it’s the song I’ve always wanted to write.
What are you all up to before the album’s out, do you have lots of plans for the next few months?
We have a few festivals over the summer. I know that we’ll be touring after the summer too, so it’s all starting to build again which is cool. I’m just very keen to get this record out there so we can start playing songs that represent us as musicians and as people at this moment in time.
Where would you like this new record to take you?
I don’t have an end goal for this album. Honestly, I don’t. I’m just very thankful that we were given the opportunity to do another record after all the shit we went through. It’s been very frustrating to be in Mallory at times, but this record was the driving force to keep us all going. When you think that you may have written your last song for a band you’ve spent the majority of your life in then it doesn’t matter about what this album can or can’t do for us, the fact that it even exists is enough for me.
Taken from the June issue of Upset. Mallory Knox’s self-titled album is out 16th August.