Malefice, Chinwag, By James Meakin

Who are you and what do you do in your band?
Dale: I’m Dale; I am our vocalist come screamer come entertainer for Malefice…

The new album has been out for six months, how has it felt to tour?
Dale: It’s been really good man! It’s been really good; we have had a lot of fun on this tour. Mainly from just pushing the new album, we have really enjoyed playing the new stuff. Everyone is really getting into it live now. It’s great; this tour has come at a really good time. It’s always hard to tour a new album when it’s just come out because no one knows the fucking songs! Everyone’s learning the lyrics, we’ve had a video out, everyone’s bought the new album. Everyone’s coming down to the shows fully prepared and singing along, feeding off us, exactly what a Malefice show has always been about!

You mentioned the video to ‘Awaken the Tides’ that looked a lot of fun to make…
Dale: It was fucking horrible! We turned up at 4 o’clock in the evening and we finished at 8 o’clock the next morning! We were in all these World War 2 gas masks and radiation suits. It was really tough but it was cool and it’s a beautiful video and we are really pleased with it.

There’s a nautical theme running through the album, obviously the title track ‘Awaken the Tides’ and ‘Dead in the Water’. Where did this come from?
Dale: I am just fascinated by the sea and water, it wasn’t really a nautical concept behind it I think whenever you use metaphors around water its always very striking, and ‘Awaken the Tides’ is about moving anything in our fucking way to get what we want. And dead in the water is about the town where we come from being bullshit so it’s just a nice way of getting what you want to say across.
You guys are signed to Metal Blade records, how has this helped the Malefice cause?
Dale: Massively, we are signed to a label run by metal fans, and that means a fucking lot to any band. They’re always down, always here and always around to help us and we wouldn’t have got that with any other label and we’ve got it with Metal Blade.

Even though ‘Awaken the Tides’ has just been released, any thoughts on a new album and where it might take you?
Dale: We have started writing little bits and bobs; we are going to expand on the sound we have been experimenting on with this one. We have brought in loads of strings and synths and theatrical parts so we are going to see how far it goes and see where it takes us!

Chris Allan-Whyte joined last year, what has he brought to the table?
Dale: A solid fucking decent drummer! It was good to actually record with someone we were happy to be in a band with, it was quite inspiring to be honest! We are now playing the stuff we always wanted to play and he is the reason!
Was it difficult replacing Craig Thomas after so many years?
Dale: On a personal level, yes, mainly because of the way it ended but I don’t want to get in to that. On a professional level, it just worked straight away.

I really enjoyed the track ‘Delirium’ how did that song come about?
Dale: Delirium is about going out and taking loads of drugs. If you ever go out and take pills or MDMA you can spot the person who is on it in the room and it’s about people coming together on drugs and people experiencing euphoria. Loads of people have bad stories about drugs I am not promoting the use of drugs at all but I feel they are very misunderstood and I think that is the feeling behind that song.

You mentioned about how the general themes of the songs come about, how does that fit in with the greater Malefice creative process?
Dale: I get given free reign from the guys really, so if I have a really dark, down and dirty sounding song they’ve sent me I won’t write about something uplifting. I’ll write something equally dirty, other than that I am given free reign.

How was working with Justin Hill on the new record?
Dale: We got absolutely everything we wanted. He has been with us from the beginning, he tracked our first record and he will track our last. He understands Malefice, he knows what we need. Ben [Symonds] has been our main songwriter for years and he and Ben get on really well. We start writing riffs and Justin is involved. We would never use anyone else.

There must be a somewhat local link from the Reading and Watford area…
Dale: Yeah, we’ve known Sikth for years and that’s how we got to know Justin. He lives in Maidenhead now and we live in Reading, my girlfriend lives in Maidenhead I see him a couple of times a week and it’s really great to work with someone on that kind of level.

It’s been a great summer for you guys this year, how did you enjoy Download?
Dale: Download was cool, festivals are a bit different for us now, and you can’t really enjoy them because you have to work! But it was a great experience, we started out career there. It was the festival that kick started us so it’s always really nice to go back and remember where we came from!
I saw you guys at a completely different type of festival, 2000 Trees Festival, how did you enjoy that?
Dale: That was bizarre! It was really cool but really weird and fun! It wasn’t what we were expecting but it was a great show, it was good!

Does the preparation for a show like tonight differ from the preparation for a show at a festival?
Dale: Not really! I’ll be doing press until half an hour before we are due on then I’ll be given a mic and then it will all be over, it’s pretty much our jobs now so its fucking strange but it’s how we live our lives, we just get on with it. I don’t know how we prepare for shows anymore.

You do tour quite a lot, how do you stay sane on the road?
Dale: I’ll try and get out of the van or the venue, maybe go and watch some football. I try to get out and be a normal person without this triple A pass selotaped to me for two weeks, go out and just live!

You guys, Sylosis, Exit Ten. What makes Reading such a breeding ground for great metal bands?
Dale: There’s nowhere to play for a metal band so we have all been forced to push out to London or further north and we’ve been forced to go and find places to play. That is the only reason, we had nowhere to play so we had to go out and find somewhere so you get better the more you play to different crowds so look at us all now!

You guys have come a long way over the years, how do you feel you have changed musically and personally over the years?
Dale: We are much more accomplished songwriters now, like I said, you need to go out and hit the road and you need to learn. You can’t be taught in a school or on a course how to do this, you need to go out and find out your own way how you are fucking it up or what the best thing to do is. So we have been on the road and worked our fucking arses off for years and learned our trade.

You have played large festivals and toured with bands like Arch Enemy, what is next on the Malefice ‘To Do List’?
Dale: I think Asia, we have done pretty much everywhere else, I really want to get out to Japan and China and I really want to get out to Australia and if we can get onto Soundwave at all. We just love experiencing different cultures and different ways of life really so as much of that as possible. A show is a show at the end of the day; whether we are here or in India or in L.A a show is the same. I would like to go to more weird and wonderful places and experience a bit more I’ll be all for that!