The message behind the song is pretty simple: staying away from negative energy and whatever tries to drag you down. It is kinda eerie how it coincided with Covid-19, people turned it into the official virus anthem!
Sheffield metalcore mob Malevolence have just released their new EP The Other Side, the band’s first new material since 2017’s Self Supremacy album. To coincide with the EP dropping, Gavin Brown had a chat with Malevolence vocalist Alex Taylor to hear all about The Other Side, filming a video for one of the EP’s songs in Tokyo, creating an anthem for these times, how he is keeping busy during the lockdown, touring with Terror, crazy gigs and the heavy music scene in the band’s Sheffield hometown.
E&D: Your new EP The Other Side out now. How did the creation and recording process go?
Alex: The actual recording process went very well. We managed to get it done very quickly however as is always the case with Malevolence, we like to take our time during the writing process to make sure we are all 100% happy with the final tracks.
E&D: What has the reaction been to the new material been like so far?
Alex: It’s been great! We first played ‘Keep Your Distance’ live on tour November, before anyone had heard the record and it went off! Since we’ve released the tunes, people have shown so much love, it’s been awesome to see!
E&D: Bryan Garris from Knocked Loose featured on the track ‘Keep Your Distance’. How was it working with him on the track?
Alex: Bryan is one of the boys and getting him on the track was as simple as dropping him a message and asking if he wanted to be on the track. No management or label bullshit to go through. It came together literally a few days before our tour with them back in November.
E&D: What is the song about? I’m sure you never thought that the title would be so prophetic during these unprecedented times!
Alex: The message behind the song is pretty simple: staying away from negative energy and whatever tries to drag you down. It is kinda eerie how it coincided with Covid-19, people turned it into the official virus anthem!
E&D: You have done a video for ‘Keep Your Distance’, can you tell us about that?
Alex: The video came together very organically on our tour with Knocked Loose at the end of 2019. All of us were together for two weeks playing insane sold out shows, and it just made sense for us to film it and get Bryan doing his part every night!
E&D: You also filmed a video for the EP’s opening track ‘Remain Unbeaten’ in Tokyo, how was that experience?
Alex: That video is one of my favourites! Running around Tokyo with a camera just having a lot of fun. We flew our boy Daniel Priess out to film us when we were on tour in Japan with a brief to capture a high energy movie and it was filmed over the space of four days. One highlight of that video is the shot of us on the rooftop in downtown Shinjuku. We had to sneak our way onto the roof, find somewhere secret to fly the drone up (flying drones in Tokyo is illegal) and then stand on the edge of a huge drop! It isn’t a Malevolence video unless there is a risk of a huge fine or jail!
E&D: Does ‘Remain Unbeaten’ stand as a motto for the band and your music?
Alex: I wanted to write a song that lyrically was almost a follow on from Self Supremacy. I stand behind the message of that song wholeheartedly and is one of my favourite songs lyrically.
E&D: Do you think that the songs on The Other Side will become future live favourites?
Alex: Absolutely! I can’t wait to play them live. Each song has a different vibe and energy, looking forward to seeing how they’re received especially as people have to wait a while before they can see them live.
E&D: Can you tell us about the artwork for The Other Side?
Alex: We commissioned Eliran Kantor to create us a piece of artwork that captured the temptations of indulgence, senses-numbing substance abuse, gluttony, sex and distraction. The idea was to make an original interpretation of the temptation of Adam. We have a sea of arms around our main character, symbolising society, coiling around him in a snake like motion, and tempting him with a golden apple. The mouth of our Adam looks dirty with gold remains, symbolising substance abuse and have an intoxicated look. An apple in the story of Eden stands for temptation and the search for knowledge, while a golden apple in Greek / Norse / Irish mythology stand for divinity and the source of immortality. The arms around the main character are shiny bright white to symbolise how temptations comes in forms that are meant to distract us with a blinding effect – like phones or TV or neon signs.
E&D: How are you coping with the lockdown at the moment and are you working on any new musical ideas?
Alex: I feel like there is a lot of pressure on people to stay productive, which I have definitely been trying to do to some extent however i’ve also been using the time to enjoy the smaller things which I wouldn’t necessarily have time for usually, like reading, exercise and a bit of gaming on Call Of Duty and FIFA. We have also been very busy shipping out all the orders to people who pre-ordered the album and merchandise!
E&D: What albums, films, tv series etc, would you recommend for us to check out during this lockdown?
Alex: I would recommend the tv series Gangs Of London, I just started that a few days ago and I’m loving that. Also the new Drake album!
E&D: Are there any plans at the moment for a follow up to Self Supremacy when this is all over?
Alex: Yes! We are writing for the next full length as we speak. We have a lot of exciting ideas for the next record with around 7-8 songs already in the works.
E&D: How was your last tour in Australia with Terror and what were the highlights of the tour?
Alex: One of my favourite tours we’ve done. We’ve been trying to get to Australia for many years and to finally get there and play some of the craziest shows we’ve ever had outside of Europe was awesome! Some of my highlights were the koala sanctuary, the beaches and the swim spots, as well as Invasion Festival.
E&D: Have you got any rescheduled tour dates so far and lockdown permitting, what are the bands plans for the rest of the year?
Alex: At the moment, it is looking like most of our shows for the year have either been postponed or cancelled so for the time being we are just concentrating on writing for the next release.
E&D: What has been the craziest pit that you have ever seen both at a Malevolence gig and another bands?
Alex: Whenever we play Sheffield, the pit is always insane and it’s even more fun because we know most people in the room and everyone is just having fun! Some of the old Belgium and German shows we used to play were insane too, they were super violent!
E&D: What has been the most memorable tour that the band has ever done?
Alex: Japan / South East Asia.
E&D: How did Malevolence start as a band in the first place?
Alex: We’ve all known each other from school years and going to shows when we were younger. The band was already going for a few years before I joined in 2010 and then after that point, we started taking it seriously playing shows out of town and building up the fan base.
E&D: What bands have had the biggest impact on the sound of Malevolence?
Alex: Hatebreed, Lamb Of God, Pantera.
E&D: Is your biggest influence as a musician and why?
Alex: Jamey Jasta. His lyrical content is motivational and was what drove me to start writing lyrics that people can actually take something away from and not just your generic ‘demons and souls’ crap!
E&D: Has your hometown of Sheffield had an impact on the music of Malevolence?
Alex: I wouldn’t necessarily say it has affected the sound of the band because we draw influence from a lot of different genres however it has definitely affected how the band has grown in terms of being a northern metal band and I think we portray where we are from proudly.
E&D: What are the best venues, record shops and pubs for lovers of heavy music visiting Sheffield?
Alex: Venues – O2 Academy/ The Leadmill / Yellow Arch Studios. Record Shops – Record Junkee. Pubs – The Byron.
E&D: What Sheffield bands and bands further afield are your favourites and what newer bands would you recommend to us?
Alex: Rough Justice are my favourite Sheffield band. I would also recommend Revulsion from Scotland.
E&D: What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
Alex: Selling out a thousand capacity venue in our hometown, touring America, Australia, Asia and Europe and getting shouted at for being too rowdy for Download Festival haha!