An Interview with Malefice

Malefice new lineup


A bit delayed, but here is an interview with Dale Butler (vocals), Ben Symons (guitar) and Chris Allan-Whyte (drums) of Malefice, taken at their headline at the Camden Underworld, Saturday 22nd May, 2010 with Here Lies Affliction and Anger Management.

Matt ~ Right, yeah I’ll keep this brief guys because I know how these things go… Matt Hill for Rock Sins, with Malefice; by the way we have a dilema between mates…

Dale ~ Male-fice (MaleFISS)

Matt ~ It’s Male(fiss); so yeah, I’m saying Malefice…

Ben ~ Haha, Male-fice (*hyphened pause intended*)

Matt ~ So I’m the one who’s wrong! Alright, first off; since you guys started, how it’s been going? Has it been an eventful journey so far? Has it been a good journey?

Ben ~ Since we started?!

Matt ~ Like, as a band since you started out…

Dale ~ It’s been pretty eventful; like we’ve done some fucking crazy shit…

Ben ~ Bendy…

Dale ~ Yeah, it’s been very ‘turbulent’…

Matt ~ Did you expect to get to where you are now (or in such a short space of time)?

Dale ~ We don’t really expect fucking anything; I think if you go out there and kinda expect it to be successful you’re gonna fall on your fucking ass because you’re not going to work for it, so we just take each month at a time and we try and plan 6 months ahead and once we’ve got that 6 month block booked we know what we’re doing and while we’re doing that our management starts booking for the next 6 months… albums, videos whatever.

Ben ~ When you’re like 17 practising in a bedroom you never think “I really want to play Download”, well you think it, but it’s never gonna happen; it’s just a dream. And then it’s a very cool thing that happens and everything kinda feels normal as it happens. You just keep doing stuff and it keeps getting better.

Matt ~ Of the things that you have done and been upto so far, have you got a highlight or is there anything that stands out as a real moment that regardless of what happens you can look back at that?

Dale ~ Download, definitely, because we went there for however many years it was around and were the other side of the barrier, you know what I mean. And to actually get on that fucking stage and play; like for me, it was really special because I met my missus there and we’ve got loads of friends that we never ever see that are all over the fucking world and we all come together at Download. So it’s been a special thing for us.

Matt ~ In more ways than one.

Dale ~ Yeah, yeah and we got to play it. It was like a boyhood fucking dream, ya know what I mean? It’s like a footballer playing at Wembley. It’s just brilliant.

Matt ~ And now you can say you’ve done it.

Dale ~ We’ve done it. Like, we’re British, we’re a metal band; Donnington is like the birth-pace, PACE?!, place of like British metal and we’ve done that; we’re in that history.

Ben ~ And it’s (kinda where things got) kinda where we took the next step to being a professional band as opposed to like, doing it for fun.

Dale ~ We got signed to Metal Blade that weekend.

Matt ~ Oh, brilliant. What, as a result of that… they saw you there, scouting as it were?

Dale ~ So, yeah, that was the turning point for us.

Matt ~ Excellent! Following that; plans for the year? I understand you’re doing a new album at the moment…

Dale ~ Yep, we’re recording a new album at the moment.

Matt ~ So you’ve written it already?

Dale ~ Yep. We’ve got a new boy here, Chris…

Matt ~ Yeah, I’ve got a question leading upto that.

Ben ~ Well we’ll leave him out shall weee!

Dale ~ We’ll leave him for that! But we’ve got some European stuff coming up with Devildriver and Anthrax. We’re continuously writing as we fucking re-cord; should be going in around the last quarter of the year, like Autumn time. Maybe winter, start recording it.

Matt ~ ETA on it?

Ben ~ Latest, March?

Dale ~ March. We want to get it out for festival time.

Matt ~ I’d say that was a good time to release it, just before summer as well.

Matt ~ Next question is that you’ve obviously got a new drummer now; so, how is that working out? (I wasn’t sure if you’d be involved in the interview so…)

Ben ~ We wanted to bring him along.

Chris ~ Personally, it’s been amazing yeah. I’ve always known of the band before; I worked for the band in a previous band and I toured with Malefice before, so I knew all the guys, so it just felt really natural.

Matt ~ So it was ‘one of those things’. I understand you may have been the last person you guys auditioned…

Dale ~ Yeah, yeah out of a list and we just like…

Ben ~ We were shitting ourselves, because we were not happy with the other ‘options’ and we needed someone to be good.

Dale ~ And Chris has come in and fucking blew us away.

Ben ~ We were all laughing. The whole room thinking “that was a relief”.

Dale ~ HAHA

Matt ~ Good stuff, cool cool. So you’ve toured with a few bands, big and small, do you have a favourite band in terms of general ‘as guys’?

Dale ~ Devildriver.

Matt ~ Dez is a legend; we’ve hung out with him before and he’s a pretty safe dude…

Dale ~ They’re just all fucking really down to Earth.

Matt ~ And they all write the albums too, because they all play guitar as well…

Ben ~ Yeah, the drummer writes most of their songs!

Matt ~ Crazy.

Dale ~ But they’re just fucking safe dudes and you can like, just go and have a beer with them.

Matt ~ Yeah, we saw you guys at the Garage and I was chatting to the other guitarist (Alex Vuskans) because, well I’ll mention it now, Here Lies Affliction guitarist Chris, who’s my brother, played in a band called Avenger (Federal Threat) when you played with…

Dale ~ Yeah, I did reckonise him. He the guy in the polo shirt with long hair?

Matt ~ Yeah! He used to play in Avenger years and years ago back in Wycombe and stuff like that…

Dale ~ Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matt ~ So we used to see you there as well!

Dale ~ Fair man, fair!

Matt ~ So I saw you with The Devildriver (all ~ *haha*), ‘The’; as they are now!

Matt ~ Right, yeah; inspirational albums or bands that helped shape your sound when you actually started writing as a band…

Dale ~ Oh, wow…

Ben ~ When we started writing as a band it was all rubbish…

Dale ~ It was all about Slipknot.

Ben ~ Slipknot and nu-metal. Dry Kill Logic…

Matt ~ HAHA, fucking Dry Kill Logic!

Dale ~ A band that shaped us as far as the maturity and where we wanted to take our sound, erm, not necessarily their sound, but Pantera…

Matt ~ It’s gotta be Pantera, hasn’t it?

Ben ~ That was like subliminally. We didn’t start out trying to be them. That wasn’t really our sound then, but more groove has come in and we’ve ended up having more of it when we grew up…

Dale ~ They just fucking played whatever they wanted to play and that’s what we wanted to do.

Matt ~ Yeah. I’m one of the few people who actually loves the early Pantera as well, you know the ‘Power Metal’ style.

Dale ~ Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matt ~ It’s brilliant music but you listen to that and then ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’ and you think “fuck…”; they literally, as you say, literally did whatever they wanted.

Dale ~ Yeah, exactly and you’ve gotta respect them for that.

Matt ~ They’re won’t be a band anything like them again, I don’t think, in terms of their ‘time’.

Dale ~ We were speaking about this in the van on the way up…

Ben ~ Literally today, yeah.

Dale ~ There is never gonna be another Pantera, or Metallica or AC/DC, like, icon bands are gone.

Matt ~ Nowadays you get these people, to use them as an example; Trivium. I caught into (onto) them years and years ago, back with the bassist like 2 or 3 before they’d already, and they were alright and now all of a sudden they’re absolutely massive, but you can’t see any bands coming out of nowhere and living on a legacy for like 20 years or so…

Dale ~ I think a band that’s around now that would do that is Mastodon. I’m pretty sure they’re gonna be around for…

Matt ~ *interupts* They’re taking off as well; I mean ever sice they signed to Warner Brothers, or Sony (or whoever)…

Dale ~ Yeah, they’ve just ripped off Baroness; taken their sound and made it work for them…

Matt ~ They’re worse bands to rip off, though…

Dale ~ Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Matt ~ Still. Alright; do you guys have a favourite Malefice song?

Dale ~ What’s yours Chris?

Chris ~ I love playing ‘Abandon Hope’. That was just always, well, when I went into the audition it was the one I was looking forward to…

Matt ~ Out of interest, how many songs did you do in your audition? Was it was a case of just (jam)?

Dale ~ He did fucking loads!

Matt ~ As soon as it worked it just…

Ben ~ He came in with everything we’ve ever played.

Chris ~ Yeah, I got sent like 12 songs, learnt them all and went up and auditioned all of them.

Dale ~ This is the best bit though; Chris has got a kid and can’t really rehearse drums in his house and he learnt all our songs with a kickdrum pad…

Ben ~ … and air drums.

Dale ~ AND air drums.

Matt ~ Impressive stuff!

Chris ~ I put the CD in my car and drove about for a week…

Ben ~ …drummed mentally!

All ~ HAHA!

Matt ~ Ha, brilliant. Nice stuff. Erm, it’s a pretty standard question but have you got any advice to upcoming bands?

Dale ~ Yeah, get a van, get a credit card and don’t ever move out of home.

Matt ~ Yeah, seems to be wise advise!

Ben ~ Prepare to struggle for 10 years, yeah 10 years of pain and struggle…

Dale ~ Start when you’re young as well man if it’s something you wanna do. The reason we’ve got to where we are is we started when we were 16. If we started now there is no fucking way we could start that, like at 24, start that journey because by the time we get to where we’re now we’d be in our 30s and it’s like…

Ben ~ It takes 4 years to stop being shit.

Dale ~ Yeah!

Matt ~ Well it’s good that it’s worked out for you guys; I understand you’re also on a new label, is that right?

Ben ~ Nah, just Metal Blade…

Matt ~ Just Metal Blade?! That’s false information then…

Ben ~ What did you THINK we were signed to?

Matt ~ I thought it was Metal Blade, but I didn’t realise it was Download and didn’t put 2 and 2 together… Yeah, another passing question but you guys have got a tour coming up with Anthrax (or been already?)

Dale ~ Yeah.

Ben ~ Yeah, we’ve done one with them…

Dale ~ And Metal Hammer Awards.

Matt ~ Ah right; how was that?

Dale ~ Really good.

Matt ~ The question was, purely and separately to all your stuff; but Joey or John?

Dale ~ John.

Ben ~ I wouldn’t know…

Dale ~ John.

Matt ~ It’s a question we were asking before because now they’ve got rid of John again…

Dale ~ I literally couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t fucking believe it, I mean, I don’t want to say too much ‘cos we’re touring with them… I know people that have met Joey and people that know him, like Dez always speaks really fondly of him and he’s a great guy and a great singer, but I think for me, John was the best vocalist they’ve ever had and they’ve treated him like shit on about 3 different occasions.

Matt ~ Yeah, I saw them twice with John and once with Joey, and it was cool to see them with Joey because it was the reunion one at Download and it was cool to see it, but we were all thinking… I think Joey’s Anthrax was that one point at the beginning; and then it was John. And I think…

Dale ~ He doesn’t sound like… like John can pull off Joey’s songs; I don’t think it works both ways.

Matt ~ Definitely. They’ve got totally different voices. That is pretty much it really, but it was quite a straight-forward one. Only really doing this to fill in for a ‘friend’ as it were…

Ben ~ Haha

Dale ~ Cool!

Matt ~ Cheers guys, good luck tonight (again).

Dale ~ Thank you very much for that.

Matt ~ Good luck tonight as well; how many gigs out of interest have you done now? (to Chris)

Chris ~ This is my 4th gig…

Matt ~ Nice, so we’ll catch it early!

Ben ~ You’d never know it was the 4th…

Chris ~ We did like 3 rehearsals and then straight onto the tour so it’s been wicked.

Matt ~ Nice work (excellent)

Dale ~ He’s a fucking evil child man…

Ben ~ Haha, evil child!

Matt ~ Needs must! Right, cheers guys.

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