After releasing one of the best metal albums of the year, Awaken the Tides, we caught up with Dale Butler, the prolific front man of Reading metal band Malefice for a quick chat.
Rocksins: Your new album, Awaken the Tides, came out earlier in the year, how has the reaction been so far?
Dale Butler: it’s been really positive! We took a bold step and changed our sound quite a lot, I changed my vocals quite a bit and it was our first album with Chris on drums, so it was always gonna be an odd album for us, but it’s been received really well. I think people were a little bit apprehensive at first because it wasn’t this ‘Malefice’ sound that they were used to… but that sound is still there it’s just developed a lot more. It’s been really good, all over the world the Germans and the Americans really love it.
RS: Is that the aim, to break America?
Dale: it’s a market we struggled with before because of whatever reason, but we seem to have cracked it this time
RS: Obviously you have people who really love the new sound, and you’ll have a few detractors, but one thing I have seen, and I think it’s a ridiculous claim, is people saying you’ve “sold out”…
Dale: Oh yeah yeah…
RS: What do you say to people who make this claim?
Dale: That I still live with my fucking mum? And all of us are still struggling to put food on out fucking tables… yeah, we haven’t sold out.
RS: The metal scene in the UK just now is thriving, how hard is it to stand out from the crowd?
Dale: Knowing what I do now, and if I wasn’t where I am now, I wouldn’t start a fucking band. It is so hard, you need years and years and you need fucking dedication and you need to be realistic. It’s so hard in this industry to get anywhere. Every band on this bill (Sylosis, Malefice, Anterior, Chapters) deserves every bit of success they get because we’ve all done the fucking rounds. Even last year we were in Europe with DevilDriver and Anthrax for 5 weeks sleeping in a Mercedes Sprinter, There’s nothing glamorous about that. It’s hard work. You get to play wicked shows each night, but you’re away from your loved ones and sleeping in a fucking van. It ain’t fun.
RS: In the past few weeks it seems illegal downloading has become a bit of a hot topic. Everyone seems to have a different view on it, so what’s your view?
Dale: In a small band you’re never ever gonna see any money from album sales in this financial climate, but we’ve spent a year writing and recording just for someone to turn round and just fucking take off us. It pisses me off, but if I’m realistic I’d rather people downloaded our records, got into us that way and come to the show and buy a fucking t-shirt, because that’s how bands make their money.
RS: Back onto the new album, what bands influenced you while making it? Personally I can hear a bit of Bring Me The Horizon in there…
Dale: 100%… their new album changed the way I looked at the metal scene, you’ve got to be fucking clever in this industry and they’ve evolved really fucking well. If you look at any band, like, if you look at how much Architects have changed since the beginning. We NEEDED to evolve and we wanted to bring in all of the synths and strings. It’s something that BMTH did really well and we though “Well, we can put our own spin on this” and we did.
RS: Possibly my favourite thing about the album is the lyrics, what is your favourite song lyrically?
Dale: I think Blessed/Cursed for me. It’s about a time where we got a place back at home called The Rising Sun and it’s about we used to literally drink take pills and snort coke off the bar. No one gave a fuck. It was the best days of our youth. Being able to be so care free and the song is about how those days used to be so special because none of us can do that anymore, everyone’s grown up and moved on. You really cherish those days because no one gave a fuck about anything.
Keep checking back for Part 2!