Louder with Mallory Knox at 2000 Trees- a band reborn?
Photo Credit: Dom Meason
The departure of your vocalist after almost ten years in the game would have spelled disaster for many bands- however, if there’s ever been a band who have embodied the spirit of a phoenix to rise from the ashes reborn, it is undeniably British rock heavyweights Mallory Knox. Following their frontman’s departure earlier in the year, the band have regrouped and are now stronger than ever, a fact solidified by a spot sub-headlining the Main Stage of 2000 Trees Festival. We sat down with guitarist Joe Savins and drummer Dave Rawling on the morning of their set for a chat about what has been the most tumultuous year of Mallory Knox’s history, and what is in store for the next evolution of the band:
Recently you’ve released your new single ‘Black Holes’- how have you found the reaction to that track and how has it made you feel about the upcoming album?
It was the most bizarre single release we’ve ever had, because we’d just lost Mikey (Chapman), our old singer and announced it a few days before, so it was probably the most intrigue around a single we’ve ever had because people were wondering ‘are they going to be shit now?’. The reaction we had to Mikey leaving was pretty bad, but that song coming out seemed to settle people’s nerves a bit. Lots of people heard a return to the sound of our older records on that song, and I think people had been craving that. This was the first time we were worried people were going to be hostile when we released something because we’d dared to carry on without Mikey, but I think the fact that we’ve gone back to an older sound and the fact that we were still sounding good without Mikey made it one of the better single releases we’ve had!
Has the change of line-up changed the dynamic of the band and how you approach the creative process and playing shows?
The thing is is that we did most of the writing even with Mikey in the band- (guitarist and vocalist) Sam (-----) would leave gaps in the lyrics and then Mikey would fill them out. But the music was mostly done by us and the vocals were mostly written by Sam, so in terms of the creative process not much has changed. It is different in some ways because you’re not writing to accommodate Mikey’s voice, so we’ve been trying new things based on what Sam wants to sing, but for the most part not much has changed. That’s not a knock on Mikey, he did a lot for the band, but that’s the side of things he didn’t really contribute to.
Has the line-up changes you’ve been through changed how you view any of your older material? Did you ever consider starting again from scratch with entirely new material?
There were lots of conversations that went on- is this the end of Mallory? Do we get another singer in? But in the end we felt that this solution we have now was the best way of going around it, because we all felt that we’ve been doing Mallory Knox for nearly 10 years, and it’s not just Mikey’s band, we’re not invited guests, there were five of us in that band and we had faith in ourselves and in the weight of the name. If we’d started a new band there’s no way we’d be sub-headlining the Main Stage at 2000 Trees- this was the biggest slot we’ve had here with Mikey, and we’re doing it again without him, so it’s paid off! The thing that I felt every night on our headline tour was a genuine swell of support from the fans- it’s like when England went out of the World Cup, you’re gutted over what you lost but you’re proud of the boys for doing what they’re doing, and we had that same feeling. For the first time ever we became an underdog band and now people are willing us to succeed even more than before!
You guys have been touring pretty non-stop for the past few months, following on from your own UK tour with appearances at Teddy Rocks Festival and Pop Punk Pile Up- what d you enjoy about being out on the road and is there anything you miss?
It’s nice to be together because you’re out with all your mates, and the crew as well, it’s nice hanging out with them. It sounds strange, but when you’re at home you almost forget that you’re in a band, because you’re writing songs but you’re doing it in the same little room, nobody’s there, so when you go out and play packed rooms it reminds you of what you’ve built out there. I also love travelling overseas- when we go to Europe it’s always good fun! We’re a band that loves being at home as well though, we love writing and we especially love being in the studio, that’s when we’re all buzzing! When you’ve spent months writing these songs, finally getting to record them is amazing. In terms of touring, I miss my dog when we’re out on the road, but that’s about it- and my girlfriend, I should probably say that too!
Speaking of festivals, you guys are on the Main Stage at the festival this year, but you’ve recently done a tour of much smaller venues- does this feel like a step back in the right direction, or was doing those smaller shows equally as important to you?
The small venues were deliberate- it was very deliberate that we didn’t do a London show because they can be very stuffy and full of industry people, we wanted to go and play places like Exeter, places that we haven’t played in god knows how long! The intimate shows were great because you can get a sense of how the crowd is receiving you, but if you look at the last three or four years of the band we’ve become at home on big stages. There were days on that tour when we’d turn up and see the stage and wonder ‘are we actually going to fit? Where’s all the stuff going to go?’! We’ve built ourselves to be a big band, our favourite bands are big rock bands like Oasis and the Foo Fighters, so it felt weirder to go back small than it will be to play here today somewhere this big. This is the first major festival that we’ve done without Mikey but we’ve always been more comfortable on big stages because there’s just more space for us to go at it!
On that tour we had a couple of debuts of some new tracks- are we going to get any sneak peeks of any new material during your set, and should we be keeping our eyes open for another new single on the horizon?
Yes, 100%- we’re playing one of the ones that we played on the headline tour and we’ve written a few over the last month or so and we’re throwing them in the deep end too! Normally we wouldn’t put them in that quickly, but we’re proud of them and think they’re really good, so it’s going to be really cool to see how people react to it! So many people want to know where we’re going to take it now and what it’s going to sound like with Sam on vocals, so we’re going to use that intrigue while we’ve got it!
That intrigue certainly pulled a crowd to the Main Stage to witness Mallory Knox’s set later that evening, and while it may not have been one of their most slick and memorable performances, one thing was abundantly clear- this is a band where the shackles are now officially off! With the backing of a new independent label giving the band time to explore where the next phase of their career will take them, Mallory Knox are a band reborn, and ready to show the world that they’re not finished just yet!
The band’s latest single ‘Black Holes’ is available now across all platforms, and you can watch the official music video below:
Connect with Mallory Knox via their website: www.malloryknox.com
Connect with Mallory Knox on Twitter: @MalloryKnoxband