Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Malacoda originally started off as a recording project. I wrote and recorded a ten song album with producer Joel Kazmi (Sum 41, The Tea Party, Rush, etc.) and it generated some interest in the local music scene as well as the global one. The first album was more alternative metal, some labels were involved early on and they kind of guided what the music should be, needless to say they weren't 100% satisfied with the outcome so I promised myself the next record I did wouldn't be influenced by such factors. After a bunch of live line-up changes I wanted to find a core band. Mike Harshaw was in Annihilator at the time and he came on as a session player, and Jonah Weingarten of Pyramaze became interested in writing keyboard arrangements for any new material we had. I wrote a six song EP on guitar and bass then we recorded the drums with Mike, Jonah recorded some keys after I cleaned up the guitar and bass recordings and then I did vocals. I was trying to find a guitar player that could lend some solos with a lot of feel behind them. Brad Casarin (ex-Grade) was someone that I had known when I was a teenager and was actually one of my music teachers. I looked him up after what was probably almost a decade of not seeing him and what he laid down as far as solos went was nothing short of amazing. I found Cooper, our bassist, online and he learned what I had written on bass very quickly and became a big contributor to what the band has done. Everyone's from all over the place and has different musical backgrounds which is great.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
I'd consider our style ever evolving. If you listen to our self-titled album it's very much an alternative metal album, comparable to Tool maybe. The music on Ritualis Aeterna is more symphonic metal. The keyboards make a big part of the sound for this EP, whereas the debut album had no keyboards and focused more on dual guitar parts creating dissonance. I'd relate us to Paradise Lost at this point since all their album sound very different from each other, who knows where we will go next? We all have our own influences, I'm a huge fan of Iced Earth guitar riffs and the intense vocals, but also love the dissonance and darkness in Katatonia, so I try to blend those two elements to make something unique. Brad is hugely influenced by Iron Maiden and is a big fan of Ghost so his guitar work could be comparable to those styles. Mike is a thrash guy, yet also really into progressive metal. I know he likes Dream Theater and is a big Iced Earth fan like myself. Jonah listens to a lot of movie scores, I know he loves Hans Zimmer but I think he was more so influenced by Danny Elfman for this EP. This EP gets called "Tim Burton Metal" a lot!
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Well I would never sell a demo, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. I own a studio so the product would be as complete as it possibly can before I'd make it available to buy. I think metalheads that are into a band that isn't afraid of change and has an evolving sound would like us. The first album is more accessible to maybe mainstream music listeners or those who are just getting into heavy metal, whereas our new EP is much more intense and in your face, so it appeals to many audiences. Other than that, any support we get means we can continue making more music and creating more music videos!
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
The first album was met pretty well by the public, it was an independent release that was bogged down by a million problems. The fact that it came out at all is a miracle to be honest. It was met pretty favourably, but I didn't push it as much as I should have. Almost every review we had was great, but I recall one review giving it a poor mark solely because it wasn't "Metal" enough! We sold CD's all over the globe, from our home in Canada, to the States, Norway and even Bahrain! So I think it did as well as it was ever going to. Ritualis Aeterna isn't quite out yet, but from what we've shown so far has been met with a lot of praise. People love our music video which is great since we put a lot of hard work into it.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
This incarnation of the band has yet to play a gig, but we are working on it. I don't wanna be just a bunch of dudes up on stage, so we're trying to find a way to make it more of a spectacle- but without being too over top and costing a million bucks. There's been interest from promoters and other bands that want us to play with them, the shows just needs to make sense to do. We're kind of at a stage where if we are going to go out on a tour for a few weeks or whatever it has to make sense financially or we have to get something else out of it that's worthwhile and will really help the band progress.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
We are currently marketing ourselves as a horror inspired metal band. Our music video, artwork and other aesthetics are definitely fitting with the horror vibe. We've got some cool people involved in the making of this EP, for example Jon Howard of Threat Signal engineered the drums while my studio was under construction and Jeramie Kling of The Absence and Necromancing the Stone mastered it. We have our own recording studio, are mostly self-sufficient and are filled with veteran musicians that know how to be a class act and perform well. Obviously the guys who worked on the music for Ritualis Aeterna have stirred up some interest. They should know that we are proudly Canadian, that our varied musical content could probably fit well with Death Metal, Black Metal, Symphonic Metal, Alternative Metal, Gothic, and Power Metal and that we have much more that we are working on for the future.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
It's a bit tough to say right now. I'd like to get gigging by early next year, and I think we've been talking about starting to write some new material. We've been talking to a few labels, management and promoters as well so we have to wait and see what happens there. If nothing happens or we don't come across a deal we are keen on then we're more than confident we could be self-sufficient. We record our own stuff, design our own packages, contact our own PR guys, are capable of booking our own shows, etc. So we really need to see what a label could offer us other than some exposure. A lot is up in the air right now as to where we are going direction wise next and how much other members are going to be contributing, or even if certain members are going to contribute at all to the songwriting and instead focus on other areas. It's never a dull moment, and things change so rapidly it's hard to say what's up next for Malacoda definitively.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can see all of our relevant links at www.malacodametal.com, we've also got our debut album up at https://malacoda.bandcamp.com/releases.