Mallory Knox have been heralded as one of the most exciting upcoming UK rock bands. Their second album ‘Asymmetry’ and latest album release ‘Wired’ granted them the coveted Top 20 in the UK Official Album Charts, alongside all their singles to date having been play listed on BBC Radio 1, including 4 consecutive A-list singles.
Their strong live presence has taken them to perform at numerous festivals including Main Stage performances at Reading & Leeds, Radio 1 Big Weekend, Warped Tour, Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park and many more across the world, plus headlining venues such as London's KOKO and Roundhouse.
Following the departure of vocalist Mikey Chapman, 2018 marks a brand new chapter of Mallory Knox with an exciting new direction. Latest single ‘Black Holes’ is turning heads, with new frontman Sam Douglas describing the music as “Terrifying and exciting” and “The most energised Mallory has ever written”.
We caught up with James and Joe at The Cavern in Exeter ahead of their gig, here's how we got on....
MM: You've just kicked off your UK tour, where have you played so far?
MK: We played Brighton, then Cardiff and here we are in Exeter!
MM: The Origins of the name were based on the film Natural Born Killers, right? How did that come about?
MK: It's not relevant to the fact it's actually from Natural Born Killers. We decided early doors that we wanted a person's name. We had a few, 'Dorian Gray', then the film came out, 'Jack Napier' and then I was watching Natural Born Killers and I thought, that's got a ring to it, that'll look good on a t-shirt!
MM: So how's Sam found it taken over Vocals since Mikey left the band?
MK: I know it's something he's been quite apprehensive about, we were popular and Mikey was a massive reason for that. Sam's stepped up better than we could have ever hoped, he's taken it very seriously, he's conscious of filling Mikey's shoes. It's a big adjustment, but he's happy with being the bassist. It's basically like saying to someone, "you know what you were loving doing before? Can you do this instead?" It's a big adjustment, changing the whole dynamic, but the vibe has been brilliant.
MM: How did your fans respond to the change?
MK: I think it was a mixed bag, we expected it but at the end of the day we were aware that there would be people that only liked the band because of Mikey, but there were also the people that proved that it wasn't just about Mikey and it was about the music.
MM: The essence of the band
MK: Right absolutely, The essence of the band If you're open-minded enough, we had a lot of people at the Brighton and Cardiff shows saying, "thanks for carrying on", it was the songs for those people that mattered.
MM: Have you ever considered recruiting another member and taking it back to a five piece band?
MK: That was a conversation that we had early on but it got wrote off, we said we would piss more people off by bringing in someone entirely new, rather than just having Sam step up into Mikey's shoes. Nothing's changed then, other than Mikey leaving. This way, it just keeps it as one change, rather than two. We wanted to keep the essence and soul of the band especially when the passion and drive for us is really there, for us to hand that to a new person after working on it ourselves for nearly a year behind closed doors and saying go out and front it, just wouldn't make sense.
MM: You've shared the stage with some incredible bands over the years, what would you say are the bands that were most fun to play with or be on tour with and which tours have you have learned the most from?
MK: I think the tour we learned the most from was a really obscure Hardcore tour with 6 bands, we couldn't have been more out of place, it was fucking stupid, it was mental that we even did it, but it really allowed us to cut our teeth quite early doors, like we didn't have an album at the time. We played to almost nobody and the people we did play to didn't like us. Very early on though it got us thinking, no matter who you're playing to, fuck it, still give it your all. It felt like after we did that tour, we could play any tour and we wouldn't be phased. It held us in good stead. In terms of bands we had good tours with, Sleeping with Sirens were great, really good fun guys, their fans are always warm to us. The American tour with them and Pierce the Veil was a great one too, to get out to America as a UK band is the dream really. That was our first ever American tour and it we played some massive venues, bigger then we would play here. So that was great. We've done some good tours, they're all good, there's not really any horror stories. Our tours are quite good as well, we pick our supports, we always pick who we want. We're lucky in that regard as well.
MM: That must be good being able to pick your own support bands!
MK: You don't want to put your fans through some awful band just because your agent is telling you they're worth a few tickets. We want it to be a good gig top to bottom.
MM: Any other places after Exeter that you're excited about?
MK: Well, Nottingham was the first to sell out, this will be our first gig that will have sold out as a four-piece, before we get there, so we feel the hype is quite high, we're quite happy though, this will probably be a great tour throughout.
MM: Any festivals lined up for 2018?
MK We're doing a lot of smaller ones. When you do festivals like Reading and Leads they get you on exclusivity, we want to do smaller ones, the objective this year is to play to as many people as possible, hit as many different towns and cities as possible, pick up where we left off a few years ago. We've been a bit quiet, apart from the odd headline tour not been as active as we were back on our first and second album. We really wanted to adopt that mentality again.
MM: Can you tell us a bit more about Reading and Leeds with the exclusivity aspect?
MK: Yeah, it's a really standard practice, they allow you to play certain ones, but there are some they won't let you do. For instance, they won't let you do Download, Reading and Glastonbury.
MM: Like competitors?
MK: Yeah, exactly.
MM: Last of all, which would you rather live with? A cat that could play the bass or a gorilla that could sing?
MK: Gorilla definitely, because I fucking love Gorillas. Honestly, that was a stupid question but you've got the best two people to ask. Jokes aside, if there's a new King Kong, Planet of the Apes, if there's a film that comes out with a gorilla or a monkey, we're there.
Keep up to date with Mallory Knox at their WEBSITE
Interview by Aaron Golden