Drummer Chris Allan-Whyte of the British metal band Malefice took a moment out of his busy touring schedule to answer a few questions about the band’s sophomore release, Awaken The Tides. If you are not familiar with Malefice these guys play brutal, extremely technical metal that at times is mind blowing. They have shared the stage with bands such as Anthrax and Arch Enemy and are currently on tour in Europe. Here’s what Allan-Whyte had to say.
You guys have been doing quite a bit of touring this summer. How has that been going?
Chris: Yeah it’s been really good thanks. We had quite a big break from gigging to get the album done, and ready for release, new photo and video shoots etc., so it’s been nice to get back out and visit some places we haven’t been before, and show them all the new material.
You have a reputation for writing extremely heavy, yet very technical songs. That being said do you find it difficult translating those songs to the live setting?
Chris: Yeah it can be tough to get it to sound like it does on the CD, but we pride ourselves in doing it to the best of our ability. The new album has a much bigger production with synths and string sections, and we’re happy that we are bringing this to our live show as well. As a drummer, it takes a lot of work, physically and mentally, to get these songs right every night, and I’m happy for the challenge.
How important do you consider a stage show for your band?
Chris: Very Important! The word is in your question. It’s a show! We’re entertainers! I hate going to see bands that don’t move! How can you expect the audience to move and enjoy the show when the band is just standing there! The energy definitely transfers to the crowd. And you can almost control the crowd… head banging etc. you know? We like everyone to get involved and to go away thinking, “That show was insane” and not being able to move their neck for a few days!
Do you find it difficult being away from family and friends when out on the road for an extensive period of time? How do you cope with the separation?
Chris: Yeah, it’s hard! It’s not nice for them or us! You do get used to it, and it’s just one of those things that comes with the job, but it’s always in the back of your mind. Everyone gets bad days on tour, but we’re always in contact. We get WiFi in most venues so we get to call, Skype or use Facebook or something. My wife and kids come out to shows when they can too. That’s always nice, so they can see what it’s all about and understand it a little more. The band is like a family too, so if you’re having a bad day, everyone is there for each other.
What is the one thing you travel with that you just can’t live without?
Chris: iPod and earphones! It’s nice to shut off from traveling with that. When I’m sick of metal after a few weeks of tour, I listen to some really chilled stuff, some City And Colour, or some blues. Oh and the Ricky Gervais show podcasts! That always lightens the mood for me.
Your new record, Awaken The Tides is set for release in August 2nd here in the U.S. Are you satisfied with the outcome of the disc?
Chris: Yes! Very much so! I think it has surpassed all of our expectations! I came into the band just as the album was in the very early stages, and I was maybe a little slower getting used to the guys way of writing, but I’m so proud of the progression from demos to the final CD. It’s great seeing it grow when recording, from drum tracks, to guitars etc. I love the studio; it’s the most productive time for me as a player. I think we’re all so pleased with the final outcome, which is showing in our live shows now too! It really helps when you are your bands own biggest fan! I’ve heard of bands hating their albums, but they’ve had to put them out, and that can’t be good, can it?
Do you think about distinguishing performances and sounds from release to release?
Chris: No, not really. We don’t sit down and say, “We should write a song like those guys” or “we need to sound like that!” We just record demos of all of our ideas. The natural progression of our playing may change over the years, and our influences will, depending who we play with or what bands we’re listening to. This all makes a difference and ends up in the melting pot when we start writing.
When in the studio what do you do to keep busy?
Chris: Honestly, when we were in the studio recording, Awaken The Tides, I didn’t have to find anything to keep me busy! We were working all the time. Even if we had good takes of the songs, we were always working on making it better and sounding just right! We were doing 9-10 hour days. When we’re not tracking we’re eating, drinking coffee or just regenerating for the next song. I prefer it that way though, I just wanted to power through!
If you could jam with any famous musician, dead or alive, from any century, who would it be and why?
Chris: Wow… tough question! I’d love to be in a band with Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme. That guy has so much feel and groove when he plays guitar. Maybe something a little less cheesy than Extreme, even though I love it! Either that, or a drum-off with John Bonham?
Any closing words?
Chris: Thanks for checking us out, and for all the continued support. Thanks for buying our new record, Awaken The Tides, coming to our shows, singing our lyrics and for helping us to keep living our dream! We appreciate it more than you’d ever know!
Check out the song “Awaken The Tides”