With a new song released this very day, it makes sense that we hear a bit from the band behind it…
Jack (drums) is from Worcestershire, Ellis (bass/vocals) is from Guildford, Larry (guitar) and Jessica (vocals) both live in Bristol.
How did you meet?
We were all students at various universities in Birmingham at some point. Larry, Ellis and Jessica all met during chance encounters in drinking establishments, and Jack was found on what is essentially a dating site for musicians. He was, of course, our perfect match.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Mallavora originally began as a casual student band, with a few gigs here and there from 2017. Jack, Larry and Ellis played as a three-piece for a while, and Jessica was approached to take on vocals in August 2019 when the band became a more serious endeavour.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Mallavora is derived from the word “Mellivora” which is the genus of the honey badger, an unassuming but vicious little mammal that happily gets into fights with multiple lions and snakes. There was no good reason for naming our band after this, but we like how the word sounds.
What are your influences?
We all have our individual influences that we bring to songwriting and performance:
Larry (guitar) is massively influenced by hard rock bands like Alter Bridge, as well as progressive metal artists like Toska and Mastodon. Ellis (bass/vocals) is a huge Muse fan and takes a lot of inspiration from bands like Phantogram and Placebo when it comes to writing basslines and lyrics. Jack loves to channel iconic rock drummers like Bonham, Paice and Moon, as well as more modern drum powerhouses like John Fred Young of Black Stone Cherry. Jessica’s historic influences are Rock n’ Roll and soul legends like Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke, with heavier and more modern influences being, amongst many others, Nothing More, NOVA TWINS and Sophia Urista.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We pride ourselves on writing dynamic heavy rock songs. Big riffs, brooding verses and anthemic choruses all tied together in progressive structures – stick some huge drums underneath and some soaring vocals on top, and you’ve got yourself a Mallavora song.
As for what makes us unique, unfortunately the very fact that we’re writing this sort of music is disappointingly distinctive. There is a gaping hole in British music in the shape of grassroots rock bands. Too many new bands are changing their sound to be palatable to the masses. As a result, young rock fans are only exposed to bands who are more than twice their age, from the other side of the world, or both. We are seriously passionate about developing the community of new heavy rock bands in the scene.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We aren’t afraid to explore serious and personal issues in our lyrics, as we believe this makes for stronger music that really connects with listeners. For all tracks on the debut EP, we delved into these topics with the intent of bringing awareness to real issues. Our newest single “Favourite Mistake” for example, tackles the topic of addiction and personal restraint.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Live performance has always been the main driver for this band. We love making memorable live performances, so we spend a lot of time crafting the shows. This changes every time we do a run of shows as well – we like to keep our fans on their toes, knowing they’re going to get a different experience every time they come out to see us. We avoid simply regurgitating studio tracks in a live setting. Instead we create an entire performance that is proving to bring people back for more.
We’ve played about 30 gigs in total so far – we had a lot of gigging plans for 2020, including tours, that for obvious reasons, got cancelled. We had some really exciting plans in the works, and we are buzzing for when we will eventually be able to bring our plots to reality.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
The first thing that comes to mind is a snail pit at a Pure Love gig in Lincoln. They had the whole band, drum kit and all, in the centre of the crowd with everyone attempting a circle pit on their hands and knees around the band. That was a weird but worthwhile experience nonetheless. Frank Carter is certainly an iconic frontman…his stage dive from the balcony at the Birmingham Institute also comes to mind.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Jack: Nothing too fancy for me, I use the same Tama Superstar I’ve had for about 12 years with an undrilled 24” kick, 12” and 16” toms, and a Tama Starphonic brass snare. Zildjian A series New Beats, Sweet Ride, and two fast crashes. Evans and Remo heads, Tama hardware, Pro Mark sticks. Nice and straight forward!
Ellis: For live shows I have a fairly small footprint, taking my Ibanez SRMS805 5-String Bass Guitar and my relatively compact pedalboard. Having 5 strings means that I can keep up with the different tunings we play in without the need to swap instruments, however when there’s room in the van I use my old Westone Thunder I-A Bass. On the board, I use a Digitech Whammy, MXR Phase 95, Boss ODB-1, Darkglass Microtubes X Ultra Pre-Amp and a Woolly Mammoth Fuzz Clone.
Larry: I use 3 guitars on stage to facilitate different song tunings: Gibson Les Paul, Fender Telecaster (blackline) and Gibson SG. I have a pretty modest pedalboard, consisting of a nanoPOG, BOSS DD-3 and an MXR Phase 90. This all goes into my Blackstar Series One 104EL34.
Jessica: Honestly, I’ve just been using whatever mic is provided by the venue but have plans to upgrade to my own cardioid mic – given COVID-19 this is probably a wise endeavour. I’m also currently researching vocal pedals to replicate some of the harmonies in our tracks which will add texture and depth to our live sound.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Our new single is “Favourite Mistake”, released on May 29th. It’s the 3rd single off our debut EP, which we recorded last year at Outhouse Studios. We think it’s our most impressive track yet so we’re really excited to see how it gets received.
We’re releasing music every month at the moment so watch this space!
What are your plans for 2020?
As we said before we had so much planned for this year. There was going to be multiple tours, festivals and all sorts, all in support of the single releases from the debut EP. The releases are still going ahead, and the response has been amazing. It makes us even more excited to share these songs with people once we get the chance to do so safely.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
We would absolutely love to support Nova Trwins – they’re one of the most exciting British rock bands at the moment and Jessica is particularly inspired by them. As for our support, we’ve got to give a shoutout to Racehorse. They’re Bristol based as well, and they supported us at a show in Leeds last year and we all really enjoyed their music.