An Interview With: Mallory Knox

We had the pleasure of sitting down to have a chat with both Mikey Chapman and Dave Rawling from Mallory Knox at 2000 Trees Festival before they headed off for their two performances for the weekend

Are you excited for your set later?

M - Absolutely, yeah. I mean we played here a couple of years ago, it was a great show and this time round we’re first day headlining which is going to be great. I always find that festivals you have this, you know play Sunday and it’s like a graveyard shift, everyones done from the weekend and they’re all drunk, hungover and stuff. But today we’ve got everyone fresh, raring to go and ready to party so, I think tonight might be a good one.

We’re camped right near the Cave, we could literally just sit at our tent and watch you play.

M- That will be good until you try to sleep.

D - But then you’ll be really mad at us, if you want an early night. You might decide to turn around and be like ‘you know what, shut up’

M - Although if you have an early night on a Friday there’s something wrong with you’

D - Thursday, get your days right please

M - I’m all over the place, man.

Thursday is all good D - Thursday is usually my rest day

If you could describe your show in one word, what would it be?

M - Cake. It’s like a layer of rock, fun, with another layer of rock and the icing would be a layer of good times.

M - One word is difficult, but cake as an analogy works.

D - Does is count if I just say a sentence with no spaces in the middle

Yeah, go for it

D - Rockandthrillride

M - All one word

Are you guys just staying here for the one day?

M - Unfortunately, we’ve got another show out Warwick way, Godiva Festival tomorrow. So, unfortunately we can’t stay too long, which is a shame as it looks like it’s going to be a really good weekend.

Will you be checking out anyone else while you’re here?

M - We’re pretty busy all day, unfortunately, but I know there’s some great bands over the weekend. Which everyone is very lucky to be in store for. For us, its a pretty specific day for us all, which is a shame, but at least you guys can enjoy it.

Last time I caught you guys was back in 2014. I remember it being a sweaty show.

M- we haven’t even done anything yet and I’m sweating my balls off

I know that feeling, I had to get changed twice today so far after pitching up the tent.

M- Twice already

It’s literally like a sauna.

D - Battery powered fan I’d say.

Yeah, I’m definitely going to look around and see if I can get one of those, maybe three. Top, middle and bottom half of my body.

D- put a whole bucket of ice in your bed and be like ‘i’ll deal with that later’

What would be your worst festival experience.

M - um

Too hot

M- I don’t think too hot is too bad. I think we spend like what, 9 months, 10 months of the year in shitty, gloomy, rainy weather. I can put up with a couple of months of sunshine so, that’s fine by me. I think when you get to that point where it’s so rainy and the festival is mostly outside. I mean here’s great because there’s lots of tents, there’s lots of ways to go under cover, but when you have one of those days like we’ve had before. Where was it, Boardmasters that time? It wasn’t was it?

D - No…

M - It was just pissing it down from start to finish, and it doesn’t make the festival necessarily bad, the shows are still fun, it’s a testament to the kids being as hardcore as they are. But yeah, you know everyone likes to be able to wear very little, enjoy the sun, have a beer. Yeah, I’d say that they are always the lesser of the festival for sure.

What would be your must have festival essential?

M - Shoes. If you don’t have shoes you can’t really enjoy it that much.

D - At a festival beer is very essential

M - It is

D - To endure 3 or 4 days of sleeping in a tent, you’ve just got to get pissed to get through it.

You start doing it for the fun, but then eventually, it’s like’I need to keep doing it, so I don’t feel shit’

M- Yeah I think you know, everyone always says these things but as I say, are they just a given? like clothes, contact lenses, toothbrushes. I get asked this question a lot, I just think that no one is mentioning the real things. Imagine if everyone had Baby Wipes, that’s fantastic or Beer, everyone was naked. Or you know, no phone or something.

Although I’m not sure it would bother anyone if someone ran round naked at a festival.

M - Imagine if everyone was starkers though? I’d be the king because I bought a pair of pants.

God among the people with the pants.

What would be your favourite show to date?

M - it’s a tough question because, different shows have different vibes, different values. Sometimes when you play the incredible big shows, obviously we’ve done Reading and Leeds festival, the first time we did the main stage was incredible. A worldly experience should we say, but then you get shows, potentially like today where you're in quite a small area, which means the vibe is just, i don't know it’s a much more different, intense and personal vibe. That in itself has a lot of value. It’s a tough one, we’ve had some incredible headline shows, like on tours. As I say places like Reading and Leeds, 2000 trees, but I don't think I could pinpoint one specifically.

That's it though, you also have an acoustic set coming up today.

M- Yes, that’s it, it’s a different one in itself.

Its so intimate as well

M- Yeah we did the Unwired tour recently, and performed the acoustics of the new record, and that in itself was a whole new experience for us. It was a really personal, intimate and it was with die hard fans so it wasn’t just with a bunch of people going ‘oh who’s this on stage’ it was kids who had really made the effort to come out, and hang out and they really enjoyed the songs. Yeah it’s a difficult question.

There's quite a few bands playing this weekend on the acoustic stage that I wouldn’t of thought how they could do it acoustically, for instance today is Pulled Apart By Horses, I’ve seen quite a few of their shows, and they’re wild. So seeing how they bring it down to more of a mellow set, but I feel like everyone on this is bill is good enough to do that.

M - That's it, I think it tests their musicianship, a lot of the time you only see what people want to put out. Hardcore bands, putting out hardcore music or deathcore, whatever doing something really obvious, but then yeah if they can pull that back, and hone that down and create something that’s quite mellow and enjoyable in an acoustic setting then that’s testing their abilities.

You can then appeal to a wider audience

M- Absolutely, you never really realise where the influences for certain people come from. Dave and I went to watch Black Peaks the other week, who in my opinion one of the best bands in the UK right now, and we were talking to them afterwards, and they’ve got influences and musical foundations in Jazz and all kinds of music that you would never expect in a band like that. Yet, those influences are what have made Black Peaks the way they are now. You can never know until, you either see them in a scenario like an acoustic set or actually get the chance to talk to them to understand where their influences, and what motivates them comes from.

It brings out a lot in a band as well, you definitely see a lot more from them than what they put on for a live show, because what you can put on in front of thousands of people is completely different to what you can put on for an intimate set. On a personal note I’ve always preferred more intimate shows, theres always a lot more to it.

M- I think we all do

D - I think when you do big shows like when you’re playing your Koko’s and your big London venues, you can sometimes get a bit caught up in the whole fact that you’re there and theres so many people there to watch you. It’s almost very serious, but where as the small intimate shows such as The Unwired stuff like when we did it, we had a Q&A after it and it was a laugh because you actually got to speak to people. When you do small intimate shows in a 200 cap venue, again it’s almost like that the barrier almost comes down, if you know what I mean, and it’s a lot less serious and you can have a laugh.

M- Yeah, I agree.

I definitely think I prefer that though.

D- Yeah, me too. Again like you said, you get to see the character of every single band member other than hearing from the people that there assigned.

M - That’s exactly why I think there is no standard measure in terms of a good show.

I’d say it’s all down to personal preference.

M - You might not like the band but the atmosphere itself creates the motivation to go and see them.

I won’t lie, I’ve seen some bands I’ve not really been a fan of but the atmosphere is incredible.

M - Electric Six are a good example. Could not think of a band I would like to listen to less on record, but when you see them live, fucking cracking band. The atmosphere, the vibe, the audience and stuff makes it what it is.

Any highlights of the Unwired Tour, apart from the Q&A’s and the intimate shows, was there anything more that stood out.

M - I mean, that was the first opportunity we got to perform those songs in a live format, it was kind of ironic really, because we didn’t write them to be performed like that but it was nice to already have that opportunity to give that slightly different perspective on them, before people really got to digest them as they were supposed to be. That was a nice aspect to it.

D - It was good as well, as it challenged us. We had just done the whole process of writing the songs, recording and everything. So actually getting to go back and rework everything that you’ve already done is a challenging thing, but also very exciting because you can just put a different stamp on it. In my opinion it came out brilliantly.

M - I agree

D - It does sound really good. You see a lot of people, saying that certain versions of the songs that we recorded are their favourites as well, so that’s pretty cool

So it took an impact on the fans, which is a wonderful thing. Especially for them to go ‘I like this one because it means something to me’ I’m sure you guys have written songs that have an emotional impact on yourselves

M- Well obviously when we did Saviour, Giving It Up, Better Of Without You and Wired. Those songs, particularly Saviour, I think holds lot of emotional value in the live version. Sometimes its nice to bring it down to a point, especially from a vocalists point of view, you can use a certain element of your vocal range that you don’t necessarily always get the chance to use. I’m always experimenting and stuff at rock shows and things, even with the drumming I suppose.

D- We did wired as well, and literally all I said to the boys was ‘all I want to do is play the same thing over and over again’ because it will suit the way the song on the album is so balls out. Whereas it made it go the complete polar opposite which I almost thought made the song sound as good as it did. You couldn't just get an acoustic guitar and go ‘we’ll play it exactly the same way as we did on the album’ as it just sounds ass.

It’s nice to have a spin on it

M- Like we said, it makes us incredible musicians but thats a sign of someones musicianship.

It’s more unique to you too

M- Exactly and it gives you the opportunity to create again. very rarely do you get the opportunity to create an album and then go back to that album and recreate it. Thats a way to gain a new perspective on songs that you worked really hard on.

What would be the favourite and least favourite song you’ve written?

D - Well, all of the songs we have are our favourites to be honest, I have got personal favourites. There are some songs that, well…

M - I think its the case that…

D- It’s difficult

M - It’s the case of performance sometimes, some of the songs are harder to perform I suppose, especially when you're in a longterm scenario, like a tour. So sometimes it can be quite detrimental.

D - It also depends on how I feel as well halfway through, a song like 1949 for instance of our first album. There was a point where I was like ‘I don’t want to play that fucking song anymore’ now that I think about it, there could be a perfect point in a set to play that. From a drummers perspective I just like playing the ones that make me want to go loud and fast.

M - That’s you in a nutshell

D - Again I think it depends on how you feel. I can’t really say that theres a song that I don't like because if none of us liked it then we wouldn’t have it out. There’s a certain aspect of that.

M- I think there's a few at the start where we have a few but we certainly don’t break the genre. We have different shades of songs. More sombre ones, the more pop punk, so I quite enjoy the sombre of Signals, or Lonely hours or saviour for example, those kind of moody, reflective, emo ones.

Safe to say that Signals is still one of my favourite tracks of yours now

M- Aww thank you. That’s kind of the stuff I grew up enjoying so it’s nice to do those. You feel like your paying respect to what you listened to in the past, but then you’ve got a day like today where theres a couple of pop punk bangers, that will go down a treat so that in itself has values.

D - 100%

Time for the stupid questions. I asked one of the bands earlier, if you could be the latest addition to a crayon pack, what colour would you be and why?

M - Jay-Z Blue, it’s endorsed by the man himself.

D - I’d say purple, I don't know why, I just love the colour purple

M - When Dave was younger it was his favourite flavoured crayon when he used to eat them all the time

D - Nah, I used to like the red ones

Now, if you had an Elephant, and you can’t sell it or give it away, what would you do with it and why?

M- An Elephant?

D - Probably just take care of it, make sure it doesn’t die.

M - I’d probably ride it to work and stuff as well, imagine coming in here, down that track.

Riding in on an Elephant to set.

M- I’d train to be the ultimate roadie. You wouldn’t need Roadies anymore, because you’ve got a fucking elephant.

It can tune guitars.

M- Yeah, I’m going with that.

D- I’d train it to be the most powerful, power shower in the entire world.

M - Yeah, but that’s been on the inside of the elephant

D - That’s fine

M - You’re going to get covered in water, that’s been inside.

D - Yeah but I would also train it to build a filtration system for it’s stomach.

M - a big shower head

D - Something along those lines. Because you could imagine getting dead clean from an elephants squirt.

One squirt does plenty?

M- that’s a really important question that is.

Before we start wrapping this up is there any advice that you would like to give to the newer upcoming bands. Things that you wish you’d been told when you started out?

M- Within reason, don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks. Make sure that whatever it is you’re creating is the best thing that you can create and that will give you more confidence because you believe in yourself, than any compliment anyone else will ever give you, because it is very easy in this industry to end up a bit of a slave to the opinions of others and how they perceive you, and what they enjoy about your music and what they don’t. If you truly love what you’re making and you truly love the sounds you creating and the people you’re creating with then, you’re unstoppable in that sense. That radiates out to the fans, to people that are listening. Passion and love for what you do is ten million times better than some lanky, long haired geezer thinking you’re the bollocks. If you feel that in yourself, then it doesn’t matter who feels it and I’d put money on it that those people will come round to your way of thinking eventually, if you’re doing it as you should be.

D - Also, if it doesn’t happen the first time if you’re looking to ‘’make it’ just don’t think because the first time round nothing’s happened that you can’t carry on. You never know, you’ve got to carry on writing, and write as much music as possible. Just enjoy it, and enjoy yourself.

M - If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

That’s such a valid point and a very wise saying.

M- How much do you learn?

D - I know it’s not a saying but surely, challenging yourself is the spice of life really. You sit there doing the same thing over and over again. You go and challenge yourself, you’ll never learn any new skills.

Yeah you’ll get bored otherwise

D - That’s it though, you need to mix things up every now and then. I mean obviously if you’re happy with what you’re doing than that’s completely and utterly great but, you’ve got to be doing other stuff to at least try and challenge your mind.

M - Learning to fail is just as much success, so trying is the key thing, in any part of life I guess. It doesn't have to be music.

Feature by Heather Lowe and Joe Dick