It’s been quite an illustrious career for Reading metal quintet Malefice. With the release of their great EP Gravitas last year via the very cool Transcend Music, the band have been doing things on their own terms since parting ways with Metal Blade Records. Set to tour the UK later in May as a warm up for their Second Stage appearance, we had a long chat with the bands guitarist Ben Symons about their third appearance at Download Festival.
DD: Hello there! First of all, thanks for talking to us. Who have we got here, what do you do in Malefice, and what are you up to right now?
Ben Symons: Hello there, you are graced by the presence of Ben Symons, guitarist and song writer extraordinaire in Malefice. Right now I’m sat in my hot tub in my mansion drinking a straight whiskey while being massaged by a team of five scantily clad women… Standard, right?
DD: Standard indeed! Last year you played Sonisphere. This year you play the Second Stage at Download. How do you feel about being asked back, and to play the Second Stage yet again?
BS: You know with events like Sonisphere and Download I don’t think it matters how many times you get asked back, it is still an unbelievable honour and we as a band feel incredibly honoured and privileged to be able to come back for our third time. What stage we play, to us, is irrelevant. Yes, it’s very very cool to be playing the Second Stage but if we we’re offered a small stage we would approach it in exactly the same way and be equally as proud to be able to do so!
DD: This is your third appearance at the festival. What are your best memories of your previous experiences at Donington? Any funny stories from the backstage areas you are willing to divulge?!
BS: I don’t think anything beats your first time you know. We had done a few tours and had some cool opportunities before our first Download Festival appearance, but nothing close to the scale of playing that Second Stage. That moment back stage when the stage manager shouts “right then lads, you ready” and you walk out onto that stage is a moment that will be with me forever. I’m sure there are funny moments behind the scenes but I think generally we’re so nervous waiting to go on it’s a blur… the real fun starts when you come off stage and you reflect on what’s just happened… then the party starts.
DD: In my humble opinion you play the strongest day of the whole weekend. Are you planning on sticking around for the whole festival? What bands are you looking forward to seeing the most during your stay, and what bands are you looking forward to hanging out with?
BS: We will be there for the whole thing I reckon. We are one of those fairy tale bands that have been going together with our mates to Download Festival since probably 2005 as paying customers, just there because we love music and we dreamt of being able to one day play Download. For us now it’s no different. All our mates still come to Download with us and we spend the weekend watching bands and partying. I’ll be watching a lot of bands. Clutch, Every Time I Die, Heart Of A Coward, Slipknot (obviously), Faith No More… the list goes on. In terms of who we’ll be hanging out with we will see, probably be spending it with our pals in the arena drinking, so come say hi!
DD: As a band, what makes the festival experience that much different than a club show?
BS: Well the obvious thing is the sheer scale, from a club with a few 100 or so to Second Stage at Download with I don’t know, 25,000 people or so… it’s a different vibe and we love both for different reasons. A club is compact, it’s intense and hot and every one there is connected. Festivals are different, it’s like a zoo and we are the animals. We get to play to people who likely don’t know who we are and it’s our opportunity to show them who we are and why they should become life long fans.
DD: You’ve been quite busy this year, and are even busier in the run up to Download with a UK tour alongside Exist Immortal. Some cities on that run I believe you haven’t visited in a while. Will you be using this tour to refine your setlist for your Download appearance?
BS: Absolutely, we have the Download set mapped out already so we will be using the tour as firstly a great opportunity to go play some shows, see some old fans and make a few new ones and secondly to play the Download set plus a bunch of other stuff over and over again!
DD: You released a new EP ‘Gravitas’ late last year. How has the reaction been to that record, and can we expect a new full length any time in the near future?
BS: The reaction has been great. We’re one of those bands where we just write whatever we want with no real regard for the opinion of others and if people like it, they like it and if they don’t then that’s fine too, which i think really to survive as a band is the only way to write. If you write for the approval of others you fail, and we’ve learnt that the hard way. We will be writing some new material this year though!
DD: There’s going to be a whole load of kids making their first trip to Download this year. If you could give three pieces of advice to the festival virgins, what would it be?
BS: Bring as much alcohol as you can carry in conjunction with baby wipes and a bunch of mates… the rest you will work out pretty quick!
DD: OK, a light one to wrap things up. Imagine you are camping at Download this year. You can only choose ONE of the following luxuries. A) a tent, B) a sleeping bag, C) a stack of beer. What one do you choose, and why?
BS: A stack of beer obviously! I would use the box’s used for transporting the beer to fashion a tent like structure then by drinking many beers would forge a bed out of the used cans. That’s how festivals work.
DD: That’s about it from us. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Any last words to our awesome readers?
BS: Keep supporting music, especially British! See you soon.