Photo Credit: Kim Quint
Sheffield-based heavy metal outfit Malevolence are a band who have been doing things their own way. Having formed their own record label MLVLTD as well as creating their own hot sauce, they aren’t your average band by any means. Musically, they combine influences ranging from At the Gates to Pantera to create some proper Yorkshire heavy metal – what is not to like? After some huge summer festival slots, we spoke to guitarist Josh Baines and vocalist/guitarist Konan Hall about their massive summer, Sheffield, and Malevolence branded tanks.
How did your set go today?
Josh: Fucking wicked.
Konan: Absolutely wicked.
J: Yeah, really, really good, really enjoyed it. Big crowd, big circle pits, which is like the main thing for us. If you get a big circle pit, you’ve won.
K: Yeah, and a lot of our friends we haven’t seen in a long time. So, it’s just nice to be back out seeing mates, and doing what we do best really.
Yeah, I remember seeing some of your circle pits at Bloodstock that went viral, and you guys look unmissable on a festival line-up, so on that topic, how has the summer been for you guys?
J: Good like really good, because usually you can’t do all the festivals because of exclusivity and stuff like that. But this year we’ve done all of them and it’s been really good.
K: After we did the Download Pilot, we got offered last minute Bloodstock because a lot of bands dropped out last minute because of covid. So, we got the chance to do Bloodstock after Download on short notice, we were a bit apprehensive about how we’d be received and stuff like that. But it really surpassed expectations and probably goes down as one of my favourite shows ever in front of a crowd that I thought might not like us, and a lot of people said we had the best set of the weekend.
That’s interesting because I feel like you guys are a pretty solid bet for Bloodstock.
J: Yeah well, it’s a bit different when you’re looking in.
K: Yeah, because we always get associated with being a hardcore band, but we’ve always said we’re a metal band, but people’s perception of that is based on your appearance alone, I guess. Because we don’t dress like in battle jackets and with all that old-school metal clothing doesn’t mean that we’re not straight metal so it went down really well. I think we got a lot of new fans and listeners just from those performances from Download and Bloodstock.
Would you guys say that playing festival shows just feels normal again then?
K: I would say yeah, because when we’re here it feels like we never left, apart from obviously we’ve got bigger slots, bigger stages, and fans are going more wild. I don’t know if they are going crazy because they haven’t done it in a few years or because we’ve got bigger but it feels like both.
J: It’s more the run up that feels like the weird part. It’s like no one can do anything in the build-up in case you get covid, and everyone has to do the tests and they have to come back negative, but as soon as you’re here it feels like normal and nothing’s changed.
K: I just can’t wait until we can go back on the road again and go on tour to all these other cities, and with the amount we’ve toured the world. We’ve got lots of friends in different places so like today is the first time we’ve seen our mates in Comeback Kid and Deez Nuts in over two years and usually on tours we’d see them and they are really good friends of ours. But because they are friends that live so far away, we only get to see them on tour, so I can’t wait until we’re back on tour and we get to see all our friends that live around the world.
J: It’s weird because we’d usually see these people like around once a month, and they become almost like best mates because you always get to see them on festivals or on tours. Then we’ve had such a massive gap and we come back today and suddenly like everyone’s back, and it’s a really nice feeling.
That’s class, so you guys are filming a music video next weekend, so we were wondering if there is any potential news about new music/when you’d be planning to release that new music video?
J: Well, we’d see because the album will come out next year – probably next Spring sort of time but we want to release some singles this side of the year so probably December time.
K: We’d like to release this year. We’ll see what we can do basically but there’s a lot of stuff holding all bands back at the moment because of covid at the moment, certain things at the moment like records, like trying to get a vinyl made, you need to book it in, because there’s been such a shortage over lockdown. It impacts your sales massively in your first couple weeks of releasing something if you’ve not got any physical copies so it’s things like that due to corona that are holding you back. Our music’s ready to go, but releasing stuff and getting everything ready and in place to smash it out for the fans as well as having it out for ourselves, I just want it to be out.
So, you guys released a hot sauce a couple months ago, so we were wondering that if you guys could release any Malevolence merch with an unlimited budget, what would it be and why?
J: Jet ski, quad bike, something like that aha or something mental like a tank aha.
K: A Malevolence tank!
J: Yeah, a Malevolence tank would be sick, something that you can’t get you know.
K: Something wild!
If you guys make it big, then you’ve gotta do it.
J: Yeah aha, imagine rolling up to the gig in one aha.
K: Solid gold tank aha.
J: Yeah aha.
That would be unreal.
K: And instead of shooting bullets, it’s got a speaker on the end of it which only plays breakdowns aha.
J: Yeah aha.
You guys have also recently announced a homecoming show as a support slot with fellow Sheffield band While She Sleeps, so I was wondering what you think makes Sheffield such a great hub for heavy music, as it’s produced so many great heavier bands in recent times
J: When we were kids like when we started a band, there were so many venues, so many local bands and like the local scene was massive in Sheffield and surrounding towns like Doncaster, Rotherham. There were loads of metal bands, and loads of venues, and that’s kind of bred the bands that have managed to stick with it.
K: But unfortunately, every single one of those venues has gone now and there’s almost no scene in Sheffield now. I think we were lucky in the sense that we were up and coming at the time, and I don’t think that it was something about Sheffield, but something about different groups of lads getting together and having a good time.
J: Yeah, that’s it. I’m sure there’s plenty of groups of lads or groups of girls that get together and have a laugh making music, but it’s harder for them playing a show every weekend in your local pub. Whereas before there were gigs every weekend and in midweek, you could go to three or four gigs a week when we were kids whereas now there’s one every six months. It makes a massive difference because other kids bring their friends and that creates a scene, whereas if there’s nothing to go to, there’s no scene to go.
So, for people who have never been to your live show, what should they expect from your live show?
J: Lots of energy.
K: Energy, aggression, a really good time, just a fucking party. All we want people to do is to party and have the best time ever, if they enjoy the music – great, if they don’t enjoy the music then you can still come and have a good vibe and come and join the party and enjoy yourself. I guess a lot of fans we’ve got recently had never even heard of us before, and they’ve ended up absolutely loving us just because the energy’s there like we bring good vibes to all the fests – just keep smiling init.
J: Yeah, yeah positive vibes, but let your aggression out in the pit or whatever in however you want to do that. Hopefully we provide the theme tune! So yeah, just general fucking aggressive energy – get it out! As long as you’re having fun then cool.
Interview By: Joe Loughran