Mit MALRUN haben wir zuletzt 2013 nach der Veröffentlichung ihres zweiten Albums "The empty Frame" gesprochen (Das Interview findet ihr HIER). Seither haben die dänischen Musiker einen neuen Sänger gefunden, ein weiteres Album veröffentlicht und eine Tour im UK gespielt. Wir haben uns nun mit Drummer Mikkel über diese bewegte Zeit unterhalten.
The last year was quite an eventful year for Malrun. Could you describe how you, as a band, experienced the time after the release of „Two Thrones“ and the change in the lineup?
Well, first of all, the line up change actually happened before Two Thrones was even released, which was the first kind of punch in the stomach, because here we have a brand new album but with a singer who’s no longer in the band. The break up with our former singer was a little rough, but luckily we quickly found his replacement in an immensely talented singer, guitarist, and songwriter Nicklas Sonne, who quickly became a natural part of Malrun. So, even though times of change are always tough we came out on the other side feeling even stronger, which we substantialised with the tour we have just finished with Fozzy (US) and The Dirty Youth (UK) as well as our new single Breaking the Illusion with Nicklas singing.
By now, Malrun is complete again. Did you have any trouble with finding a new singer, especially since the leadsinger is often considered the face of the band?
It was a great challenge and we wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave any stone unturned as we wanted to find the best lead singer possible. That’s also why we chose Nicklas even though he lives in Copenhagen (about 350 km from where the rest of the band lives), because we found him to be the perfect match for the band and the perfect singer and face of MALRUN. It’s never easy to replace a front man, the face of the band, but I actually consider us lucky that we found Nicklas and he’s quickly growing to become a great front man of MALRUN.
What convinced you that you had finally found the right guy with Nicklas Sonne?
We auditioned quite a few singers among which was Nicklas. His singing abilities as well as melody writing abilities convinced us. He got an instrumental song, for which we asked him to come up with and record vocals, and his first ever take on that challenge became Breaking the Illusion, which to me tells a lot about his instinctive and intuitive understanding of melody, which is very important in MALRUN. So, a combination of his live as well as writing/recording abilities convinced us. Plus he swings really well with the band personally, which is also very important for us.
Which possibilities do you have now with the Nicklas that you didn't have with Jacob before, and the other way round?
With Nicklas we have a more direct, in your face sound I think. It makes it easier for us to write both the hard stuff and the melodic stuff. Because of Nicklas’s song writing abilities we have a lot more power on that front and it makes the song writing process more effective.
How did your change in lineup changed the dynamics in the band?
Obviously, it is very different to have a lead singer that lives in the other end of the country and cannot participate in all our rehearsals. Also, up until now, we’ve experienced a period of “adaption” and “implementation”, just as a football club getting a new trainer or forward, you know. There will always be a period of time where everyone needs to adapt to the new dynamics. Malrun has always aspired to being a democratic band where everyone has a say on everything and we’ve continued or maybe even improved this since Nicklas joined the band. Especially in terms of song writing, I personally feel more freedom and experimenting creativity – everything goes, especially all the things that might not have made the cut before.
Last August you published your third album „Two Thrones“. Could you tell us a bit about how the album developped and in what way the songs on it are different from your older material?
The album especially differentiates itself from our previous two albums in the song writing I think, that is, we incorporated all our touring experience into the writing and made the songs more in your face to appeal to a live audience rather than fulfilling our own personal desires or instrumental orgasms ;) So, it’s a bit more “to the point” calling for more immediate response from people listening to it, especially live. There are heavier songs than ever but again in a more “fist to the face” kind of way, and the quiet songs are more naked than ever.
The last time we spoke you told us that the album was shaped by the experiences of your tours in 2012. Could you elaborate on that?
Yeah, I kinda just answered this question didn’t I, hehe. Well, the thing is that when your touring as support for bigger bands that have played hundreds of shows in front of thousands of people, you learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work in front of people live. What kind of means and tools do you incorporate into songs to connect with people live. What things do they react to immediately and what do they have a hard time decoding in a live situation. It’s a bit like incorporating theatre acting experiences into an acting situation in a movie, you know. It’s the same thing – acting (and in our situation playing music) – but in entirely different situations with entirely different circumstances.
How content are you with the reactions you got for the album, from fans as well as from critics?
Well, the reactions have been great, we for instance became album of the month in Holland’s biggest rock/metal magazine Aardshock and debuted in top five on the Swedish hardrock chart. Fans dig the album as well. However, everything was a bit clouded by the change in line up, which obviously impacted the general response. We’d have loved touring immediately after releasing the album, which we couldn’t because of the line up change. But the response was great taking everything into consideration.
Is there anything you would do differently if you would record the album again today?
Record it with a lead singer that would stay in the band I guess, hehe. I never look back wanting to change anything. On the contrary, an album is always a temporary representation of a specific period in the life of Malrun as well as the member of Malrun and therefore it represents something unique and good. I’d rather look forward and say “what can we do differently the next time” because I can actually influence that. I can’t influence things in the past I’d have liked to do differently so why bother, you know.
Two month ago, you released the Single „Breaking the Illusion“. It is the first song released with Nicklas. What makes this song special to you?
The fact that it’s our first song with Nicklas makes it special in itself. Also, it was a song we brought with us and recorded instrumentally when we made Two Thrones, but no vocals were ever recorded, so it felt great to finally get the song done, because it has a lot of potential. I think in a couple of years from now, this song gets to represent the time around the line up change, in a good way, and thus a important milestone in the life of Malrun. So, it’s kind of a very special song with a lot of symbolic value.
You're currently on tour, which this time focuses on the UK, where you haven't played a lot before. What expectations did you have when the tour started and how did it go so far?
I expected to have a great tour as we usually have, but it’s difficult to know what to expect from an entirely new market. The UK is tough touring, not because of the audience because the audience is great, but it seems like mainland Europe treats you more nicely with backstage areas, catering, etc. So we had to improvise a little in terms of food and things like that, haha. But the bands were great and real nice people, the audiences were great, and we had a lot of good shows. It was Nicklas’ first ever tour and he did great!
What is it that makes a good show for you?
The connection with the audience. As a band, we can play our best ever show technically, but if we don’t make that connection with the fans out there in the audience you have this kind of empty feeling after the show. So, definitely the audience connection which elevates the show to a whole new level. Also the atmosphere on the stage, which sometimes just feels better than other times for no apparent reason. It’s like the party you go to that, for some reason, is just the funniets, best party you’ve ever attended without you doing anything in particular to ensure that this should happen.
Which of your songs mustn't be absent on any of your setlists? Is there a difference between a clubshow of a festivalgig?
Well, I’d love to say “the hits’ but when you play support club shows you need to think more about which songs are easily understood for new people. So, the ‘immediate’ or ‘simpler’ songs work great on support shows. On festival gigs, it’s more the well-known songs that have been played on radio and that have most hits on YouTube, i.e. Moving into Fear or Shadowborn.
Which moments reward you most for all the time and effort you put into the band?
The best live shows where band and audience just float together and become one. I can’t even describe how this makes me feel, but the closest resemblance to this ecstatic feeling would be to feel in love or something like that. The adrelinaline rushes around in the body and it’s just a happy feeling. So, the great, unique live experiences are what makes everything else worth it all.
Where do you see Malrun in five years?
Hopefully headlining our own tours, playing bigger stages on European festivals, etc. It’s difficult in this day and age with the music industry and all the competition, but we hope and work hard to get there