Atlanta based musician and actor Michael Malarkey might be currently causing a stir with his role as Enzo in famous TV series The Vampire Diaries, but right now, his grand musical abilities and passion for songwriting shine through as Michael is about to play a sold out show at Wilton’s Music Hall in London. His charismatic first single Through The Night And Back Again is taken from his debut EP Feed The Flames which captures Michael’s honest, engaging story-telling and haunting vocals. MGMB speaks to the multitalented artist about his music, influences and plans for 2015.
Great Pagans are a Brighton based group that is also a part of the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray collective. If you enjoy a good dose of guitar packed indie pop with a great beat, feel-good vibe and originality, then you’re in the right place. These guys have what it takes to be the Brighton’s next big thing.
Their self titled EP is coming out on Monday 8th October so make sure you grab one!
Here’s an interview with the lead singer Alex…
What is the story behind forming Great Pagans?
We’re all good friends, who have been playing in various projects together for a while, mostly based around the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray collective/label we’re part of. Great Pagans is the culmination of one side to everyone’s music taste and my determination, that it’s still possible to write interesting guitar music.
How would you describe your music to people who haven’t heard of you before?
I’d do my best not to because I suck at it. But if pushed, I’d say we play bittersweet noisy indie with intricate arrangements. If pushed…
Could you tell us about your new EP and its recording?
We recorded most of the EP live together in a little studio just outside Brighton. It was an old barn with the enormous, free-roaming ‘Grunge-cat’ interrupting takes. The rest was done in a makeshift booth, where our drummer’s bed once was. The process was derailed for several months by various physical and emotional nightmares in the band, but we managed to get it done and are really happy with the final product. And it was great that we could produce the whole thing on a budget of hardly anything.
Where did you draw your inspirations from while making this EP?
The songs are pretty close to home, and the lyrics very much drawn from my life over the last year. I don’t often tend to write about different characters or use fantastical imagery etc., because I think there can be a lot in the mundanity of real life, that carries that same magic more concisely. Anxiety, love and heartbreak are probably subjects, that will never be exhausted. Each generation has their own take on each.
What do you think are the pros and cons for any starting band these days?
It can be quite demoralising if you stop and think about how many new bands there are, so I’ve found the best thing to do is completely ignore the fact and focus on your own music. Computer software has had a huge levelling effect and people (including us) are slightly obsessed with it and more adept at production, now more than ever. This will probably just mean that songwriting will become even more important, and the cream will rise to the top… I hope.
There is a great music scene in Brighton. How do you think you fit in and how often do you get to play live?
Along with Gazelle Twin, Bernholz and The Enormous Shadow we started the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray collective, blog and now record label (http://antighostmoonray.com), to promote our music and pool our resources to benefit everyone in a completely DIY manner. It works well for us and has started to take on some exciting developments in the last few days, which we’re hoping to announce when they’re more concrete. We like working with other Brighton acts though, like the amazing Speak Galactic and Regal Safari amongst others, and hope we’re not seen as a clique. In Great Pagans specifically though, we’re dying to get out and playing as much as possible.
How would you describe your live performance?
Noisier and more unhinged (less hinged?) than the recordings, with small amounts of awkward chat.
Are there any artists/bands, that have influenced you as a band?
I suppose there are more and less obvious influences. There’s a proud Sonic Youth, David Bowie, and My Bloody Valentine contingent in the band, but we’re all music geeks with broad tastes, which permeate the sound of the band. This EP particularly though, had a strong late 80s/early 90s indie influence, but there’s other stuff like the Beach Boys, John Coltrane and US hardcore, which I think have also really shaped my sense of harmony and texture.
What are the future goals of Great Pagans?
We’re writing for an album next year but for now, we’d love the chance to be heard above the tide of a thousand bands. “Did you see the drummer’s hair…”