Late in the winter of 2012, it became plenty clear to me that no amount of maturation was going to wane my compulsion to be in a band. In the previous year, a ten-penny nail fired from a pneumatic gun into my left index finger effectively symbolized the difficulties of balancing my day gig with the night one, as well as the cost my musical preoccupations could have on my future. And so, for a brief period of time, my musical inclinations were put to the wayside while one by one, I quit all my bands. However, after tumbling through many months of unchecked lethargy, lamentation, and self-loathing, the return of that familiar nagging tick became a beacon of hope. Something to do. Before too long, I had written several new songs on my own and completed some older ideas. I was satisfied.
It’s not like I have zero interest in carpentry—I just have a hard time making it personal. Even my most creative contributions to the field have almost certainly ended up as just a forgotten facet of another person’s wealth fantasy. But making music feels complete to me. It offers wholeness at the end of the day in the simplest way. Making music is fulfilling even if I’m the only person listening to it, and even if I were the only one who got it, I’d still get off. That sounds self-serving and internalized, for sure, and it’s also quite unsustainable. Because I can’t actually do it alone; I’m not talented enough to do that. I need a band. I need an audience. And if they all stay interested, continuance may be granted. And so, having relapsed back into my addiction and realizing I couldn’t go it alone, I began searching the internet for opportunities and some new musical bedfellows.
Most of the tunes I was working on at that time were rejects from past bands, tunes that former bandmates couldn’t groove on well or just didn’t like. Though some of the lyrics seemed a bit cartoonish and the movements childish, I felt galvanized to give these cast-away, miscreant melodies another chance. These new songs still embraced fearfulness and doomy sentiments like my former works, but they paced themselves in a more earthly way than those earlier, more technical efforts. I dialed back and embraced regression.
Feeling these songs appealed to my older sensibilities, I revisited the foreboding forests and spirits I used to imagine in my adolescence. I gave in to my whimsical side, indulging in visuals I found satisfyingly grotesque. I pictured grey-wash landscapes with absurdly crooked trees, dilapidated structures on stilts with shot out windows, and impossibly lopsided architectures. Scenes that seemed so decrepit on the surface, but that sprung to life with a small amount of prodding. Stories cast with lecherous villains, fortuneless fools, mischievous interceptors, and counterintuitive protagonists. I desired something sensual and classic—nothing too innocent, always fraught with embellished plights extrapolated from my real life. A fairy tale manifesto, if you will.
The kind of musicians I needed in order to reach this lofty aesthetic didn’t just have to meet a proficiency standard. They needed to have all these gloomy intangibles, too. They needed to be players who shared my vision or, at the very least, humored it. I also wanted nice people, people who would allow me the most amount of creative flexibility. I wanted nice, gloomy people. I was worried about whether I could find the kind of bizarre bohemians that would complement this brand of nonsense, but after conducting several auditions I stumbled upon the current line-up of Malvador, thanks to some amount of wonderful luck. I’ll elaborate on this process in the next few installments of this blog.
Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the first show we played together as Malvador, and things are really working out. We’ve played a ton of great shows and released several recordings. It’s been two of the best, most artistically fulfilling years of my life, and I owe that to these guys. Not only are they a non-degenerate, non-heinous, macabre-in-all-the-right-ways, wondrously talented class of excellent gentlemen, but they have all turned out to be great friends. My best friends, for that matter, and I’ve met each of them through music. I hope there will be several more years of Malvador to come. It’s hard to imagine not having it at this point. I certainly don’t mean to undermine any of my former bandmates—I have been guided and influenced by all of them, and they are all my friends. It’s just that Malvador is really special to me. It was designed to be special to me.
One of the promises I made to these guys when they joined the band was that we would always maintain our momentum. And so the chatter must never stop. I have decided to use this blog to tell our story (whatever that may be), ruminate on our current whims, and set the stage for our next exploits, all while building up and cataloging the malvadorian thoughtscape that hopefully coaxes readers and fans to get involved and help us get to the next level. We appreciate all of your support.
I’m going to try to write one of these every month. In next month’s blog entry I will explain more on how I came to meet the guys in Malvador.