Malefice have been on the circuit for a good long while now, flying the flag for British metal so we thought we’d grab guitarist Ben Symons backstage at Download Festival shortly after their second stage set to have a bit of a catch up.
Sadly due to some tent issues with all the rain I missed your set earlier – how did it go?
Amazing. Surprisingly, it was absolutely packed – we thought the weather would put people off, but I think because it pissed it down all night everyone was just over it.
There’s a lot of history with Malefice and Download – What does Download mean to you?
It’s like coming home – this is where we became a band! The first time we played here we had no right to be on that second stage and we smashed it and literally springboarded our career from there, so each we time we’ve come back it’s been a nice homecoming.
Last time we spoke you wanted to give Download a break and explore other European Festivals – did you achieve that?
We did, we played a few really weird festivals… I don’t even know the name of them! We played one and the headliner was called We Butter The Bread With Butter, apparently they’re a really big band – everything was colour coded and they synchronised moshing and shit… it was really cool though – we got a limo to the hotel and back. It was a real Rock N Roll moment ha ha! And they give us 50% cider so we got absolutely destroyed. Oh and we arrived about 5 minutes before we were due on stage so that was a bit hectic.
How did that go? Have you got like a shit hot road crew to sort it out or do you just do it yourself?
We just reversed the truck up, threw everything on stage and it was just “right, GO!”
Given the choice would you prefer an early set on a bigger outdoors stage or a later one in a tent with all the lights and atmosphere that offers?
I don’t know really… I’d rather play in a tent when it’s raining? That’s kind of my only thought process really. When we got offered this I wanted to do the tent, but we didn’t get the opportunity.
Do you normally get much say?
Hmmmm….kind of, but not massively. You kind of get offered whatever and you roll with it. We got offered 12.40 on the 2nd stage and we went “Okey doke, we’ll do that then.”
How many times have you rewritten your set for today and why?
We didn’t. One hit. We did a 10 day tour and we planned what our set would be in advance, our set was our Download set plus additional songs so we spent 10 days practicing the set essentially.
Your first time performing at Download was in 2008 – how has the festival changed?
We played the second stage the first time and it was on concrete so that’s changed…
Well that was the only year that happened…
That’s coz it’s stupid! It just feels like the same – backstage area is always identical so you know where you are, you know where you’re going, you know where everything is, not much changes.
How do you think the band’s changed? I like to hope it got tighter ha ha!
Way WAY tighter! We’ve got new members…we’ve all grown up really. We were kids when we played the first time, so we’ve all matured and gone through a lot of our own personal journeys to get to where we are now. We’re only in the band now because we want to be for fun, whereas before it was all about chasing the dream – “we want to be bigger what can we do?” but now we don’t actually care we’re just doing it coz we want to. Dale (Butler, vocals) has his own company and we’ve all got decent paid jobs – being in a band doesn’t make you any money, so you need to have another avenue or you’re going to be living with your mum for the rest of your life.
Are you planning to watch anyone else while you’re here?
I wanna get out for Every Time I Die, Faith No More, Manson… probably about all I’ll have time for
There’s been a lot of controversy over Muse headlining – as a Brit yourself who’s familiar with the festival do you think they should be?
I don’t mind. As long as they play old stuff. All the new stuff is awful…it’s so lazy. There’s no effort involved there, but I love the first 3 albums.
What’s your worst festival experience?
This is probably up there.
It is shitting down.
I’ve never been to a festival where it’s literally rained the entire time. It’s not ideal is it?
What’s the rest of the year looking like for Malefice?
We’re going to do some more writing, probably record an EP. We keep doing EP’s…
I read recently The Defiled are leaning more towards a number of EP’s over fewer album releases – is that the way you’re going?
An album takes a long time to write, a long time to record, a long time to promote and then it’s been and gone. You do an EP you can do one every year or 6 months and it’s easy to do and it doesn’t cost you very much.
Is that something you’re actively thinking about as a band?
We would just rather release good songs – not release an album of some good songs and filler. So if it means we do 2 EP’s a year, but all those EP’s are awesome then that’s great. We want to be as good as we can be all the time.
Photo Credit Joe Okpako