|Interview by Burt Wolf with Bill Angelini, drummer for MALSTROM!
Interview done March 26th, 2008.
MALSTROM HAS BEEN KICKING AROUND THE UNDERGROUND SINCE 2002. CAN YOU GIVE
SOME OF THE BANDS HISTORY UP TO THIS POINT?
MALSTROM was formed in 2002 with a goal of exploring the genres of Progressive Rock mixed with a Metal
edge, something along the lines of RUSH meets MEGADETH & IRON MAIDEN. Whether we initially
accomplished that goal is subject to debate..."cough, hack!" As time wore on working in this mindset, we began
to incorporate much heavier Death & melodic Death influences into our music, drawing from bands such as
OPETH, AT THE GATES & IN FLAMES. Our focus was always a combination of utilizing the technical
aspects of our instruments towards song writing along with honing a polished live show. Four guitarists, three
singers & two bassists later finds us expanding into a multitude of musical exploration being influenced by
Classic Progressive Rock, 80's Thrash Metal, Tech Metal, Melodic Death Metal, Death Metal & even sub-genres
of Math Metal such as trigonometry Metal. With such a broad background, there's no telling how this band will
continue to evolve in the future. If the revolving door line up continues at the pace we've worked at though, we
just may become the equivalent of KING CRIMSON!
WHY WAS THE NAME MALSTROM CHOSEN AS THE BANDS NAME?
MALSTROM was chosen as a reference to a short story entitled "A Descent Into The Malestrom", by none
other than legendary writer Edgar Allen Poe. Essentially it recounts the tale of a fictional whirlpool that pulls a
ship down to the bottom of the ocean. We unfortunately had to drop the letter "e" from "Malestrom" to avoid
confusion with a band hailing from Boston under the same name. We could've made a story up claiming it was a
homage to purposeful miss spelling, ala WYLD STALLYNS, but decided it'd be better to not be insanely idiotic!
WHO OR WHAT HAS HELPED INFLUENCE YOU MUSICALLY & IN LIFE IN GENERAL?
Musically I've always taken the most influence from musicians who push themselves to the boundaries of what
they're able to play. Whether it's drummers such as Gavin Harrison, Chris Pennie, Brann Dailor, Tomas Haake,
Mike Portnoy, Virgil Donati, Jimmy Chamberlin, Danny Carey, Bill Bruford & Charlie Zeleny (to name a few...)
or guitarists/keyboardist/bassists such as John Paul Jones, Billy Gould, John Petrucci, Allan Holdsworth, Derek
Sherinan, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Mikaei Akerfeldt, Steve Howe, Chuck Schuldiner, Victor Wooten, Janne
Warman, Aaron Turner, Tony Levin, Micahel Romeo & Colin Marston (to name a bunch...!) Any musician who
makes my jaw hit the ground when I see them perform pushes me to continue learning more about music &
pushing the boundaries of the music I personally create.
MALSTROM HAS A DIFFERENT THRASH METAL
STYLE THAT ADDS IN SOME DEATH METAL & A
LOT OF MELODICNESS. HOW WOULD YOU BEST
DESCRIBE THE STYLE & SOUND OF THE BAND?
MALSTROM is a band that blends Classic Thrash,
Progressive Rock & Death Metal together. This style is a
result of the diverse musical backgrounds each member
has always brought to the table. We tend to be less
concerned with writing "something heavy" verses writing a
solid piece of music. We're first & foremost musicians &
present that in our music. Our style is that we are who we
are, take it or leave it!
YOU'VE HAD A LOT OF MEMBER CHANGES WHY DO YOU FEEL THIS IS?
Our line up changes have always revolved around a basic problem in building a career in the music industry. It
takes time, commitment & luck. Members who have come & gone have lives outside of music. In an industry
that quite often rewards dumb luck over perseverance, a person is juggling their dream over reality on a daily
basis. It takes a unique (and possibly psychotic) type of personality to struggle against the immense odds that an
up & coming band faces. Finding the right combination of great musicians & having the music business cards
fall into place simultaneously is akin to winning the lotto & is a major obstacle any band will face retaining
YOUR MYSPACE PAGE SAYS YOUR LOOKING FOR A NEW BASSIST. ANY LUCK FINDING ONE
Very serendipitous timing of this article! After searching for a bassist for over 9 months, we've just found a new
bassist to pick up the low end reigns. Additionally, we have finally found a new guitarist, a position that we have
also been looking to fill for nearly a year & a half. By the time this interview runs, we'll have put out an official
YOUR NEWEST RELEASE "THE WORLD WILL BE LOST" CAME OUT AT THE VERY END OF 2006.
WHAT HAS THE RESPONSE BEEN TO IT IN THE UNDERGROUND SCENE?
"THE WORLD WILL BE LOST", much like everything we've released to date, has received high praise as well as
strong criticism. We expect this result every time we release new music because we are trying to do something
that isn't the prototypical flavor of the week in music. The result of our endeavors is typically a love it or hate it
type of experience for the listener. We embrace this approach to our music because while it doesn't please
everyone all the time, it does leave a lasting impression on the people who do get what it is that we strive for
musically. Additionally, this approach allows us to enjoy a high degree of artistic satisfaction because we don't
feel pigeon holed to follow a particular formula when we write music. This is the reason you will MALSTROM
tracks short as 3 minutes & as long as 16 minutes.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE ALBUM COVER ARTWORK & IT'S MEANING?
Well firstly, the album title, "THE WORLD WILL BE LOST", is an admittedly pessimistic opinion that society is
essentially doomed as a result of the flawed individual relationships people engage in. Essentially society is
comprised of people who are looking out for themselves & not for the better of society as a whole. Extrapolating
from that idea the artwork was originally supposed to be two squids battling to the death, which would
encompass the theme of the album title, yet play off the aquatic based band name, MALSTROM. When we
became pressed for time (and couldn't find an artist who could pull off our bizarre idea!), our singer Carlos
stepped up & took our idea a step further. Essentially the cover is an extreme pessimistic envisioning of the
collapse of society. The figure on the cover is someone blowing their brains out against an abstract back drop
that pretty much represents a napalm aftermath. I guess you could say we have an up beat out look on the world!
WHAT IS SOME OF THE LYRICAL CONTENT
IN YOUR SONGS? WHO WRITES THE
The entire album pretty much deals with human
choices/life & it's constant demise or gears towards
negativity or downfall. It's a touch on human
emotions: death, jealousy, temptation... If it relates to
humanity, it touches on it, but in a weird or
elaborated/exaggerrated way. Basically the album can
be pictured as a struggle to take a life, lose your life,
or live your life. Carlos penned pretty much all the
lyrics on this outing, save for some collaboration on
the epic, "The War Will Be Lost"!
HOW DO YOU FEEL THE BAND HAS PROGRESSED SINCE YOUR EP RELEASE "OBLIGATED BY
Since "OBLIGATED...", we really expanded on the style that we had tapped into on that album. We began
focusing on bigger arrangements to the music, as well as increasing the overall musicianship on each of the
individual instrumental parts. "THE WORLD WILL BE LOST" features bigger instrumental sections, more guitar
solos, more guitar harmonies & denser song constructions. Overall, even with the revolving door line up, the
"OBLIGATED..." album. Future material will likely see us continuing to expand on what we've done so far, but it
will sound definitively like "MALSTROM".
ARE THERE ANY NEW SONGS DONE YET & ANY PLANS FOR THE NEXT RELEASE?
Right now we're at the point where we're collectively looking into our library of ideas, which is our precursor to
writing. We probably have enough material compiled for the better majority of 3-4 songs, but we never know
how things will go until we start writing & arranging. Even with some of the contrived music we write, there is
always an element of improve that leads to new song ideas & sections. Sometimes an entire 3 minute chunk of
song will just write itself in one writing session. It should be another couple of months before we start thinking
about doing a new full length, but we may toy with the idea of releasing an EP & or a live recording or two in the
HAVE THERE BEEN ANY LABELS SHOWING INTEREST IN YOU GUYS AT ALL? IF SO, WHO?
Not as of yet, perhaps we are too underground for our own good! In actuality, some of the line up issues we've
been experiencing has slowed down our ability to get out the door & gig. We are finally in a good position to
tackle this challenge this year. So labels, drop us a line!!!
YOU HAVE SOME NEW VIDEOS ON YOUR YOU TUBE PAGE. CAN YOU GIVE US A LITTLE
INFORMATION ON THOSE & THE ADDRESS WHERE TO FIND THEM?
Yes, we just officially launched our official youtube site so we can post videos. Our first set of postings is a few
drum solo excerpts I cut back in December of last year. We have a few other videos in the works & will be
posting them in the next few months. You can check out what we post, as well as subscribe, at
http://www.youtube.com/MALSTROMofficial. We will also plug when we post videos at our home page,
www.MALSTROM.net & our myspace page, www.myspace.com/MALSTROM. Look forwards to videos
of music performance, as well as any nonsense we decide to film & put out on the internet.
ARE THERE ANY INTERESTING BAND OR LIVE STORIES YOU COULD SHARE WITH US?
One of the more humorous band incidents that occurred was after a Friday night rehearsal, we had all gone out
to a local bar & preceded to undertake one hellacious bender. This bender quickly became surreal when our old
guitarist began making outrageous claims that in the movie, "THE CIDER HOUSE RULES", Michael Caine
frequently addresses the orphans as "princes and princesses of Maine, you kings and queens of New England" &
backed up this claim stating that not only was this his favorite movie ever, but he had watched it no less than 18
times. The next morning, everyone who had heard this anecdote felt guilt, shame & an array of sadness.
ARE YOU INTO ANY OTHER STYLES OF MUSIC THE
BANDS YOU HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY?
like of KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT, YES,
GENESIS, ELP as well as modern Prog bands like THE
FLOWER KINGS, SPOCKS BEARD & PORCUPINE
TREE. I also enjoy a disturbingly large amount of early to mid
90's Alt-Rock Grunge Rock spanning from the known like
ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, SCREAMING
TREES & STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, to the relatively
obscure, like DIG, HUM, SUGAR TOOTH, SHIFT &
FOSSIL. These days, some of the bands most frequenting my
CD player are INTRONAUT, SLEEPYTIME GORILLA
MUSEUM, BEHOLD...THE ARCTOPUS, KIN'S X,
FRANK ZAPPA, MESHUGGAH, PROTEST THE HERO,
THREE, ISIS, THE MARS VOLTA & NIACIN.
NEW YORK SPAWNS MANY GREAT BANDS. WHO DO YOU FEEL ARE SOME OF THE BETTER
BANDS FROM YOUR HOME STATE?
sat in with that are fantastic, such as TIDES WITHIN, AFTER DARK & AGNOSIS, some bands that stand out
include SYSTEM NOISE, THE VERMEFUGE, THE CUTEST BABYHEAD EVER & HULL to name a few.
WHAT IS ONE THING PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I'm sure people who don't know me would be surprised to know I have a degree in Atmospheric Science & am
fairly apt at forecasting the weather as a result.
WHAT DO THE MEMBERS OF THE BAND DO WHEN NOT DOING ANY WORK FOR THE BAND?
What members of most bands not making any money do, work uninteresting jobs to pay the bills! We tried
getting into collective stamp collecting & collective model train set building, but quickly realized these sucked as
hobbies. Sorry National Model Train Enthusiast Society of Malta!
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT FROM MALSTROM?
Coming up next for MALSTROM, after a ton of rehearsal to get the new guys ready for some serious face
melting as well as finishing up some new tunes, except to see MALSTROM out on the road again, perhaps hitting
a town near you. After that, we're likely to bunker up later in the year & write/record a new mind bending album.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS INTERVIEW? WHAT WILL YOU DO NOW THAT IT'S
Before this interview, I finally got around to catching the movie CUBE, pretty interesting low budget movie
disguised as a Horror movie. Afterwards, I'm hitting the hay, I've got work tomorrow!!!
THANX A LOT FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER THIS. IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D
LIKE TO ADD THAT WE DIDN'T TOUCH ON, FEEL FREE TO DO SO. THANX!
Thanks a ton for doing an interview with us, it's always fantastic to know that there are people out there who
truly support underground music! Stay in touch with us on our myspace page & home page, sign up for our
email list, come out to our shows & buy lots of our CDs!