Malefic Interview – Thanks for Asking

Written by on March 2, 2024

Malefic Interview – Thanks for Asking – by Liam Sweeny.

RRX: Every comic book hero has an origin story. What is your origin story? (points if you tell it like a comic book origin.)

JC: Malefic really rose from the ashes of my band Grave New World, which was basically a straight-up death metal band, and Frank’s band Forgotten Hope. We decided over a drink to start a band, which initially was going to be a semi-slam project similar to Dysentary. The original name was Gutshovel, which we all agreed was the best name in history. But, to make a long story short, the songs I was writing just weren’t slam at all. For some reason my muse was elsewhere and I ended-up sending the guys demos that sounded almost black metalish. About as far from slam as you could get, but luckily they liked them, so Gutshovel suddenly became Malefic and cargo shorts became spikes and leather. It worked out nicely since there weren’t any bands like that in Albany. It helped us stand out a bit.

RRX: Every artist’s first song is a milestone. But so is the latest song. Describe the first song/album you recorded, and also the latest song/album you recorded; what are the differences?

JC: The first song written for the band was Sludge Womb, a slow, chunky, slam song written with the idea that we were headed in that direction. It ended-up as the only song like that in our repertoire though. Frank’s lyrics for that are priceless, and the highlight of the track for sure.

The latest song is called Christianus Interitus, which will be on the new album The Second Coming, due in April. It’s musically a nine-minute Death/Black/Progrock epic and has strings, grand piano and a doomy choir because,of course it does. Lyrically, it’s the denouement of Frank’s narrative which runs the entire length of the record.

That’s right kids, it’s a concept album! Luckily for us, it’s a good one, and Lester Bangs is long dead so who cares.

RRX: Music genres are difficult for some artists. Some strictly adhere; others not so much. What is your perspective on the genre you play, or the genres you hover around?

JC: Well Malefic’s main feature is, and always has been, to be as different as we can possibly be, and it’s very intentional. Music genres especially metal genres, are notoriously conservative in that way. It’s a lot of rules. “You can’t do that on a black metal record. You can’t use a piano on a brutal death record” All that stuff. So we made it easier on ourselves to just say fine. Then we won’t be any of those things. Fans that like our music know there’s everything from brutal death, symphonic black metal, 70’s progrock and thrash on a Malefic album. Usually in the same song.

It can make some things harder for us of course. We can’t get played on Black Metal podcasts, and we’re probably a pain for award show categories, but there you go. Luckily, we have Frank Cogliando who can sing bloody anything so we do it because we can.

RRX: It’s a lot of fun living in the present, but we all collect memories and give birth to dreams. We’re talking dreams here. Where you see yourself next year? In the next five years?

JC: I think making a living playing your own music, music that you really like and are proud-of, has always been the dream for most musicians. It may sound corny, but it’s endlessly repeated because it’s true. We’re really lucky in that we not only have amazing players in the band like

John Glassbrenner (Pyrexia) and Ryan Murphy (ex-Burial), but we’re seriously the best of friends. Even after five years, sometimes very difficult ones, we just like hanging out together. And for some reason people seem to like us, even though what we do shouldn’t work, and yet it somehow does. Sounds like a dream to me. As far as where do I see us in five years? Playing big festivals in Europe and still not getting played on Black Metal podcasts.

RRX: We all get a little support from those around us. And we also can be impressed by our fellow performers. Who do you admire in your community, and why?

JC: I’m endlessly impressed by our entire metal scene here. It’s impossible for me to list individual bands, because the entire scene is responsible for what the 518 has become, a truly brutal, yet diverse and beautiful thing. Mike Valente, who has booked and promoted the scene for many years is much of what holds the whole thing together. I’ve personally been in the 518 metal scene for nearly fifty years. That’s a long, damn time, and watched literally hundreds of bands and scenes come and go, but I don’t think it’s ever been as cool and supportive as it is right now. I admire every single fan and musician who work hard all week, then drive through the rain, and show up on Friday night to worship at the altar together. Don’t let it die.



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