Interview with State of Malice

Interview recorded on 24/09/16 with Angus Forbes (Vocals), Duncan Bonfield (Guitar), Ben Kirk (Bass), Shaun Cheesman (Drums). Missing: Tristan Clegg (Guitar)


HOW DID STATE OF MALICE GET STARTED?

DUNCAN
While we went to school with each other and knew each other through that. We started as a cover band, mainly Lamb of God covers, and playing at piss-ups and shit like that. Eventually we got to a point where we were a band and started writing music.

 

WHO WAS THERE IN THE BEGINNING?

DUNCAN
I was there, Shaun was there.

SHAUN
Angus’s brother Charlie. Who was a member for the first two years and had input in all the EP songs.

DUNCAN
Gus was the original vocalist. The other bassist actually learnt bass guitar to play in the band and he played one show with us. Our first show with Tainted, Metal Mayhem at Churchills, he played Metal Mayhem with us and then decided to leave.

ANGUS
He decided before the show and told us. Then Benny was brought in. We were officially State of Malice close to the beginning of 2014. We played our first gig May 2014 opening for Tainted.

SHAUN
That was after we released one of our songs on YouTube and we got a message from them saying ‘Do you guys gig?’ and ‘Yep’ (laughs) so that was our first gig.

DUNCAN
I think one of the boys from Bow Messiah mentioned us because they were asked if they knew anybody who’d be keen. So, they mentioned it to Tim from Tainted and he checked us out on YouTube and flicked us a message.

ANGUS
We owe our first couple of gigs to Bow Messiah. They really got us started, we were all friends with most of the boys from the band, because we’re from the same area as them.

BEN
They’ve just been in the scene longer than us, a little bit older, and they were pretty big when they first started.

SHAUN
We went to one of their jam sessions and were like ‘Can we play some songs?’ and we played on their gear and they were impressed I think.

DUNCAN
Pretty much just told us ‘Why aren’t you gigging?’ and we were just like ‘We don’t know’, ‘Well you gotta go gigging’, ‘We know, how do we do this?’

 

WHATS IT LIKE DOING GIGS AT HOUSE PARTIES?

SHAUN
Oh its fucking awesome

DUNCAN
It was always our mates, who were into the same shit we were, we’d do that and they’d love it. It was just involving our mates in the jam, or forcing it upon them. Didn’t matter what condition we were in.

SHAUN
Never had a disappointed audience.

ANGUS
We still do it every now and again if we’re having a piss-up.

BEN
If theres gear lying around. A few state songs a few covers. Always a few diehard fans around. I think you’ve got to keep doing that, going back to where you started, and enjoying yourself.

DUNCAN
We hang out with a bunch of talented people. Almost everyone we know plays some kind of instrument.

 

THEY SAY THE BEST AUDIENCE IS A DRUNK AUDIENCE, IS THE AUDIENCE ESPECIALLY DRUNK AT A HOUSE SHOW?

ALL
Yes

DUNCAN
Its not just being drunk at a bar being drunk thinking ‘oh I’m at a bar I better not do something stupid’ its ‘I’m at my mates place drunk as fuck lets jump through a window’ kinda shit.

BEN
No holds barred, there are no rules, no time to shut down. Can have music blaring till four if you want too.

ANGUS
Its true with any live show. The best crowd is when people are at their optimal level of drunkenness. You look at what time you’re playing and think are people going to be shitfaced by then.

SHAUN
That’s why Timaru is great, because they’re just always trashed.

 

WE GET QUITE A FEW INVITES TO TIMARU FOR METAL GIGS WHAT IS THE SCENE LIKE THERE?

DUNCAN
Timaru is good fun bro.

BEN
Oh its always a great night.

SHAUN
And the crowds just fucking love it. They have a massive metal following there.

DUNCAN
And the people we network with there, the bands, and people we stay with, they are just amazing people.

BEN
So inviting. You can sit down and just have a yarn like you’ve been mates for years.

DUNCAN
We’ll go there and there’ll be a piss up organised already and its gonna go all night. And we were there one time drinking Timaru Coffee, Jägermeister with L&P out of a mug at 9am.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PLACE TO PLAY?

DUNCAN
We played The Kings Arms. That was cool a part from the fact we pretty much played to the other bands with a couple other people.

SHAUN
We were the first band it was early in the night and not many people in the bar. It was a cool place to play but it was quiet as fuck and kind of weird.

DUNCAN
It was cool because it was quite close to Halloween and they had all the Halloween decorations up on stage. It was a cool time to play it was just a shame about the turn out. It was quite a big gig too, our first show in Auckland.

SHAUN
We didn’t have much of a following in Auckland.

DUNCAN
If the bands like Just One Fix, Seasons, and Tainted weren’t playing who would have shown up that night? (laughs)

ANGUS
My favourite place to play would probably be RE Society in Timaru.

DUNCAN
Its pretty much an abandoned industrial building with a make-shift bar.

BEN
I think the Dux always provided. Lots of randoms coming in looking for a good night. Always delivered a good crowd.

ANGUS
Churchills, the staff are amazing.

DUNCAN
Churchills is pretty much home to us when it comes to gigging, definitely one of the best sounds.

 

WHAT ABOUT WORST SHOWS YOU’VE PLAYED?

DUNCAN
I wouldn’t say it was our worst show but one of the most different shows we played would’ve been playing in a truck in the snow. We played at Wagstock that happened a few years back. Where Devilskin played. Luke and Jake Waghorn had their birthday at the time and we played in a truck in a paddock at their place out in Oxford. With a massive bonfire, in the snow, playing in the back of a truck.

ANGUS
The bonfire was about 50 to 100 metres away from the truck.

DUNCAN
No one wanted to go away from the bonfire cause it was snowing. They had a diesel heater on stage for the bands. Water dripping on our amps and shit. That was a pretty out there show.

BEN
I think one of our maybe not worst, but most pissed shows, was in Timaru in a little underground club. We were getting $1.25 drinks, gin and tonic etc, we got on it and we were just completely written off.

DUNCAN
You can’t have a metal show, offer the bands drinks for a dollar each, and expect it to go well. (laughs) But everyone seemed to enjoy it, at least we did.

 

HOW DID YOU ALL GET STARTED PLAYING MUSIC?

SHAUN
I didn’t know any of these guys when I got started. I was 14, back in highschool, convinced my mum and dad to buy me a shitty old kit and I played the shit out it. First song I learnt was Turn the Page by Metallica.

BEN
I was pretty much brought up through music, my old man played guitar, got my on to punk pretty early on. I actually started playing drums, that was my first instrument, the old man started playing bass as well and we would just jam, playing a lot of punk, 90’s rock and the classics, The Doors, Led Zepplin and all that. Learned a bit of guitar on the side as well. Bass really became the main focus though, you could travel with bass, do your own thing a bit. Tristan, our other guitarist, turned me on to metal, a lot of thrashier stuff. Then hanging with these guys in highschool all just moved on to more heavy metal and from then on its just been playing music pretty much.

ANGUS
We just had a big group of us when I was younger that used to get on the piss at my old mans place. We pretty much did Metallica covers that progressed into Lamb of God covers. We never really had a vocalist and our mate Eddie, the original bassist before Ben, gave it go doing some of the Lamb of God songs. I always thought, probably selfishly, but I could do better than that and I finally got pissed one night and mustered up enough courage to give it a go. From then on I just did a lot of covers and got better over time.

DUNCAN
The first thing we realised with Angus was ‘shit he’s loud, you don’t even need to mic put it down’ and that’s something you don’t find much.

ANGUS
I was never really musically talented, I think I just don’t have the patience to learn an instrument, I like to be good at something straight away otherwise why bother. But I just like to drink, be real loud, and listen to my own voice. (laughs)

DUNCAN
I started quite young about 12, 13. My older brother was trying to learn off one of his mates and failed, well I think he gave up because I started learning faster than he did, his mate taught me how to read music and tab and that was that. Just sat at home learning songs, a lot of rock songs, typically beginner guitar stuff, moved on more basic metal like Metallica and eventually moved on to faster more aggressive metal.

 

HOW DID YOU DISCOVER METAL?

SHAUN
I reckon I was a real late bloomer, I think it was year 12 or 13 in high school when a mate showed me Trivium, the Shogun album, and just fell in love straight away. He showed me Lamb of God, and I thought fuck, a bit heavy, bit aggressive, but it really grew on me and from there it just sky-rocketed.

BEN
For me it was the cross-over between punk and thrash. The double kicks and the chugging, just got really brought into it by the speed, and the aggression.

ANGUS
I think I progressed pretty much through the mainstream, Disturbed, Metallica. Then when I heard Pantera I thought holy shit these guys are so cool so heavy and it just got heavier from there.

DUNCAN
I think I got into metal relatively early really. When I was in primary school we started experimenting with heavy stuff, trying to find the heaviest shit we could at the time. Slipknot was probably the first band I mean they’re not that heavy but they blew my mind at the time. Then we got put on to 8 Foot Sativa and Cannibal Corpse this was about year 7 or 8 so it was quite a while back. It dropped back a bit when I got into highschool listened to a bit more mainstream stuff before being introduced to Pantera, Lamb of God and that sort of stuff.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE STARTING OUT IN MUSIC?

SHAUN
Give Up.

BEN
Don’t do it, you don’t make any money, its just blood sweat and tears, go out play rugby.

DUNCAN
Learn to play Wagon Wheel and go for your life.

BEN
No honestly if you want to do it just do it. Put time a side because it’s a really time consuming thing. If you don’t have the patience or the drive don’t bother. It’s got to be what you want to do.

DUNCAN
Probably the best advice I could give is if your already in a band and want to get gigging, which is a big step for a band, go down to your local shows and meet the people there. Obviously, networking has been a huge part of it, you have to go there be social, meet the people, tell them you’re in a band. Have a jam together and they’ll come to you to ask if you want a gig.

ANGUS
Find a group of mates that are all into the same thing and just know its not going to happen overnight. Do it because you love it don’t expect to be famous. Start small and work your way up and don’t gig before you’re ready.

 

WHAT PROBLEMS HAS THE BAND FACED?

DUNCAN
There have been moments where we’ve been playing a set for a long time and we’re almost bored of the songs we’re playing. Do we really need to practice these songs again?

BEN
We want to be excited to play.

DUNCAN
If we’re not getting any shows offered to us or anything like that things can quieten down and the band will quieten down. Then one of us will come along with four half songs to work on and suddenly things will take off. The biggest issue would be that just coming to a standstill.

 

HOW DO YOU GET PASSED THAT?

BEN
Just pull finger get in there and do it. Put things aside, take the time, and get together and play. Gotta make time for a hobby.

DUNCAN
We all love jamming together. There are definitely days where our lives get in the way but its what we love to do. There are parts that get tedious, all the practices, bringing new stuff to the table really helps.

ANGUS
I reckon our big issue was once we started gigging it happened so fast. We were the new band on the scene, everyone was talking about us, we were being offered a gig probably once a week. I think we played 10 or 11 gigs our first year. Then we weren’t the new band anymore and things slowed down a bit we lost a lot of momentum after that.

 

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE BANDS BEST MOMENTS?

DUNCAN
That first gig with Tainted was pretty big. It was quite flattering to be honest being able to just jump up there with Tainted right away. What was really flattering was just that they liked our music and since then I think we’ve played almost every Tainted show they’ve had except for one in Dunedin I think.

ANGUS
And we’re still sour about that one (laughs)

DUNCAN
They really took us under their wing and offered us a lot of gigs. They offered us the King Arms gig and it was definitely a big moment for me to be able to say I’ve played The Kings Arms, especially if its going to be shut down.

ANGUS
I think my favourite gig would be your (Ben) first one. Our second gig ever as a band. It just went off.

BEN
It was a big night a big crowd everything went sweet. I was stressing out, first gig, thinking everything was going to be horrible but everything was just so fun, it was great, awesome chaos.

DUNCAN
I love playing music, its fucking awesome, but I reckon the funnest part of it is the networking side of things. I love the people that we’re meeting through this.

BEN
I love how appreciative the people are. Those diehard fans that always turn out and come up after the show to say “you guys are so amazing” or “that was awesome” it’s weird to be in the spotlight for that moment there but it’s great.

 

WHATS NEXT FOR THE BAND?

ANGUS
We’re thinking about doing an official EP release tour. Been talking a bit to other bands and venues about that so hopefully we’ll get to that in the warmer months.

SHAUN
We would like to release and LP, a full album would be great.

DUNCAN
Yea we’re definitely writing a lot of stuff at the moment so keep an eye out for new music coming out.

SHAUN
And merch, we’ve been real slack on the merch, so hopefully we’ll have more of that coming out.

DUNCAN
EP shows, more merch, and a full album.

ANGUS
We tend to be rather fussy with what we put out. We all want to be proud of the product so that’s why it takes us so long for a release.



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