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Malrun

Malrun is een Deense band die met hun debuut 'Beauty In Chaos' een goede indruk hebben achtergelaten. Het is een plaat die vol staat met melodieuze metal zonder te commercieel over te komen. Hun nieuwe plaat 'The Empty Frame' gaat nog even een paar stappen verder en is een stuk harder uitgevallen. Over de reden waarom, en de invloed van Volbeat op de Deense scène hadden we een gesprek met zanger Jacob.

Door: Berto | Archiveer onder prog / sympho metal

Please explain your band name, is it Danish word?
It is not a Danish word. Well, it isn't even a word really! When we choose a band name some years ago we wanted a name that was unique, easily recognizable while at the same time had a special thing to it, a deeper meaning. So we fused two different words, the first part was taken from the Latin word 'Malign' which is something twisted, malicious, something dark. This we combined with the English word 'Run' representing something energetic, dynamic, moving and visionary. So in short, a dark movement, so to speak, or at least that's the philosophy being the name. The fact that the word is kind of a fusion of two rather contradictory concepts also implies the dualism that is a huge part of Malrun, both in terms of musical style and in terms of lyrical and visual themes. So, we basically came up with a name that for us sums up the fundamental idea and concept of Malrun as a band and the music we make.

Can you tell us a little bit about your history, when did the band start and what bands influenced you?
Okay, so, back in 2004 Jacob (singer) and Mads (guitarist) co-founded a cover band named Faust. As time passed on and ambitions grew the band name was changed along with some members until Malrun was formed and the current line up was finally complete in early 2009. Malrun had recorded two EP's ('Longest Road To Rome' 2007 and 'Beyond' 2008), both of which helped Malrun come closer to the musical style the band performs on the debut album 'Beauty In Chaos' (2010). The EP's and the debut album helped Malrun achieve such things as getting to support Staind (US) in 2009, signing a booking deal with German booking agency Dragon Productions, tour in Germany and Switzerland in 2011 with Audrey Horne (N), and share the stage with a lot of other great bands. It's rather difficult to talk about specific bands that influenced us, because of course we do have some older influences such as Metallica, Tool, Pantera, Creed, Alter Bridge etc. but mostly we listen to the more aggressive modern metal scene with such bands as Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, Gojira, Periphery, Soilwork etc., which is probably why our own music becomes more and more metal for every time we hit the studio! But I think we create our very own blend of groovy metal mixed with catchy rock melodies.

Your debut album was received very well in Europe, did this put any pressure on you writing and recording the new album?
I think quite the opposite, actually. The positive reactions and the high average rating in the European reviews gave rise to even more motivation and belief in ourselves and in Malrun as a project and band. Of course, when the first album is received so well it kind of heightens everybody's expectations for a second album. However, I think that we as musicians leverage from mutual positive energy between the band and fans/reviewers, so the reception just kind of reinforced our belief in what we do. You know, much like adding fuel to the fire! The debut album did, however, not result in that major international break we'd hoped for, which was another kind of motivational factor for us in the writing of our new album – because we did not achieve what we wanted to achieve. So hopefully, the new album will help us get there!

Can you shed some light on the album title, 'The Empty Frame', what does it mean or refer to?
'The Empty Frame' is a metaphor that reflects the red thread of the lyrics on the album. Several of the lyrics focus on the randomness and perishable nature of life, the fact that rather often we cannot completely control our own lives, as it is highly affected by uncertainty and randomness that can radically change things in an instant. This is not necessarily a negative thing, though! It is just a philosophical reasoning of how life sometimes surprises you and how circumstances really give a fuck about your own big plans, haha. I love the idea of this tsunami of randomness that will, at some point, sweep relentlessly into your life and you just have to sort of ride the wave and accept it as it is or you will be washed away, because it is too strong a force to stop. You have to either dodge the blows or suck 'em up as Jacobs sings in one of the new tunes. So 'The Empty Frame' represents the life still to be lived and the opportunities you might chose to grab when faced with live changing events.

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Does the success of a band like Volbeat (also from Denmark of course) help you at all to get more gigs or attention of the press?
I don't think Volbeat as such has made it easier for us as a band to get more attention or more gigs. Of course, Volbeat has to a very high degree put Denmark on the international musical map and they've also sort of introduced the broad public/audience to the heavier music, which might have directed some people's attention towards Danish metal. But then again, that band is so unique that it is hard for other metal bands to leverage from that, because no one is within the same category (blending Elvis with metal is something only one band can do at a time). But we certainly owe Volbeat a great deal of respect for how they've worked their asses off to get to where they are, and I think that can serve as an example of how Danish metal musicians – Malrun included – dedicate absolutely everything and anything to getting our beloved music out there, because that's what we love doing!

How did it feel working with Jacob Hansen, who has produced some of the up and coming bands lately (Volbeat, Fear My Thoughts, Amaranthe)?
Jacob is just an absolutely great guy to work with! On the one hand, he's such a professional and he can meet our every demand musically and production-wise. On the other hand, he's really nice guy to be around and we have a great collaboration going with him. Also we share the same sense of humor and that makes the collaboration even better. So in a way he's almost like a sixth member of the band when we hit the studio.

How does the album artwork relate to the album title and the lyrics?
Well, we sort of wanted to make the connection rather implicit, mystical or covert. We didn't want people to look at the artwork and think 'well, you didn't have to name the album then, did you!' so we went the other direction and tried to reflect the title more indirectly, and what you see could be an example of this 'frame' that is referred to in the album title. The rest is up to the viewer. Hopefully, the artwork would relate to the album title in just as many ways as the number of people who buy the album and try to understand the artwork – it's up for individual interpretation so I won't give too much away! But to leave at least a little hint for people I can at least advice them to look for the shadow in the cover as this represents the point that there is a personal message for each viewer. Guess it all makes sense when you read all the lyrics of the booklet.

How would you describe your music, as I have read that you play progressive metal, melodic hard rock and various other genres?
Again a great question! I'm really, really confused with genre indications nowadays! Actually, I don't know what most of them means exactly! What happened to music simply being rock, pop or jazz? But I'd say that Malrun is melodic metal – especially on the new album. The debut album might have been more hard rock/metal, and but the new album has definitely become even harder, without losing good melodies though. The fact that most of the vocals are clean, however, justifies the 'melodic' part of the genre name. So, melodic metal I'd say. But again, I think it's very much up for individual interpretation because some might say that it really isn't metal whereas others think it's the most metal they've ever heard!

Any famous last words for our readers?
Well, check out our new album and come meet us on tour with Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Kontrust and Emill Bulls this April/May 2012. From 21st April until 13 May we will be touring Belgium, The Netherlands, France, England, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany for three and a half weeks. You can find the tour dates on our Facebook or our official website. And hey, I'll personally buy anyone a beer who comes up to me at a concert on the tour and can refer to this interview and tell me the original name of our band before it was called Malrun:-) That's a promise. Cheers!

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