Mornin’ Gee, how’s it going? Hello. What sort of time is this? It’s stupid AM, I feel like I’ve got a job or something.
Sorry about that. So, how’s the new album? I’d say it’s a little different. I think we’re both quite exited about it. There definitely seems to be a feeling that we’re settling in our shoes as Malachai a little bit. I think personally we think it’s a better album than the first one.
How come Bristol produces so much quality music? It’s just such a melting pot here you know. There’s a lot of exiles, a lot of people making music, so the onus really is on doing something outside of what is going on. There are characteristics that comes through, with the sound system fraternity, that’s a very heavy thing here, a rich jazz past as well. Trip hop, oh God I said it. People get lumped with that.
You hate the term ‘trip hop’ yeah? I do really, yeah. It just packages it all up pretty nicely for someone else, which is not really what it’s about. It’s just about making good music. There’s a lot of knowledge about making good music here. People are music fans as well as music makers. Certainly because it’s such a hotch-potch of influences they all seem to permeate through. The reggae sound system thing is a huge part of our heritage. Everybody mixes and matches, cross pollinates.
You started out as a rapper didn’t you? Yeah I was steeped in that world as a B-boy and a rapper and a scratch DJ. I mean, in the old days of hip hop it was a given that you did all elements as it were. Malachai was something that gave me a break from that, a break from cool, ha. I’d had enough of being cool already. We felt like we were going out of our comfort zone but we actually ended up going back into our comfort zone. It was a good trip. I’m glad we jumped on the old ship Malachai.
What’s the story with your name? It sounded good. Well, if you want a poncy breakdown, I grew up with bands who gleamed their names from quite high brow films. I was just a shit kicker from a little council estate and we used to just watch shit B-movies, like Dawn of the Dead and Warriors. Fucking Children of the Corn was another one. It had the character of Malachai. Being a little redhead kid, that sort of stuck. I don’t know why it came up but it was just like [adopts croaky voice] “Malachai, I’ll get you too Malachai”.
So, does the love of B-movies explain the monkey mask you always wear? Yeah, I’m a big Planet of the Apes fan. Ha, I don’t know if it shows. I thought that film did touch on a lot of great things.
And you’d prefer to be faceless? Yeah, I was very keen on that from the start. I didn’t really want to be recognised. Besides, I’ve got a good face for radio, ha! It wasn’t really a conscious move. We were going to a photo session one day and I just grabbed a few things on the way out.
You got your break through Portishead. How did that come about? Well, Bristol’s a small place. We all know Roni Size, Massive Attack, Portishead and all that. I mean I’ve known Geoff [Barrow, from Portishead] for a long time now. [Malachai’s] Scott actually plays Sunday football with him, in their team Bryan Munich, haha. It’s one of those things, man. Geoff was like, “what you up to?”. We didn’t really want the ‘big cheese heard it’ kind of tag. But in the end we gave in and Geoff was just like “wow”. So he brought it out on his Invada label.
More importantly, are Bryan Munich any good? Ha, no. They’re shit.
Any plans to come to Oz? It would be fantastic. I’ve never actually been to Australia so it’s definitely on the wishlist. Tell them to lock up their daughters and bananas!
Malachai’s second album,Ugly Side of Love, is out now.