On Thursday 20th November, Danii Penny caught up with the lovely Sam Douglas, bassist and songwriter of Mallory Knox, for a chat ahead of their incredible headline show at Bristol’s O2 Academy. He talks about how MK formed and have progressed, and even gives us a little exclusive about a song from their new album, Asymmetry.
Danii: I’m not as nervous as I might’ve been for this interview because I met Mikey at Reading in 2013, just casually watching Green Day in the crowd at main stage and he was lovely.
Sam: Ah amazing! We’d only just like turned up by that point and then we just walked out to Green Day playing American Idiot & we were like, oh here we are, well this is fucking good!
Danii: How far do you think you guys have come since that first Saturday morning at Reading in 2013?
Sam: It was almost like a new starting point for this band because that stage was something that we all used to go to as kids. We bought tickets to go watch our favourite bands there, so when we became one of the bands that were performing on the stage that we all grew up watching it was a bit surreal. We were a bit taken aback by it – all of our friends and family came down to the show, which doesn’t usually happen, and I kinda feel like it was just a really good new starting point for this band: the end of the Signals campaign, the best way that we could have possibly signed off that album. Then we started again with the new album, but that gig is definitely in my top 3 highlights of being in this band so far for sure. It was amazing.
Danii: You played at Reading again this year didn’t you?
Sam: Yes! That was my favourite. Last year was my favourite just simply because, as good as the main stage was the year before, had the hangover slot and we were opening up. But yeah, on the Radio 1 NME tent this year we were like the 4th or 5th on and it was to the rafters, it was packed. I genuinely believed that we were gonna play to like half a tent because we were clashing with Deaf Havana and I think, Jimmy Eat World as well. So when we got on stage and saw a tent full of people waiting for us it was just one of those amazing moments. It was on the Reading Festival Highlights on iPlayer as well, so I got to go home and watch it back, which is what I used to do if I didn’t get to go to the festival. I used to watch it with my brother and sister…and then there we were! So it was probably my favourite show we’ve ever done!
Danii: How did you guys meet and start playing together?
Sam: I’ve unfortunately known our drummer, Dave (Rawling) since I was about eight years old. We went to primary and secondary school together. He was in the year above me so I got to the age of about 15 before I actually spoke to him and not properly until I was about 19. Then he rung me up one day and said that he was starting a new band with a guy called Joe Savins, our lead guitarist, and I ‘d only met Joe twice and we definitely didn’t get on. So when he said he was starting a band with Joe I wasn’t really keen. But I went to the practice anyway, just because it was something better to do on a Sunday afternoon! But the other three, James Gillett (rhythm guitar), Mikey Chapman (lead vocals) and Joe, all played in a band together and I think they went to school with each other. Then our previous bands just stopped what they were doing, we took a couple of years out for work and whatnot and then I think we all just got really bored. We were all still writing music just as individuals, just for the fun of it, in our bedrooms and stuff…well, I was anyway, and the band just came together as something for us all to do. Within a year it got pretty serious and it became what it is now.
Danii: You lucked out then?!
Sam: We obviously wanted the band to do well, but we never thought it would be a big thing. It was just something to pass the time for a year or two and now it has turned out to be something much more than that, which is awesome! We’re so grateful to everyone that has supported us.
Danii: What is your favourite track off of each album, Signals and Asymmetry?
Sam: On Signals, it’ll always be Lighthouse for me. I know it’s the main song off that album and that, but even before it was a single it was still the song that I was most excited about!
Danii: It’s definitely a crowd pleaser!
Sam: Yeah! And it was never even written for it to be like that. I remember just writing that song in my house, just on a whim. The guitar line just came out of nowhere and I was literally recording it in my room on a really bad 8 track that I have in my bedroom. I just put together the song from that point on, sent it to the guys and they were all into it. From there it has become one of our biggest songs, which is cool!
Danii: It’s a great song but I’m gonna be controversial and say that my favourite track off of Signals is Hello.
Sam: Hello? That’s cool, I think that’s James’ favourite. If it weren’t for Lighthouse I would’ve gone with Creeper, I wanted to play that on this tour but we couldn’t. But yeah, on the new album, it’s a lot harder because they’re all really fresh for me still. But I’d probably go with She Took Him To The Lake.
Danii: One of my best friends is really into you guys and that’s his favourite song from Asymmetry too!
Sam: Awesome, good taste!
Danii: But I’m gonna go with Dare You at the moment!
Sam: Ah, see Dare You would be very very close for me as well. That was actually written for Signals. That’s a little exclusive for you, I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that before! We had the whole one minute intro for Dare You written for Signals but we just didn’t know where to take it. We had no melody, no chorus and no verse. It was always like my favourite bit of music we’d ever written, so I said, we have to go back to that! Luckily we found something that fit with the song eventually, I’m glad you like it!
Danii: You’ve worked with some really cool bands like Don Broco, Canterbury and Biffy Clyro (which I’m really jealous about!), who was the best to work with?
Sam: Biffy was really cool just because it was Biffy. It was only a one off show but I remember Simon (Neil) was waiting backstage just before they were about to go on stage and we were just walking past to get back to our dressing room and he called a couple of us over. We were like ‘oh god, he’s gonna think that we work for the venue or something’, but he actually called us over and said that he really liked Lighthouse and said congratulations on the tour selling out and stuff. I was like ‘holy hell, he actually knows who we are’, which was insane!
Danii: That’s pretty amazing!
Sam: So yeah, I guess Biffy were definitely up there, but we’ve been lucky enough to tour with a load of cool bands. We haven’t even toured with another band that we haven’t got on with…yet!!!
Danii: Which bands have most influenced your music then?
Sam: For me personally it’d be Blink-182, Alkaline Trio, Jimmy Eat World, I kinda like the old pop punk scene. But as you move on, get a bit older and that, I think you always open up to new music and stuff. I know that all five of us as a collective love Foo Fighters.
Danii: Tickets tomorrow for their stadium tour come out tomorrow!
Sam: That will be an incredible show, aren’t Royal Blood on the line-up as well? That’s amazing for them!
Danii: Yeah I think so, that’ll be awesome. I’m actually really bummed because I had a chance to see Royal Blood at The Globe in Cardiff, which is quite a small venue. It was a few months ago and I couldn’t go! Now they’ve really taken off and they’ll never play in that kind of small, intimate venue ever again. Can’t believe I missed it!
Sam: I dunno man, A Day To Remember just announced Camden Barfly, so I think bands always go back to it. I think it’ll be a thing that happens more and more to be honest so that should be cool! I know that we definitely plan on revisiting smaller venues every now and then to remind us where we came from!
To be continued…
Check back in with Quench next week to read the second part of the interview, where Sam explains why he doesn’t want Mallory Knox to ‘make it’, his festival dreams, their upcoming US tour, chilling with Frank Iero, and more!