Misery Signals' Of Malice and the Magnum Heart turns 10 next month (June 1st, to be exact) and we talked to Ryan Morgan about the legacy of the highly influential debut album.
How did you feel when the album came out?
We were really bright eyed and hopeful about the release. It was the first time we were releasing something on a legitimate label, the first time we worked with a great producer and had a final product that sounded professional and vibrant. When we were hearing the final mixes from "Of Malice..." for the first time, I remember thinking we had achieved something special with the album, but I wasn't quite sure what it was at the time. I'm still not entirely sure what it is, but it still maintains that special feel for me, 10 years later.
Where do you think the album fits in the band's legacy?
It's the starting point - the foundation on which the band's legacy is built. It will always be a favorite for some people.
How the band approach writing?
We did everything pretty organically, jamming together with the whole band in the room. I remember staying up in Edmonton for a few months and writing the record with the rest of the guys. We were shoveling driveways all winter to make a living. Shoveling snow during the day and jamming at night.
We would start with these wild ass riffs and jam on them and let them develop into big sections almost on their own. And then we took those pieces, and we had to do the opposite and get surgical, and struggle with them to try and make these monstrous dramatically different ideas come together and exist in the same songs. That dichotomy made for some cool dynamics and structures.
What inspired the lyrics?
Our singer Jesse was going through a lot at the time. Most notably the loss of 2 band mates and dear friends that passed away in a van wreck on tour. In the wake of it, he wrote some really raw emotional lyrics. He tapped into a thing that can only be tapped in to by a person trying to process something emotionally irreconcilable.
When you were in the studio, how was the morale of the band?
We were excited. We were going out of our minds. Devin Townsend as producer was masterminding all these things we didn't know existed in recording. We were in this big, world class studio in Vancouver, in a room where they recorded part of Metallica's black album, using a console that they mixed Madonna records on and shit. Of course, we were sleeping on the floor of the studio, cause we didn't have enough budget for a proper hotel, but we didn't care. It was like being in a secret clubhouse where real musicians did their thing, and we had somehow snuck in through a window and crashed the party.
When was the last time you listened to the record? Are there memories and emotions that come back?
I listened to it a few times last year while we were writing Absent Light. There's an element of chaos on Malice that wasn't as present in the 2 following records. So while we were writing Absent Light, I kept going back to Malice to try and internalize some of that, in hopes that we could include some of that recklessness.
What do you remember most about making the album?
During the recording, there was one day that we had a bunch of candles set up and we were vibing out together in the live room. They had put some vinyl tent type thing over the drums. One of the candles tipped over onto the slip case for the tent and set it on fire. It went up really fast and all of a sudden the whole corner of the room was this fire. The engineer came running into the room, ripped the five gallon water tank off the water cooler and put the fire out.