Earlier today Mikey Chapman led his band, Mallory Knox, in a powerfully dominant main stage performance at Download Festival. It’s a grinning reminder just how far the Cambridge five-piece have come since they released their debut album ‘Signals’ in 2013.
“I couldn’t be more happy with how today went,” starts Mikey. “I’m feeling very blessed right now.”
The band released their second album ‘Asymmetry’ in the US on the 16th of June ahead of a 41-date stint on the travelling kingmaker that is The Warped Tour. A brief-by-comparison thirty-date incursion to the states at the start of the year, supporting Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce The Veil alongside PVRIS opened Mikey’s eyes. “Americans are some of the most lovely, appreciative people I’ve ever met. I had a few predispositions about how I thought it was going to be and they were all completely blown out the water, they weren’t founded on anything. They’re all thoroughly lovely folks who love music as much as – if not more than – folks here in the UK.“
While he “can’t wait to head back out there,” there are a few things troubling Mikey. “I’m a little bit apprehensive as I’ve heard it’s very hot out there and I’m very, very pale,” he explains. “That doesn’t equate to a good ‘me being alive at the end of it’ situation. You see those poor little frogs burnt to the tarmac in the heat of the summer and that’s going to be me, if I’m not careful,” he says with a knowing smile.
For most bands, Warped Tour represents a youthful dream and Mallory Knox are no different. “When we were kids, we’d see those billings and think, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be incredible to be a part of that. Wouldn’t it be a moment to be stood there, embracing that whole vibe’. I’m so proud to say we’ve managed to check off a lot of life goals this year, Warped and Download are absolutely included in that.”
They aren’t approaching the horizon anytime soon though. “I think you’re always setting new goals. We try not to be unrealistic with them, we just want to get out there to as many people as we can.”
As the band grow, so do the stages they find themselves on. “I don’t think I’ll ever feel completely at home on those huge stages,” Mikey admits. “We cut our teeth on much smaller stages, with a much more intimate crowd. That’s home for us. We’re slowly moving our way up those venues, so maybe one day we’ll feel at home but for now, it’s just an honour,” he says before a brief pause. “It takes a lot of getting used to.”
Photo: Sarah Louise Bennett / Upset
“There’s always a degree of nerves, but over the years you learn how to drop that into the background,” he starts. “If I was to address those nerves, it wouldn’t do a lot for me. It’s better to be proactive, professional and stuff them under the carpet. It’s like skiing or parachute jumping, it’s terrifying but that’s the appeal of it.”
He may have learnt how to handle his nerves but Mikey is still in awe of his position. “I fuck up on stage because I forget I’m playing,” he laughs. “I just take stock of where I am and what I’m doing. You have to snap out of it quickly, otherwise I get too mushy or I miss a cue. It’s a real experience and you have to take stock,” he demands. “If people just take it for what it is, then they’re doing it fucking wrong. You’ve got to appreciate this.”
“I won’t go as far as to say we’re super wise but life is a big development,” he says about the bands ongoing growth. “We’re all going through it. Our life is more public but we’re just trying to do right by everyone. It’s not always easy but we’re no different to anyone else. We want to do right by our fans, our team and each other. We do the best we can and we’re just trying to get through and hopefully help people out along the way.”
After Warped there’s penciled in plans for a pre-Christmas run of UK headline shows alongside a possible European tour. Mikey’s desire to spread the name of Mallory Knox to as many people as possible still marches forward.
“Music does a lot of different things to different people. It’s a cure all in so many respects and that’s what I’d like,” Mikey finishes. “I want people to take away precisely what they need to take away from it. For our music to be in someway beneficial to people would make me very happy.”