Interview with Malphas

Interview with Malphas

- in Written interviews

Hi! Can you tell us about the historical and dystopian themes explored in “Portal” and how they connect with your previous work?
Portal is a prequel to our previous album; it takes place about 200 years prior chronologically and tells the story of how the dystopian world in “The 39th Spirit” comes to be. It deals with more realistic themes like politics and economics, whereas “The 39th Spirit” was more fantasy oriented. But the fantasy element is still there and ties in narratively with the overarching story.

What inspired the “Leviathan’s Moonlit Sanctum”?
“Leviathan’s Moonlit Sanctum” marks the point in the story where Malphas returns to the real world. He and his demons murder the power elite figures on the island, but then travel to a nearby village and subjugate the people there. The main character has a vision where he sees a demonic totalitarian government on the other side of the portal; he realizes he’s left the door wide open for them to take over and create a worse society than what was already there.

Does the narrative of encountering a demonic totalitarian government in “Leviathan’s Moonlit Sanctum” reflect real-world socio-political commentary?
It’s more of a reflection of human nature in that people are arrogant and think they have all the answers; Malphas exploits and takes advantage of that weakness in the story. It also reflects that as much as we complain about socio-politics, things could always be worse.

What emotions or messages do you hope listeners take away from “Portal”?
I just hope that people enjoy the music and I will leave it up for them to decide.

How did working with Chris Kelly shape the sound of “Portal”?
Chris is one of the best in the business at what he does; he did a fantastic job bringing everything together in the mix and coached the best effort out of us. We think Portal is a big step up from our last album both musically and production wise, and Chris is a major reason for that. It was a tremendously positive experience working with him.

What were the biggest challenges in crafting the storyline for “Portal”? How does storytelling influence your songwriting process and contribute to the album’s overall narrative arc?
I think tying everything together in the final track was the biggest challenge; it’s over 12 minutes long so I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough lyrics for it, but I finished it a couple of days before recording it and it ended up working out. It can be difficult writing a concept album because you don’t always write the songs in the order that they will be on the album; we try to be conscious of that, and storytelling plays a major role in choosing the track-listing.

Could you share the artistic inspiration behind the album cover?
The front cover depicts the island where much of the story revolves around and where the portal is beneath; the raven’s skull in the sky depicts Malphas returning to the world through it. It best illustrates the point in the story that is “Leviathan’s Moonlit Sanctum.”

Where do you see Malphas’ music evolving after “Portal”?
Not sure, honestly. We have ideas for new songs that we will begin working on later in the year. We take our time with writing to flesh out the songs, so it will probably be a couple of years before we know what we have with the next album.

What does the album title “Portal” symbolize in relation to the album’s themes and narrative?
The Portal in question is the gateway between life and death in the story – located under the island depicted on the album’s front cover. There are events that take place in both realms; the significance of the Portal is being the bridge between the two, and the instrument by which Malphas returns to the real world.

Can you share any memorable moments from the recording or production of “Portal”?
We were lucky enough to have our friends Thuy Nguyen from Divine Hand Ensemble and Barbara Blackthorne from Empress as guests on “Man, Raven, and the Portal.” They killed it in the studio and really helped take the song to another level.

Are there any specific tracks on “Portal” that hold personal significance for you as a musician?
The final track “Man, Raven, and the Portal” is about death and the human desire of wanting to see the people you love again when you die. It took five years to complete and at twelve plus minutes long, it stands out as our most ambitious song to date.

What’s next for Malphas?
For now, we look to keep the positive momentum going and continue playing live shows with the album being out. We’re under contract for another album so we will be getting to work on writing later in the year.

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