Interview with mastermind Ric Galvez
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: March 10, 2021
Malice Divine, formed in 2019, is the melodic Black/Death Metal creation of a guy named Ric Galvez from Toronto, Canada, who wanted to pursue his own musical career after getting fired from his previous band, Astaroth Incarnate.
Ric teamed up with Dylan Gowan (also in Vesperia), whom he had known for some time, to play drums on the band's 9-track self-titled debut album, which came out in February 2021.
That album reached a pair of curious ears on the staff of The Metal Crypt so we contacted Ric to learn more about the band. He kindly filled us in on everything we wanted to know about his band and you can find out all about it by reading this interview that he politely did with us.
How's it going, Ric? Even though we have been living in rough times due to the global pandemic it must bring you a lot of joy to know your debut album is out and available for all curious parties. Some of the feedback has been positive, even overwhelmingly so. I guess you could say all the hard work you have put into this band has paid off, right?
Ric: It's going well! I can't complain at all. And yes, it does bring me a lot of joy personally knowing that my debut album is out. It's been a long time coming for me, so it still feels kind of surreal in a way. Yes, quite a bit of the feedback has been extremely positive for sure. There has been the odd critical review here and there, but most people seem to really like it, which is fantastic. The hard work that I have put into Malice Divine has definitely paid off for sure! I am incredibly proud and grateful for the hard work that I put into the album.
It's obvious you have a soft spot for a blend of melodic Black and Death Metal with catchy yet melodic guitar harmonies meeting heaviness and brutal Death Metal mangling. Was this one of your main purposes with Malice Divine, to combine these styles?
Ric: Yes, it was always my intention to combine Black Metal and Death Metal as melodically as I can, while still maintaining the intensity of both genres. I don't limit myself to just Black Metal and Death Metal however, I also like to incorporate elements of Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, and even traditional Heavy Metal at times into the music of Malice Divine.
THE END – THE START
If we go back in history a little bit, you were a member of another Canadian Black/Death Metal outfit named Astaroth Incarnated until you got fired from the band. Was this decision a sort of a relief because you always had this burning passion to do music on your own terms with no place for compromise?
Ric: Getting fired from Astaroth Incarnate was incredibly relieving and by far one of the best things that ever happened to me. If I hadn't either got fired or left, there probably would not be a Malice Divine (at least not yet) because of how busy my schedule was when I was in Astaroth Incarnate. Not only was I busy with those guys, but I was also busy with being a full-time university student, as well as working part time. My firing enabled me to put much more time into the completion of the debut Malice Divine album, which otherwise would have taken a lot longer.
As you have said, you had some of your own stuff for more than three years which resulted in Malice Divine's recently released debut album. What kinds of things make you proud of this band?
Ric: Many things make me proud of Malice Divine! I'm proud of every single song on the album. There isn't a single filler track as all nine songs are great in their own right. I'm very proud of the overall production and sound of the album as well. The mixing and mastering turned out fantastic. I'm also incredibly proud of the album artwork, and the content that's been released online so far. Everything from the music to the visual aspect of Malice Divine makes me incredibly proud.
What was the most challenging part of getting this album written, recorded, and finished?
Ric: I'd say that the most challenging aspect of doing this album was just the sheer amount of practicing and performing that I had to do. Doing all the guitars, bass, and vocals for music as challenging as Malice Divine's is definitely a lot of hard work.
Playing all the guitars, bass and doing the vocals for this opus obviously took a lot of time and effort to get it all 100% the way you wanted. Would you say that if you hadn't put your heart, mind, and soul into Malice Divine, you probably would have contributed to some other band but without full control over everything?
Ric: I definitely wouldn't have carried my musical ambitions into some other band. The way I see it is that there is no way I could not have put 100% of my heart, mind, and soul into Malice Divine. This is something that I had been wanting to do for a very long time, and it was the only way forward for me as a musician because it was what I most authentically wanted to pursue.
INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS
To me, there's undoubtedly a huge Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection) spirit haunting your songwriting on the entire album. How highly do you value Dissection's musical heritage in the melodic Black/Death Metal genre?
Ric: Well, there is definitely a huge Dissection influence on my music for sure. Dissection is one of my all-time favourite bands and I've always strived to incorporate the greatness of Jon's songwriting into my own songs. It's always an honour for me to hear that my music reminds people of Dissection because the Dissection sound is something I always wanted to capture with my music, but with my own spin on it as well. I value Dissection's musical heritage very highly! Especially Storm of the Lights Bane, that album is a masterpiece.
Do you see Jon as an influence, innovator, and tutor, of some sort?
Ric: The main way Jon was an influence on me was as a songwriter. His sense of melody in extreme Metal has always been incredibly inspiring.
You have stated bands like Death, Opeth, Immortal, and Skeletonwitch were some of your influences. When listening to your debut release, I am sure people can spot all kinds of names within your songs, which is natural because reinventing the rolling Metal wheel is near impossible nowadays unless you want to sound like something else and not Metal. Do you want your influences and inspirations to shine through your music so people know where you are coming from, so to speak?
Ric: Yes, I would love for my influences and inspirations to shine through my music. My main musical ambition is to combine all of my musical influences in a way that results in my own unique sound and style as a musician. There's definitely a lot of different bands that Malice Divine could be compared to and has been compared to already, which is a great feeling because it's an honour to have my music compared to other great bands and musicians.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
Do you practice guitar on a daily basis, and if so, how many hours? There's no denying there are many hours behind your guitar work as your playing sounds very tight, sharp, and totally pro. I bet all this hard practicing makes you also a very goal-oriented and demanding person even for yourself, right?
Ric: I usually put in quite a few hours of practice every day, usually between 4-6. However, during the past few weeks leading up to the album release I haven't been practicing as much as I normally do, to be honest. Being essentially a one-man operation, I have to do most everything from interviews, promoting my music online, advertising sales, working on my social media profiles, mailing out merchandise, etc., which is quite a bit of work. I am fortunate to be working with a good video editor for the playthrough and lyric videos, as well as a good PR agent, but it's still a lot on my plate that I need to deal with, which does get quite draining. This isn't to complain at all, by the way, as I am very grateful for how things have turned out for the album release. I still practice for a few hours most days and once things calm down, I'll be back to practicing many hours a day, every day. And yes, you could say that I am a very goal oriented and demanding person for sure. I always strive to get the best out of myself and get the best possible results with my work.
You have already mentioned that you have some new material penned for the band's second album. Would you kindly elaborate on how it sounds compared to the songs on your debut album? Does it follow in the same footsteps here you left off on your debut?
Ric: The new material is still in its earliest phases of creation, so it's a bit too early to really go into depth about how it sounds compared to the songs on the debut album. There's still a lot more work that needs to be done on this new batch of songs. With that being said, based on how things seem so far, I would say that it definitely follows in the same footsteps as the debut album. However, I definitely plan on expanding the sound of Malice Divine even more with the next album and beyond.
You teamed up with drummer Dylan Gowan from Vesperia, who you have known since 2018 when he filled in on drums for a show with your previous band. Would you say you were pretty much a perfect match regarding the musical direction and vision in Malice Divine?
Ric: I've actually known Dylan since before he filled in for my previous band. He definitely was the perfect fit for handling the drums on the record and it was so awesome getting him on board because he was my number one choice. He took the drum parts that I wrote in guitar pro and improved them by adding his own fills and just overall doing a killer job at performing the songs. These songs are quite challenging to play, and I knew that he'd be able to handle it.
How much did Dylan help with ideas for the record?
Ric: Dylan definitely did help to an extent with some ideas for sure. For example, the second half of the verses for the song "Ancient Visions" with the tribal drum pattern was something that he came up with and something I didn't think of at all. It worked out perfectly because it created an even better and more interesting buildup into the choruses of that song. He definitely helped improve a lot of the drum parts, and also the addition of his own killer fills really helped bring the songs to life. For those reasons I'd definitely say that his input was pretty remarkable!
How important is the visual side of the band, specifically art, promotional pictures and/or videos, etc.? Do you think everything should match the band's concept otherwise there's no point in investing so much effort into this solo project of yours?
Ric: The visual side is very important! It's absolutely necessary to have a good visual presentation in order to get noticed. The visuals should definitely fit the band's concept and a be good representation of the music. I can confidently say that imagery does just that.
You have said that you are planning to play live when the world has beaten the virus. Who have you considered as potential live musicians to fill in the remaining positions in the band besides you and Dylan, of course?
Ric: I'm not going into much detail about this other than that I have some friends that I'd love to get onboard for filling out a live lineup.
When the optimal right time comes to get your follow-up album recorded, do you believe you will release it independently again, just to ensure you have all the power and rights to your stuff and also to show also other bands that working alone is also very much possible, without outsiders' help?
Ric: That's a great question. If I can get a good record deal with a well-known label and not get into a position where the integrity of Malice Divine is comprised, that would be amazing. With that being said, I am not desperate to get Malice Divine onto a record label and I won't hesitate to say no to any contract that isn't up to my standards. If that ends up being the case, then I have no problem releasing the follow-up album independently as well.
Are there like-minded musicians in your area and what are some of the coolest venues for extreme bands to play?
Ric: Some iconic Toronto venues to check out would be The Opera House, The Phoenix, Velvet Underground, and Lee's Palace.
... AND THE FUTURE?
OK, I have one last question for you and then we are done. What do you hope to achieve in the next three to four years with this band, besides fame and fortune which wouldn't be too bad, that's for sure...
Ric: Within that time, I plan on having another two albums released, as well as a much larger fanbase full of very enthusiastic and supportive fans! Assuming that Covid-19 is no longer a problem by then, I'd also like to have done some touring as well. Of course, we need to see how things are in the world to see if that can be accomplished, but the second and third albums are an absolute must!
I for one, sincerely want to thank you for your time Ric and in the very same breath, I want to wish you all the best with the future comings and goings with the band. You are entitled to the final commentary, so be my guest... ;o)
Ric: Thank you! I just wanted to say thank you as well to everyone who supported me with Malice Divine in any way whether that be through purchasing a CD, shirt, hoodie, shared one of the videos online or with someone else, said something kind and supportive, or just simply gave my music a chance and a listen, it really means a lot to me!
|Other information about Malice Divine on this site|
|Review: Malice Divine|
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