Mal Fantome DEBUTS New Video!

Where does the time go? I can hardly believe how fast we are closing in on a a year since AMS Radio had the pleasure of premiering two new music videos by Quebec City’s Mal Fantome. During that time and since then the band has been riding the coattails of their well received, top tier album, “Volcano.” Mal Fantome has been contemporaneously performing current material, writing, and recording a new album by the name of “Love Hotel.” If “Volcano” is any kind of benchmark as to what the next album will be, then you can imagine how psyched I am to hear the new stuff coming up. Especially if you read that last piece and understand how much I connect with their music. Mal Fantome has that effect on anybody, in my opinion, with an appreciation for David Bowie and The Cure. The band cites direct influence of those two as well as the likes of Spoon, Afghan Whigs, and Joy Division. All solid influences to pull from my perspective. Customizing my impressions a bit more based my personal taste, the band’s music also reminds me of Blue October, which is also a totally an awesome thing in my book. In my last review, as I read what I wrote, I’m pondering now if I want to stand by it. I described them as if “Bowie fronted late 90s R.E.M.” Yup. I’ll stick with that. Look at me agreeing with me again.

“Love Hotel” is generating some buzz, not only in part to warm reception of the last album. There are rumors of a professional guest musician, that I’ve not been privy to the details. Only whispers. Whispers of folks involved that have worked with high profile musicians and have won Grammys. Well, now I’m overtly intrigued. While I’m not inner circle enough to know that tid-bit of juicy detail, I can offer you, the reader, this: An exclusive debut of Mal Fantome’s new video for the single, “Over.” This is the lead off single for the new album, premiering here in real time. Hear it first on the blog! By the time one might be reading this, I will be “tweeting the deet” and having a watch party in Discord.

I am ecstatic to be able to present this to you. Without further ado, please enjoy the incredible new video:

As with “Volcano” Mal Fantome will be sticking to tradition and releasing a music video for each song on the album. Talk about all killer, no filler. Now that’s a way to make an album. I had the awesome pleasure of chatting with an artist I hold a great deal of respect for, Chuck (Charles), the lead signer and guitar player for Mal Fantome:

All photos by Marie Josée Marcotte

AMS Radio: Chuck, I’m so glad to have you on the blog once again. How are you? We’ll go round robin with the “big 3” questions as customary. Starting with: What inspires you to create music?

Life. Love. Lust. Lies. Losing things you took for granted, everything. Sometimes a conversation with a stranger starts it all. Other times it’s someone’s reaction that strikes a chord. To us, inspiration comes from everything. Really.

Photo credit: Marie Josée Marcotte

AMS Radio: Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Jack, our bassist, is a huge Joy Division and New Order fan, but just like me he is also into bands like Interpol, Spoon, The Afghan Whigs, Jellyfish, etc. I am a Beck and Bowie fan. I think they both have similarities in the way they reinvent(ed) themselves. I like songwriters, melodists like McCartney, Ennio Merricone, the Bee Gees or Burt Bacharach and consider they all influence the way we write our songs. Ike, our drummer, likes all kind of stuff from jazz to pop to grunge. Finally, Marc is probably the real true rocker in the band.

Photo credit: Marie Josée Marcotte

AMS Radio: Tell me a little bit about your creative/writing process, how does the music make it from concept to final product?

Mal Fantome has a unique creative process. Jack and I have been spending the last 14 years perfecting our songwriting methods. We’ve been meeting almost every week with the goal of creating at least 3 song ideas per session. Sometimes, most of times, we get to develop up to 5 or 6 of theses ideas which are quite evolved – they have several parts and have some sort of structure. You can imagine, doing the same exercice for 14 years… That gets us at least 150 to 200 song ideas yearly. Not complete songs of course, but enough to pass to the next step which is to choose which ideas will be completed to become a song. We make shortlists and decide on which one will become songs. The recording process comes next. For our upcoming 3rd album, we decided to invite outside musicians we like. Luckily, most of our requests were accepted so we have a whole bunch of songs coming featuring musicians that most people heard playing with other major artists. So, lots of surprises coming for the next months.

AMS Radio: Tell me about the music scene where you are from. What’s popular, what do you like or dislike about it, and what interesting things are happening?

We’re from Quebec city, Canada. Quebec city is the capital of the province of Quebec, the only official french-speaking province in Canada. That is wonderful but also a curse to us and for most artists who do not sing in french. We don’t get any support from the press, tv or radio. So for bands like ours, Spotfy, Apple Music, and all streaming services are they only way to get noticed. Funnily, we have more fans from outside of Quebec because of that. One thing that we’re really excited about happening in Quebec city is the FEQ (Quebec’s Music Festival). To be honest with you, there is nothing like it anywhere in North America. The festival lasts 10 days in July and presents major acts on several stages. There must be something like 250 to 300 artists coming from all over the world and it costs something like 125$ for the whole festival. Just to give you an idea, I’ve seen Rage Against the Machine, Spoon, Interpol, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Rolling Stones, Stone Temple Pilots, The Who, Paul McCartney, KISS, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Foo Fighters, Beck, Phoenix, The Church, Joseph Arthur and the list goes on an on.

Photo credits: Marie Josée Marcotte

AMS Radio: Who’s playing the trumpet in the new song? That is pretty cool.

The trumpet player is Montreal’s renowned Charles Imbeau. He played with every Quebec star.

AMS Radio: The lyrics kind of coincide with the storyboard of the video in a general sense. I thinking about lyrics like, “live it out now just like there’s no tomorrow” and “regret it later when it’s over.” Was that intentionally metaphorical? If so, are there any more underlying conceptual connections between the song and the visual representation?

I like your question. To be perfectly frank, we try as much as we can to tie things up without telling everything. Jack and I are huge David Lynch fans. I think we both like the unsaid, the blurry lines, the symbolism and poetry of it all. We surely find the idea of associating a story to a song’s lyrics appealing but it is also a double-edged blade/sword. I much prefer the idea of someone making his/her own interpretations of our songs rather than explaining everything. But, in this video, we wanted to express the idea of living the moment and the consequences. The song is not about a guy being chased by cops, it’s all about someone who has a moment with the one he/she never had. Our 3rd album is called Love Hotel and every song, everything is linked in some ways. It’s up to the listener to link the dots.

AMS Radio: Last time I covered you guys, can’t believe that was January and it’s now November, the band was a three piece. Or so it seemed. By my count, it looks like you guys may have acquired another member. How did that transpire?

We are very fortunate to be surrounded by friends who have multiple talents. Marc has been producing every video since our 2nd album – Volcano. He also happen to be a damn good guitarist. When we used to play live as a trio, we couldn’t deliver the same performances as we do now – most of our songs have at least two guitar parts – and Marc was just a normal fit for us. He actually collaborated on Volcano. You can hear his playing on Blue, that was his first musical contribution.

AMS Radio: Mind if I spin the new single on the station?

Please do, as much as you feel like :). I can send an mp3 or wav if you want.

AMS Radio: You guys rock! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me.

Thanks but we couldn’t be here today chatting with you if music lovers like yourself didn’t take the time to stop and listen to lesser known bands like us. We are truly grateful and appreciative. Take excellent care of yourself and keep doing good, it’s infectious 🙂

Follow Mal Fantome Online:

Spotify // Facebook // Twitter // Official Website

Listen to Mal Fantome on AMS Radio during Indie Anarchy and on AMS Playlists:

Check out a playlist of artists featured in our Blog Reviews
Check out our radio station’s featured Spotify playlist, “Indie Anarchy”
A playlist archive of DIY and independent artists
Volume 2 of the Archives series
Volume 3 of Archives
The Heavy Stuff

Apple Music Playlists:

“AMS Radio: Indie Archives Vol. 3” on Apple Music

“AMS Radio: Indie Archives Vol. 2” on Apple Music

“Indie Archives” on Apple Music

“AMS Radio: Hard n Heavy” on Apple Music

“Indie Anarchy” on Apple Music

“AMS Radio Blog Reviews” on Apple Music