Interview: Garret Alvarado – Maul

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Our mate Meddlefan had the chance to shoot a question or two the way of Garret Alvarado, vocalist with the unbelievably awesome Death Metal band MAUL. He was kind enough to answer said questions, and as we have discovered is just a really great bloke in general, so have a read, and then go support the band! You will not be disappointed!

Hi Garret, many thanks for your time. Let’s start with an easy one. Where are all of you from?

Most of us have lived in Fargo now the last 5-9 years, all originally scattered around MN while three of us are from the White Earth reservation.

And how did you all meet, and why have you stuck together!

Anthony and I met each other in 6th grade actually talking about metal, then started making music together in 2008. Robby also went to the same school as us and we all did some backyard wrestling together haha. The 3 of us started practicing for what would end up being MAUL in March of 2017 and would be Robbys first attempt at learning drums.

Michael and Alex are brothers and have been playing music together since like 2010. So the combination of the “tripod” beginnings of the band and the brothers has made a lot of sense and been fun as hell writing together.

Could you share with us what inspires you all to create such great Death Metal?

We concentrate on writing in the room together from either riff ideas or improv jams, and building more on that feel in the moment, then it gets ironed out the more we get together. I do feel like everyone’s energy and moods working at once help guide how the song should feel and flow, whether it’s dirty, punishing or just straight up catchy, when we’re there, we know what will be right for us.

What can you tell us about the upcoming full length “Seraphic Punishment”, any secrets you’d like to share?

This is MAUL on a different level, better song writing, bigger presence, catchier riffs and just fun songs that will beat your ass. Definitely all of the aspects you’d expect from a hungry band on their debut Lp, but no smoke and mirrors. We truly feel like we’re bringing it for this.

garret

How has the reception been to the teaser you released for it, “Deity Demise”.

The reception has been great honestly, it’s one of those things where it kind of took us 3 years to really get started, ya know? This is our 5th release but the first time a lot of people are hearing us. So all of that work and growth was learning opportunities/building blocks and now it’s time to lay it on and keep figuring shit out.

Who are some of the bands you listen to on a regular basis?

Because that’s a little too broad for all of us, I’ll give you bands that we listen to that inspire us as a band:

Vastum, Undergang, Outer Heaven, Creeping Death, Xibalba, Deicide, Dying Fetus, Asphyx, Lamb of God, Suburban Scum, and Bent Life.

Apart from Metal, what other types of music inspire you if any?

I have always been a sucker for outlaw country, classic rock, anything on those grounds of basic, but solid song writing and zero sense of that mass manufactured, soulless music just to sell. You can feel when something is real and that’s what I draw to and always try to learn something from.

Any other bands or projects that any of you play in?

Our guitarist Lamb has a solo country acoustic project under his real name. There’s also a separate band that involves most of us in the works.

maul

Being from the Fargo area why do you think it’s so hard to get good shows in town?

I would say the DIY scene has held up it’s own and brought in countless smaller touring packages for locals to be showcased, on top of just thriving in general Fargo boasts some heavy variety and talent across metal, hardcore, punk, noise, etc.

As far as national tours coming through, I think it just falls under being a little “too small” of a market and gets overlooked easily which is a shame, Fargo is a hungry town to support art.

Hopefully you can do some shows soon. Are there any in the never future?

Our only planned show this year is October 24th for MWDF, but the miserable handling of the pandemic in our country hasn’t looked too bright, and it looks less and less of a good idea if it even comes to fruition. We look forward to getting back to motion as soon as the world allows it safely.

What do you think of this digital music era?

It’s been very important as far as accessibility, doing research on the roots and all sorts of obscure demo hunting. On top of the networking with other bands/promoters and booking tours. While streaming itself isn’t beneficial to independent artists financially, it’s kinda like the new age record label exposure and those were never about making money for the artists.

A few lighter questions if I may. I enjoy collecting physical releases. Do any of you collect any music?

I collect cassettes, mostly death metal and bands that we meet on the road.

Can you share with us the types of things do you do for fun?

Writing, hiking, smoking, documentaries, being with our pets.

What would you say is your favourite type of food?

Pizza dude, it’s everything

What kind of work do you do when you are not creating the sickest of music?

All of us are either into back of house work, concrete, retail, and wedding dj.

Favourite Bolt Thrower album?

I mean, “Those Once Loyal” is perfect. I’ve always liked “IVth Crusade” too.

mauld

Out of everything though, what would be your favourite past time?

Anything involving music.

Thanks for that, always nice to throw in a few less heavy questions ha-ha. Time to be serious again. Politics aside, has the Covid crisis affected any of you in any way shape or form?

It’s been a challenge to stay afloat mentally, but eye opening in a lot of other beneficial ways. I was WAY too fucking busy working nonstop and booking in advance for the band to ever enjoy the “in the moment” stuff before all of this, if that makes sense.

Label interest, do you have any hovering around waiting to snatch you up?

After the release of “Monarchy of Mold”, which was when everything got cancelled by Covid, we saw Redefining Darkness Records putting together a Spotify playlist for all of the underground death metal acts affected and lost out on tours. We sent a submission in and I believe it was the next day they hit us up asking about our plans for the future and we came to an agreement to partner up for the future.

So very excited to work with them on our debut full length and whatever else comes our way. That playlist is called “DEATH TO THE VIRUS” btw, lots of heavy hitters

Who does all the crazy keyboard stuff, which is magnificent by the way. Yes, we may have referred to it in a review as “Disco Biscuit” material, but it is truly majestic and really sits well with the rest of your stuff.

One of our main homies, Gabriel Schwanke, has been the mastermind behind the last couple we released. He has a few different noise/experimental projects under FALL DMG, GEESE, and PKHARMAT, and he’s a vocalist for experimental metal band called SANGHA.

We’re really into setting a mood, especially something trippy or flat out creepy, to take you under and out of the brutality just to spit you back into it.

Also gotta shout out Brandan Noffze who did our interlude “Alone” on our 2018 demo “Soaked in Penance, Solicit the Torture”. Which is fucking awesome, it has the title of the demo being played in Morse code throughout the sample. So sick.

We recently posted some pics of a cool little zine you have been working on over the last few months, any plans to ever get something like that published? It is very cool!

I started those once quarantine hit and needed a creative outlet, have never been afraid to tout my favourite bands/friends and promote music I love so it was a cool project. I did each issue just over a weekend, from the questions to the transcribing. Not sure if I’ll ever do physical copies though.

The artwork for your covers and merch etc, who does that? It’s very old school, and works a treat to draw the eye of the potential listener I think.

I have always been huge on making sure the visuals of the band match or almost take on their own presence of us. The total package is important to me because it is all part of the experience, part of why I love certain bands and whatnot, you want to be fully immersed in what they’re offering. We’ve used MFAXII on a couple of covers,(“Monarchy of Mold”, and “Adoration through Annihilation”) who’s just flat out incredible. Our buddy Aaron Dugeon from Phobophilic has handled a few designs for us, including “Deity Demise” and the last 2 versions of our logo. We also have two more projects coming out that involve who I think are some of the sickest artists in the game today for death metal and will be our first ventures into commissions of watercolour and oil painting.

And to finish up, what does Metal mean to you. Is it just the music? The community? does it give you a sense of belonging? All of the above?

All of the above really, metal is so vast as a genre and an important part of my every day life. The moods are easy to match and have always helped ground me or inspire me. The community and being involved with one is so special too. I’ve always been an outcast for the most part and having an artistic outlet is one of the only ways I know how to cope/translate the stresses of life. So having a community to actually champion that feeling, to give other people that same stage and outlet and to be heard or seen is incredibly important. I feel strongly about the words of “high tides raise all ships”, so the more help and accessibility people have together is sick.

And there you have it, a totally cool bloke with an immense amount of passion for the Metal scene. This is one of the reasons we highly suggest supporting people like Garret, they give as much as they can to us all through both their music and their unwavering support of others around them. We thank him very much for his time, and you lot should now go and check out ALL of their stuff, because trust us, it is fucking magnificent. Here are some links!

https://www.facebook.com/MAULND/

https://maul701.bandcamp.com/

https://maul-us.bandcamp.com/album/deity-demise

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_CF8K1GFiSPcqjDx7grKcA

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