Entertainment Magazine

A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard

Posted on the 24 November 2023 by Ripplemusic
A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphanies since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears. What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Malcolm: Listening to Roots by Sepultura, that whole albumgot me into metal. I was just blown away by how loud and aggressive it was. Also, the first time I heard Eyehategod. They are insane and I love it.

Costantino: Pantera's "The Great Southern Trendkill" was shocking to me because it brought aggression up a notch - plus, the song structures were weird to me, it made me want to re-listen and analyze how something like that can possibly be put together. It was as awkward as it was aggressive, in a sense.

Kurt: Probably for me it was when I saw Metallica on TV for the first time. They opened the Freddie Mercury tribute concert back in 1992 I think.I was blown away instantly.

Bażaż: When I was 6 years old, I shared my bedroom with my eldest brother who used to like King Diamond. So for me it was the 1st time I listened to King Diamond's album: 'Abigail'. I still love 'Abigail' because of the technique & traditional heavy metal. Then I listened to another of his albums: 'Them', which includes some horror tracks. So I was really blown away!

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics?

All: Usually, Kurt prepares a few riff ideas that he then sends to the band with basic drum tracks. We all have a listen and start working on some ideas individually that would fit the skeleton of the song.

I think it helped working with an objective to complete the tracks for "Turned to Stone" specifically. We gave more credit to our jams and it was liberating - we realized that what we want to play always has an element of extemporaneity that we want to preserve, to a degree.

How does it all fall into place?

All: At our practice space really! It's all about getting together and jamming out ideas until we are happy with the final result.

Vocal patterns are worked into the song during the song writing process. Then usually the lyrics are written to fit the patterns. Working the other way around feels too restrictive

We prepared a lot for the recording session for "Turned to Stone" in order to capture raw, veracious performances - in fact, I think we kept some first or second takes.

Who has influenced you the most?
A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard

Malcolm: For me it's mainly vocalists like Anselmo, Patton, Dez Farfara, Corey Taylor, Mike Williams and even Freddie Mercury to an extent; but way too many to mention here.

Costantino: Well it has to be Bill Ward - particularly his drum fills are unusual, odd, you don't quite know when they end. I find that to be more inspiring than - say - John Bonham orIan Paice.

Kurt: Personally my influences change with time. I started off worshipping metal guitar players like Dimebag Darrel and Zakk Wylde. Now you will find me listening to SRV, Hendrix or something funky like Nile Rodgers.

Bażaż: Apart from King Diamond's music, my influence came mainly from Anarcho-punk & OI! Also, in the early 2000's I was very influenced by Nu Metal, especially by the band Ultraspunk.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Malcolm: My state of mind and mood at the time. Listening to different music genres and vocalists across the world helps me think outside the box a bit. Or at least I try to.

Costantino: I come back a lot to Miles Davis' 70s' records - like the percussion on "On the Corner" and how funky and unorthodox they are, I think you can listen to that stuff now and still find new ideas that I sort of want to replicate.

Kurt: I'm in that phase where I'm discovering more old music than new.

Bażaż: I get inspired mostly by punk music & 70's heavy rock. Funnily enough I also get inspired by prog monsters like: Rush, & by Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown and how that reflects in the music?

All:We can refer to Malta as a hometown? It's a tiny speck of an Island in the middle of the Mediterranean, smaller than most towns or cities around the world.

It's a touristic, busy location with high summer temperatures and a rich history dating back to the stone age. We don't have many bands making it out here, and these elements really affect how we all approach our music.

Where'd the band name come from?
A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard

All: Oh man, that's quite a story. The band went through months of trial and error with band names before settling on Lady Lizard. We just wanted to push for a catchy name using nature or animal themes. It adds to the music. Lizards are also endemic to the island so there you go!

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

Malcolm: Any Tarantino Movie.

Costantino: They should make a sequel of the Super Mario movie starring Bowser, Mario's nemesis. If they ever do that, drop Jack Black and throw us in. Bowser is totally stoner metal to me.

Kurt: I love the atmosphere the music and sound creates in movies like Blade Runner 2049 and the new Dune (both directed by Denis Villeneuve). That is something I really resonate with -a desolate world.

Bażaż:🤘🏻Queen of the Damned 🤘🏻

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).You're going to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Malcolm Alden: Probably 'Egg' by Mr. Bungle. That song and its elements showed up in an awesome part of my life, and it brings back so many great memories.

Costantino Oliva: "Thousand Knives" by Ryuichi Sakamoto - it's just an incredible composition, it's so full of surprises, references, the beat is brilliant...I can just describe that for 1000 words!

Kurt: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Bażaż: My Name is MUD!

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

During a show in Romania, we accidentally stopped early in a song. Kurt had to still continue his solo... So, we carried on with cymbal swells, some "hell yeahs!" and a running bassline. It was a hilarious improvisation during a solo and the crowd seemed to love it! They had no idea it was a mix up. We laughed about it afterwards.

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

We like to maintain a flow to our shows. We write fast songs and slow songs, so we provide fans with a mixture of both, split up in a way that makes the show more relatable. We like to enjoy our time on stage, we engage with the crowd and don't take ourselves too seriously!

What makes a great song?

Malcolm: A hook. A lot of songs nowadays I feel suffer from not providing that catchy hook. I know it sounds cliche but they're always the songs we end up singing in the shower.

Costantino: the beat! Also when we're playing live, if I can see something like a grisly expression on the people in the front row I know the song has its moments!

Kurt: Everything.

A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard

Bażaż: A heavy bass line!

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

All: The first song was a weird concoction of sludge metal and stoner that was put together before we were even a band. It was like a seed that would eventually blossom into Lady Lizard. Listening to it now, it's really weird to see how much the band has evolved and progressed.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

Malcolm: I would say the new songs in general. I think they are a perfect blend of what Lady Lizard wants to be.

Costantino: I like "Lair of the Behemoth", it's a song that I can play often and still feel inspired to jam on it.

Kurt: From the new stuff probably "Lair of the Behemoth" and "Solitary Planet". I feel like we have perfected 2 sides of the same coin with these 2 songs.

Bażaż: For me it's Mourning Man, for the fact that we use a really good sample and I start with the bass as an intro. Apart from that, the song gives me a lot of energy & maybe even an adrenaline rush.

Who, today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

Malcolm: Knocked Loose are just kicking my ass right now. Their abrasive hardcore and insane vocals are just punishing. Love it.

Costantino: I second Knocked Loose! What about OSEES? With two drum kits? You can't beat that.

Kurt: Whoever is not afraid to be themselves and creates something that will keep you hooked til the end.

Bażaż: The IDLES, with this new genre of music they came up with

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

All: Has to be vinyl...and cassettes! If we can get our hands on a decent cassette deck, we're definitely ready to switch to that!

Whiskey or beer?And defend your choice
A Ripple Conversation with Lady Lizard

Malcolm: Ok, I know this is heresy because we have Cisk in Malta. But I'll go with Whiskey. I need my whiskey and Coke when playing! It's a force of habit.

Costantino: Whiskey is better for you - you can have a beer belly but you can't have a whiskey belly. You can't debate that!

Kurt: Whiskey in colder times, beer all year round.

Bażaż: Go beer or go home 🍺

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's your hometown, and when we get there, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

All: I guess we could consider Malta our hometown and the MUST VISIT record store is D'Amato Records in Valletta. No debate. It's the oldest record store in the world which has not moved. It's been there since 1885 and is iconic.

Also visit Solo Records! Pietro there stocks local bands, he's the man. Great service to the scene.

What's next for the band?

All: For us it's about writing, recording and promoting our music as much as possible. We can't wait for 2024 to kick off and we're so looking forward to the Turned To Stone release. Particularly on vinyl. In the meantime we are also planning to film a promo video to one of the songs that is going to be featured on the Turned To Stone split. We are also trying to get in touch with promoters or bands that can help us book some shows overseas next year. Other than that, we'll keep on writing new music and plan another release!

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