The mighty Malleus conjures up an impressive mix for the fifty-first entry in our TRUSIK mix series. This decade long guitarist, drummer, and self-taught producer has roots darker than most within the bass culture. With a slight obsession of horror and the occult, Malleus applies his early hip hop background to his death metal roots to create a sound all too eerie. Captivated by low end frequencies found within the bpm of 140, he harnessed a taste for raw sampling, odd time signatures, forward thinking syncopation, and haunting melodies that would give even the strong hearted the creeps. His productions are lively and energetic while still somehow sinister and troubling. With music on FatKidOnFire, Gourmet Beats, Grand Ancestor and mostly recently Encrypted Audio, we wondered why Malleus hadn’t been featured yet. Label mate Samba caught up with Tyler to discuss parenthood, witches and forthcoming releases.
What made you want to produce?
Well, my father has always been a musician. As a child and as a young adult, his love for music clearly had an impact on me. Computers started getting pretty big as I made my way through high school so naturally I got really into web design, making crude hip hop beats, and playing Starcraft. I played in a total of 7 bands all the way through my twenties, and some of them were quite successful for what they were, and through all of that I learned a lot about the music industry. However, as I got older and found the club/rave scene, I soon took production a bit more seriously. Initially, I just wanted to try making something that I felt was fun and new, that didn’t require 5 guys getting together to practice. That changed over time as I became more and more obsessed with production and creating my own sound. At this stage in the game I really look to make an impact with the messages and sound I’ve put down in my DAW.
You’ve done a fair bit then. I think a bit of each of those things comes through in your music and there’s definitely that musician style element to your productions, your melodies and progressions are always so on point. Do you tend to focus on them when you’re starting a track up or do they come after the beat is down?
It really depends because sometimes I start tracks with sampled melodies and others I have random sounds I decide to use in samplers to create something fresh. In a lot of cases, a good run of tracks stem from a good sample hunting session, but lately I’ve been finding more fun in creating and manipulating organic sounds with my studio mic and guitars.
Yeah fair enough, some of these more melodic bits you have been doing are really nice, I know you were toying with an alias but I’ve always meant to ask, why the name Malleus where did it come from?
The malleus is one of the three bones in your inner ear. It’s “the hammer” and it actually vibrates when sound hits it to create the noise we hear as frequencies. It’s also associated with witches.
Of course it’s associated with witches, wouldn’t expect anything less from you, how is it associated then?
The Malleus Maleficarum is a well known book full of witchcraft and the punishment of being a witch in the 1400’s, it loosely translates to Hammer of the Witch.
Wow, makes my name seem so lazy, Sam Bartlett, Sam ba? Yes that’ll do.
(Laughs) I knew that’s how you got your name but you know what, sometimes it’s that simple. I’m just obsessed with hidden meanings. I named one of my old bands Susan Constant because that was the name of one of the three boats that first came to the Americas but that one in particular was the one with all the disease on it that spread to the natives and killed most of the early settlers.
Bleak, very bleak, but again I’d expect nothing less from the witch dad of 140. What does the witch dad plan to do today anyway?
Traverse the rain with my fiancé and son to grab some coffee downtown, browse some shops, make our way home, attempt to make homemade pizza, and watch a scary movie if we’re not too tired once the little guy goes to bed.
Actually sounds pretty ideal to be honest, I know you like scary films, what do you reckon is the villain or monster you would least like to be trapped in a room with?
Honestly, the devil. Movies like The Exorcist are the only ones that truly give me any sort of spook. I dunno, might have something to do with not having control over being possessed.
Yeah man definitely feel that, couldn’t think of much worse than being trapped in a room with the devil, well on the flip of that, which would you want to be the most?
Dude, Belial aka Basket Case! He gets to chill in a wicker basket and then when no one’s looking, he sneaks out and kills people. Not to mention he’s got a great noise he makes instead of talking.
(Laughs) I just Googled him, he seems like my kind of chap. But yeah, onto more serious matters, I’ve been meaning to ask dad life, dad bod? Can I get an update.
(Laughs) Mannn, being a dad is something else. It’s totally different than you’d imagine. I love every minute of it though. This year we had a baby, bought a house, and are planning a wedding, all while both having full time jobs, 5 days a week and still trying to manage our own personal lives. It’s been tough. Luckily we’re starting to get a routine going so things are kinda settling down. As far as the dad bod, it’s in full effect. It’s like having a beer belly but without the perks of drinking all the beer to acquire it! You just basically let yourself go and it’s okay because you have a kid.
I should probably ask some real questions now aside from your upcoming Encrypted release, what else is in the pipeline for you?
Surprisingly not a whole lot. I’ve got a few tracks sitting around that need to be released but all kinds of weird stuff happening behind the scenes are making it hard to release them. If you noticed I started giving stuff away on my Bandcamp out of frustration. No point in talking politics so I’ll save the explanations. Things are moving, just at a snail’s pace. I did a remix for an upcoming release planned to drop at the end of the year, some time next year I have another Gourmet Beats release planned, and hoping to solidify some stuff with Encrypted down the road. Lately if I’ve had any time for music it’s been working on experimental stuff that’s been dwelling in my mind forever that needs to get out.
Fair enough man, yeah we’ve spoken about some of that before, it’s a shame there’s a few bits of drama in the scene but oh well, I guess it happens everywhere.
Yeah man, if a scene doesn’t have some sort of drama then it’s probably not flourishing. The styles we work within have been around for over 10 years so people are bound to butt heads.
If you could make a collaboration with one person who would it be? (Regardless of genre)
Dave Phillips. His mind is of some other realm.
Yeah that would be one dark collaboration. Okay now for some quick fire questions, get on those toes mate. If you could curate one line up, any venue, any artists, who would be on it?
Goth-Trad, The Body, Defeated Sanity, Pharmakon, and The Haxan Cloak.
Describe your life in 3 words.
Unlucky, perseverance, incredible.
What is your most played song at home at the moment?
Personal: Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass
Family: The opening theme to Broad City
What’s the maddest dream you’ve ever had?
As a child I had a reoccurring dream that my family was slaughtered in front of me by a man with a blurred face and extremely long sharp fingers. He stares at me through a screen door and rakes his fingers along the weaved wire before my parents rush over, only to be ripped apart. Then I wake up. I stopped having it after I told my mother about it.
If you could only listen to one song on repeat forever, what would it be?
Holy Other – Held