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Maule's Johhny Maule: "I think art is there to help you through a tough time, there to help you face it, not run away. I would hope our music would help someone stand up to difficult times, not turn a blind eye"

Interview with Johhny Maule from Maule
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 16 January 2022, 9:17 PM

Not every band out there really keeps in check everything, as most of the bands out there started, and some survive, based on pure fun. There is no detailed plan, unless this is an upcoming career path, and effort is made when needed. Bands like Maule, hailing from Canada, share devotion for the old school ways of making Metal, following the British side of things without question. Coming up with a new album, self-titled "Maule", is a showmanship of the freedom of Heavy Metal. Steinmetal had a good chat with the band's bass man, Johnny Maule, on the latter's  perspective of the music and of course the process of the record.

Hello Johnny, it is good to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

I’ve been great, thanks for asking.

Time and time again I am amazed I’d tell you, this admiration, and acknowledgement, of newcomer bands towards a wave of Metal that is dating back to the late 70s. Even if it can be rendered as common in old school driven Metal music of the present, it is still wondrous. Your band Maule is part of this wave of bands that have been preserving the spirit of old. How does it feel to be one of the old guard, in particular since the modernized version of Metal achieved so much popularity?

It feels damn good haha. For real thought our modus operandi isn’t to be a part of any specific time period or genre. We just play what we like to play.

Since you guys are all about old school Metal, ditching the contemporary stuff for others to play with, I wonder what form of magic do you find in this vintage direction of Metal music? What makes you personally ignited in this musical form of the British kind?

Well they say there’s no school like the old school, right? Old school metal is all about magic, swords and sorcery! For me it was my first. You never forget your first. But again we didn’t set out to sound like a NWOBHM band. It just happened.

In brief, what can you tell about the foundation of Maule? What kind of vision did you have for the band in regards to both its musical end and its image? In your perspective, what does Maule represent?

Just a bunch of guys that got together and started jamming to be honest. There was no set plan, just write songs, play shows, record material, and so on. But of course we all want music to be our career. That's the end goal. If MAULE can make that happen for us that would be a dream come true. I think the potential is there. I think we represent having fun with your music. While we work hard we don’t take ourselves too seriously and are about having fun with what we do.

After already proving your worth with a debut demo, it was time to kick things into gear, and now you are set to release your debut full-length, “Maule”. How would you describe what went through your head when you decided, along with your mates, to head onto record a full-length debut? How did you know that the band was ready for it?

It was something we all wanted to do. The big issue was money, recording is expensive! We were all excited to be recording, We all felt ready. We’d been itching to get recording for a year prior. It was time.

With “Maule” completed, you were able to find your first home by signing with the Cruz Del Sur Music’s sub-label, Gates Of Hell Records. As a newcomer band, with a first contract in hand, what are your expectations from the label? What changes, surrounding the band, do you expect to see while being under the new label?

My expectations from the label was a cash advance of 20 million dollars. Haha, I didn’t know what to expect. We went through back and forth offers and I took notes. Basically we said “What is it that a distribution label can provide that we cannot?” Aside from the obvious production and distribution, the work in regard to PR from Cruz, Gates of Hell, Sure Shot Worx, Clawhammer, and whomever else I’m forgetting to mention has been far above what we’ve expected. As far as changes we’ll just have to wait and see. We’ve had member changes with the departure of Daniel Gottardo and Jakob Weel. I guess mentally we’re going to start gearing even more towards a business mentality than we’ve already had.

Going into the philosophical side of “Maule”, what inspired you guys while working on the album? What kind of a narrative does this album possess?

It depends song to song. For our first album I’d compare it to an anthology work of stories that we find interesting. Going down the road into album 2 and so on I’m going to have certain songs with an overarching narrative theme. No spoilers though!

Since we are at difficult times, pandemic wise, there have been plenty of artists that found a leeway in order to leave the world behind, at least while the album is playing. How does “Maule” serve as an escape from reality in your perspective?

I don’t believe necessarily in finding an escape. I think art is there to help you through a tough time, there to help you face it, not run away. I would hope our music would help someone stand up to difficult times, not turn a blind eye.

There is no doubt in my mind that NWOBHM is sacred to you guys, therefore, taking more than a hint and going through similar steps of the giants of the movement from the late 70s and early 80s. Nevertheless, Maule leaves its mark, and electrical spikes, all over the songs, ensuring a dynamic sense of songwriting made by a constructive vision. How do you find your version of the British Metal approach on the record in particular, and in general?

I think when you have a genre as prolific as NWOBHM thats been played by so many for so long its easy to get boxed into a certain “checklist”. You just have to keep in mind that no matter what you do you will be compared to bands of the 80s, and remember to take it with a grain of salt. This project was done for us. If we sound like other bands, cool! But that was never the goal.

Stepping a little back, and treading the pandemic fields, since “Maule” was in the works also during the first two waves, how did it impact the band and the completion of the new record? Were there instances that there were thoughts of simply letting everything go and give up due to the happenings of that period of time?

It didn’t affect us at all for the recording process, but we haven’t played a show since all this nonsense started. Ha I will never give up, that's not in my nature. But we are excited to play again in the next 40 years when the 2 weeks to flatten the curve finally ends haha.

And we are back to the present. As I mentioned, one of the album’s strong suits is its songwriting, portraying a sort of an upgraded effort, in your version, to the old British Metal flavor. Taking on the riffs, which took their positive toll on the recordings, what can you tell about the guitar work on this album? What elements did you find as pointers while the riffs came to be?

I (Bass Player) wrote most of the rhythm for the album. I think me doing that gives the guitars a lot more freedom and creativity. Essentially I’ll write a riff and say to the guitars “and you guys do literally anything you want over top of that”, instead of everyone just following one rhythmic line. But always harmonize. Always.

Playing all the lead guitar roles on the album is your previous guitarist, Daniel Gottardo. It is a damn shame that he left the band, as his efforts sound marvelous, exactly what an old school Metal band needs. How do you find his impact on the album’s recording? What were the main reasons for such a talented member to leave? 

Yes, he should still be in the band. I ask him everyday. Man its an understatement how he’s able to rip solos. Daniel left because although he loves heavy metal, his heart belongs to rock n’ roll, and he found that more in another project, thats all. He was in both projects for a time but it was just too much of a time sink for him, so he went with what felt best for him.

What can you tell that you learned from the songwriting process of “Maule”? What did you realize while writing the songs?

I realized that adding slow parts to really fast songs doesn’t kill the feel of them like i previously thought. Plus it gives my forearms a break so they don’t cramp up haha. I call them “break parts” or “break songs” where its not as physically taxing to play.

A song, which I found to be a pure reflection of an astonishing past, is no less than a classic, going forward in time, “Summoner” . It shares the old NWOBHM values, and is executed to the best of your abilities. Furthermore, it is also a song for the audience to cling on to for sing-alongs. What is your appreciation of this song? In your view, what makes it this special kind of record?

I wrote “Summoner” way back in 2011, its the first song I ever wrote. Its gone through a couple edits and versions but its basically the same. That song I’ll always have a soft spot for, it being the first.

When you took your time to listen to the album, once the engineering work was done to your satisfaction, how did it feel first to hold your debut album? Second, what went through your mind while playing the songs?

”Haha nice, I have an album” and “WHY ISN’T THE BASS LOUDER I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF AT ALL”

Being a Canadian band is surely amazing, yet I bet that it would be mighty glorious to sink in your teeth, hard and mighty, in Europe. Now, I know that there is Covid, but are going forward with a plan or something similar?

It’s hard to impossible to make travel and touring plans right now, but to say we’re interested in touring europe, particularly Germany, would be an understatement. If you want us there buy the album! Show our label we’re profitable and they’ll help us make it happen!

Johnny, it was a pleasure to have you, I wish to thank you for your precious time for this interview. May the current situation be easy on you. Also, thank you for an amazing record. Cheers

Thanks for the questions, any time



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