Malice K | Deciding If It's Worth It with New Single "Radio"

Wisps of fog, wavering delicacies, and the fragility of breath

Written by

Bree Castillo

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Photographed by Sharmeen Chaudhary

The days live on whether we want it to or not. So we endure every silent moment for what? A few iambic pentameters that we deem worthy of self-pity? Who decides if it’s worth it? See here, Brooklyn-based musician, Malice K, transpose his own furies into a quiet release with his latest offering “Radio.”  

Written like a pained letter, the track is contrived from the ache of being forced to endure the dull sound of consciousness even when the pressures from our own fears become dense. Obscured by wisps of fog, wavering delicacies, and the fragility of breath, the song maintains its simple rhythm yet appears to dwell in a realm beyond conventions. Calling on our own existentialism and innate and sometimes relentless search for meaning, Malice K finds his own immediate quintessence–and one that’s different from who and what his soundscapes could be indebted to. He sings, "I’m trying hard to be someone else, but someone else is already taken.”

“Radio” comes after his nostalgia charged 2022 EP Clean Up On Aisle Heaven, wherein he mourned a time that has passed and wades in what is left behind. It seems as it, Malice K while astray knows exactly where he wants to be.

For the first time, London will be able to see him live at Below Stone Nest on January 30th.  Until then, we spoke with Malice K about longing, capturing time, and what he thinks makes a person a person.

How did "Radio," first come to you–a dream, a memory, an echoing sentiment? 

It just happened. I had the guitar part and melody, and then the words best fit how I felt about myself at the time.

You say, “I’m trying hard to be someone else, but someone else is already taken.” Can you elaborate on this? What do you think makes a person, a person?  

At the end of the day, I still have all my problems and things that make me who I am. I feel I’m always trying to improve, or become something. Improve my ability to be likable, or become better at life. I think what makes a person a person is honoring in themselves what makes them strange, rather than striving to be someone who is generally acceptable. 

That also connects in a way with Elliott Smith's lyric, You're already somebody's baby, which the song pulls sonically from. And so how do you deal with longing? 

The song is called “Twilight,” but yes, I see the melodic similarities in the song. People feel the need to point that out to me, but most songs pull sonically from other songs. Everyone’s been playing the same chords forever. 

I deal with longing differently, depending on whether what I long for is obtainable or not. If I’m hungry, I eat. If it’s something I can’t have I just try to calm myself down. If it’s something that’s possible in the future, I’ll try to be patient.

What does vulnerability within art mean to you, and how does “Radio” fit into this notion? 

I think vulnerability in art is making something how you would make it, rather than making something the way an “artist” would make it. It can be easy to make something from an identity and way you see yourself. I think this happens more than not, and being honest with ourselves and seeing through our own identities doesn’t happen that often. Making myself available to those moments is all I can do. I feel that writing “Radio" was a moment I got to have.

How do you find beauty in the brutal? 

I don’t understand the “how” part of the question. I don’t have a method for finding beauty in things. I just think things are, or aren’t beautiful.

How do you keep your heart open? 

I just try to pay attention to where I’m at with myself. I’ll do my best to explore and be present with emotions or thoughts that come up. Try to know when to let go of things when I’ve explored them too long.   

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Malice K, Radio, Bree Castillo