Artist Spotlight

A Q&A with Mallory of The Mardi Kings

Back in November I went to my favorite bar, Junker’s Tavern and was immediately captivated by the eccentric band that was performing. With two front-people marching around and singing their hearts out, I was giddy with excitement. I met Mallory of The Mardi Kings after the show and she was kind enough to agree to an interview with Women in Rock.

Izzi: When did the Mardi Kings form?

Mallory Hestand: I joined the Mardi Kings last March after Ryan (one of our star guitarists) asked me if I’d be available to attend a practice with them. I don’t really have the whole story about the band before I joined. I was just grateful that they let me stay because I honestly did not know what I was doing for that first practice…or the second one. But Andy (frontman) sent me notations and lyrics and I was able to catch up to play a show with them a couple weeks later.

mardikings1IK: How did you develop the style of two frontpeople? Have you and your fellow frontman, Andy, always played off of each other? Do you spur each other on?

MH: The frontman, Andy Macbain, had written the Mardi Kings album (XVII) a few years ago, and it was written to have duo-vocals. I wish I could say I had anything to do with the initial development of the band’s style, but I wasn’t there for it. I can’t speak for Andy, but I am really pleased and excited by how well we ended up working together. His energy and stage presence have pushed me to perform better and I’ve learned a lot from him in the short time we’ve been playing together. He does some weird stuff up there, and I wouldn’t be much of co-frontperson if I didn’t follow suit.

IK: How do the Mardi Kings write songs? Who writes the lyrics?

MH: Andy writes all the songs. When we first started, he sent me some sheet music and then we worked it out since I was sort of catching up with the rest of the band. Now it’s easier to just learn along with everyone else. I wish I could say we write together, but I’m not going to mess with his songwriting. It’s too good!

IK: How will you celebrate Mardi Gras? Does your band like king cake?

I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated Mardi Gras. Not much more to say about that. What’s king cake? Sounds like it should be the official dessert of The Mardi Kings. I wonder if it’s good…

IK: Tell me about your other band, Earthquake Party. Do you sing in it? What kind of music is it?

MH: I formed Earthquake Party with my best friend Justin Lally back in 2009. We both sing and I play keyboard, he plays guitar, and we have a drummer, Josh “Jraff” Carrasco. We’re somewhere in the poppy, punky, fuzzy, loud garage rock genre. I’m not good at categorizing things. We’ll have a full-length album coming out sometime in the near future, and we currently have two EP’s on our bandcamp page.

IK: What is your favorite thing about performing?

MH: I just like to play music, and I’ve learned a lot about myself through performing. I also find a lot of satisfaction in getting positive reactions to my performance. If I make just one person in the audience happy during my set, then I’m happy.

IK: Which musicians are your biggest inspirations?

MH: Karen O, Kathleen Hanna, Marissa Paternoster, and Jenny Lewis have always been big inspirations for me. They embody everything that inspires me to pursue art: they’re inspired, insightful, talented, and independent.

IK: Do you have any music release plans for 2016?

MH: I’m not sure what The Mardi Kings have planned, but like I said before, Earthquake Party has something in the works. I’d love to release something with The Mardi Kings in the future. We’ll see how it plays out.

IK: What is your most prized musical possession (a record, show poster, book, CD, signed memorabilia, instrument, etc)?

Photo by Madison McConkey
Photo by Madison McConkey

MH: My Roland SA-09 keyboard is by far my most prized possession in general.

IK: What is your favorite cover you’ve ever performed with a band?

MH: I always enjoyed playing “Molly’s Lips” with Earthquake Party back in the day, but The Mardi Kings rendition of “I Got You Babe” has been undeniably fun to perform. We started our tour not really having practiced the song, and neither Andy nor I knew all the words even by the end of the tour. So every show ended with one big punk mess that is some of the most fun I can have on stage.

IK: Who’s your favorite band you’ve ever played a show with?

MH: This is tough! There are so many bands in Boston that I love to share bills with. I think the band I have been most excited about is The Thermals. Earthquake Party played with them at The Sinclair in Cambridge a few years ago.

An avid rock musician and enthusiast as well as a rock history buff.

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