- Kevin Zirfas
Compromising may be an unavoidable part of ordinary life, but it's not necessarily a key ingredient when it comes to keeping a band alive and kicking. Take Malakai, who'll be celebrating a full decade together next year, during which time they've preached the gospel of death, doom and straight-ahead metal that's landed them Indy Music Awards three years running.
"I think the main thing is that we all are fans of what we do," says frontman Chris Forsythe. "I've been in bands before where I liked playing with the guys and it was fun, but I wasn't necessarily a huge fan of the music that we played. [Laughs.] But Malakai is the kind of band that, if I wasn't in it, I would still listen to it."
Currently, the gravel-throated singer and his bandmates are writing songs for the band's next album, some of which they'll be debuting at next week's Indy Music Festival.
Forsythe also plays the occasional gig with his more grindcore-inclined Tree of Woe, while the full Malakai lineup moonlights every once in a while as Brass Monkey, whose Beastie Boys repertoire ranges back to pre-Licensed to Ill punk fare like "Tough Guy" and "Brand New."
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"It's all metal guys that just like the Beastie Boys," says Forsythe of the live tribute band, which finds him playing the role of Mike D because "he was the smoothest. Ad-Rock was always a little too aggressive for me, and MCA's voice was too deep." (This coming from a vocalist whose roar can plunder the depths of hell.)
But even after a decade, Malakai is still the main attraction.
"I read a Melvins interview one time where they asked them how they lasted long, and they said they just don't break up," says Forsythe. "You keep working, keep writing, keep playing shows, and just never give yourself a chance to break up. And that's how we've always looked at it. We just keep doing what we do."
2nd place: Inelements
3rrd place: Sonic Vomit