Harrisonburg, Virginia's Maletese continue their primal prowl with the barn-made slasher video premiere for "Ostrich". Fresh off their Animal Relief cassette for Bad Grrrl Records, the quartet spills out their pent up, small-town energy in their self-shot iPhone video of a hyperactive, imaginative, and rural incident.
Beginning with night exterior shots of a creepy backyard shed, red glowing candles cast a flickering light on Malatese's secret, after-midnight meeting. Suspicious behavior, crouched poses, and dim cadences present the eccentric house of horror lorded by frontman Travis Legg, dressed in granny-chic drag. Wielding a machete wildly in one hand with a bouquet of dead flowers in the other, the video gets even more weird, frightening, and, bizarre, playing out like a Hithcockian-Blair Witch nightmare. Film cuts of dry brush, dead highways, dragged bodies, and Travis playing up the horror and suspense to the satirical hilt, the backwoods atrocity exhibition becomes a backyard boogaloo that shakes up some macabre action to the band's current signature single. "Ostrich" alone allures with it's gob-smacked-spit-sure and snot-nosed volition, and now attacks with a level of midnight mass camp that keeps us wondering what Malatese will come up with next.
Malatese's frontman Travis Legg talked to us about making their wild, DIY video for "Ostrich", their Animal Relief cassette, and a little impromptu indie tour of Harrisonburg, Virginia.
What inspired the animal motif that became a part of the Animal Relief cassette for Bad Grrrl Records?
We are all animals aren't we, humans are just weird apes, and this EP is our personal and primal relief, our way to scream and tantrum about living a life so chaotic and void of meaning. As for our single being named "Ostrich", it's just a happy coincidence that it follows an animal motif (the name comes from the guitar tuning George uses in the song where you assign one note to all the strings). The real motif of this is about humanity's amnesia and how we ought to unearth the primal instincts we fear, let our freak flags fly. Both collectively and individually, we humans are masters at burying our unwanted past…it's time to show off a bit.
Can you break down how you all turned "Ostrich" into a weird, granny dress sporting, slasher video?
Music videos are fucking expensive if you don't do them yourself! So we decided to make it on our own and used what resources we had at our disposal: an iPhone, a creepy barn behind our friend Ariana's house, a weird Mennonite dress from Goodwill, a hobo machete we found in our attic, and a rotten wedding bouquet, all of which spontaneously added up in our minds to a slasher flick.
Lyrically "Ostrich" can be described as the narrative to an ego death gone haywire—an irrecoverable discovery for a poor spirit. The granny dress wearing lunatic you see in the video is a disembodied being overwhelmed by its newly boundless consciousness, whose only access left to the "real" world revolves around fragmented memories better left forgotten and an impulse to consume the future.
Give us the report from Harrisonburg. What's the scene like out there?
It's an interesting place for music. There's a pretty deeply ingrained house show culture in the town with its own weird histories—since Harrisonburg is a relatively small city, if you live here and go to shows regularly, you're probably stretching your taste a bit. There just aren't enough venues or people around to be super discriminating about the type of music you want to see, which is awesome in the sense that people get exposed to different stuff than what they're used to and have to try being open-minded. Obviously that works the other way too — it can be frustrating not having sweet shows to go to every night like in New York or something but we manage.
Some of your favorite local bands?
Buck Gooter is still kicking dick after like 20 albums, Medicine Calf, Earthling, Candidate Demo, Lil' Huffy—many more of past and present.
Best local venues?
Blue Nile, Artful Dodger, various house show spots.
The perks of Harrisonburg, VA?
Country roads and college girls—it's like CMT on mute! No, but it's great that James Madison University is here, there wouldn't be as active of a music and art world without it. Also the cops are relatively noise-tolerant, rent is super cheap, and the town doesn't run dry too often.
The not-so cool aspects of Harrisonburg?
The biggest industry here is poultry, there still exists more than a negligible amount of bigotry and backwardness, and sometimes the collegiate vibe can be overly influential in how people think about music.
What are you all working on these days?
We're putting together a week-long tour of the East Coast in June, working on new material for a possible split or solo release this summer, and punching the clock at our all-important, high-paying jobs. All four of us work on other musical things too, Jon's started his own recording endeavor, George is helping open a craft beer bottle shop downtown, and Graham and Travis have made it their mission to inform people that they are both blue-eyed redheads; two of the rarest people on Earth.
We're playing two shows this upcoming weekend in Harrisonburg; the first is a benefit show JMU's radio station WXJM is putting on Friday night at the Blue Nile with Titus Andronicus and Eternal Summers, and the second is Sunday night at our house with New England) Patriots from Boston and Harrisonburg's Medicine Calf.