Malick Koly was raised with a song in his heart, so there was no doubt that by the time he left the nest, he’d soar on his own toward a life overflowing with music. We started this chat there, as Malick spoke highly of his parents. From there we dove into emo infusions, festivals, and more like his new album, ‘Feel Bad Fest,’ which is out now on all major music and streaming platforms.
Kendra: You’re not only someone who found their voice but also a passion for an instrument as well. What sparked your interest in drums, AKA the best instrument?
Malick Koly: My parents! I grew up around my father’s theater company, and my mother, who was also a member, sang, wrote songs, and occasionally played percussion in the plays. The style of theater they revived included a live music component, and so from age two, I would crawl my way to the drumset. Until on my 4th birthday, I got a real set. I say that because I had an electronic one first.
Kendra: Listening to your latest, “Eaux Rouges,” I couldn’t help but sense a little 2000s Hot Topic, alternative, almost emo vibes going on. Did you ever hit up a Warped Tour back in the day?
Malick Koly: You’re onto something, but funny enough I’m a bit too young to have experienced Warped Tour! By the time I moved to America it was on its last leg and with school and learning English it was hardly in my orbit!!
However, I grew up on Muse, Blur, the Doves, the Klaxons, Pony Pony Run Run, Jupiter One, Duster, and many others who whether they were searching between alt indie and electronic, always had an emo feel to them! So when I sat down with Paul Cuffari my friend and cowriter on this one, we were like let’s talk about what I’m feeling, and that’s how it went!
Kendra: People can hear “Eaux Rogues” on ‘Feel Bad Fest.’ However, if you were going to throw an actual festival based on this record in New York City, where would be the ideal spot that’d fit the EP best?
Malick Koly: Summer Stage, Govball, Pitchfork, Celebrate BK, Global Citizen even, because it encompasses many layers and sonic truths that I feel speaks to many worldwide.
Kendra: The aforementioned single is your third from this EP. When the record started to take shape, did you ultimately know what songs you wanted to introduce to the world ahead of the release, or was that something you waited until everything was said and done to decide on?
Malick Koly: I think I knew what the theme and ideas were, and then the music led the way. The EP tells a story from start to end, so storytelling really directed how this story went as it was being created.
Kendra: You worked alongside Steve Jordan on this EP. Is there a layer on this record you think would’ve been MIA had you not connected with Steve?
Malick Koly: I would say so! As a young artist who’s been fortunate to have great mentors, it’s a tricky dance between feeling you’re ready and mature vs leaning too hard on the mentorship and not flying away and shaping your own ideas, but Steve makes all those things fluid because he’s made sure to make me understand that it’s a collaboration first and foremost, it’s my music, my stories my ideas and he was here to guide it as opposed to leading, that he left it up to me and was the overseer of things. It is and was the best feeling!
Kendra: Time for a side note – So August is a huge month for me, with so many loved ones’ birthdays being celebrated, so I’d love to know what song you’d dedicate to your loved ones, be it friends, family, or both…
Malick Koly: It’s hilarious you say that because ‘Feel Bad Fest,’ the EP, is dedicated to the ones I’ve lost, and August 18th is my father’s birthday!
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Feel Bad Fest’ out now, what else can the people out there expect from you as 2023 rolls along?
Malick Koly: Well! The jig might be up, after the drop, but the EP has some secret cuts with some very special people involved that may see the light of day, I’ll leave it at that haha!