Lara@RRR: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! Could you please state your name(s) and role(s) in the band?
Mike Dijan (Guitar & Keys)
Lara@RRR: How did the formation of the band come about, as well as the band name?
Mike: Rebecca and I met a few years ago at one of her solo gigs at the Bitter End in NYC. I thought she had amazing voice, but didn't know if she'd be into the music I was writing ..We started exchanging ideas by mail and everything started to click for us. We started jamming together and playing live with a bunch of dark, slow grooving hard rock songs we wrote with her melodic voice carrying it. We then hooked up with producer, Dean Baltulonis, who had recorded/produced a ton of hard music, but also worked with bands like the Hold Steady, Foriegn Islands, and other NYC based indie rock acts..
We started writing more mainstream and upbeat hooks.. Dean gave us some great, hip sounds and direction. We asked my longtime bandmates in Breakdown, Larry Suzi and Lou Medina to join us.. Lavalette. (Named after Jean Parisot de La Valette, commander the resistance against the turks at the Great Siege of Malta during the Crusades.) Malta is a tiny/beautiful island where my mom is from, and is the inspiration for the name.
Lara@RRR: What musical influences do you have?
Mike: I'm into anything from, Frank Zappa to Celtic Frost.. Alanis Morrisette, Slayer, Van Halen, Bjork, Soundgarden, Candiria, Corrosion of Conformity, OFF!, The Who, Pink Floyd, Sioxi and the Banshees, Deftones. Rebecca and I have a common obsession with Led Zeppelin, and Jeff Buckley.
Lara@RRR: With members of this band previously being involved in hardcore bands and being known in the NYHC scene, what made you want to go into a different route?
Mike: As much as I love to write and play hardcore music live, and always will, there are other genres of music that I'm into, and when I started writing with Rebecca, who has a wide range vocally, and her own ideas that meshed well with mine, it felt like a leash had been cut. I felt free to write anything and it would shine.
Lara@RRR: With that being said, the introduction to the band was a cover of Cro-Mags’ “Malfunction”, with the video premiering on BlankTV. Why did you decide to introduce yourselves with a cover, rather than with an original song?
Mike: We just felt it was a song that represents our our sound, while also representing the different music scenes we come from, fusing the past and present, and paying tribute to a band I've been religiously following since I was 16 years old..
Lara@RRR: Regarding the cover, there has been a mixed reaction so far, with some people even seeming to be “angry”. What do you attest this reaction to and what do you have to say about it?
Mike: I don't know. I guess some people don't like pop mixed in with their Hardcore. Kinda like not liking fruit in your cereal. I will say this: What drew me in to Hardcore years ago when I was a kid, was that fact that Hardcore kids accepted me for who I was and embraced me in their scene, when society in general considered me an outcast for thinking and acting differently.. I'm still thinking/acting differently, and would hope that people would keep an open mind about it. On the other hand, the positive response has been overwhelming, and humbling. Especially the calls and messages from my peers in the Cro-mags, and other HC bands who I idolized growing up, saying that they love the song and the video. I would say there couldn't be better compliment than that.
Lara@RRR: How soon can we expect a debut release from Lavalette?
Mike: We hope to have a release out by early next year.
Lara@RRR: What does the band have planned ahead for them, specifically within the next year?
Mike: We will be doing some live gigs on the east coast this fall, as well as recording some new original material, and work on another video.
Lara@RRR: That’s all the questions I have – is there anything else you would like to add?
Mike: We want to thank everyone who helped with the release of Malfunction and having it reach so many people. And special thanks to all who have checked out the video and spread the word. Peace.