Solo artist, Kyle Mallouk is the visionary behind the alternative rock band, Manny on a Mission. He started writing and producing music in 2005 while attending high school in Mississauga, Ontario. He is no novice to music production and has already released 8 full-length albums. His latest being, “Molly”, a concept album about a toxic relationship steaming from his personal life. As many of you may recognize this relates to his earlier first demo, “Molly, I miss you”. Although many are curious, we do not know who the real Molly is.
Kyle’s many musical influences include; Third eye blind, Augustana, Blink 182, Nada Surf, Hey Rosetta and Ryan Adams. You can especially feel these artists impact in his introduction and the first song on the album, “Picture of Madness”. He cleverly introduces us to Molly through her answering machine. Pouring his sorrow out, “I’m locking in his state”. The addition of the piano adds to the emotional impact of the song. Later followed by his cries of “I don’t know where you are”. The ballet and acoustics work in perfect harmony to highlight Kyle’s indie style.
“Accidental Overdose” starts as harsh as the title would suggest with a real head banding beginning. His anger portrays how he won’t let her drag him down. He expresses, “how fuck are you now? We’ve run ourselves straight into the ground”. Nothing sounds more toxic that the lyrics Kyle belts out. “Dressed to Kill”, builds on how Molly “builds him up to only bring him down”. Although disappointed in his partner this track has a more mellow rhythmic beat.
Who couldn’t hate Molly more in Kyle’s description of her betrayal featured in “Molly”. “You speak in code to hide your lies”...“ominous shadows surround her”... “she’s sleeping with all my best friends”. He draws on the disgust we feel from current/ ex-partners. Listening to this reminds me and makes me reanalyze my previous relationships. “Corrupt me”, continues to play on the vicious cycle of unhealthy relationships. Molly “lives to abduct me, to crave me, corrupt me”. You feel empathy in his words, “love is assisted suicide”, evoking emotions all too true to any who have fallen for the wrong person.
In contrast to his first 5 songs, “Over My Dead Body” and “Love is Violent” start off mellow and build to express further reasons why love can be dangerous. Don’t let this fool you as Kyle goes on the describe Molly leaving him for another guy. “Her love is violent and splits me open”.
My personal favorite and, the perfect way to end the album with, “Love You to Death”. It nicely summarizes how action can’t be forgotten and we mourn Molly’s death. For reasons, unknown she couldn’t “get ahold of her”. What was interesting to experience throughout this album was the story that Kyle so beautifully paints. Starting with the pain is feels for loving Molly and ending with a new pain in the mourning of her death. Each track has its own story to tell and expresses an alternative view of love.
Listen to "Molly" here.
Hi Kyle, thanks for being on BuzzMusic. Your newest album “Molly” presents a new emotional side to love. Can you explain the inspiration for this album?
I definitely wanted to write something that was a darker viewpoint of love. People can love each other but treat each other terribly and be really toxic to each other. Some of my darkest days were in high school and I thought the best way to get inspiration for what I was writing was to go back into that headspace. I took from experiences, relationships of all kinds and just dark moments and applied them to this one relationship that carried the narrative of the entire album. I also really wanted to make sure it was clear that this was a story of one relationship between an individual and this girl, Molly. I wanted to break away from the norm where people write a collection of love songs that could be about anybody. When you hear what I’m saying on this album you know exactly who I’m talking about.
How does this album relate to your first demo “Molly, I miss you”? And if we can ask, who is the real Molly?
When I did the first Molly demo that was like 15 years ago and I was really just learning how to write music and be a musician. I actually cringe listening to that old material because I knew exactly what I was trying to accomplish but I just failed miserably. But I always knew the concept was something I wanted to do again one day. Now that so many years have passed and I’ve figured out my sound and released a lot more polished material I just felt like it was the right time to try to write about it again. People ask me all the time who is Molly? And I’ve given so many different answers because I didn’t want to give the real answer. I love just taking all these different inspirations, events, and experiences and applying them to this one person. In many ways, Molly is purely fictions and in some ways, she’s not but she’s definitely not one person. I truly try not to give away to much about what I’m writing about because I love letting people come to their own conclusions on what my songs are about. If a song means something to you and then I tell you “no dude, your way off that’s not what I was saying at all” that song might mean less to you at that point. So I try to avoid that so if someone is like “ I love that song it reminded me of this” I usually just say “that’s awesome if that’s what you think it means then that's what it means”.
Your music provides a beautiful combination of indie, folk, and alternative rock. Do you see yourself incorporating any other genres into your music albumin? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I don’t think any of my albums sound a lot alike. I mean you can tell it’s me but I like to try new things all the time. Manny on a Mission was always meant to be rock music but I love all music and I try my best to keep moving forward and try new things whenever I can. I’d love to make an album that’s all 80s sounding music. I don’t know if that will ever happen but I think it would be fun.
Which song has been the most challenging for you to create and why?
From a technical standpoint “dressed to kill” was exhausting. I created so many different versions of that song and was never happy with it. I knew I liked the idea of it but finding the right way to pull everything together took way longer than any other song. From a lyrical standpoint “May 2004” was difficult because it’s the one song that probably is the most relatable to my real life. Going into that headspace to write that was hard but I’m happy with how it turned out.
Thank you for joining us at BuzzMusic. Being a solo artist do you see yourself in the future by collaborating with others?
Of course! I have done collaborations in the past. I have a friend who is a hip hop artist and we did a song together quite a few years ago. I’ve also played in different bands over the years so nothing is off the table. I don’t think I would ever let anyone in to be a part of Manny on a Mission when it comes to the writing and recording process though. A one-off collaboration is one thing but I like the freedom of expressing myself in the way I want to without having to take other people's opinions into consideration. I know that sounds bad but this is such a personal thing for me and I like to keep it that way. Thank you for having me!