Vampire Diaries actor and musician Michael Malarkey on Norwich gig
- Credit: Chelsea Lauren
He's best known for his role as Enzo in the hit US show The Vampire Diaries, but Michael Malarkey is also a musician and has just released his debut album, Mongrels. He tell us more ahead of his Norwich gig.
What comes first: the actor or the songwriter? For Michael Malarkey, the writer came first, then the self- taught musician, rapidly followed by the self-made actor.
He's best known for his role as Enzo in the hit US show The Vampire Diaries, but he is also a musician and has just released his debut album, Mongrels.
Malarkey was born in Beirut, Lebanon to an Irish- American father and a British mother of Arab/Italian origin and is most famous in the acting circles for his role as the notorious Enzo.
Growing up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Malarkey travelled to London to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and alongside his acting career he immersed himself in music. 'I consider it a form of poetic journalism,' he says. 'It's an endless journey of self-discovery.'
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Described as 'folk-tronica', Mongrels is a demonstration of an eclectic musical taste. He draws his inspiration from an eclectic musical and cultural background – and a life spent living out of a suitcase.
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Describe Norwich in three words…
Heard it's flat.
If you were stranded on a desert island with three other people, who would you want them to be?
Someone who could hunt, someone who could build badass hut, and someone who wouldn't have a problem putting me down if I flipped my wig…
If you could be anyone else who would you be?
A monk in a mountain monastery, away from all the noise.
What would a perfect weekend involve for you?
Right now, it would be a relaxing weekend away in the countryside with my friends and family. Good conversations over amazing local food, nature hikes, bonfires, just laid back country vibes. My life is so high-octane at the moment, that I'm much more drawn to the simpler things when I have free time.
What's your biggest fear?
At the moment, it's actually a general fear of my son growing up in this world with how tremulous things are at the moment. The environment is literally rebelling against the choices we are making and we have created such a crazy web of consumerism and misinformation, that it's almost impossible to extricate ourselves from it. People are losing their ability to be present and live simply. It's a challenge not to be afraid for the future, but fear is a wild horse. If you train it and respect it, it can become an agent of change; otherwise you'll just keep getting bucked off that horse.
What's your mantra in life?
The Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have done unto you' or any variation of the phrase. We're all the same. Whatever your sex, heritage, religion, orientation; we're all just people trying to get by. I strive to recognise the humanity in everyone I interact with…which in some cases is no easy task!
Which song defines your life?
My History Will Be The Death of Me off the new album. I don't normally like to go too in-depth on the meaning of songs; if it were that easy to explain, I would've just written an essay on the subject. That being said, I guess that song is a cryptic series of metaphors and imagery for what I'm dealing with in my life right now: trying to surrender to reality and stay grounded in spite of all the chaos going on around and within me.
Would you rather spend a night in front of the telly or a night out in the city?
It's literally 50/50 with me. I'm a Gemini/Cancer cusp born on the summer solstice and that split is bang on as far as my personality goes. Some days I'm a complete liability and want to turn it up and hit the town and other days I just want to withdraw into my shell and enjoy the peace and quiet. That being said; I barely watch TV at all; I'll watch a film here and there. I just don't have the patience to sit through mediocre telly; it's pretty much got to be brilliant or I'll switch it off and do something else. Load of crap out there right now. But there are some gems. You just have to dig for them.
What one thing could you never be without?
My guitar. I've started bringing a little travel Martin on all my work trips, just to have something to pick on. You never know when the inspiration will hit you. Some of my favourite songs I've written have happened completely out of the blue and if I hadn't had my guitar with me, maybe would never have come to fruition.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
Direct, produce and act in my own projects. As an actor, most of the time you are the cog in the wheel of someone else's dream. There's nothing wrong with that; it goes with the territory. Sometimes that dream is awesome and you believe in it. Other times, you're just paying the bills and you show up, do your best to kill it, and go home…via the pub. I have a lot of ideas that I'd love to explore and if I ever had the budget for it I'd love nothing more than to shoot them all.
• Michael Malarkey plays Epic Studios, Magdalen Street, Norwich, on October 24, 7.30pm, £12.50, 01603 727727, epic-tv.com