Michael Malarkey is probably best known as Enzo on the hit series, The Vampire Diaries. Straight out of the gate, this guy is a cool dude, with a very down to earth vibe. We had a chance to hang with him poolside on a beautiful sunny LA afternoon, while wearing a bright yellow suit, chilling on a giant pink flamingo in the middle of a pool, inches from Hollywood Blvd and unsuspecting tourists, thanks to the Dixie , a classic old-school Hollywood motel and diner.
First things first, Michael, you’re a dad, what is the best thing about being a father?
I still can’t believe I’m someone’s dad. I don’t recall getting a fatherhood license and somedays I definitely don’t feel like I have the proper qualifications, but most days everything feels right. In a long line of exploring, it’s the next great adventure. I think the best thing is seeing how quickly Marlon adapts – he’s already travelled all over Europe – and every day is full of surprises. Seeing his childlike excitement for everything has a vicarious effect on jaded old guilt. The other day I found myself interpretive dancing to The Cramps for nearly half an hour just to chase that contagious laugh of his.
That’s pretty awesome, you’re a very good dad. How would you describe your parenting? (Strict, or anything goes?)
Well he’s not even a year old, so at the moment anything goes. I’ll probably get a little stricter years down the line if he starts bringing home dead animals, but I think a balance is crucial in all things. I used to collect dead insects and I turned out ok….I think.
Pants: Anthony Franco, Shirt: Lacoste, Belt: Ben Sherman, Shoes: Kenzo, Rings & Necklaces: Mr. Malarkey’s Own
I guess time will tell. You said you don’t spend lots of time in Hollywood due to your shooting schedule in Atlanta, that said, what would be the first thing that you do when you come back here?
My brother Kevin lives in LA so reconnecting with him is always my first port of call. Next is usually arranging the dinner schedule, as there are precious few things I love more than a nice meal with friends. Obviously, there’s also meetings and auditions and all that jazz. Somehow, I’ve only been to LA about 3 or 4 times, so I don’t know the city very well at all. I welcome your recommendations, just don’t refer me to any clubs. I’m simply not that kind of girl.
Sounds good, happy to do that, speaking of, when people ask you about Hollywood – what’s first thing that comes to mind?
Sunshine and Kale.
Isn’t that the truth? Good combo, on that subject, how would you describe your personal style?
Kind of punk, kind of mod, kind of whatever. I wear a lot of black and I like hats.
Cool, on the subject of clothing, would you have a favorite designer?
Is Doc Marten a designer?
Every tattoo has story behind it. What’s your favorite tattoo, where is it and why did you have that inked on you?
I have a one-winged locust on my right arm. There was this grindcore band called The Locust out of California that I loved in my early 20’s. Mainly I dig it because I love the design and I originally got it because I was a fan of the band, but over the years it’s become a tribute to my roots as I spent a number of years as the vocalist in various hardcore bands. I think my old band, Shadyside, still has our album, Later In The Past, up on Bandcamp.
Sounds good, we’ll check it out, any pet peeve’s?
Reality TV, except Naked & Afraid. It’s my guilty pleasure.
You have a busy schedule, what does a typical day OFF look like for Michael Malarkey?
At the moment, it usually entails being bossed around by and cleaning up after my son. His current nickname is The Young Emperor. Another favourite is The Town Crier. On the rare occasion that I have the place completely to myself, I will spend the day playing music and writing new songs.
That sounds pretty awesome. On your working days, you travel all around the world for The Vampire Diaries conventions. What are the fans like and have you adjusted to being recognized?
I absolutely love going on the road and connecting with our fans in different countries. This fandom is intense and very passionate. A lot of them are also very supportive of us in whatever other avenues we are pursuing. I am also a singer/songwriter and have had an incredible response from them to my debut EP, Feed The Flames, and to my live show. My next album, Knots, will be out this autumn and I’m really excited about how it’s coming together.
Suit: Calvin Klein Collection, Shirt: Zara, Shoes: Massimo Emporio, Sunglasses, RETROSUPERFUTURE, Rings & Necklaces: Mr. Malarkey’s Own
What sort of Vampire is Enzo? How would you compare yourself to him?
He’s dangerous, spontaneous and a little reckless, but also values loyalty and has a penchant for banter. I suppose I am all of those things in varying degrees except dangerous. I’m far more likely to give you a bear hug than bite you.
You lived in the UK for many years, so good old fashioned Tea or some good ole’ Java?
I can’t remember which book it’s from and this is probably paraphrased, but James Bond once said “Tea is mud.” Never have truer words been spoken, Coffee for life.
Nice, I’m going to remember that…favorite go-to comfort food?
Pizza Puttanesca. I will unashamedly eat the whole thing, followed by several Tums for dessert.
Speaking of indulgences, do you binge watch anything? if yes, What shows?
My favourite show on TV at the moment is House of Cards. Such a fantastic ensemble and the writing is incredible. Since the whole series is released on the same day, you kind of can’t help but binge. Speaking of Netflix shows, there’s also some really standout performances in Bloodlines and the first season of True Detective seriously blew my mind. Probably the best television I’ve ever seen.
I come from the music space, so it was great to learn that you’re a musician and have been putting out music for sometime. You play venues around the world, which has been your favorite so far?
I did my album launch for Feed The Flames at Wilton’s Music Hall in London last winter. It’s a beautiful venue with fantastic acoustics and the oldest surviving music hall in the world! I played the title role in The Great Gatsby there in a theatre production a few years back, so it was a special show for a number of reasons. I always love playing in London as it’s my second home.
You also studied music at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. How was that?
Though at LAMDA the focus was predominantly Acting. It’s one of the top Drama Schools in the world and I was chuffed to get in as it’s so competitive, even more so as an American. In the UK they don’t do “cuts” like they do at many Drama Schools in the US. Talk about fear-mongering. When you’re training it should be a safe environment to explore yourself and your craft without that added fear.
How does the music scene in England compare to here in the States, more insane, or about the same?
It’s the same, swamped.
Can you describe your musical sound for our readers?
This is always difficult, but ‘narrative-driven moody folk’ seems to fit the bill. The lyrics are the most important thing for me. I’m not interested in making hit singles, I just want to tell stories. It’s quite melancholic and philosophical, but that’s kind of how I look at the world. I’m available for funerals, breakups and liquidation sales.
Any dream collaboration aspirations?
I’d love to work with Jeff Goldblum. No explanation needed.
Shirt & Sweater: Theory, Pants: G-Star Raw, Hat: Broner Bros., Shoes: Barney’s New York, Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
I know you play guitar, do you have a favorite?
I’m not one of those guys that can say, “yo bro check out this DS478” or whatever. I don’t know much about guitars. I currently play a Tanglewood that my wife bought me for my birthday in 2007, but I rented this black matte Martin for a show in Berlin this summer and I think I need one of those.
Cool, gotcha. You spend lots of time in Atlanta due to the filming of The Vampire Diaries, What’s it like living there? Any nutty experiences you care to share?
I have really come to adore Atlanta. There’s so much going on here at the moment: festivals, parks, The Beltline, great bars, loads of fantastic restaurants and southern hospitality is not a myth. The muggy summers leave something to be desired for, but it’s a small price to pay after enduring the British climate for nearly a decade.
Where do you typically go to unplug and recharge?
My folks house in the backwoods of Yellow Springs, Ohio. One of the most peaceful villages you will ever come across in America. Very liberal, very colourful.…and very strange, in a good way. Everything moves at a much slower pace there – which was dangerous for me growing up, as I am a devout Slacker – but it’s very relaxing when I go back to visit.
Do you hold grudges, regrets, or inspirations you’d care to share?
To be honest, I never think about that sort of thing. I don’t carry any regret. I don’t necessarily think that everything happens for a reason, but more that we connect the dots as time goes by. With reflection we gain greater foresight. Mistakes and failure are a crucial part of our growth and once we stop growing, we start moving towards the grave. This brings to mind the timeless words of Samuel Beckett that we all love: “No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Can you share what you think it means to be a gentlemen in today’s world?
What a great question and I could list many answers. The first thing that comes to my mind is Empathy. To treat everyone as an equal – no matter what class, race, sex or creed – is the highest form of respect for yourself and the world we live in. We’re all in this shit together. A gentleman also gives without expecting anything in return. He is comfortable in his sense of self and he doesn’t feel the need to prove himself as he has learned that the only person he must impress is himself.
Suit: Calvin Klein Collection, Shirt: Zara, Shoes: Massimo Emporio, Sunglasses: RETROSUPERFUTURE, Necklackes, Bracelets, Rings: Mr. Malarkey’s Own
The Ferrvor Man is about Gentlemen style, class, sophistication and edge. What Ferrvor Man quality do you have?
If you ask me, I’d say all of them. If you ask my wife, however…
And on that note, we’d have to agree with you.