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Michael Malarkey Debuts Eclectic New EP 'Captain Solitaire,' an 'Album of Reflection': Premiere

Michael Malarkey
Matt Davies

Michael Malarkey

Vampire Diaries may have come to an end more than a year ago, but Michael Malarkey hasn't slowed down. The 34-year-old -- who played Enzo on the popular CW series -- jumped right into filming another television show, Crackle's The Oath, while simultaneously continuing his career as a singer-songwriter, releasing his first full-length album, Mongrels, last September.

Still showing no signs of exhaustion, Malarkey already has another set of music he's ready to share with fans, the folky three-song EP Captain Solitaire (via UK-based Hudson Records). What's more, he's even tacked on yet another acting gig, currently filming a show called Project Blue Book. Yet even with a hectic schedule, Malarkey has had time to reflect, which is displayed across his latest musical project.

The most poignant of Captain Solitaire's three songs is a track called "Friends," a talking folk song that finds Malarkey battling the woes of his busy lifestyle (“Trying real hard to keep my friends/ They always seem to have other plans, people to see, places to be/ Bet they get together without me,” he sings as the song opens). Even if there is a sense of loneliness on the EP, Malarkey sees the story of Captain Solitaire as a positive kind of lonely.

"I don’t consider loneliness a bad thing," he asserts. "I spend a lot of my time alone, but I spend more of my time surrounded by people working on stuff. That loneliness, in a way, becomes coveted time. I crave the time that I can spend alone in a hotel room and write stuff, it’s a safe place for me."

Suggesting "the ambivalence of isolation" as a summary of the three tracks, Malarkey continues, "It’s almost like that feeling of wanting to be with people and share it, but also wanting to have that time where you’re away from it all and you can reflect. I suppose it’s an album of reflection, more than isolation, more than loneliness. Because you only get reflection when you’re alone, really."

Malarkey intended on releasing a compilation of B-sides from his Mongrels sessions. But once Captain Solitaire's title track came along while he was filming The Oath in Puerto Rico, the singer had another period of reflection that ditched the initial B-side tunes (aside from "Friends") and resulted in three very different, yet cohesive tracks.

"I had moved on so much already as a songwriter, the subject matter the material, I didn’t feel right putting those out just for the sake of it. I wanted to put out a middle man product before the next album that almost teased the new vibe," he explains, adding that he already has another two full albums-worth of songs written. "There was a part of me that kind of worried about the eclectic-ness of [the EP], and then there was another part of me that was like, ‘You know, some of my favorite records are those weird B-side records where they’re kind of different.' And I was like, ‘You know what, I’m not worried about it. Because it all showcases different sides of the story of Captain Solitaire.'"

Listen to the Captain Solitaire EP and take a look at Malarkey's upcoming European tour dates below.

May 24 – Amsterdam @ Melkweg
May 25 – Hasselt@ Café Café
May 26 – Paris @ La Maroquinerie
May 27 – Antwerp @ Kavka
May 28 – Hamburg @ Nochtspeicher
May 30 – Frankfurt @ Das Bett
May 31 – Zurich @ Plaza
June 1 – Munich @ Strom
June 2 – Vienna @ Wuk
June 4 – Brno @ Fléda
June 5 – Krakow @ Zet Pe Te
June 6 – Kosice @ Tabacka Kulturfabrik
June 7 – Budapest @ Durer Kert
June 9 – Bucharest @ Hard Rock Café
June 15 – London @ Omeara
June 16 – Dublin @ Whelan’s
June 17 – Glasgow @ King Tuts

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