By day, Michael Malarkey's Vampire Diaries character, Enzo, likes to drink blood. By night, he also likes to drink blood.
Malarkey himself has broader ambitions. By day, he's starring on the hit CW drama. By night, he's playing and singing tunes from his recently-released EP, Feed the Flames.
The actor joined The Vampire Diaries last season in what could've been a short arc. Instead, he quickly became a fan favorite and a series regular. But even while he's busy filming with fellow cast members Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder, Malarkey makes sure to carve out time to write songs. To promote Feed the Flames, he's playing in several cities around the country — like Atlanta, where the show is filmed. This weekend, he’ll be performing in New York City.
Yahoo TV chatted with Malarkey about his music — influenced by the likes of The National and Nick Cave — and wrangled some scoop about Enzo's bloodthirsty agenda and his budding friendship with Caroline.
Enzo narrowly escaped death, yet again! Now that he's free, what's his next move?
Just narrowly! He seems to just narrowly escape trouble. Enzo is currently holding a grudge against Tripp [Colin Ferguson] for keeping him hostage. In [this week's] episode, you're going to see him deal with Tripp, in a certain way. That'll be fun for viewers to see, because Tripp's been a pain in the neck for much of the company in Mystic Falls.
He was in trouble all thanks to Stefan, and he can't be happy about that. Will we see them clash?
Yes, Stefan really grates on Enzo. Enzo doesn't like the way Stefan operates and the way he deals with things, especially Caroline. So, he's got a grudge against Stefan that will continue to be explored in the coming episodes. And I just love working with Paul [Wesley], and it's a nice chance to get together and work.
Watch an exclusive preview of this week's episode:
Everyone's been scattered in various places this season. Now that Damon is back, will we see them come together more?
Yes. There's a new kind of creep hanging around by the name of Kai, as well, who is very antagonistic toward a number of them. We'll see people working together in that respect.
Are we going to see them go back to being that bad boy duo?
Well, Enzo, he seems to have more of his own agenda right now. And Damon also has a lot of stuff to deal with, including the whole Elena thing. So, I think we drift away from that old-school murder buddies set-up for a bit. We'll see how Damon deals with what's going on with Elena — if he takes it well, or if he returns to his wily ways of old.
Enzo and Caroline have built a rather surprising friendship. Do you think it'll become more?
This is a question I get asked a lot. I think the thing about Enzo and Caroline is that they're both very loyal friends. They both take no bulls--t and give no bulls--t. As far as any romantic kind of connotations? I think it's a little far-fetched at the moment. She's said before that Enzo is one of her more stable friends, although ruthless as well, but at least she can depend on the fact that he is going to be who he is, rather than hiding things. I don't know if it's going to come to any kind of romantic link or not — we'll see where the writers take it.
Would you like to see it happen?
I don't know. I love working with Candice [Accola] and she is a very effervescent personality. If it warrant it in the story, that's OK with me. But if it's forced in, I don't see a point for there to be just a romance blooming out of the blue. I'm sure the fans will hate that!
Is there anyone in the cast you'd like to work with more?
Yeah! I'd like to work with Matt Davis [who plays Alaric]. We haven't really had a chance to do much together yet, and he's a lovely guy and a fantastic actor. It'd be great to have a chance for Enzo and Alaric to do some scenes together. That would be pretty interesting. I would also like to work with Nina [Dobrev] a little bit more, because she's also a good friend of mine. Enzo and Elena don't have much business together at the moment, but it'd be interesting to see more scenes with the two of them.
Any chance we might see more Enzo flashbacks?
I hope so! I want to know more information about his backstory. I have my own ideas of what I've created for his backstory, but it'd be interesting to see what the writers have in mind. Also, what his last name is! [Laughs.] I hope it's not Smith or anything!
Let's talk about your music.
I just released my debut EP, Feed the Flames, which people seem to be enjoying. I'm just starting to play more shows here and there. I'm going to New York this weekend to play at Webster Hall, which I'm excited about because I've never played New York before. And I'm going to L.A. in December to play at Hotel Cafe. So it's just a way for me to get my music out there in the major cities in the U.S. Next year I hope to do a bit of a tour and take the show on the road.
I've been playing music ever since I graduated from high school. I started up a few punk hard-core bands. Gradually, along the line, I started teaching myself guitar and writing my own songs. The collection on Feed the Flames just happens to be the latest songs that I've been writing. And I just wrote three songs in the past couple days, too — that's what I do. So, I'm excited about recording and playing shows. It's kind of a new chapter for me.
How would you describe the tone of your music?
Moody folk music, I suppose. It's hard to put a genre on it. For me, I write songs. I think when you put genre onto music, it doesn't quite live up to what people expect. I'm inspired by current stuff like The National and Bright Eyes, as well as old-school stuff like Tom Waits and Nick Cave. They're big influences on me. The tone is very honest and heartfelt and slightly moody.
See Malarkey performing in Atlanta:
Will we hear your music on Vampire Diaries? Or maybe see you sing?
I've been talking to Chris Mollere, the music guy. I sent him my stuff and said if he ever wanted to use any of it, to feel free. Enzo did actually sing in the first episode he was in — "Walking After Midnight." So it was a little music crossover there. [Laughs.]
Maybe Enzo has a musical past!
We'll see, we'll see. Buffy the Vampire Slayer already did a musical episode, and I think it wouldn't be kosher for us to do one as well.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.