Written by Alex Hickey
Hickey here, reporting from an undisclosed location. I’ve been shut in for weeks now, banging my head against the wall, only leaving to work, drink and walk the street in a paranoid and deluded state. It’s been a terror, honestly, finding every outing somewhat senseless, going into meeting after meeting and Skype call after Skype call, it makes my job as a teacher seem almost redundant, despite the fact that none of this is even paying yet. It’s become a kind of vicious, self loathing hobby that keeps me up at night and agitated by day, constantly on the move, animal instinct, edginess always.
The women and wine help, but today after a couple days of complete exhaustion, I finally got a ‘me’ day and headed over to see an old friend and listen to some good tunes. So my partner and I headed down to ‘the basement’, which is where we can be found now; with Aidan Somers, a musician in all senses of the word. I went down to catch up with him as I hadn’t seen him in a damn long time and since I am going to the east fairly soon, I thought it would be appropriate.
Valletta 2018 is coming up and supposedly going to be displaying all the best the Maltese culture has to offer as far as art and culture goes; I’m just glad I won’t be here for it. I think the culture of the place is slowly being sucked out of it by EU funding and the bastardization of our heritage through trying to be just like everywhere else. That being said, there are still people with genuine integrity and ambition to their talent and produce some damn fine music. These are generally a breed of people who are slowly fading out, a group of individualists reacting to the harsh climate of the Maltese music scene. Then there is Ira Losco and her anthropomorphic IPhone. The real talent is deep underground here though, you wouldn’t really know it for sure as there is an abundance in the music scene but it’s really not worth being a musician in these parts; it doesn’t pay shit.
So Szidonia and I headed over here with the utmost discretion, this place is a sort of Mecca for those who don’t care to be seen, those hidden away from society to practice their craft, engage in insurgency planning or want to park their cars off the street. We wandered down the twisting paths towards Aidan’s hideout. Sounds came from lower levels but for some reason nothing came from the door we were looking for; Aidan wasn’t there. So we checked his neighbors and friends but none of them seemed to be home either, just the echoing of a garage band a little further on. We peered in but couldn’t make out any shapes of people, only some great sound. That’s very typical of this country however, you find the greatest things in the most unusual places, this guy who seemed to be a single character for the time armed with a synth of some kind was going at it freestyle, I wanted more than anything to go in and see who had the fresh tunes but I worried more about disturbing the creative process.
Aidan did eventually show up and soon we were in his studio, kicking it and discussing nostalgically, he had been there for between four and five years after all. So after a good catching up, he put the music into high gear and Szidi grabbed her camera, we were rolling. The true heart of the creative soul isn’t always in the most obvious places. That being said, after being in his ‘university years’ I’m hoping he’s about ready to graduate and take his art above ground, maybe even for the Valletta 2018.
The music scene in Malta is just like the island itself in the end, full of little hidden gems, sprawled out all over the place. And Aidan’s gem shines out amidst them, I really hope he gets out there and shows off his talent. It takes me back to my visit to Berlin; music round every corner there and just like the musicians here, they cry out to the moon for true individualism and the right to their fifteen minutes. Maybe that’s just the curse of being an artist, that frantic tug of war between wanting to share your voice with the rest of the world without losing your integrity or right to experiment and for Aidan’s sake, I hope that never happens.
In the end I guess that’s what we can ever really say about ourselves, especially in this day and age, Malta feels sick sometimes, congested, intoxicated, aloof, living here for any extended period of time can amount to massive stress, despite its beauty, allure and true richness. Hell, maybe deep inside, we’re all like Aidan and those weirdos out in Berlin, just striving to be true to ourselves while still branching out and supporting ourselves independently. But at least in my case, with all the cars honking outside and the looming feeling of oncoming rain, I’m glad I won’t be here for the winter, maybe I’ll get through this decade, after all.
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