If you could introduce yourselves to us, who are you?
We are based on the tiny (but mighty) island nation of Malta, EU. Affectionately referred to as ‘The Rock’ lol! I am Chellcy Reitsma the singer-songwriter and I’m originally Dutch-American from California. I lived in Chicago for a long time and for short stents in Italy, Sweden and Canada before landing in Malta. Now I also have citizenship in Malta so I’m Dutch-American Maltese lol! I might have identity issues lol! Alan Degabriele is the bass player who’s been with the band the longest and also plays for the popular local band Skarlett with his talented sister Sandrina. Simon Cutajar is lead guitarist also studying graphic arts and marketing. Edward Mifsud is the rhythm guitarist and a science teacher at Junior College. He has been in a number of bands and duos since the 90’s. Adam Cutajar is the drummer studying to be a doctor and obsessed with polyrhythms. All the other band members are Maltese from Malta.
2. How did you all meet?
I placed a post in a local Facebook page for auditions for those interested in joining a new band. Our bass player has been with me since the beginning but all the other members changed a few times before we got this committed, solid group formed about 2 years ago. So it was a rocky start but now the members all get along well and we have great music writing chemistry together.
3. How long have you been playing?
I started off as a solo artist with my first single release in 2016. So when I started the band in February 2019, we kept my name because it’s too expensive to start over with re-branding and I already had a decent sized and committed fan base started. So we are quite new as a band. Personally I got interested in music in Oct 2014 after a series of dance injuries ended my professional dance career. The other guys in the band have all been musicians much, much longer than me.
4. What three words would you use to describe the music you play?
Inspiring, empowering, eclectic
5. What are your musical influences?
My biggest influences are Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Patti Smith because they are also accomplished writers and have such a unique and authenic music style that incorporates thier poetry as well. I also am currently obsessed with Asaf Avidan and LP for the same reasons. Lastly, Kovacs because she is also a visual artist and her music and videos incorporate her visual art background. She even designs and screen prints her own merch by hand. I really identify with these artists and respect them because I also am a poet and visual artist so I admire other artists that utilize all their talents in their work. A perfect example of this, is my 2020 project titled ‘Desolate Days’. It hit the Top 20 Music Video Charts in Malta. It combines both my music and visual art practices in my first stop motion animation lyric video drawn in charcoal and digital art. ‘Desolate Days’ was part of the InnovAiR: Artist at Home program for the Valletta Cultural Agency.
6. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen during a show?
Honestly, not too many weird things have happened yet to us during a music performance. Just the typical stuff like a power outage, drugged or drunk people getting on stage with us and dancing around, etc. Now if I were to tell you about the crazy things that happened while I was on stage as a professional dancer the list is huge! Lol! I think the absolute craziest thing I experienced was when I was dancing with an Egyptian band at King Tut’s in Chicago. There was a table of Saudi princes and their family and friends. They started getting really rowdy and drunk about 3am and were showering me and the band with $100 bills while I was dancing. Suddenly one of the brothers grabbed the prince throwing money at us and pushed him onto the their table. They started fighting and one of the princes pulled out a handgun and shot his brother and then started shooting into the ceiling and waving the gun around in the air like a cowboy in the Old West. Everyone ran screaming and taking cover. These guys were so drunk and high on cocaine the guy with the gun didn’t even realize that he had just killed his own brother. It was absolutely insane like a scene from a movie! I’m actually happy that I haven’t had weird experiences like this in music yet! Lol!
7. Being away from the stages in the last few years, where was the first place you visited when the restrictions were lifted?
Actually, in Malta the restrictions were the tightest during winter months. So in Summer and Fall we performed quite a number of good shows, festivals and concerts within Malta. We haven’t gotten to tour abroad yet though as Malta’s travel restrictions and restrictions in many other countries are still in place or just make the logistics too difficult. Hopefully soon we’ll get to go on tour abroad but we are waiting for restrictions to ease further.
8. What’s the one record you own but wouldn’t ever admit to owning?
Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ lol! I still love it! But then I just admitted it so maybe I own another even more embarrassing album… you’ll never know.
9. What have you been listening to in the last few weeks?
Geeze! So many. My usual favourites of course Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Asaf Avidan, LP, Kovacs, Leonard Cohen. But then I also try to listen to others too and this week I’m exploring Paylaye Royale, BRMC and Blue October.
10. Are there any releases you have planned in the near future?
We recently released a single called ‘Fleshbot Prison’. An angry rock song with an artistic theory about human existence.
We also are working on a number of new songs in preparation for hopefully producing our first full LP. It will also include some poetry as my Black Water EP did. My 4 track concept EP ‘Black Water’ is a narrative of my life, my anger, loss and my love from 1990’s to 2010. It ends with a poem that sums it all up.