The Malta Independent on Sunday

Maltese band nosnow/noalps making internatio­nal waves in Denmark and Italy


Mathias Mallia Rarely does a band manage to be both a mainstream and an indie success much like nosnow/noalps has done in the last decade of relentless touring, recording and just making sure that music is their priority. The Malta Independen­t on Sunday spoke to Nick Morales (vocals and guitars) and Benji Cachia (drums) to find out more about what makes the band tick, especially in light of the two festivals in Denmark and Italy which the band had just headlined.

Apart from the two interviewe­es, the band is also made up of Sarah ‘Snow’ Falzon (keyboards and vocals), Bertram Cachia (bass) and Leona Farrugia (keyboards and vocals) as well as Alex Taylor-Helleur (trumpets). All members have been in the band for a varying length of time except Nick and Sarah, who are the founders. Benji has been in for around five years, Bertram for two and Leona almost.

“We have been around for 10 years now as the name but the line-up has changed considerab­ly many times. This is probably the seventh line-up we’ve had, which is a year old now,” said the frontman while explaining more about the band. “Musicwise we started off in 2007 as more of an indie garage band because of the scene, but by time it evolved with elements such as reggae, ska, funk, disco, a lot of soul, we even do pop ballads.

“We don’t really limit ourselves and the last single Kaleidosco­pes was more of a pop ballad with all the bells and whistles, which works. I don’t know what it is but everything we do works for us, maybe because we only do it for enjoyment and no other reason. We were into the metal scene, the punk scene, electronic, with Benji also in the jazz scene with The Ranch. In the end though, we’re a pop band and I don’t think pop is a bad thing to say nowadays. Coming from the alternativ­e scene, pop was always a dirty word but it works fine for us.”

The interview quickly got to the point which the artists were incredibly excited to share, which is the two festivals which the band headlined recently, however there was a lot of story behind the gigs. nosnow/noalps was one of the main acts in the Danish Nikko Festival and the Italian Clear Mountains Festival in Montichiar­i.

“When Benji joined, we all moved to Copenhagen for four months and that’s when we started to cultivate our Danish relationsh­ips. Then obviously we had a lot of drastic highs and drastic lows and a lot of things happened, so we cut off contact with Denmark for some time. Then our friend, Jesper Ejrup, moved down to Malta and he told us about the things he’s doing – he opened a talent school focusing on song-writing and playing in a band and other things.

“He also organizes this pretty big festival, the Nakskov Summer Festival and this year there was the council involved. The whole town was preparing for this festival and we went down there a few days earlier to get a feel of the place. It’s a very small town and nothing very much happens there and there’s this big festival with big names. We played before and after some of the biggest names in Denmark. What made it cool was that our styles are completely different to what they’re doing.”

One of the best things about the festival, the band said, was the varying styles of the big acts from Hip Hop to the music nosnow/noalps makes. “The reaction was amazing and they want us to go back. The reaction was great because people were dancing and it was a great atmosphere. It was also cool because we met Mai who is an exmember of the band and she came up on stage and played three songs with us.”

The two spoke excitedly about their shows abroad, including a large number of gigs in Italy. “Even in Italy we were headlining the night and it’s quite special when you’re reaching those kinds of levels. This is because we toured so much and hopefully also because we are getting better as a band and people are starting to appreciate our work more and love what we’re doing so they’re inviting us.”

The way the festival in Italy came to be was through a band in Italy called Plan De Fuga, who were eventually invited by Nick to play at the Rock the South Festival earlier this year. “When we’re in Italy we are constantly trying to make new friends and connection­s. Once, one guy randomly contacted me on Facebook and told me that he wants to come to Malta. He plays with Plan de Fuga and he loves what we’re doing and he’s amazed that we tour so much in Italy considerin­g we come from Malta.

“At first I just said, ‘ Whatever,’ because it’s always so busy when you get involved. There so many things you need to focus on, and hopping from one country to another can get tiring and confusing. So for some time I ignored him until one day I checked out his stuff and I saw that they’re a hardworkin­g band. They tour and they’re very popular in their area, Brescia. I eventually invited them to come and play at Rock the South Festival; I think it was the singer’s dream to visit Malta. They were extremely happy; they’re a great band and they gave a great show. They saw our show during Rock the South and the guitarist, Simone Piccinelli, really loved us and told us that he organizes a festival near Brescia to which he invited us and we said of course.”

The festival in Montichiar­i paralleled the Nakskov festival in that it had an audience of around 1,000 people. It’s done in a small town which is entirely dedicated to making it successful. “It is the same kind of concept supported by the council. They are free events, supported by the businesses of the town, which attracts different kinds of people. Families, teenagers, people a little older like us. It’s great because our music has a lot of different styles so we appeal to a wider audience.”

Speaking briefly about the future, both Benji and Nick were adamant that the dream is to make a living out of what they love. At this point, nosnow/noalps has gone from forking out money to tour, to the entire thing being self-sustained. However, the band is branching into merchandis­ing and ‘being wise’, as the frontman puts it.

“We definitely have plans which I can’t confirm but we’re always looking at bigger things to get our music out there. We really believe that there’s a lot of talent in Malta. You can achieve anything with hard work, and as long as it’s fun, we will keep on doing it.”

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