The Local Band that Embraces the Maltese Language
The Travellers, a 6-piece band from the island of Gozo, came to be in 2013 and today, are as active as ever. We catch up with the band to see what they’ve been up to!
Can you tell us a little more about how The Travellers came to be?
Clayton (Bassist), Joseph (Trumpet), Chris (Main Vocals) and Andrew (Guitarist), were the original members who started playing together, while, Sylvano (Saxophone) and Michael (Drummer) joined the rest of the band later on in 2013.
The band started experimenting with working on a mix of contemporary music while incorporating brass and Maltese lyrics. With no pointers and footsteps to follow, they set out to release their debut single ‘Sempliċità’, and immediately became a hit song with endless plays from all the radio stations in Malta.
What music genres/artists inspire your music style?
We have greatly contrasting influences ranging from brit-pop to reggae, punk to dance music. One could say that no single band member has the same exact music preferences as the other yet it is this that brings out that new, pop sound we are all familiar with.
Despite sometimes singing in English, the majority of your work is in Maltese. Is there a reason for this?
When we started out, we realised there was a huge gap in the music industry with regards to singing in Maltese which was modern and contemporary. At first we were just experimenting with the idea of writing in Maltese and when this took off, we didn’t look back.
How did Malta shape the band and your music?
We consider ourselves very lucky to have amassed such a loyal fanbase. We can safely say that without the support of our fans we wouldn’t be where we are today.
Hence in a way, Malta shaped our band in the sense that we had the necessary encouragement and support needed to go forth and share our music.
What inspired your latest single ‘X’Inhu l-Milied Għalik?’
Everybody loves Christmas, but not everybody loves it for the same reasons. The food, the drinks, the Christmas lights decorations and of course the presents. ‘X’Inhu l-Milied Għalik?’ is an attempt to put the celebration of Christmas into perspective. Saying that Christmas is very popular in Malta is an understatement, but although most of us participate in the festivities in some way or another, Christmas does not mean the same thing to everybody. For some it is purely a religious feast while to others it is a great excuse to do some extra shopping and have a good time. But no matter who you are, and no matter why you celebrate Christmas, everybody agrees that it is a time to help each other out, to think about the less fortunate, to help those in need and to try and reflect on the past year in order to improve ourselves.
What do you think the benefits as well as the downfalls of singing in Maltese are for yourselves as well as other Maltese artists?
The benefits of singing and producing works in Maltese is the fact that you can sing in your mother tongue. This allows you to convey a message which means a lot to you and the listener and is also something which cannot be accurately portrayed in another language.
On the otherhand, one might argue that the difficulty in writing in Maltese is that there are no pointers or footsteps to follow in coming up with modern and contemporary material, as opposed to songs who utilise English as their primary language.
What do you foresee for the Maltese music industry in the next 10 years?
The Maltese music industry has improved greatly during these past 10 years, with great advances in music production, recording and quality. One can safely expect to see a further improvement in this aspect over the coming years.
How has COVID-19 affected the music industry in Malta as well as worldwide?
It is no secret that perhaps the music industry has suffered the most from the COVID-19 phenomenon. With live concerts being cancelled worldwide, entire productions halted and thousands of musicians jobless.
Have you been working on new music during this difficult period? Have you found it creatively inspiring or stifling?
We have taken this opportunity to work on some new material and although it certainly wasn’t an easy task, we have a couple of surprises for everyone the coming year.
What’s next for The Travellers?
We are planning to release our second album in Maltese in 2021 and we really hope we would be able to go back to performing live gigs when this situation clears up.