Music has always been a part of 25-year-old Ben Vincenti’s life, the reason behind it most likely being that he comes from a family that totally loves music. While most of his relatives all play either the piano or the guitar, he cites his parents, and their record collection in particular as his biggest influence. Vincenti, the man behind the much-talked about Trackage Scheme online community which was launched just over a year ago, says he could have followed suit, but admits to quitting piano lessons because he couldn’t stand his teacher. His passion for music undeterred, he took up the guitar two years ago, and after getting hold of a Behringer BCD 3000 Midi Controller in 2010, also started messing around at home, trying to mix tracks together and record sets for a bit of fun.
Three years on he got to play his first DJ gig at a private event, as a result of which he got offered more gigs, in the process also making a name for himself. As far as musical influences go, Vincenti’s tastes are quite vast, stretching from Bowie to Depeche Mode to Plastikman by way of Pink Floyd, Radiohead and Aphex Twin. It is probably his eclectic taste that inspired him to launch Trackage Scheme, the music-sharing platform that has been growing at an exceptionally fast pace. I met with BEN VINCENTI to find out what lies ahead as the final touches for Trackage Scheme’s first anniversary event at the Caribbean Club this Saturday are put into place.
When did the idea to set up Trackage Scheme come to your mind and what was it that primarily inspired it?
It’s a bit of a funny story. Some friends and I were just chilling out and listening to some music after an event and a good track came on and I remarked that the government should create a ‘trackage’ scheme instead of a scrappage scheme. At that point, I thought of creating a scheme or a platform where people could submit tracks and in exchange, have access to tracks shared by other members. I eventually set up a group and a page on Facebook, with the group serving as the music-sharing platform while the page is used to spotlight Maltese artists, share local sets and podcasts and update members with our activities.
Trackage Scheme first surfaced publicly as a budding Facebook group but your vision seems far bigger...
At its core, Trackage Scheme is a social-networking, music-sharing community for people with an alternative taste in music. The community was born via a Facebook group where members freely introduce their music picks to other music lovers. Our mission is to support Maltese musical talent in pursuing their dreams and aspirations, and it is an increasingly popular medium through which local artists present their work and receive critical acclaim. I believe this has already given artists that little extra push to get exposure on the local scene, such as Fabricka for example, who has commented that Trackage Scheme has so far been his biggest set-off since he launched himself online.
But you also have the international market in mind…
Yes, our vision is to also be Malta’s leading platform in showcasing local talent in an international spotlight. To do this we’ve undertaken several projects, among them a series of filmed interviews and the setting up of an official website, which we’ll be launching very soon. We’re also seeking to collaborate with bigger event organizers, such as Earth Garden as well as trying to get sponsorship from people who have been in the music scene for a long time, such as Marc Galea and the Fused school for DJing.
What is your general perception of the state of the Maltese music scene?
I think the Maltese music scene is very vibrant; there is always something going on, especially on the weekends where we’re spoilt for choice, many times with clashing events. I believe that we can make it even better by collaborating together to create something bigger and better. We should focus on the quality of the events rather than the quantity. We hope to add value to the Maltese music scene.
There have been other initiatives in the past to support the local scene, how is this different and what do you feel it can bring to the Maltese music scene that hasn’t been achieved yet?
Trackage Scheme is not just another event or promotion. We have put lot of time and effort into creating a representation for local artists by firstly bringing people together and building community based on similar interests. Secondly, we continuously work to identify local artists and bring them into this community where others get to know about them and their work. Further to this, we share the filmed interviews to promote the featured artists and we also support local efforts by showcasing local productions and events. Over and above, we’re collaborating with music teachers and DJing schools to deliver free courses to members to ensure Malta’s musical talent continues to grow and develop.
This Saturday’s event is a pretty special one for Trackage Scheme…
Yes it is. Our first event will offer a variety of music: live bands and solo acts as well as DJs. The idea is to offer a whole mix of genres and deliver a fresh, exciting experience. I believe music lovers are open to, and indeed seek different styles and this event will cater for these people.
What can the general music-loving public do to support Trackage Scheme and the local scene in general?
Attend gigs and buy local music, which helps local artists to receive the money they deserve. Also, be proud of Maltese talent and spread the word as much as possible both locally and abroad.
Trackage Scheme's first event will be held on Saturday at the Caribbean Club in Hal Far. For more information visit www.facebook.com/TrackageScheme
An edited version of this article was first published on The Sunday Times of Malta (29 June, 2014)
Photo by Luke Vincenti