Thinking out loud.... not me of course, Thinking Out Loud is the name of the album released back in 2012 by UK-based band Canvas Wall. It was also their debut album, one they chose to officially launch here in Malta with a live performance during the Farsons Beer Festival. The reason behind this is that the band, or most of it at least, consists of Maltese musicians. In the four years that have passed, they've not only been playing countless gigs abroad (including a couple more in Malta), the band has also been busy writing and recording its latest release, a five-track EP called Mannekind. MikeBugeja.com caught up with drummer Craig Rogerson for a chat ahead of the Malta launch of the EP.
What've you been up to since releasing Thinking Out Loud four years ago?
Well, we've mainly been performing a lot, which brought us in touch with lots of new people. We've also written a lot of new songs and learnt a lot from the whole experience, to put it in a nutshell. In more detail, we also pioneered a silent music cube with Sennheiser, opened for Professor Green, signed a brand deal that we eventually decided wasn't for us and helped create Malta Takes London, a n annual event that takes place here in London, featuring Maltese artists based in the UK as well as Malta-based acts. Along the way, we've also welcome our longtime friend Dean into the band, as well as our new bassist, Matteo.
The new EP has an interesting title. What's the story behind Mannekind?
Mannekind (pronounced 'mankind') refers to exactly that, all of us. The spelling is a tip of the hat at 'mannequin' which is where we started for the whole concept of this EP. Mannekind is all about colour in life. It's about how we all start out the same, but our experiences change us, develop us...colour us differently! All of our songs are based on experiences. We had a lot of fun getting creative with the visuals for the EP and we're really happy with the way it looks, and of course, the way it sounds.
When did work on the EP start, and what were you looking to achieve further musically to what you had already done on your first album?
2015 was all about planning for us. We wrote a lot and put our thinking caps on. We were already focusing and tweaking a shortlist of new tracks in 2015, later heading into the studio at the beginning of this year with Grammy award-winning engineer Matt Lawrence, who produced Mannekind. Musically, there are a few new flares and we've enjoyed working with the vibes that the new members who came in after the first album have brought to the table.
On what level do you feel this EP mostly connects to and/or moves on from your previous work?
Those who have heard us before know that we're all about solid catchy riffs with strong melodies. Its' powerful, go-go-go kind of music, with the occasional slower-paced track or two. That's still there but we've enjoyed adding some fresh new touches. Each track on Mannekind has its own great feel that we really enjoyed focusing on.
As with the album, you’ll be launching the EP in Malta and London…
That's right. We're heading home to Malta this weekend, where we'll be holding a workshop for the students at Stagecoach and then performing at Funky Monkey on Saturday, September 24. Jack's Fusion are also on aboard for the launch gig, which we're pretty stoked about, as they're awesome and we haven't gigged together before. It's going to be a great night! After that we fly straight back to London for a big launch event on October 1 at Camden Assembly (ex-Barfly) for the EP's official release. However, we will have some freshly printed copies for the Malta show!
Now that the EP is done and dusted, what’s next for Canvas Wall?
With the EP ready, we're now looking to get out and play live as much as possible. Connecting with new people and sharing our music is what we love doing the most. Also, the EP campaign involves releasing more tracks from Mannekind, and there are some fun things in the pipeline too. We're currently booking a tour of venues around the UK and planning our first show in Rome. In the new year we're planning to gig in Europe. We would like to thank Arts Council Malta who granted us the funds that made all of this possible. We're humbled and truly grateful for this and we hope to help towards highlighting Maltese talent anywhere we can, as Malta is truly bursting at the seams with talented, creative people who have a lot to offer.
Canvas Wall will be launching the Mannekind EP on Saturday, September 24 with a live performance at The Funky Monkey, Gzira. Jack's Fusion will also be performing on the night. Entrance is €5 and tickets are available online here. For more information, click here.
The Mannekind EP can be ordered online here.