NOSNOW/NOALPS: READY TO GO GO GO GO
Theirs is possibly one of the best-coined names a Maltese band has ever come up with, even more so when coupled with the title of their 2007 debut EP, Just Rock. And yet despite the deep-rooted Maltese connotation behind the name, nosnow/noalps is one of the few local bands to have almost always featured a non-Maltese member within its ranks. On some level, this possibly also reflects the band’s pronounced inclination towards the international circuit, which it has toured several times in recent years, and the open-ended approach its members have embraced in developing their sound.
Further to its acclaimed 2011 debut album Romantikpolitik, which captured an eclectic collective musical taste in all its glory, the band has been through further changes, even relocating to Denmark for a short period that proved to be a catalyst in propelling the band onwards and upwards. The result is a brand new EP, Go Go Go Go, whose title is inspired by the hectic schedule the band has had to endure over the past year or so. “It can be overbearing at times, but in the end this is what we love doing and it’s all worth it”, say frontman Nick Morales and drummer Benji Cachia.
In a nutshell what has the past year consisted of for nosnow/noalps?
Nick: In April 2013 we had moved to Denmark for 4 months, which is when the current line-up started coming together. We met Mai in Copenhagen and started rehearsing with her since Sarah was still in Malta. We played a few shows and wrote new songs, among them N.E.W, the first single off our latest EP, which we recorded when we got back here. Just after that Bertram Cachia replaced Alan Portelli on bass and later on in the year we went on tour, playing gigs in Copenhagen, England and Italy to promote the single. After that it was back to Malta to finish the Go Go Go Go EP.
Your tendency to go on long tours suggests they are rather important to the band…
Nick: Having played some 20 gigs in Malta, Denmark, England and Italy, the autumn/winter tour was our longest so far. Before that our longest had been the 11-date acoustic tour promoting the Romantikpolitik album in London, Copenhagen, Paris and Milan. Touring is very important to us; it’s a big part of what the band is about and without which we could not keep moving forward, as we tend to get a lot of fresh ideas on the road. Of course, the idea is to keep getting bigger and better gigs, and so far things have been working out well.
How do your performances abroad differ from your local gigs?
Benji: As a Maltese band it’s so different to go into a club to play and seeing no-one you know. Sometimes there’s a language barrier too but seeing the people jump around and loving what we are playing regardless is an awesome feeling. On tour, each day brings with it a different experience, whether it’s flying or driving from one city to the next – sometimes with only a few hours of sleep squashed inside a tiny car for 800km - doing radio and TV or playing the actual gigs. It’s not the most comfortable but overall going on tour is an awesome journey that every Maltese band should experience.
The new songs suggest a broader approach in terms of sound and direction…
Nick: The sound on this EP reflects everything the band has been through these past two years. Go Go Go Go is basically the feeling we had throughout this experience, as we were practically on the go all the time, pursuing our targets and making things happen. Each song represents a different emotion or experience we went through; working hard, partying, even missing our loved ones back home. Musically, I’d say the style skips from punk rock and ska to alternative rock with a hint of disco, pop and funk.
Benji: In the making this EP we were all on the same wavelength and open to anything that would suit the songs. Being in the studio with the band for a couple of weeks working on the music was fantastic, and each song was created so purely. The diversity was one of the first things the producer commented on, but that’s exactly what we wanted. It really comes together perfectly and personally, I really love playing these songs live too.
What brought on the inclusion of remixes on the EP, and how did you go about picking the artists to remix your music?
Nick: It’s not the first time we’ve tried to bring out a stronger dance element in our music, but the remixes that were done previously were never officially released. This time, we decided to include two remixes, one by Godzilla Power Hour and the other by Melchior Sultana, which I feel have brought out a very interesting and different angle to our music. We’ve also been getting into DJing ourselves lately, which makes the remixes all the more interesting.
A word about the EP launch concert this weekend…
Nick: We’ve invited Jane Doe, who are one of our favourite local acts, to perform before us, and since we’ve tapped into the world of remixes, we’ve also brought Kassette on board to keep the party going after we’ve performed. They’ve also been working on another remix of our songs so it’s possible they’ll premiere it on the night.
Benji: This gig will be the first time our fans and friends will get to see the latest line-up perform together, which obviously makes it all the more exciting for us. It’s also the start of a new phase for the band, one that sees nosnow/noalps move into a greater dimension, so we hope to see you all there for the occasion.
What’s the plan after the EP is launched?
Nick: We will be playing our first DJ set at the Trackage Scheme event on July 5, and after that we’re planning a number of promotional gigs in Italy and in Malta too, of course; and we’ll be releasing another song in the summer.
nosnow/noalps will be launching the Go Go Go GO EP with a live performance at Zion in Marsacala on Friday. Entrance is €7 or €10 including the CD. For more information, look up the event page on Facebook.
Photo by Caroline Spiteri
An edited version of this article was first published on The Sunday Times of Malta (22 June 2014)