Beats by The Busker

Beats by The Busker

The Busker. Photo: Matthew James Borg

The Busker. Photo: Matthew James Borg

The guys from The Busker share some thoughts about touring to promote their debut album Telegram and their upcoming concert, which they have deemed ‘massive’. Interview by Ramona Depares

It’s been a busy past year for The Busker. Can you give us some highlights?

We started off in January with a tour in collaboration with Art Malta and went on a hectic, eight- gig mini-tour over four days.

Seeing our faces on posters all over the city was humbling.

A lot of performances followed, including headlining the summer beer festival on one of the nights, and playing in various respected festivals and events.

The Busker has been a thing for quite a while now. How have you seen your music/sound evolve?

Well going from a two-piece in the early days, to adding a bassist and, eventually, a saxophonist the sound which is associated with The Busker gradually changed. The timbre and the originality of Dario’s voice stayed.

With the additions, though, came an evolution of sound from folk to blues/rock. During our live performances, as we strengthened our on-stage presence, we develop a power that has thankfully been well recieved and turned out to be quite infectious.

The year was mostly about Telegram, your debut album. How has it been received by fans?

Quite well! Our attendances have slowly risen as the year went by, and the feedback we got from our fans was really great. We shifted some albums abroad also, as we had some interest via our social media pages and Spotify.

Telegram is an album which is very close to our hearts and it depicts a two-year journey through our lense; it contains a dynamic shift of styles as well as an amalgamation of different metions and feelings.

The last single on the album, the eponymous Telegram, was aimed towards raising awareness about mental health issues. Can you tell us more about the song?

The song might sound like your typical breakup song, however it goes deeper than that. In fact it shows how a person might feel insecure with the fact that nothing can be a certainty, how life throws hurdles and makes it harder and harder to keep a positive outlook.

It’s a fact that most people are generally afraid of that which is not certain, and fearful of what the future holds. A fun fact about this track is that the vocal take was taken completely naked, in pitch black darkness. As weird or odd as it may sound, we wanted the true passion and emotion to come out with this track. That is the only way this track has managed to have such an impact and such emotion with every lyric.

How did the idea come about?

We all had our fair share of anxiety problems in the past, especially leading up to the album launch and also subsequently.

We wanted to do this to make sure that nobody feels isolated, scared or lonely at the fact that sometimes they might get a bad feeling, which alters their day-to-day activities or behaviour.

A fun fact about this track is that the vocal take was taken completely naked, in pitch black darkness

We had it in mind for a long time but finally found the right song to use as a vehicle for our message. Thus, we thought we would also close our album with Telegram besides making it our final release from the album .

What can you tell us about your work with Therapy Works?

We believe that mental health is something which is still very stigmatised. Some of us have had bouts with anxiety through the stresses related with keeping up with two lives. It’s not easy, but people look at these conditions as a joke – witness the unfortunate incident involved in these year’s carnival celebrations in Gozo.

As a band, we condemn these actions and fully stand against these silly antics. As many people know, we are a very funny bunch of guys and we make fun of basically anything that moves.

But we have respect for that which cannot be controlled, for that which can debilitate a person from head to toe.

Unfortunately, not everyone is aware that mental health is no laughing matter. Being in the public eye, it is both our role and our pleasure to break the stigma.

We are one and we must show each other support and love not hate. Therapy Works endorsed our ideologies and, hand in hand, we aim to continue fighting the stigma.

You have a big performance coming up – what can you tell us about it? What about the special opening act?

It’s going to be held at the Pheonica’s Grand Ballroom, and we aim to having one of our largest attendances to date. We have a couple of special guests to help us out during our performances, as well as another act which needs no introduction, Raquela Dalli Gonzi with Matthew Pellicano on piano, a duo we have so much respect for. Raquela is very talented, as well as being a very close friend of the band. It’s going to be unmissable.

What’s next on the Busker’s 2018 schedule?

A follow-up album. We have been hard at work getting everything together in terms of our songwriting and musical ideas, aiming towards creating a very powerful second album. We have recruited Matthew James Borg to help us co-produce the album as well as contributing to our songwriting endeavours. This album will have a stronger punch and a more uptempo feel, and anyone listening will simply refuse to sit down.

The Busker are Dario Genovese, Jean Paul Borg, Sean Meachen and David Grech. The Busker – Live at The Grand Ballroom – Powered by XFM 100.2 takes place on March 2, starting at 8pm at the Hotel Phoenicia, Floriana. Tickets are available online.

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