Scaling a decade in music | nosnow/noalps

Ahead of their tenth anniversary show, Teodor Reljic speaks to some of the members of the enduring alternative rock band nosnow/noalps about what kept them going over the past decade, and how they see themselves within the evolving Maltese musical scene


What was the Maltese musical scene like when you started out 10 years ago, and what kind of contribution to it did you hope to make with nosnow/noalps?

Nick Morales (vocals, guitar): From what I can remember, a lot of great bands were emerging from our scene – maybe there were less venues but there sure was a lot of talent, with Poxx Bar in Paceville perhaps being the only real venue for gigs around 2007/8, an in which we played at the Beangrowers launch – one of our first gigs. From then on, we made sure to play abroad as much as possible too. We made a lot of overseas contacts thanks to this, and we even helped other bands go on international tours, among them Cable35, Red Electick and Fuzzhoneys.

Could you talk a little bit about the nosnow/noalps sound, and how it evolved over time? What were your initial stylistic aims and influences, and how did they change as time went by?

Sarah Snow (keys, vocals): I think our style has never been the same, because we all come from different musical backgrounds - I think it’s also changed throughout the years due to the of line-up changes we’ve had. Everyone gives their input when writing so it’s always fun to see what we come up with, and it’s never the same. We also enjoy collaborating with other local musicians – we’ve played and recorded with the trumpet, saxophone, cello and numerous percussions. I think the indie-pop feel in most of our songs will always remain, kind of like a back-bone for us – I think over all we want our songs to be catchy and dance worthy.

What were some of your most memorable moments of the past few years?

Morales: Getting to perform at Rai Radio 2 was certainly special, as was supporting [English alternative rock band] Dry the River at Parco Tittoni in Milan. But every tour has its special moments or experiences that will remain etched in my memory.

Snow: For me, it’s got to be the launch of Romantik Politik. Seeing all the hard work we put into that album come together at the launch was an incredible feeling. A more recent memorable moment was when we played at the Karel Music Expo in Cagliari. It was the first time we played abroad with this current line-up, a five-piece. The vibe between us was great and I really felt like this was it – this is nosnow/noalps. 

Benji Cachia (drummer): I love it all – going on tour, taking to the studio with the band… and even cooking with nosnow/noalps. Hmm…!

What did your 10-year experience teach you about the viability of pursuing a musical career in Malta?

Morales: What I learned is that it’s a learning curve. Anything we managed to do in this band is all thanks to us – we made a lot of mistakes and learned along the way, but we kept going and I think that’s the trick – the most important thing is to keep going and working hard releasing and playing music as much as possible. The second most important thing is to be flexible, to be able to play in different locations by doing acoustic/semi-acoustic sets more mellow sets, even DJ sets. Third is creating good merchandise: stuff people would want to buy, and it’s not always that simple. Last but not least, learn to manage yourself. Make contacts with booking and PR agents. Don’t just sit around and wait to be signed – personally, I think that’s exactly the wrong way of going about it.

On that note, what do you make of the current musical scene, and what would you change about it?

Cachia: The scene is doing alright right now, really. I think the bands and artists should learn to approach things a little bit differently though, and take on a fresher perspective (and I’m not just talking about the music itself). We should strive to be a bit more of a ‘community’, and work and branch out together rather than as separate units. I would also like to see at least one viable music venue for bands to use – it needs to be affordable and efficiently run. I would also like to see musicians getting better financial remuneration for their work, which would enable them to polish their music and product even further.

What’s next for you?

Morales: After our ‘Moving Mountains’ show on February 17, we are going to be working on a new album, with a huge tour to follow. 

Cachia: What Nick said! 2017 is gonna be packed – big time!

The nosnow/noalps 10-year anniversary gig ‘Moving Mountains’ will be taking place at The Palace Theatre, Paola on February 17 at 20:00.