Fastidju Interview

Karl Baldacchino

“Bħalma d-dlam taqtgħu b-sikkina, d-demm tixorbu dritt mill-vina”

Looking for a melodic way to express his lyrical sketches, Nigel Baldacchino approached a number of Maltese musicians from various bands and together with them, he embodied these poetic ‘skeletons’ with sound.

The band Fastidju are Daniel Borg and Matthew Shields on guitars, Kurt Fenech on bass, Alexandra Aquilina on keyboards, Kris Agius on sampled/synthesised electronic ambiences, Samuel Sciberras on drums, and Nigel Baldacchino on lead vocals.

Fastidju launched its debut album on 9th and 10th May at St. James Cavalier.

First of all, the band name; why Fastidju?

The band name was mainly derived from some lyrics which we were developing during a specific period. Our music continued to develop, but the band name stuck, since we all liked the sound of it. Its a rather sinister sounding word, which even if you do not really know its proper definition, you can still infer what it implies.

Your band name suggests that Maltese will be your main lyrical  language. Is there a particular reason behind this decision?

There is no aesthetic reason, per se. A large portion of our lyrics is used as a description of a frame of mind. I believe that the vocabulary used to describe these conditions renders the music more effective in some languages than in others. It’s not a question of which language I prefer.

How did your project kick off?

Some time ago, I had some writings which I exhibited at St James Cavalier. Shortly after this, I started working on some melodic templates even though I have no musical training. Finally, I approached some individuals whom I respected and asked them for their advice on whether this project could be feasible.

When you realised that you wanted to turn these poems into songs, how did you go about forming the band?

Well, I first approached Daniel at a party and asked him if he could play some tunes on the guitar so that I could incorporate them with my electronic music. He suggested that we should contact another guitarist and so we sought out Matthew Shields. He then suggested a drummer and Samuel was conveniently present at the same venue in which we were having this conversation. On the same night, we also approached Kurt and Kris. We then contacted Jean Paul. After he played in our first gig as our keyboard player, we had to find a replacement since he went overseas. We then contacted Alexandra.

At your gig in Coach & Horses, you opened up with Il-Gratitudni tas-sabih, a song which consists of some gloomy lyrics. Can you elaborate on this specific song?

Gratitudni tas-sabih is a very particular song since it’s one of the very few songs where I wrote the lyrics after the melody was laid out. When I started writing these lyrics, the project was still in a hazy stage. The song refers to a particular individual, who is consistently failing, even though he is constantly trying his hand in different activities.

Do you have a static approach when writing a new song where each band member would have a particular function?

The process of song-writing is something which, before the band was founded, I thought about a lot,. After we started playing, I had no plan as to whom would deliver the input to start working on a new song. Basically, it’s a natural flow of different concepts.

If you had to classify your music, in which genre would fit it best?

No-Wave would probably be the most fitting genre since ironically, there is no genre which best fits our music. I like to think of it as an amalgamation of genres, since there are different elements, such as post-punk, dark-ambient, dark-folk and post-rock among others.

We have all these assorted genres in our music, but we don’t have a specific song which one can perfectly fit in a genre. Our music is the result of an experiment which ultimately culminated in these different genres. We never tried to fuse these different genres just for the sake of producing a new sound.

How do you manage to combine all these different genres?

I was surprised by the mutual compromise, on which music we would like to aspire to and which music was not particularly optimal for our combination. Everyone proceeded on the same path. However, one can still identify our individual characteristics, such as Daniel’s riff in Barkun.

Is Fastidju an experimental project you wanted to try out, or do you have any future proposals on what to do with the band?

My main objective is that our music does not die. The reason that I moulded my writings into songs is precisely to embody them in a new form of life. To be honest, I think that we are still in a premature stage to pinpoint where we are going. However, I don’t want the project to end, most specifically when it comes to performing live.