Who is Kris Spiteri in the eyes of Kris Spiteri?
I am a music student, a hard working music student.
What is your earliest memory of playing an instrument?
My dad played hotel gigs with a band, and I vividly remember sitting at the drums during the intermission. Most probably, my dad found less people after the interval but I used to love that moment.
If you had to come up with a fantasy line-up for a concert, who would be on the list?
A diligent musician and mainly someone with a holistic view. I feel very honoured and lucky to have played with and conducted fantastic musicians and singers – artists who make you feel that you are indeed playing in a fantasy line-up. The list of local and foreign musicians who I admire is pretty much endless, but if I had to mention a few, I would definitely start by first understanding what sort of direction the project is going to take. For example, Noir – the band I’ve played with for Jazz Fest 2015 – is a fantasy line up because we challenged ourselves and the little we know. I strongly believe that this is important. I would rather have a musician who works hard but knows less chords or rhythmic patterns than a very talented person who is not a team player. Obviously, being in the company of musicians with both attributes would be utopia.
Kafena’s debut album, Lukanda Propaganda, deals with a diversity of social issues. What would you like your audience to take from your compositions?
I would like my audience to interpret my compositions. Daniel Cauchi, who is my partner in crime in Kafena, has got a way of interpreting my songs and making them his, to the point that he becomes the song. At times, we hardly discuss the topic I had in mind originally because it’s not important. In my opinion, he’s a great singer not only because of his impeccable Maltese diction, his vocal texture and several other traits, but also because he interprets the song and makes it his. That is what I love in this collaboration and with lyric and music composition in general. If I had to explain every word of Lukanda Propaganda, I believe it would ruin the space to interpret it.
What are the highs and lows about being a musician?
Well, my way of making it work is to mentally divide what is work and what isn’t. This doesn’t mean that I treat work unprofessionally or downheartedly. It only means that you make sure that your work does not become your only source of musical experience. The burdens of being a self employed musician is the same as any other self employed profession. The only thing that self employed musicians crave for these days is a set of regulations and a union which covers them from any oddities which might occur at work. Achieving this would be a big accomplishment.
What inspires you?
If only I was able to answer this question! If I could give a straight answer, I’d be able to write stuff in no time! The motivation to work on something can come from all different angles, really. The term ‘inspiration’ is pretty much ludicrous if you think about it. I think that inspiration on its own is totally non-existent. It’s who you are and what you have gone through that attract you to things outside your being. Even when enlightenment happens, it happens because you want it to happen, because you are interested enough to want it to happen.