Michael Bugeja has been mad about music as far back as he can remember. He recalls spending loads of time listening to music and collecting music-related newspaper cuttings in scrapbooks as a child. Decades later, here he is, still as crazy about it as he’s ever been.
“I’ve done everything from being just a fan to a roadie, club DJ, radio presenter/producer, music PR, co-founder of the M3P Foundation and, for the best part of twenty years, a music journalist. I still do the latter on a regular basis, and I’ve always had a particular passion for the Maltese music scene. That’s it in a nutshell!” states Michael in this interview.
Date of Birth: 7th December, 1966
Star Sign: Sagittarius
Occupation: Freelance radio presenter and music journalist
You’re a radio show presenter, music journalist and a DJ at rock and alternative events occasionally. What has so far been your best experience in your career?
There have been quite a few, actually. As a DJ, I’d include the original Coconut Grove years, my gigs with The Rifffs and the Critical Mass events as some of my favourite moments. As a journalist, interviewing most of the local bands and artists has been a privilege, as were the occasions where I got to interview The Prodigy and several of my Ska heroes in recent years. Above all these however, the best experience has been presenting the radio show ROCKNA on Radio 101, now in its seventh successive year, which has grown to become a flagship of the local music scene.
What’s your general perception of the local music scene?
My general perception has always been that there’s a lot of talent on this island of ours. These days, we’re simply more aware of it thanks to social media. Beyond that generic statement, despite much improvement over the years, there’s still much left to be done to support, motivate and educate so that our music export can go to the next level. I also long to see a concerted effort by the powers that be to encourage the public’s appreciation of all cultural activity (and I don’t just mean music) emanating from our islands.
How do you usually combine all your passions with your daily routine stuff?
With great difficulty! Anything I do that is music-related has to be done in my spare time, since I also have a day job, and one is not necessarily always in the mood after a day’s work. However, as with every passion, a little sacrifice has to be made, but in the end it’s always worth it.
In your opinion, what is it that really makes a singer or a band stand out from the rest?
The obvious answer would be that it’s an issue of subjectivity. In general, one could say that every artist has their own way of expressing their art, and this in itself makes them different from others, but this is also subjective. Some singers may have a particular natural timbre that singles them out; a musician’s particular playing style or sound that they develop which becomes their signature characteristic. In the end however, I suppose it’s what they create with their talent that sets them apart from others, and this too, is subjective.
What music genre do you really dislike?
I do not dislike any genre. I only dislike bad music. My record collection includes anything from classical music, ethnic, soul, funk and jazz to rock, metal, alternative, electronic, punk and especially Ska and reggae! I’m always open to listening to new sounds too. Some I connect with, some I don’t!