Janelle Borg March 21, 2020
How artists in Malta are dealing with self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic
At this point, it’s common knowledge that Covid-19 has caused havoc: a lot of artists and freelancers working in already precarious industries have lost jobs and opportunities, and the touring and live music sector are temporary dead. With this in mind (and being a struggling artist myself), I decided to shed a light on what artists in Malta are doing – instead of what they aren’t doing. This is what the artists I interviewed had to say in regards to how they’re using their time to evolve as artists during this global pandemic.
Sam Christie – Singer/Songwriter
“Pretty much I just went and bought some recording equipment, and I’ve locked myself in my room the last few days, and I’ve been recording some new songs and also writing a lot and experimenting with some new sounds and styles I’ve never tried before.
I’ve also been collaborating with some friends on FaceTime to change the writing process a bit, so the result of all of this for me personally has just given me more time to record new material.
Obviously, without being able to play gigs, there are other ways you can support artists which is stream their music on Spotify as much as you can just to let us artists know that you’re listening and giving us that push to keep going and buy some albums digitally to keep them sane and less broke.”
Nik from the world-music outfit Tribali
“I’m jamming much more on my own since I’m not meeting the band. I’m also experimenting with live jams and yesterday tried my first live feed. It’s pretty fun because it felt like I was out; also it was good because I tried stuff I hadn’t tried before.
The fun part of the first video I sent you is that my mates jammed on my jam and reposted it. Banjo added drums; our drummer added flute and a mate added some singing. I’m planning to do more of these online collabs as it’s great fun and it’s entertaining too.”
Wayne Camilleri – Guitarist
I've been confined in solitary in a room for years,by choice.So the more things change,the more they stay the same…
“I’m basically using my little home studio to catch up on guitar…learn some new techniques, cos you never know enough. And it’s the ideal time. And I’m sending our song ideas to my musician friend locked indoors to do online productions from home.”
Justine Ellul – Photographer
“I have decided to take this time as an opportunity for further self-growth. Seeing this in a positive way… believing it’s a natural disaster…we needed to remember how to slow down. For me, it’s the perfect period to protect my sensitivity away from the panics and anxieties most of us are feeling and a perfect period to detox from social media… not absorbing anything unimportant.
A perfect time to enjoy this isolation with the most important people in my life. And a perfect time to catch up on books, documentaries and any sort-of knowledge I was finding it difficult to do so due to busy routines – whilst feeling safe at home and inspiring myself for further projects.”
Kurt Abela – Songwriter and member of the indie-pop group Oxygyn
View this post on Instagram
Hey everyone! Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, we unfortunately have to postpone all our performances for March and April 2020 until further notice. But hang in there, we have big plans in the pipeline! Until then, let us remind ourselves of the little things in life and appreciate those who are most important. Take care of each other x Oxygyn Photo – @focusbymrv
“So as a band, we are using this time to write and produce new tracks and planning out ideas of what the next steps will be for the band once this crisis is over. We are also looking into the possibility of still having gigs and performances through an online streaming medium, to remain in contact with our audience.”
Charlene Galea – Artist
“I’m an extroverted artist whose work depends on what’s happening in society (I explore topics such as the environment, societal issues human issues etc)…I was initially going to continue exploring the topics that I’ve worked on in my recent exhibition; however, due to this pandemic, I had to change my direction. Therefore I decided to engage in solo trips (I walked twice from St Paul’s to Msida.. St Pauls to Rabat.. Mellieha to Paradise Bay) to further explore the current connection between humans, humans and nature, the Anthropocene etc.
The problem is that art at the moment should not focus on the artist but the world in general. A lot of locals are too brainwashed at the moment reading articles and on Facebook.
So I’m trying to find subjects to make them a bit conscious actually to what they have done to the world. A lot of people are in fear at the moment and more obsessed with memes, toilet paper and consuming rubbish than listening to the artist or the universe.”