2015 was the last time…
I got to spend some time with Oxygyn. The need to renew that supply was realised with the release of their latest single, Bubblewrap. I was interested in the title and sound so had to ask the Malta-based band what it is all about. I learn more about the scene there and whether we can see them in the U.K. next year; the new artists to look out for – and how their music has developed.
Corrode (2015) was the song I last witnessed from them. I ask whether there is more material coming and what it was like working with producer Luke Camilleri on their new track. Kurt and Katia are Oxygyn’s siblings so I find out what their musical upbringing was like; what the Maltese group have planned for Christmas – and what sort of gigs they have planned.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey, Sam. All good here! It’s been a very busy week with the release of our new single. However, it’s been very fun too.
Seeing the response from our listeners is always a very rewarding thing.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
We are Oxygyn; a Maltese-based Indie-Pop band. Kurt and Katia are our front singers, while we have Luke (Funky Monkey, 141 Records) who is our resident producer and D.J. Kurt writes the lyrics of the songs, while Janelle Borg composed the music.
Our aim is to share great music with a message; one about the nature of humanity and the society which surrounds it.
ARTWORK: David Ellul
Bubblewrap is your new single. What is the story behind that?
Bubblewrap touches upon a very sensitive subject...
It speaks of how society, including the media, imposes unattainable ideals on people; dictating the way we should look, act, think and speak. While trying to reach for these ideals, we lose what makes us human (our individuality, and, gradually, turns us into clones. It is a message about individuality and standing up for your freedom of speech and thought.
How do you think it develops from the track, Corrode (2015)?
There has been massive development since our first release, Corrode.
Firstly, the electronic element introduced has given Bubblewrap a more modern edge and provides a balance between the meaning of the song and the music it is portrayed through. We believe that the evolution of our sound has matured as the band grew up - and better reflects the type of artists we want to be.
I am interested in the video. Do you think the visuals match the lyrics? Is there symbolism at work, would you say?
The music video was made with the message of the song in mind. The concept behind the video is that the very distinctive individuals are all portrayed wearing similar black clothing - sponsored by Maltese fashion designer, Parascandalo. The black clothing symbolises society imposing limitations on the person’s individuality; which is in stark contrast to the rainbow-coloured attire Kurt and Katia are styled in, symbolising their breaking free from society’s chains.
We believe that the symbolism in the video is subtle, yet effectively conveys the message we want to give.
Luke Camilleri provides production on the new track. What was it like having him on board?
Introducing Luke to the band was a leap forward in our musical style. His background of Electronic music opened up new horizons for us. His talents allowed us to explore our genre and develop our ideas into something concrete. We consider him a massive asset to the band and we look forward to working with him from here onwards.
Is there going to be more material coming in 2018?
We hope so.
We have an extensive repertoire of songs and we do see that a handful of them can be gathered to produce our first-ever E.P. Our aspiration is to record these songs over the next year and release them as a whole.
Kurt and Katia; you are siblings. How did you come to meet the rest of the band?
This was done with the help of our composer, Janelle Borg. Kurt and Janelle used to go to the same sixth-form and wrote songs together. From there, they decided to try out their songs with Katia. After their release of Corrode, Janelle introduced Kurt and Katia to Luke. It was a very organic process - which brought together people from very different contexts.
Malta is where you are based. Ia there quite an active scene there? Is there ever the temptation to move to somewhere like the U.S. or U.K.?
Malta’s music scene is relatively small but very active.
The people involved are very passionate about their art and go out of their way to create opportunities for artists to grow. However, our temptation to move out of the country and to places like the U.K. or U.S. is ever-growing…and we hope to achieve this in the coming years.
What sort of music did you all grow up listening to? Are you all quite similar in terms of tastes?
We have all grown up listening to different music. Kurt and Katia had always heard Pop and Indie growing up, while Luke was more into Electronic music. We think that this variation in taste has helped our music to develop.
IN THIS PHOTO: HAIM/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
If you each had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?
We think that would be Oh Wonder’s self-titled debut album.
We both really relate to the songs on the album and the artists themselves. We think that the lyrics and the music complement each other wonderfully and provide an insight into the thoughts and lives of Anthony and Josephine.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have lined-up?
As for the moment, we want to focus on the material we put out. We don’t have any gigs lined up and we are rather planning out our next releases and setting our plans for 2018 into action
Do you plan on coming to the U.K.?
We would love to!
Seeing that the right opportunity crops up, we’d be definitely down to visit the U.K. and play our music.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
We would invite them to just be free and express themselves. There is a lot of fabricated music in the scene nowadays and we believe that there is a lack of raw, emotional and thought-provoking music.
So; we would tell new artists to produce music from the heart and keep pushing towards your goals and for what you believe in.
Christmas is not too far away. Do you all have plans already - or will you be busy working?
Christmas is a time we like to cherish with friends and family. We try to put our work and music to the side for the holidays and focus on what matters most. We would be nowhere without our family and friends - so we would want to give them their well-deserved time.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
From Kurt’s end; he would like Oh Wonder’s High on Humans to be played
Katia's choice would be Breezeblocks by alt-J