Big in Japan? | The Shh

A quirky bit of news hit the Maltese internet bubble last week: Alison Galea and Ian Schranz’s The Shh – who released their first EP earlier this year were featured on MTV Japan, of all places. We speak to the Beangrowers duo about this new venture.

Alison Galea (left) and Ian Schranz.
Alison Galea (left) and Ian Schranz.

How did you get picked up by MTV Japan?

Alison: The Shh's EP, The Burning Love, was released in Japan at the end of June and so the fact that we were featured on MTV Japan probably arose as a result of the promotion that the label is working on as a warm-up to the release of the full album.

Both Beangrowers and The Shh appear to have some kind of 'Japanese connection' - what's behind this, exactly? Are Japanese music fans intrigued by the Maltese musical scene?

Ian: After gathering some momentum on a lot of indie blogs on the web, Ian and I were approached by this Japanese label as The Shh. This is the first official release that we have had in Japan, even though Ian has performed there with Bark Bark Disco. I don't think that the Japanese music fans are intrigued by the Maltese music scene as such - we think it is because they like this kind of music in general.

Summer by The Shh

Speaking of which, thanks to the internet, do you feel more international than Maltese, and do you think that Maltese musicians are capable of creating their own niches independent of geographical limitations, these days?

Alison: We have realised that with the internet, it has become so much easier to put out a project and share music. There are no boundaries and it is a blessing to people from places that are limiting, especially to musicians. There has always been a Maltese scene and we have seen it grow immensely and it has become enriched. Musicians are better prepared nowadays and music projects feel more polished. We believe the internet has had a lot to do with this.

Do you think that independent music acts like yourself can become financially lucrative in the near future?

Ian: We were lucky to have been part of the music industry before the internet took over. But we still believe that independent music acts can be financially lucrative. This is still happening all around us. Bands just have to be prepared to play more live shows, sell more merchandise and get off any high horse they may be sitting on.

How would you describe the overall reaction to the band (being a side-project and all) since you first launched, and what are some of your plans for the future?

Alison: Reactions were surprisingly very positive. We put it out there as an independent project, just something light-hearted that we put together while in Paris. We didn't think much of it - it was just a free-spirited song-writing marathon that Ian and I went through, so all the positive comments we have received were really touching, and very welcome.

We are currently working on a new music video for the song So Over and waiting for a release date for the album in Japan. We are also planning to release the album in Malta and Europe and start playing a few shows.

However, first stop on our list will be Japan.

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