Malta’s musical scoundrels are back | Xtruppaw

Ahead of the launch of their new album ‘Xtruppozitorju’ next Saturday, the rag-tag, genre-bending musicians behind Maltese-language punk outfit Xtruppaw tell us what we can expect, and how they keep their beloved – and often hilarious – formula fresh.

The best medicine: Xtruppaw are (from left) – Jeffrey Galea, Noel Cuschieri Huy, Ronald Grech Santucci, Marvin Zammit and Dino Mifsud Lepre.
The best medicine: Xtruppaw are (from left) – Jeffrey Galea, Noel Cuschieri Huy, Ronald Grech Santucci, Marvin Zammit and Dino Mifsud Lepre.

How have Xtruppaw evolved over the years?

Once upon a time, on a beach far far away, with high spirits and a broken down guitar, we decided to just sing whatever came to our minds at the time. Today, we all live in a lavish villa in Monaco, and spend time writing songs in our multi-million recording studio, next to our own private beach.

What can fans expect from the new album?

We have experimented with a wider range of musical styles, such as glam rock, progressive rock, disco funk, calypso and ska, and utilised orchestrations in a couple of songs. The album will be accompanied by a gorgeous booklet - a gift to those who purchase our album. Those who don't will be visited at night by our own secret militia and transported to a sweatshop in China, where they will spend their lives tying shoelaces on knockoff sports shoes.

You were among the first rock/pop bands to attain a cult following by singing in Maltese. Are you still committed to singing in your mother tongue, and what advantages would you say this gives you as a band?

When we crack a joke or tell a story during our rehearsals, it's always in Maltese, so it's natural for us to use our native tongue for our songs. This has not changed, and most likely it never will... well, not unless Malta switches to Esperanto! The alternative and rock scene in Malta lacked the use of the Maltese language. It therefore made sense for us to exploit this gap in the market to become the rich bastards we are today. On a more serious note, the only benefit of singing in Maltese is that locally the audience can empathise more with our songs. Since the subjects of our songs are mostly about the Maltese lifestyle, this has limited our audience to be primarily our islands.

You could argue that the music scene has changed somewhat ever since you were still quite active on the live circuit... not to mention since you first started. How would you describe the current musical scenario in Malta, and where you fit within it?

We believe that the local scene has flourished especially with the varied use of our own language in a myriad of musical genres: folk, hip-hop, punk or alternative. One of the issues which we feel has not been addressed yet is decent places for bands to perform in. To this end, we decided to donate the first million euros we make from the sales of our second album for the construction of a couple of good venues.

You've established a bit of name for yourselves as the 'funny' band. How did you go about tackling the humour this time around? Did you make an effort to change the way you work in order to produce fresh material?

This time round we tried recording demo versions of the songs at the garage way before actual recording. This gave us the opportunity to test and tweak our ideas... and to actually remember what we did! 'Humour first', is still Xtruppaw's modus operandi, sporting local wisdom and a bunch of 'spucatum tauri'! [We'll let our readers figure that one out - Ed.]

After having played together for so many years, is it hard not to come up with innovative material, and not fall back on old habits? What do you usually do to prevent this from happening?

We found it quite hard not to compare each and every new idea with the previous album. We wanted to improve and be more daring music-wise, and when we remembered that what really matters is to like the song on its own merit, we move on to create an album which we're happy with. We're actually very critical of our own work, and an idea gets bounced around, hammered into shape and often scrapped altogether, before we finally decide that maybe, it  should be allowed to see the light of day. We're happy with what we came up with for this second album, and we're pretty sure our fans - old and new alike - will enjoy the experience.

Xtruppaw will be launching the album at Corradino Old Military Prison, with support by fellow punk act Batteries Not Included (BNI). Entrance is at €10, €15 (with CD) and €20 (entrance and all previous Xtruppaw CDs). Tickets can be purchased from, Le Bureau (Msida) or at the door. Doors open at 21:00.