Paring down to the essentials | Stalko

It’s been four years since folk-pop outfit Stalko released their debut album, Grandiloquence, on the scene. They’re now back with a sophomore effort, A Long Wave Goodbye, and the band speaks to us about what we can expect from this – apparently stripped-down – release

Stalko (left to right): Chris Cini, Tim Ellis and Michael Stivala • Photography by Zvezdan Reljic, illustration by Nadine Noko
Stalko (left to right): Chris Cini, Tim Ellis and Michael Stivala • Photography by Zvezdan Reljic, illustration by Nadine Noko

It’s been a while since your debut album, Grandiloquence. Why has there been such a long gestation period between that release and A Long Wave Goodbye?

Indeed it has, but we’re not the type to rush things just for the sake of releasing a new album. We took our time to explore new music and after a period of random jamming and experimenting with electronic sounds, a number of tunes started taking shape. We then worked on our favourite ones, experimenting further with sounds, drums and the like. Much to our surprise and considering our amateur experience in sound recording, we managed to pre-produce most of the album at our base in Wardija and finalised the rest at Temple Studios (special thanks to David Vella!). The process was a great (albeit new) experience for us all and we hope that listeners will like the new album.

How do you think your new album compares to your first?

When recording the debut album, we wanted to include as many ideas brewing in our heads as possible. Our approach to the second album was quite different and – shall we say – more mature. The second album has less of everything, giving space for the songs to breathe. Having said that, certain characteristics of the first album are still present in this album. Old habits die hard.

You’ve kept quite busy in the interim between one release and the other, though, gigging regularly, sometimes with renowned international performers. What were some of the highlights of this experience, and has it shaped your sound in any way?

Every gig is always an experience in itself. Gigs are always a good occasion to get feedback on band material. We have however been quite hesitant to play the new songs for the simple reason that, until a few weeks ago we had no idea how to filter all the sounds used in this album – which is essentially a studio album – and render them gig-friendly. The end product, which we managed to finalise a few weeks ago, can now be safely considered as music to one’s ears (pun intended) and we look forward to showcase it on the April 9.

What do you think of the local music scene? What would you change about it?

There is a lot going on at the moment. New material is being released regularly and, although it may not all be to our liking, it is surely encouraging to know that more people are contributing to the local music scene. As for things to change, top on our list would be more input and support from local authorities. We still lack adequate, propped-up venues for gigs, and while we’re at it, any news from William Mangion?!

What’s next for you?

Your guess is as good as ours! It’s still early days to predict whether there will be a third album but we definitely plan to work on new material. We will also be organising a few gigs over the summer to promote the album, so keep your eyes and ears open.

Stalko will be launching A Long Wave Goodbye at The Palace Theatre, Paola at 21:00. Tickets are at €17 (with album) and €12 (without album). Bookings: