Consolidating the ‘metal brotherhood’ | Edward Tagliaferro

Edward Tagliaferro, organiser of the upcoming ‘Spring Fest’ edition of the annual Xtreme Metal Assault, speaks to Teodor Reljic about the dynamic of this long-running festival and why it’s an important meeting point for metal music in Malta

Edward Tagliaferro
Edward Tagliaferro

How would you describe the history of the Xtreme Metal Assault, and how has it evolved over the years?

Xtreme Metal Assault started in 2007 when another event got cancelled and I managed to put it up in three weeks – that was crazy, but a success just the same. It has not evolved much in terms of structural changes, since it always consists of a one-day event of around 15 local bands, alternating on two stages.

What would you say is particularly distinctive about the selection of bands who will be playing at this year’s edition of the festival? 

The choice is distinctive because those who play each year are the bands that are particularly active and willing to play that year, and I try to change the choice around a little bit so as not to make it stale from year to year. I also try to include newer bands.  Their quality is also improving yearly, with most bands having a recording, high-quality music videos, and bands playing abroad are the ones that are getting the most satisfaction, experience and longing to improve further.  

How would you say the metal scene has evolved in Malta in recent years? And what are some of the strongest influences and developments that have dictated the way the genre has been heading in Malta? 

Much to say here, but in a few words: the scene has changed, but for the better.  We have been compromised by lack of a central venue and even by those who opened and closed after a year or two. Sub-genres also did not exist before, as in: everybody attended everything. But then there are many more events to attend – especially this year – and a new venue for events is opening this weekend which promises to be our new home.   Attendees are spread among events, but we do lack new fans.

Ktinodia will be among the bands performing at the Xtreme Metal Assault Spring Fest 2017
Ktinodia will be among the bands performing at the Xtreme Metal Assault Spring Fest 2017

How would you describe metal’s standing in comparison to other musical genres in Malta? 

In the case of some scenes we are similar (few thousand say they belong, few hundred actually turn up and to major events). Other scenes we cannot be compared to, but maybe something beyond the music is pulling in that direction… and after all I’d rather belong to my scene where friendship and ‘metal brotherhood’ is real.  

What would you say are some of the main challenges metal musicians face in Malta? 

Easy answer – Thousands are pumped in the direction of certain public scenes while nothing is pumped in our direction.  You all know what this statement is referring to.  It is not about the venue where I cannot play in or not enough events being organized.  We (from the metal scene) have to man it alone, and in my opinion we’re doing rather fine.  

The Xtreme Metal Assault Spring Fest 2017 will be taking place at the Zurrieq Warehouse on May 6. Doors open at 17:00. First band starts playing at 18:00. Entrance is at €15 and €10 for those who arrive between 17:00 and 17:30. Participating bands include: Noogie’s Crew, Black State Believers, Ktinodia, A Broken Design, Kill ‘em all, Twentysix Other Worlds and Sahhar.