Embracing the stripped-down sound | Beangrowers

Ahead of an upcoming gig in Zebbug, Malta’s most long-standing indie rock band, Beangrowers, speak to Teodor Reljic about establishing a fanbase abroad and why musicians who write fewer than ten songs a year should consider packing it in

Beangrowers (Photo: Mark Casha)
Beangrowers (Photo: Mark Casha)

Beangrowers are a Maltese indie band which has certainly withstood the test of time. What was the scene like when you guys first started?

The scene was very different. In fact, there wasn’t really any specific indie scene. It was a mix of metal, punk and alternative bands all performing together. There were fewer bands and less of an idea of how things worked.

Was there a particular moment when you felt like you’d truly ‘made it’ as a band?

You never really “make it”, but some years back we had a huge gig in Vienna and we got in the taxi and the driver said “I know where you guys are going”. Also having [cult German film director] Wim Wenders being a huge fan, dancing and singing in the front row of a concert of ours was quite insane.

How would you describe your experience of establishing yourselves – and a fanbase – abroad, and what kind of perspective has this given you on the local musical scene? 

 The first perspective was humbling ourselves to realising that there’s many ‘known’ bands struggling to make ends meet, and seeing them give 101% at every gig, no matter the circumstances. The local scene takes itself a little too seriously at times and can tend to focus a lot of its energy on provincial issues.

Do you think it’s at all feasible for local musicians to pursue a full-time career in music? What advice would you give aspiring Maltese musicians?

Definitely we’d advise it. It’s not easy to sell many records in 2017, however there’s money in film-sync, live gigs and soundtracks and if it’s what you love, then you have to do it anyway!

The only advice we’d give is, be nice and easy to work with and get used to rejection. Smile a lot and genuinely love people. People work with people they like. Write loads and loads of songs. If you only write 10 songs a year, maybe you should be doing something else.

How has your sound developed over the years, and what’s next for Beangrowers?

We’ve evolved from our teenage punk sound, through writing love songs, to a more raw stripped down sound. We record our new EP, maybe album, in July 2017 and play a few gigs.

Beangrowers will be performing alongside The Velts on June 25 at The Garage, Zebbug. Doors open at 19:30 and entrance is at €8