Four countries, one band, destination Malta. Ramona Depares catches up with Neon Islands ahead of their participation in Rock the South Festival.
How do you describe your music?
We have a very eclectic sound, and we feel we are creating something genuinely different to the bands around us, taking influence from our indie rock/alternative backgrounds to create a tone that truly represents us.
You describe yourself as a ‘shared shelter’. Could you elaborate?
We come from four countries, but we are based in one with a very uncertain future – the UK – so we believe that our band is ‘the’ shelter where anyone can come together to create art and nevermind the bigotry.
You do a lot of touring across the UK – do you enjoy this aspect of the band? Could you share a humorous anecdote?
Being on the road is great; it gets bigger and better every time and it helps us measure progress, as we see an increase in ticket sales and audience numbers. We get to meet more industry representatives at our shows and it’s a great laugh. We are actually just planning our next tour, and it’s the first time we won’t be planning it independently.
Our funniest story was probably showing up to a gig without a snare and driving around London knocking on our mates’ doors seeing what we could borrow.
Your recent video release, Luck, garnered almost 5K views in under a week. What can you tell us about the track?
Luck is... inspired by the desire of being left alone when the routine and the moral crisis in society make people want to run away
Luck is a roller-coaster of a song, a journey that takes the audience through a series of images inspired by the desire of being left alone when the routine and the prevailing moral crisis in current society make people want to run away. The track takes on many different concepts like love, hate, surrealism, escapism and self-imposed happiness to blend them together into this explosive and fleeting song full of hooks, popping bass lines and synth-infused choruses. Luck is the first step of an audiovisual campaign in which we plan to release one single every six weeks for the rest of the year.
When will we have a full Neon Islands album?
Well, 2019 is already proving to be our most exciting year yet. We’re lucky enough to be working with some really great people on our campaign and there’s a lot on the horizon for us this year, but a specific date or month for our album is still in the works.
You recently supported Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. What was the experience like?
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has been an artist we’ve been personally following for years, so when we got the call to support him it was a little surreal. He was really humble and all about his music; he hung out with us in the green room backstage and told us a little about his journey, which was really inspiring as well as a rarity as, in the past, the bigger names we’ve supported tend to distance themselves from the support acts.
Is this your first time playing Malta?
It’s actually our second time coming to Malta. We first came two years ago to play Sickfest, and we loved it. But we feel a lot has happened in that time, and our music has developed significantly. So now really feels like the right time for us.
What are you expecting from Rock The South?
The Maltese music scene is what really fuelled our bassist Jamie (Hayes)’s passion. He grew up attending the festival, and he’s really gotten us all excited about playing it. We’re also big followers of the Maltese scene, and we’re actually on the same line-up as a lot of the bands we follow, so we can’t wait to showcase our music, catch some local talent and have a great time all round.
Neon Islands will be playing on the Friday during the Rock the South Festival. The festival brings together a number of Maltese and foreign bands, and takes place on April 12, 13 and 14 at Zion, Marsascala. A full programme is available online.
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