Interview with Ġenn (aka. Cryptic Street)
Ġenn are a 4-piece alternative, post-punk band from Malta, now based in Brighton. They have found success inside and outside of Malta, having toured in several different countries.
They released their debut album Titty Monster in March 2018 and are currently touring England with their new drummer Sofia.
The following questions are answered by their guitarist Janelle Borg.
- So recently you have inducted a new drummer into the band. Would you like to introduce her?
We met Sofia online before we were going on tour last year. And she had been a sessionist for a couple of months before we decided that she should join as an official member.
- Do you feel your choice of the instrument you play reflects your personality in some way?
In regards to Leona and I, the choice came about unexpectedly. I could only play a few chords on my guitar when we decided to start a band. Leona had never taken singing lessons before, but she was always a good show girl. Leanne feels the bass serves as an element of support that doesn’t usually stand in the forefront, but still does its own thing and has a lot of power in a song.
Sofia says that she does feel her decision to take up drums comes from her personality. Sofia can be introverted at times and the kit is the shield she feels strong behind. It’s definitely a release for me too, getting to hit something. Sofia also gets an adrenaline rush from beating the drums, so that probably says a lot about her personality.
- As a band I feel a topic dealt with in your debut album “Titty Monster” was mental health. What inspired you to focus on this issue?
In reality, we didn’t sit down and consciously write about mental health. Topics tend to come about depending on what we’re experiencing at the time of writing. We tend to talk a lot about our mental wellbeing in our day to day conversations, and I believe this is reflected in our writing.
- You have toured on numerous occasions as a band. Any particular stories you would like to share?
Well, the all-nighters in Madrid are definite winners. There was a point when Leona was doing a random photo shoot in the middle of Gran Via, the main street in Madrid, which was really random and totally crazy.
- It is admiring to see more local bands from the alternative scene venture outside Malta to tour. From your experiences, what advice would you give for musicians aspiring to tour?
Just work as hard as you can. Sometimes we underestimate ourselves since we’re from a small country, but, in reality, we’re offering just as much as other bands from bigger countries.
- Every time a female musician or band comes up, there are arguments in the comment sections on whether or not the fact that they are female needs to be highlighted. Where do you stand on this?
As a band, we believe that true equality and justice is achieved when this is normalized. It should be well known by now that women can be professional musicians.
- How would you define the importance of musicians in society?
I feel it really depends on what inspired the person to become a musician. If a particular musician wants to be an activist through their music, then it will spread awareness about certain issues. On the other hand, if a musician wants to use their music as a vehicle to express their inner self, the audience can relate to certain personal issues and feel connected through music.
- Anything you want to leave the readers with?
Be bold, brave and colourful. Always.
Timothy Borg is a 19 year old University student who is studying dentistry. He has also taken up a passion for creative writing and music. His current instrument is the electric bass
© 2019 TIMOTHY BORG ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Background photo portrait of band credited to Nina Radel – Bands on Film.