20 October 2021 | #MUSIC
Decline the fall: Are we the cure or the disease?
Decline the fall, foto: DTF
Even if I wanted to, it would be hard to start with anything else, so… There’s a long way from Malta to Slovenia. Ok, it’s a beautiful country, I know, but it doesn’t happen every day that four metal musicians, members of a band, pack their bags and move to Slovenia. More precisely to Zreče. So, what’s the story?
As you know, Malta is a tiny island, which means that we are limited with space and things to do. For 4 musicians who want to make themselves heard internationally, remaining in Malta was a limitation. Slovenia was the ideal choice for us due to its central location in Europe and also because the cost of living and quality of living are perfect. We came across our house in Zreče thanks to a friend of ours who lives in Slovenske Konjice! Coming from a country where all you see is endless buildings, construction sites and sea, Zreče gave us the possibility to live surrounded by so much greenery and mountains!
It’s winter, you’re enjoying your new home, maybe there’s snow all around… There’s only one ‘little’ problem, a pandemic. Not a good time to be a musician in a new country. What do you do? Sure, all that had a bad impact on your plans or not?
We chose to move from Malta to Slovenia during the pandemic simply because, we’d rather start from scratch in another country rather than in Malta, since this would still represent a step forward. Yes of course, it is interesting waking up to snow, having to shovel the driveway in order to move the car, but it is something which we adapted to rather quickly. Since the pandemic meant no gigs and concerts, then we focused all our energies on our social media presence and on creating new material.
The band started in 2015 with a different line up and musical direction. When and how did Decline the fall become the band we know today?
The last line up change we had was when Matthew joined the band after Nathan left for Canada; I believe this was in 2017! However, I would say that the direction the band took up is synonymous with the bands’ technical growth. We have a constant desire to learn new techniques and in turn, pushes the band forward.
Decline the fall – Our Own Demise, source: Youtube
You like to say that you’re not just a band, but a brotherhood. What does that mean?
We are a constant support for each other. It is not just about creating, producing and playing music, but it also about accepting each other’s flaws and understanding that we are 4 individuals with very different ways of living and seeing life. We can open up with each other, be it for confrontation or be it for solidarity.
You’re known as one of Malta’s leading metalcore bands. Maybe people wouldn’t expect an island of sand, sea, and sun to have a metal scene but that’s very far from the truth, right?
I’d say that the metal scene in Malta is somewhat similar to the metal scene in Slovenia. Even statistically speaking, numbers present at gigs/concerts are more or less on the same lines. And same as in Slovenia, the metal community is closely knit where everyone knows everyone and there is general support towards each other, even if the styles of music vary. We represent a style that was uncommon in Malta and this helped with creating a very good following.
You played some gigs abroad, supporting international acts such as Mayhem, Rotting Christ & Lacuna Coil. Later, the band performed at the esteemed Bulgarian festival Hills of Rock, situated in Plovdiv. What was it like to play on a big stage in front of a huge public?
It was absolutely fantastic. The whole trip was a dream come true. We were collected from the airport in Sofia, driven to Plovdiv where we were accommodated in the same hotel as all the big bands. We literally lived 4 days of the rockstar life. Of course, performing in front of such a crowd gives the chills but remains imprinted in your mind! One thing I will never forget, is boarding the plane back to Malta and saying to each other that our goal is to live as many of these moments as possible – they cannot be one-offs, but they must become a constant. This was a turning point for the band, as this is what led to focusing on leaving the island.
Decline The Fall, foto: DTF
In September your debut album “Our Own Demise” celebrated its first birthday. You were working on it for a few years. What was the process of making it, and did you make any of its part here in Slovenia?
As regards to Our Own Demise, everything was done in Malta – from music videos, production etc. As you said, the process took a few years since we were currently saving money to cover all the costs which go with launching such an album in an absolute professional manner. We did, however, work on an acoustic version of our first release ‘Nemesis’ in Slovenia and we also shot a music video in Zreče and up in Rogla. The scenery is fantastic up there and suited the acoustic version perfectly!
Your music is accompanied by very explicit words about the damage we’re doing to ourselves. Is this the kind of message you want to deliver to the public? What do you want to communicate with your music?
Yes, that is exactly what we want to deliver to the public. The 4 of us had our own experiences with many social situations and we know how many people out there suffer/ed from the same situations. We want to give a voice to these people, show them that we understand, that we went through it and that they have support. Unfortunately, when it comes to National situations like the annihilation of trees in Malta to make way for the ridiculous amount of construction sites, we need more than just our voices. We want to be heard by those who could take decisions, or possibly influence decisions.
Does the music still have the power to make people think and actually change something, or are we so overflowed with all those messages we simply don’t hear them anymore?
I think that those who want to listen, will listen. The problem is not the overflowing number of messages, but the lack of interest and acknowledgement of the problem in itself. Some people are just too self-centered and selfish to realise that there actually is a problem. Money and Greed have become the gods of many people unfortunately.
GHave you had the chance to meet and work with Slovenian musicians? Did you experience the metal scene in our country? What are your thoughts so far?
We did meet quite a few musicians and we are slowly but gradually getting to know the metal scene here. We will be playing a gig towards the end of October in Koper and I’m sure that this will give us an even better indication with working with other Slovenian musicians. We did go to a few gigs and we enjoyed the atmosphere that we found. Again, we found it to be very similar to Malta.
Decline The Fall – Nemesis / Acoustic, source: Youtube
In August you released a new acoustic version and music video of the song “Nemesis” which was completely done by the band. The video was recorded in Zreče and its surroundings. Why the new version and video, and how did you feel recording your own material?
That’s absolutely correct. All members of the band had the desire to rewrite some of our songs with an acoustic mind frame. We knew that we could give a very different emotion, yet keep the message so strong, loud and clear. It was our first time doing the whole process, from recording, producing, shooting the video and editing the music video also. We are very happy with the result and we know how important it is for a band to be self-sufficient.
After 22 months, it’s time to play live again and finally promote the album. When and where will you playing, and most of all, how do you feel about it? Are there any other gigs planned for the coming months?
We will be playing on the 30 October in Center Mladih Koper – actually, this will not be our first Halloween event in general, so we’re looking forward to the atmosphere and of course, getting back on stage after so long! There are definitely other gigs in the pipeline, we’re currently making sure to implement the right precautions due to the pandemic, however we have quite a few plans for next year and can’t wait to share them with our fans!
What was the reaction of your fan base in Malta to your moving and are they still following you nowadays? Do you plan to reach Slovenian fans too? Is there any message you’d like to pass on to them?
No one really expected us to make such a bold move, especially right in the middle of a pandemic. The general Maltese person thinks that the sea is the limit, but we went well beyond that. We still have plenty of Maltese fans of course, but we plan to reach as far as possible and we most definitely want to reach the Slovenian fans too!
In Nemesis you ask yourself ‘Are we the cure or the disease?’
We can be the cure, but we will remain the disease till the vast majority start working together with pulling the same rope for a better future which suits us all, and not just the wealthy and powerful.