Lucy’s first, not Lucy’s last

Despite their name, it’s the start of what promises to be an exciting period for Lucy’s Last. Interview was first published on the Sunday Times of Malta’s Culture.

Lucy’s Last

It is said that good music begets good music. So perhaps it is fitting that the founding members of Lucy’s Last – one of the newer bands to hit the scene – decided to get together to make music on their way out of The Prodigy gig back in 2010.

“We were still buzzed and this was something that we’d been talking about for ages,” keyboardist Mark Attard says. “I’ve known Aaron [Cachia] since we were students and the same goes for Elton [Grech]. I was the mutual person to tie us all with this mutual passion for music.”

The concert buzz lasted and shortly after, the trio set up shop with regular garage sessions. George Sapiano joined the line-up on guitar soon after. Cachia took on the bass, Grech the drums and Attard the keys.

“Initially, we recorded three songs – Jenna, It Came from the Other Side and an as yet nameless third track. The latter was actually the first one we recorded and was somewhat experimental. The sound has changed it since then,” Sapiano said.

However, the band was still missing one important element – a vocalist. Fast-forward some months and a couple of misadventures later, and the guys were joined by Mia Scerri, an addition that helped the band consolidate its sound and entrench its identity.

“Mia’s arrival signified a total shift in our approach to the band. Before, this was something that we did in our leisure time, something that we weren’t sure would take off for the long term. Now that we are totally happy with the line-up, Lucy’s Last has become a priority in our lives,” Grech explains.

A sizeable part of the crowd attends gigs not because it is genuinely in love with the music

This is very evident in the musician’s approach. The now officially-released single Jenna has been distributed to all the press and the band has been very active on the public front, with gigs, show appearances and more. Lucy’s Last is definitely here to stay and, judging by the reception the band is attracting, its followers are a loyal lot.

This may also be in part to the fact that the band’s sound is very different to the majority of the local indie bands, which tend to go for the post-punk, grungey feel. Judging by Jenna, Lucy’s Last finds its roots in good, honest rock characterised by a strong riff and persistent drums. The band are also planning to release the second single, It Came from the Other Side, around September.

Attard explains that this is because at its roots, the band started out with the classic 12-bar blues. These roots are still present, even if in their most basic form. With initial influences counting the likes of Jack White, Led Zeppelin and Queens of the Stone Age, the musicians agree that the style is now evolving towards something darker.

“It’s been a bit of a musical journey, but now we have settled our identity and we know what we are. The recording process helps make this identity more tangible. We like working with David of Spine Splitter and we find that we are very much on the same wavelength,” Grech says.

Considering the full line-up is still relatively recent, the band managed to finish the recording process in somewhat of a record time. As soon as Scerri officially joined the line-up, the musicians set to work on modifying the music arrangements and, because a lot of the work had been done before, once they hit the studios it was all systems go.

“We knew what we wanted, which simplified things somewhat. Also, we are all at a stage when we are giving the band absolute priority, so we don’t mind being out of pocket for a while. This made it easier to just take the plunge when it came to recording,” Sapiano explains.

All three agree that the experience of the band is a whole package, not one that is limited to recording or to playing live. The one complements the other.

“Many bands focus on the live gigs only, but they don’t get down to doing an actual recording. Which is a shame, particularly when they’ve been around for a while. It requires commitment, of course, and the ability to wave goodbye to a good chunk of your personal life. But since we’are all into it, we don’t really mind,” Attard says.

This pragmatism is also reflected in their thoughts about the Maltese music scene, which they believe needs to evolve in such a way as to offer potential audiences “the whole package”. For this, they say, more cooperation from venue owners is a must.

“Finding a decent venue is difficult,” Grech says. “Many refuse to pay and expect you to offer a professional service for free. Others make payment dependent on bar takings, which doesn’t really work out, apart from being a pain to watch over.”

They concede that alternative venues, such as band clubs or even open-air spaces, are indeed available, but add that the problem with these are the licensing hours.

“In Malta we are used to going out late for a gig. Particularly with our kind of crowd, people will just not turn up for an 8pm gig that needs to be wrapped up by midnight due to licensing laws. Which doesn’t really leave us with much choice,” Sapiano adds.

Add to this a very fragmented scene and the problem compounds itself.

“The bands do collaborate between themselves, but there is a sizeable part of the crowd that attends gigs not because it is genuinely in love with the music. They are more in love with the scene than with the music,” Attard says.

Not that this is stopping this band from giving it their all. And, judging by the sound of things to come, seems like it’s not going to be Lucy’s last.

An edited version of this interview was published on The Sunday Times of Malta.