Chellcy Reitsma is a band based in Malta. Named after the main songwriter, the band has released 10 singles and one four track EP, including music Chellcy released before starting the band. The Penguin Rocks presents this interview with Chellcy Reitsma.
Tell me about your band. Where are you based? What type of music do you play? We are based on the tiny (but mighty) island nation of Malta, EU. Affectionately referred to as ‘The Rock’ lol! From sad lullabys to feminist anthems with smooth stanzas, galloping mid-tempo sonic escapades and an eolving energy that creeps up from behind. Our style is a bit eclectic because we write the music to fit the song without concern for genres. Our fusion style is a bit poetic with a warm vintage sound, smooth and mellow, but still fresh, a sound reminiscent of the late ‘70s. From alternative rock to blues rock, from Americana to adult contemporary. The vocals are delivered with an elegist-like cadence, amalgamated harmonies, and empowering lyricism.
How long has the band been around? I started off as a solo artist with my first single release in 2016. Then I started the band in February 2019. We kept my name because it’s too expensive to start over with re-branding and I already had a decent sized and committed fan base started. So we are quite new as a band. Personally I got interested in music in Oct 2014 after a series of dance injuries ended my professional dance career. The other guys in the band have all been musicians much, much longer than me.
Who are the members of the band and what instrument do they each play? I am Chellcy Reitsma the singer-songwriter and I’m originally Dutch-American from California. I lived in Chicago for a long time and for short stents in Italy, Sweden and Canada before landing in Malta. Now I also have citizenship in Malta so I’m Dutch-American Maltese lol! I might have identity issues! Alan Degabriele is the bass player who’s been with the band the longest and also plays for the popular local band Skarlett with his talented sister Sandrina. Simon Cutajar is lead guitarist also studying graphic arts and marketing. Edward Mifsud is the rhythm guitarist and a science teacher at Junior College. He has been in a number of bands and duos since the 90’s. Adam Cutajar is the drummer studying to be a doctor and obsessed with polyrhythms. All the other band members are Maltese from Malta.
We are currently working on writing our first LP. We have released 10 singles and one four track EP, including the music I released before starting the band. I released my first single ‘Blue’ in 2016. Our sound is constantly changing and evolving. We write the music to fit the song and mood rather than sticking to a genre.
Tell me about a song or to that best represents your band? Our two newest songs ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Fleshbot Prison’. ‘Fleshbot Prison’ is an angry alternative rock song with a creative theory about human existance. ‘Happy New Year” was inspired by the one year anniversary of my cousin's death. He died on Christmas Eve in a motorcycle accident, hit and dragged by a semi-truck on a highway in California. We grew up together and were neighbors for some years. He was only a few years older than me and his death really struck a deep chord with me. Then I thought about all my many family and friends who have died and felt like I could end up, eventually, being the last one left at this party we call life. So I used a New Years Eve party as a metaphor for life and death. The song is my way of processing all of this and a tribute to those who have gone before me. Happy New Year’ has been in the Maltese music video chart for 8 weeks so far and climbed to #6.
What was one of your favorite gigs? What made it memorable? Our favorite gig so far was a music festival in October 2021. We love music festivals because there is always such a great vibe. We love connecting with the other performing artists and the audiences are usually music conoisseurs excited and open to hearing new sounds and discovering new artists. We were just gelling as a band that day and the audience loved us and such positive energy was being exchanged.
Where does the band regularly play shows? Where would you like to play if you could? We play at bars and pubs, concert halls, restaurants, and festivals so far. It is my biggest dream to travel to play at large foreign music festivals especially the Pitchfork and Lollapalooza festivals. I would feel like I had died and gone to heaven to have the opportunity to play at these amazing festivals. I would also love to play at some intimate historical venues.
What would be the “next step” that you’d like to see the band take? More festivals and larger stages locally and abroad. A first small tour would be amazing too. We had a first mini-tour of the UK booked for July 2020 but the pandemic happened and everything canceled.
Finally, if the band does any cover songs. What artists do you cover? Who would be an artist you haven’t covered yet that you’d like to cover? We have done some covers for gigs. We cover a few Amy Winehouse, Hugo, Kovacs, Nirvana, Cold Play, The Doors, and more. We haven’t covered a Leonard Cohen song yet but I’d love to cover ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’
The Artist Spotlight series features interviews with artists and bands from around the world. If you would like to be considered for an interview, email firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a link to your website or socials for us to check out. There is no cost to being part of the series. Interviews run at The Penguin Rocks and NewJerseyStage.com