The Gibraltar Live Music Society aims to provide news from around the local music scene and serve as a platform for publicity and recognition for the Rock’s musicians. Formed some years ago by local musicians, but fell by the wayside before David Diaz asked for permission to take over in September 2015. Although already holding a website domain under music.gi, he didn’t feel it caught on and searched for a change. That’s when he remembered how fascinated he was by the material and message board on the website at the time and decided to bring it back with a bang. The new GLMS celebrated reaching 3,000 likes on Facebook last month and has already put a great deal of local music on the web via reviews, podcasts and stories.
Tell me about your early days at the Rock on the Rock club and how you viewed the music scene back then.
ROTR admittedly is crucial in everything we do now, especially as I don’t think I would have met almost every single local musician. Although the GLMS back then did play a part, I was never really into the local music scene that much, but that all changed one afternoon in mid 2005. I must have been 17 when I first ventured into the club and it was all because Roin Sampere, my friends’ Psychology teacher at the College. He told them to check out Rock on the Rock as a band, ‘Murder of Crows’, was playing. We didn’t know what it was or where it was, but upon discussion on what was then MSN Messenger, we decided to make our way. Once there, and after paying the £3 entry fee, we stepped inside and heard the band playing ‘Keep on Rocking In The Free World’ by Neil Young with a lot of commotion and there he was; Mr Sampere playing the drums. To this day, as soon as I step into the club, I get very emotional thinking about those times. All I can say is thank you to Roin, wherever he may be, for guiding us to what has been our home away from home for almost twelve years.
Describe the current GLMS team and the aim of the society?
The current GLMS team includes my brother Ernest, Nick Gonzalez, Joel Francis and myself. Right now, we just want to promote anything to do with local music. From the bands, artists and DJs who come from abroad, to our very own products. Our aim is simple; to keep supporting local talent in anything they do and to give them the same glitz and glamour as those with larger reputations.
What kind of service do you provide to local music lovers?
We have a variety of services really but I think we have done very well with the new Facebook Live feature. Over the summer, Joel decided to give it a try whilst he was at a gig by Jesse Mclaren and Nolan Frendo in The Jazz Cafe and we got a huge number of views. So from then on, whenever we can and if the Wi-Fi signal is strong enough, we do it at almost every gig we cover, be it for photography or for leisure.
Describe your taste in music.
I come from a musical family myself. I am very proud to say that I am very diverse when it comes to music. My playlist is a little crazy at the moment as it can jump one moment from Bob Marley to someone like Tim Mcgraw. My favourite bands are; R.E.M., Counting Crows and Iron Maiden though!
What kind of support have you received from the community?
The community has been fantastic, especially the nine local businesses we approached for sponsorship. We pitched our relevant proposal and it amazes me still as to how willing they were to contribute to the cause. As far as the local musicians go, it has been fantastic from them too. We have a huge responsibility at times, especially, as we get their material in advance or even when we don’t; we are just proud to support them and they support us so I like to think of it as a team effort.
Tell me about your first event and what it meant to you. Did you feel that you had finally cemented yourself as a society?
Our first event in October last year was special in more ways than one. All I could think about the entire day was, what if not many people come? But to my amazement, we had a full house and even some of the local musicians who weren’t performing on the night came down for moral support. That meant a lot to me, especially, as they didn’t really have to come but they did just to watch some stellar musicians do what they do best. If it wasn’t for Interserve’s £200 head start; we perhaps wouldn’t have collected as much as we did but then to collect £345 at the door and then more from donations; it was pretty surreal! I would like to thank all the musicians who came through and to all the people that came down that night. Biggest thank you though goes out to my brother Ernest who I probably drove bonkers the entire day all because I was too worried as to how things would go but he assured me everything would go smoothly.
How have you seen the local music scene evolve?
I like to think the local music scene right now has evolved in a big way and I am proud to have witnessed that evolution. It is great to see bands, artists and DJs with covers, but nowadays, you don’t tend to see it as much as they all have their own original tracks. The power of social media and websites such as SoundCloud & YouTube has made local musicians more confident to showcase their material. The evolution is all down to some teachers these musicians have had. The likes of Simon Dumas, Jeremy Perez etc have been mentored by a great person and musician in Chris Cortes. Then you have Christian Santos with Santos Productions Choir, Lili Olivero, etc etc. GAMPA also plays a huge part, especially as some children want to perform, learn an instrument and make a career in music. There are so many young talented musicians that it makes me think, when I was their age, I wouldn’t have had the courage to go up there and perform.
What do you think of the large music festivals that have emerged recently and in what way do you think they affect local music?
These large music festivals are great! I sound a little selfish but I have seen some of my favourite bands at my very doorstep and within those favourites I am counting locals too. My only complaint is that when it comes to these festivals, we need to showcase our local talent more. It is great that there are many stages for them to perform, but we need them to be at the forefront. Maybe because I believe charity begins at home and these musicians work endlessly to deliver.
How will you try and help local talent grow?
I think we do a lot to help the local scene grow. As GLMS we share their material, we advertise their gigs (free of charge) and even do event photography. Joel does more of the social media stuff and does a great job of it. It is because of our goal that Joel’s two minute video of BassCake’s set at last year’s Gibraltar Electronic Music Festival, has more than 18,000 views WORLDWIDE! So in the end, we just want to show the world what stellar musicians we have for such a small place. My good friend Adrian Pisarello once told me that if every musician in Gibraltar were to hold hands, you would probably fill half of it and he is absolutely right.
How the podcast idea came about and how you prepare for a show?
The idea was already set in motion, believe it or not, when I used to host my ‘Inspired By’ podcast as I felt we could have a guest and play their music in between, but then, I never got around to it and stuck with the interview format. Once more established in late July of last year; we decided to record a pilot as a test run like any other network would do with a TV show. So I approached Divi Cano and Paul Cano from Angelwings and it flowed very naturally. Admittedly, I quite enjoyed the idea as it made the show more exciting and we decided to call it ‘Straight Outta Gibraltar’. From there, we haven’t done many interviews as we said we would but they are coming; I can assure you. It is also very fun for me as I have discovered some music I wasn’t aware of, even though I have had them in my collection for a number of years. The whole idea now is that we play local music from the past and present as a little tribute to those who left their mark no matter how big or how small on the scene.
How far do you think you can go with this group and what are your plans for the future?
With this group I like to think we all bring something different to the table but all ideas are discussed and we then envision how we can make it work. We have a lot of different ideas which we have yet to reveal but it will be worth the wait. We plan on doing more events; in fact, we hosted our second event at Rock on The Rock last month for World Rocks Against Dementia. Some of our very best musicians took to the stage in order to raise awareness on dementia. We also recently launched the Michael Danino Award which we were able to launch with the blessing coming from his daughter Megan who is a very good friend of mine. We are leaving the nominations to the musicians themselves and we will merit them for their passion, effort and drive – three qualities we believe Michael possessed with any project he took on.
words | Mark Viales event photos | Mark Galliano Photography