QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Mikaela Attard (MIKAELA)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Mikaela. The most important question right at the beginning. Are you healthy and are you well?

Mikaela: Hey Marko! I’m good thank you for asking. I hope you are well too!

Pix666: Thank you, I’m fine too 😊

Pix666: A few weeks ago your debut solo album ‚Nocturne In Red‘ was released. How difficult was the way to a complete album under ‘Corona conditions’? How long did the work on the album take in total

Mikaela: I wouldn’t say it was difficult at all to complete the album under corona conditions since it depended on how much I worked and I worked a lot for this in my studio, disconnected from everything. I worked a lot mostly on my own but also so very well with all the musicians involved, Marco Minnemann and Kyle Farrugia and also Tue Madsen, amazing people to work with and I couldn’t be more pleased and honored. It was an enjoyable process, no distractions and I felt so freed to write and produce the work with no restrictions. It served as a great cleansing session from all the things and auras that sometimes the daily life or encounters project on you, it was a great time to re-focus and re-establish things that matter and it definitely served great to get shit straight and focus on this project.

This cleansing and disconnection from the world when I was working on the album was what the devil ordered and I liked it. Missing shows and my people was definitely a constant emotion though as well as the devastating realisation of all the deaths that this pandemic was and still is leaving behind as it washes the face of the earth. I had started writing a few songs for this project about 2 years ago, and continued writing in between my other projects and touring when I decided on the final 10. The resolution for 2020 for me was to finish and release this album, ‘Nocturne In Red’ and it happened, despite corona and despite all odds. I think when you want something so much, there’s no way of stopping it from happening. ‘Nocturne In Red’ has already introduced me to a lot of people and has connected me with so many people all over the world and everyday, I cannot wait for more.

Pix666: In which versions is the album available? What other cool merchandise is available from you?

Mikaela:  Currently, the album is available as a physical CD, with all the lyrics to the songs and special artwork that I drew myself on the official website here www.mikaelarocks.com/store and digitally on all the streaming services. The album tracklisting at the CD back is also part of a horror crossword, with the questions attached with the special CD pack. I am currently also signing all physical CD orders from the official online store! Other official merchandise is also available on online store, such as several official t-shirt designs, stickers and more goodies. You might see new additions to the store very soon too 😉

Pix666: In the last few months you have also published two video clips. The new clip has more than 70,000 views on YouTube within a few weeks. Did you expect such a big response? How are the reactions of the fans, especially to the song ‘Bring Me Blood’ and what is the story behind the song?

Mikaela: I expected that people would be interested in this project but the response was a lot more than what I expected! I felt that the music in the album was really good but I was definitely awestruck by the awesome response and how many people are relating to it. ‘Bring Me Blood’ was inspired by an extreme event that I experienced. I was the victim of an attempted murder and I am lucky to be alive today.

This event and its aftermath definitely posed a dark time for me and during this time, because life goes on, other things and situations continue to pull you down rather than help you so you really have to be there for yourself and you will come out more focused and stronger really. It is to pass on a message that no matter how deep you go, you do come out stronger. Sometimes things don’t make sense but you take a grip and get out. A lot of blood was brought to me, and I prevailed. With this song, I wanted to inspire people to do the same. So bring me blood, bring it whichever way, I’m ready.

Pix666: I saw you live on stage with your former band MartYrium at the Dark Malta Festival in 2019. You radiate an incredible desire to perform on stage. How big is your current longing for the stage?

Mikaela: Thank you so much! Oh the longing for the stage is for real. As performers, I strongly feel that part of us literally gets stripped away when we’re told we can’t perform and we don’t get to perform and can’t interact with other musicians and a crowd for such a long time. We’re doing this massive sacrifice to help stop the spread of covid which now I don’t even know when that will ever stop but let’s hang on. When I’m off stage, there’s still a lot of things to do for a musical act so I keep myself entertained and focused by practising on my own, coming up with ideas, drawing, writing, preparing orders and doing everything necessary to keep it going.

Pix666: Now the album is released and it is not possible to play a tour. A pretty shitty situation for a musician. Or was there still the chance for a small release concert in your home country?  What are the tour plans for 2021?

Mikaela: It will be possible after all this is over, we just have to hang on a little longer so we get to throw a heavier party down post-covid! No no chance to perform at all in Malta during Covid-19 pandemic takeover. More news on shows can be found in the near future on the official website and the official social media accounts as well.

Pix666: Who actually belongs to your team, who will be on stage later?

Mikaela: The multi-talented Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, The Mute Gods, Levin Minnemann Rudess, Plini and more) plays drums on the album in its entirety, the hellfire Kyle Farrugia (GRUJ, ex-Align The Tide) plays guitars and bass in their entirety, and I play all the rest. I wrote all the music and all the lyrics on the record from top to bottom, produced it in its entirety and the album was mixed and mastered by the legendary Tue Madsen at Antfarm Studios in Denmark. You will find out who will be stage once tours are announced, stay tuned.

Pix666: As an experienced musician, do you still check the number of streamings? Do you know in which countries you are listened most?

Mikaela: Yeah of course, I like to keep track of it all. Definitely you can get a good picture where’s your music being enjoyed the most but it’s a journey right so it’s always developing. Not only I take note of streamings but also on the countries of album and merchandise purchases! But to give you an idea, yeah Germany is amongst the top countries where this album is being listened to as well as USA, Canada, Mexico and Russia.

Pix666: You have been on the road as a musician for ages, actually since your childhood. What are the milestones in your career, and the things you remember most?

Mikaela: It was more tuition based when I was younger, experienced music also from theatre point of view and competitions as well as of course ensemble classes, TV acting and so on but then touring and stage based as I went along. A milestone is definitely getting to study at Berklee College of Music on Boston campus, in Massachusetts for Vocal Performance and later graduating with a Bacholer’s Degree in Music Production at Berklee, with Summa Cum Laude. It was great satisfaction for me, as apart from the great networking and getting trained by the best, I got to finish the degree doing the finals on tour, when we toured with the Butcher Babies in 2018.

I remember carrying two laptops and all the necessary equipment on the tourbus as I was doing Game Audio as one of my final electives as well as 4 other final courses and it was not the easiest of things at all, especially on the move, hoping on and off to go on stage, meet people, get drunk then back to finish assignments but I’m so pleased I did it. I get a lot of tour flashbacks and childhood flashbacks to warm my heart every now and again so these are good memories to remember most most definitely.

Pix666: How big is the metal scene in your home country and how do people deal there with your outfit? Do people often stare behind you on the street?

Mikaela: Well, Malta is a very small island and that comes without saying, that the scene is not that big, but maybe because rock and metal is not something everyone listens to on the rock. How they deal with my outfit? I’m not sure what you mean. I’m primarily about the music, obviously we all know how important the staging and the whole package is but what I choose to wear, be it onstage, be it offstage, is based on what makes me feel comfortable, what I am and what the project is about. I am myself and encourage everyone to be.

Pix666: What else did you do besides the music during the contact restrictions? Do you have any interesting hobbies? Or is music simply everything in your life?

Mikaela: Well I live the cliche, yes my life is the music. I love to paint occasionally with pencils or arcrylics, other times shoot but mostly I spend my time listening to music, bands I love, anything that sounds great so not necessarily only metal, writing, playing, experimenting with mixing and sound engineering, practising, playing the piano, spill my guts out and coming up with ideas for the project. I have other things going on at times both musical and non-musical of course but music is my main thing. 🤘🏻

Pix666: Do you have any other news, that you would like to share with the fans?

Mikaela:  It has been a great hectic year for MIKAELA and this is just the beginning so I’d like to thank you all already for being here and for being the best! Your support means everything to me and now that we’re in this together, hang on, the train to has really just departed!

I like to stay in touch with everyone through my social media and through my website so stay in touch and follow me there to get to communicate with me, check out updates on the project and basically, to never miss a thing out. Thank you to you Marko and Pix 666.de for interviewing me and supporting the project! Hail!

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting answers – Stay healthy!!!




photos © by Jesus Martinez, IRIS, Emma Victoria and Skott Photography