ĠENN: on the ‘ĠENN’-eration of bands making music during lockdown, EP ‘Liminal’ and what is ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’?
A week ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Janelle Borg (guitar) and Leanne Zammit (bass) from ĠENN, the post-punk Maltese band currently based in Brighton, before the release of their new EP Liminal, which comes out on March 30th.
I first asked Janelle and Leanne about the origin of their band and was blown away by the wonderfully chaotic nature of their response. They described how their previous drummer had dropped out of a tour two weeks before it was due to go ahead, so Janelle had to scope out a new drummer from various Facebook groups. Leanne describes Genn’s first message to their current drummer Sofia as resembling something like “hey, you play drums right? Do you want to go on tour with us for a month and learn an entire album’s worth of songs?” Leanne also laughs about how Sofia tells the story of joining the band with this first messaging appearing “like a catfish attempt”. To further compound the chaotic nature of the formation of the band’s current line-up, the first day they met Sofia was on the day of the first show of the tour. Leanne reflects on how people would ask the band after the gig how long they’d been playing together to which they responded “well, since this morning!”
Asking about the creative process behind Liminal, a lot of which was created during the first lockdown, Janelle stated that ĠENN “did like two to three rehearsals before going straight into the studio”. This being mainly due to the pandemic shifting the band’s creative process online compared to ĠENN’s usual process of jam-based creating. Plus, the band were working towards a deadline-“we had already booked the studio, but we did not have the songs. So we were like, let’s get cracking!” Despite the change in the way the band was creating, Janelle expressed gratitude that she was able to develop her production skills, skills a whole pandemic generation of new bands are forced to develop, calling this her “highlight of the whole lockdown period”.
I think I speak for all ĠENN listeners when I say that I have certainly been ‘hooked’ and ‘reeled’ in by the exciting title single title ‘Mackerel’s Funky Mission’. Consequently, I asked Leanne and Janelle, after of course delivering my fantastic fish puns, to tell me how this single differs from the other singles released and the upcoming EP as a whole. Leanne stated that “it’s about a fish swimming from here to Malta… there’s obviously a lot of funky elements or the name would be a bit of a weird choice”. Out of the three singles released, this track according to Leanne has more of a “bouncy vibe”, compared to the other singles ‘23rd March’ and ‘Feel’. It does, however, according to Janelle, maintain the same “punky and psyche feel” that we’ve come to expect from ĠENN, and should expect from Liminal.
When asked if we can expect the new EP Liminal to differ in sound from ĠENN’s previous album Titty Monster, Janelle saying that Titty Monster was recorded in their teens, so “definitely had an element of teen angst”, but states that the eclecticism of Titty Monster certainly comes through in Liminal but is “hopefully more matured and refined”. Leanne jokingly quirked in reference to the evolution of the band’s sound that, “Titty Monster walked so Liminal could run”.
Finally, I asked the most burning question I wanted to know about ĠENN- what exactly is a Titty Monster? It turns out that Leona Farrugia (vocals) drew an obscene picture in the band’s old garage of some “disfigured tits, that quite literally looked like a Titty Monster”, thus the name of ĠENN’s last album was born.
Make sure you check out ‘Liminal’, released on the 30th March on all streaming platforms. If the last three singles are anything to go by, this certainly doesn’t sound like one to miss.