Different Light is quite a strange and unique case of a band which, during the years, changed nationality, beginning the activity in the ‘90s in Malta and prosecuting afterwards in the Czech Republic. Keyboard player, vocalist, leader and band founder Trevor Tabone is the one to blame, after he moved to Prague and formed a new band, with new personnel, with whom he’s continuing the musical path that he started in his native island. Following the release of the excellent ‘The Burden of Paradise’, we caught the chance to ask Trevor some questions to clear up some tidbits concerning the peculiarity of his musical journey.
From Malta to Czech Republic… Can you tell us why?
Basically, I had lived in Malta all my life and needed a move. Malta is a great place to live in but it’s pretty small, tiny really, so an opportunity came up to work in Prague and I took it.
How was Different Light “mark #1” born?
In the early nineties, I had played with Richie Rizzo (drummer) and Mark Agius Cesareo (guitarist) in various combinations of bands and in 1995 we decided to form a band together. We recruited Trevor Catania (bass) and that was it really!
Musically speaking… can you please tell us what you did during all these years, after the release of “All About Yourself” (1996) through “Icons that Weep” (2009) and finally unto “The Burden of Paradise”?
After ‘All about Yourself’, the band played quite a few gigs in Malta and we were planning to record another album and hopefully play in different countries. At this point Mark left the band as he went to live abroad, so we continued with a couple of other guitarists and recorded an EP ‘A Kind of Consolation’ with David Cassar Torregiani on guitar. Then I decided to leave for Prague and the band split up.
I continued writing music and playing with various people in Prague, finally deciding to reform ‘Different Light’ with new musicians in 2008 and released ‘Icons that Weep’ in 2009. Jirka Matousek (bass) joined the band in 2010 and apart from us, the band went through many personnel changes until we settled on the present line up with Petr Lux (guitars) and Petr Matousek (drums). We started recording ‘The Burden of Paradise’ in early 2014 and also released a compilation album called ‘Il Suono della Luce’ in 2015. We finally released ‘The Burden of Paradise’ on 29/02/16!
With what kind of music have you grown up? It is undeniable to perceive in your productions influences of Yes, Genesis, Marillion…
Besides the bands you’ve just mentioned there was also Supertramp, Camel, Rush, IQ and more recently Dream Theater, Procupine Tree, Spock’s Beard and a few others.
Was it difficult to gather a new band in a new country?
It is quite difficult as you need to have people who are into the same style of music, that can obviously play well and most importantly, people that you get on with, not the easiest combination!
Is it more difficult playing Progressive Rock in Malta or in Prague?
Progressive rock is very popular in Malta but it’s a very small country so the audience can be very limited. The Czech Republic is obviously a much bigger place but I don’t think Progressive rock is that big here (apart from bands like Pink Floyd, Dream Theater etc). In fact, we want to tour in the future but we’re looking at countries like Poland, Germany and Holland where people are more receptive to what we do.
Why did you decide to keep the name of your old band?
I basically wanted to keep the legacy of the band alive. It’s good to have a long history with so many different musicians contributing to the music. Plus I like the name
I remember an old album, only released on cassette in 1990, entitled “The Face of Change” and published under your name. Have you got to use part of that music afterwards with Different Light?
I actually used a small part of a song which I slightly rearranged in a song from ‘A Kind of Consolation’ as I felt it would fit well. I’d rather use completely new stuff really as I love writing new music!
Can you tell us the story behind “The Burden of Paradise”?
It’s basically a semi concept album which deals with freedom, acceptance, love, integrity and other human values. It especially emphasizes the idea of complete individual liberty, ie. living without the burden of reliance.
The lyrics are a reflection of what I see around me in my life, could be things I have personally experienced or what I’ve observed around me.
Did the album have a lengthy gestation?
Quite a long one! We rehearsed and developed the music in 2013, then started recording in early 2014 before releasing the album in February 2016.
Have you got positive feedbacks for this album in Czech Republic? Do you manage to play live?
To be honest we haven’t really promoted the album here in CZ much as the plan was always to concentrate on more ‘Prog Friendly’ countries in Europe like Poland, Holland, Germany, Italy etc. plus the USA and Canada. So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive so, as I mentioned before, we are planning to gig around Europe, hopefully this will happen :-)