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Infrequently Asked Questions............ Off Air with DJ Noel Mifsud

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Infrequently Asked Questions............Off Air with DJ Noel Mifsud

Interview by Keith Muscat

Disk Jockeys in the rock/metal scene tend to be underrated and mostly unappreciated. That is why I have decided to turn on the spotlight and interview the interviewer. If Faithless had to do a remake of the video for ‘God is a DJ’, Noel Mifsud would fit the bill perfectly. Sporting a salt and pepper beard, he must have a divine patience to go through all those tracks to select a playlist for his radio programmes or for a live set. Ever present at gigs and concerts, he gives his all-in to promoting gigs, events and above all bands that pertain to the local scene.

Noel Mifsud interviewing Marc Storace, November 2021 at ONE studios - photo by Vica Mifsud

KM. What or who got you into rock / metal music?

NM. As far as I can remember I was always into music, considering my age, my first love of course were The Beatles and other 60’s bands, mainly due to the breakfast show on the radio which was always on in the morning before leaving for school. And I believe that this was my first step towards rock. The morning DJ, if I recall correctly was Noel Mallia, amongst others and they would always insert that Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath song which always stood out from the rest. Then came Motorhead followed by the Sex Pistols!

KM. What were your first influences, the bands that set off the avalanche?

NM. As I mentioned my first influences were the British beat groups, but on the heavier side I got into Led Zeppelin, then Motorhead and then the Punk era. Afterwards came the era of NWBHM with bands like Demon (who were my gap between prog which in those years was on a decline from the grandiose that it held in the early years of the 70’s). Unlike others that liked punk, I liked prog very much and still do.

Noel interviewed on Noel D'Anastas' show Tfuliti u Zghoziti on Net FM, Feb 2020 - photo by Noel D'Anastas'

KM. Do you play an instrument and were you in any bands?

NM. Unfortunately, no. But to say the truth I never gave it much thought, I guess I was just happy seeing others do the music I liked.

KM. How were you involved in the local rock/metal scene prior to starting djing?

NM. Before Djing I was just an attendee to gigs and sometimes wrote a letter or two to the editors in newspapers about the scene or what was wrong and needed to get fixed. At that time I was still young and of course wherever we had to attend, we had to go by bus, which service stopped at 11pm, so there weren’t many places we could go except those which were walking distance. Hence my early visits to the Vandals rehearsal room which was (and still is) in Tarxien, walking distance from my hometown Rahal Gdid.

KM. Tell us something about your first steps on the radio waves? How did it all start?

NM. In the mid 80’s I started working and making new friends who played with bands or were doing some radio and stuff. In 1991 on Friday nights, after an evening in Paceville, or a gig (which were rare those days) I used to visit a couple of friends who had the ‘nightshift’ at the newly opened ONE radio (Super One, as it was still called) and used to discuss with them the music scene on air. Then I was asked by Jesmond Grima to co-host a rock show sponsored by the newly opened Rock Café on the same station….and the rest is history.

Doro's interview at Metaldays 2017 - photo by Emma Rose Photography

KM. Tell us more about your career and what you are up to now?

NM. From radio I moved as a resident DJ in one of the rock clubs that were popping around in Paceville – Harlequin Rock Club, which unfortunately closed down around 1995. During this time, working from Tuesday to Sunday meant that I had to miss a lot of gigs if they did not take place at the rock club, but this also meant making new friends both local and foreign more directly involved in the metal scene.

During the following years I kept an eye on the local scene from afar, but always took interest in what was going on, and attended as much events as I could.

After a while, around 2009 Joe Tanti, who from Bay Radio moved to Super 1 through Calypso Radio asked me to co-host his rock show titled Rock Moods with him and his son Marc. Joe had started Rock Moods many years before and was now bringing it to Super 1. Both father and son then moved on, Joe to host other shows while his son went on to continue with his studies and since then I was privileged to host one of the island’s iconic rock shows with Joe’s blessing. For a brief period I was joined by my school friend Lito (may he rest in peace) till the summer of 2011 when I thought of rebranding the show to cover solely Maltese talent. Since then Rock Moods has been regular every week on ONE Radio. In March 2011 I was asked to join a team on a new 24/7 rock radio station. allRock is a digital station which airs online and on DAB. I started presenting a metal show titled Heatstrokes (named after a Krokus song as a tribute to Marc Storace). A show which is still going strong today. I am also the co founder of a group named Prog The Islands, a group aiming to help Maltese artists by organizing events and merchandise distribution and part of The Malta Doom Metal Festival organisation since 2012.

Also in my curriculum I must add the management of Colourblind, officially since 2011.

Nowadays? Well apart from the radio shows, Djing events,, interviews and a lot more things on the agenda I try to find time to relax, but it is very difficult, although I must say I enjoy my life.

with Lenny Rutledge and Warrel Dane from the legendary band Sanctuary at Metaldays 2017 - photo by Emma Rose Photography (Warrel Dane died on December 13 2017)

KM. Some people are of the opinion that those who cannot play, dj! What are your opinions on the matter and what does it entail to prepare for a show?

NM. Yes, unfortunately that is a perspective, wrong, but it is there. Being a DJ many think it’s just playing one song after the other. But it is more than that. You have to be sure, for example, that if you play a song that is relatively unknown or new you have to follow with a song everybody knows otherwise, they get bored. One always has to keep an eye on new songs being released especially for the radio shows. As all my three shows differ in the genres I play, I have to be a little more attentive to the local and foreign scenes. Many artists now keep in touch and send their music, but still, there’s always many to look for. Unfortunately, an ordeal with local artists is that they do not inform us (radio presenters) when they have new material, but still ask why their music was not included on the shows. The number is small, but it’s still there.

KM. Throughout the years you must have built up quite a music collection. Any prized possessions?

NM. As you might know my collection goes beyond media, and in all aspects I have some possessions that I maybe cherish more than others as Bruce Dickinson’s bio signed by the man himself and a Sanctuary album signed by Warrel Dane when I interviewed him a few months before he died. Of course there are some collectables in my collection, but there is much more stuff with sentimental value.

KM. Apart from music I know that you are an avid collector of set-lists and other memorabilia. How did that come about and what are your most prized possessions?

NM. To tell you the truth I have no idea how I started collecting set-lists. But for years I have been collecting any memorabilia whether local or foreign. The oldest set list I have is from that summer of 98 that you spoke so well in your article on Alannah Myles set list. During MDM we had to submit the songs bands played to the PRS and it was my job collecting the set lists to vet them, although I had already many in my collection this blew the number up considerably. I also believe that memorabilia is part of the history of the band, the scene and maybe it will be of help to patch up the story further on up the road.

interviewing acclaimed record producer and guitarist Andy Sneap, 2017 at Metaldays a few months before his band Hell played at the Malta Doom Metal Festival - photo by Emma Rose Photography (Andy is now also Judas Priest's second guitarist)

KM. Out of the international artists you have met mention a few that you are really pleased to have interviewed?

NM. Too many to mention. Fortunately 99% of those I had the fortune to interview were really down to earth people, but I guess my favourites are Doro, Warrel Dane, Lips from Anvil and recently Mr. Lordi. Probably the most nostalgic for me was the one with Deborah Bonham where she talked openly about her brother John (Led Zeppelin) and his demons.

KM. You also DJ at events and concerts. How is it different from hosting a radio show?

NM. On a radio show I try to play what I believe is interesting for the listener, especially when the material is new. When you DJ at an event although you still have to play keeping in mind the interest of the attendee you have to play music they’re familiar with, on the other hand when Djing in an concert you play to warm up the crowd and to get them ready for the bands.

KM. What is your opinion on the Maltese rock/metal music scene?

NM. Truth be told I was expecting a calamity of some sort after spending two years in limbo (not only music wise), but fortunately, and I’m happy to say, I was proved wrong. The scene is at its best for decades. After hitting a low in the 90’s it slowly started to redevelop in the mid 2000’s. Since the world returned after covid, we saw an influx of new talented musicians on the scene, who probably used those couple of years learning and playing music while seasoned bands and musicians came out with a good number of songs.

Of course, attendances to gigs are another matter, and although the crowd is returning those two years changed the mentality of many.

with Dave 'Bucket' Colwell (Bad Company 1994 - 1998, 2001 - 2002 / Samson 1984 - 1985 / Humble Pie 2001 - 2003) in Valletta - photo by Vica Mifsud

KM. Are/were you involved in any other way with the local scene (for example organization of events / festivals, band management etc).?

NM. At the moment not directly but I’m always happy to help if time permits.

KM. Apart from your involvement on the airwaves you are tirelessly supporting the local scene. This is all done after your working hours. Does this leave you any time for other hobbies?

NM. Not that much. I try to leave at least a day for myself, which is very difficult, but it is better than turning to a couch potato.

KM. How much is the support of your loved ones important for what you do?

NM. Very much. My wife supported me from day one and still does, as you know. I am sure that without her I cannot do one third of the things I do.

KM. The bucket list is never exhausted. Any items you wish to aim for in the near future?

NM. I don’t really have a bucket list, although any new achievement that would have seemed impossible I always consider it as another one off the bucket list. As I mentioned I don’t have a list but I really would like someday to meet and talk to Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, but I guess that’ll remain just a wish.

KM. Shows that you are currently hosting:

NM. Heatstrokes (metal show) on allRock DAB every Sunday 6pm with repeats during the week (and now also on

Rock Carousel (rock show) on allRock DAB every Tuesday 3pm with repeats during the week

Rock Moods (Maltese rock and events) on ONE Radio (92.7FM) every Wednesday 9.15pm

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