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WATCH: ‘You’re Welcome To Join Us Next Time’ – DJs Behind THAT Sidi Ġesu Huwa Ħaj Remix React To Set Going Viral

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An underground party held over the weekend featuring visuals showcasing everyone from Konrad Mizzi and Bernard Grech to Jesus Christ has rocked the local music scene and opened up a major discussion about artistic expression.

Radju Ħaj‘s recent LEJL ĦAJ at Liquid Club in San Ġwann showcased the podcasters‘ uniquely Maltese humour, mixing classic Maltese samples, songs and speeches with dance and techno songs.

The group is well-known for subverting Maltese iconography and sounds – if you haven’t heard their mix of the emotional track Glue by Bicep overlaid with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s speeches, you haven’t been paying attention.

Jump to 7.04 to hear the Joseph Muscat x Bicep mix

Their recent set – like all sets – featured a selection of Maltese visuals to accompany their music.

Everything from aerial shots of the Central Link Project to images of local politicians in Parliament to neon Jesus Christ were projected behind the Radju Ħaj selectors as attendees danced the night away.

Visuals from left to right: Konrad Mizzi, Central Link Project, Joseph Muscat

Visuals from left to right: Konrad Mizzi, Central Link Project, Joseph Muscat

For Radju Ħaj, they are just surprised that a song they’ve been playing for years had garnered such a major reaction now. 

“We’ve been putting up satirical podcasts, videos, songs and parties for half a decade now, so I guess having this level of exposure now – coupled with shock as if this has only started happening this weekend – is always entertaining,” they told Lovin Malta.

@lovinmaltaofficialAnother angle of the divisive clubbing moment from last weekend 👀 Thoughts? #fyp #fypmalta #lovinmalta #sidigesuhuwahaj #remix #clubbing #malta♬ original sound – Lovin Malta

A clip from their recent gig went viral on Maltese social media, showing the Jesus backdrop alongside a dance remix of church hymn Sidi Ġesu Huwa Ħaj. 

“It’s just hilarious that, of all the things we’ve ever said and done, this is the one that triggered the nation: a song which we first played in the exact same place two whole years ago, which has been online all this time, and which doesn’t ridicule (yep, that’s the way that word is spelled) anyone or anything,” they continued, referencing some comments from other local DJs who were shocked at the use of Jesus Christ in their backdrop.

“Now, first of all I am not any kind of a saint far from it,” said one Maltese DJ as the video went viral, “but I was so disgusted that I can’t help it not to say anything about it. We all make jokes about religion and we all swear… fine! But to ridicule any religion in that way is so disrespectful and ignorant. No one should make fun of any religion in any way because if you don’t give a damn about anything at least respect the others.”

For Radju Ħaj, who hold nostalgia-related efforts in high regard, including the song in their set was a no brainer – indeed, it wasn’t even the only religious remix they had.

“It’s a throwaway intro track with a simple pun because of our name. And it just plays on Maltese people’s nostalgia of singing these church song when we were young. It’s easily our tamest song from that night – or ever, for that matter,” they laughed.

“Besides, remixes of songs of praise have been played abroad for decades.”

A lot of criticism stemmed from the fact that some believed a religious song shouldn’t be included at a dance party. Though in the west, songs of praise have regularly been utilised in sets, in other, more conservative countries, some DJs have faced persecution for their music.

Back in 2017, British DJ Dax J was sentenced to a year in a Tunisian court for “public indecency” after he played a dance remix of a Muslim call to prayer in the country. The sentence was condemned widely in the west as well as in Malta, though conservatives and religious fundamentalists praised it.

“Just because you’ve never heard it before in Malta doesn’t make it blasphemous. It just makes it different. And in our scene, different is innovative, and innovative is always better.”

“What’s so funny, of course, is that we got all this pushback from a scene that’s meant to be one of Malta’s darkest, edgiest, heaviest and most underground. We’ve all been to events organised by these people that make ours look completely harmless,” the Radju Ħaj DJs pointed out in reaction to criticism from Maltese DJs.

“Besides, you’d think our critics’ open admissions of all the times they swear on a daily basis and their very public threats to beat us up would go against their clearly extremely Christian concerns, but I guess such is the ironic nature of these things.”

However, it wasn’t all Maltese musicians who couldn’t handle the Jesus visual – other prominent DJs called out the “hypocrisy” that was being shown and praised the Radju Ħaj team for their creativity. 

“It’s hilariously ironic to see this because the people who started making a big deal out of all this in the first place are artists who were supposedly fighting alongside us for a law against censorship just a couple of years ago,” Radju Ħaj said.

As alternative DJs with a dedicated crowd, the national exposure they are currently enjoying is the most they’ve ever seen – and now, they cannot wait for their next party, where they’ll be taking the music and visuals to the next level.

“We’re just getting started, and these things don’t really deter us. Far from it. If anything, we just got extra confirmation that what we’re doing really is different, innovative, pushing the boundaries and unlike anything that’s out there.”

“For Malta, that is – much of the developed world has been seeing and hearing far worse things for decades now, and the last time anything like this was scrupulous in a developed democracy was in the 1980s,” they said pointedly.

And for anyone ready to condemn Radju Ħaj, they had a clear message:

“Oh, and anyone who actually thinks they know what went down that night just because they watched a 25-second clip from a five-and-a-half-hour party is very welcome to join us next time,” they ended. “First drink’s on us!”

How do you feel about local political and religious imagery being used as part of a party’s backdrop?

READ NEXT: Bernard Grech’s ‘Impotence’ Jab Was Insensitive To Thousands Of Maltese Men, PL President Warns 

Johnathan is interested in the weird, wonderful, and sometimes dark realities late capitalist society forces upon us all. He also likes food and music. Follow him at @supreofficialmt on Instagram, and send him news, food and music stories at [email protected]

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