Singer-songwriter Adolf Formosa (b. 1976) is probably Malta's best kept musical secret. While hugely prolific within the privacy of his home and known among close friends for his substantial body of work, his releases have always been DIY affairs (artwork also Adolf's work) given out to friends, without having any impact at all on the public, even within the confines of the local alternative music sphere. This reluctance to grace the public eye belies his membership in two bands over the years, both of which made their mark on the local music scene. The first of these was the seminal indie band One Dead Poet, which Adolf joined in 1996 on rhythm guitar. His connection with the band ended in 1998 after recording the band's one and only album.
Following his stint with One Dead Poet, Adolf soon left the island to spend a year in Guatemala. This experience had a big effect on him, evidenced by his intense song writing activities upon returning home in 2001. After long months holed up in his room, a chance encounter with three individuals (Julien Saliba, Alex Vella Gera and Peter Sant) led to Adolf joining the very loose collective of artists/musicians who had recently started to meet up at Peter Sant's place in Arturo Mercieca Street, Sliema. After a number of jamming sessions with Peter, Adolf started to bring his own songs out in order for them to be hammered into shape together with Peter, who then recorded them. These first sessions ultimately led to Adolf's first solo album, entitled "Philein - The Small Philodendrons", which he completed in 2003. Round about that time, Peter was also busy steering Alex Vella Gera's rough musical talents with recordings of the latter's songs, and this collaboration was soon to mature into the duo Hunters Palace. Meanwhile, occasionally Peter, Adolf and Alex would write together. Adolf's musical journey was now clearly no longer confined to the bedroom. He was soon working with Oliver Degabriele, a former band mate from One Dead Poet, who had by then begun to explore jazz and was soon to move to Paris as a fulltime musician. This collaboration led to an ep, "The Loev Lids".
Soon after Adolf again left Malta for an extended period, this time to France. Upon his return in the summer of 2003 his memories of those happy days spent recording with Peter and Alex led him to buy a digital 4-track recorder. He was soon holed up at home again, writing and recording incessantly, until out of the blue he was invited by Peter and Alex, who by then were thriving as Hunters Palace, to join them, but not on guitar. They needed a drummer, and Adolf obliged. Being totally untrained on drums, he soon developed his own primitive style, aided by his use of Christmas decoration fronds instead of sticks to create the sharp but mellow sound required. Adolf's membership in the now trio lasted a number of months, with some memorable live gigs, and the recording of an important ep, "It's Cold Outside". The final recording sessions with Hunters Palace developed into interesting improvisations, the memory of which would later draw Adolf and Alex back together. Meanwhile Adolf continued to record at home alone and compile album after album, including "Adolf", "Flores", "Bag of fruit" and "Tuck me in".
In the autumn of 2004 Hunters Palace disbanded when Peter moved to London, and before long Alex and Adolf were jamming together on acoustic guitars. This collaboration resulted in the duo, Treeears, a project which peaked in summer 2005 with two DIY albums and an impromptu gig at the refugee camp in Ħal Safi, at a time when racial tensions were on the rise in the country. Soon enough Adolf found himself solo again, and it was back to the usual modus operandi of extensive writing and home recording, even when he moved to the UK to pursue his studies in graphic design.
On his return to Malta Adolf subsequently teamed up with Roxanne Gatt, an up and coming drummer, to form a band that soon imploded, only for Roxanne's sister Samantha to step in. This was how the duo/project Xiola was born. After a promising set of demos in 2010, a semi-official release in late 2012, entitled "Bay of Pigs", may mark the beginning of a new and perhaps more significant chapter in Adolf's music career, and a more visible public profile.