Sold Cheap Single Cover

At the start of 2023, an ex-chocolate factory in Berlin became home to Jim Hickey’s new studio, he called it ħelwa. “Ħelwa” means candy, sweet or beautiful in his semi-native Maltese, a not-so-subtle nod to the previous life of his creative space. He soon decided to use it for his new releases as well. The Maltese American songwriter and producer made Berlin his home after passing through on tour as a session guitarist. Its jagged music and art scenes became his biggest influences after a hazy Mediterranean youth spent between the island of Malta and Los Angeles. A passion for songwriting and experimentation forms his music in the same vein as Mk.gee, James Blake and Mild Minds, while a collection of old synths and studio gear weaves the fabric of his sound. 

After years of writing music for film, fashion campaigns and self-releasing several singles, EPs and remixes, Love in Rewind, was used as the title track for the “Makel” series in Germany in 2020. Since then, Hickey has collaborated with House and Techno producers as a vocalist, notably with Santé and Re.You on Cave (2021) and Won’t Say (2023) with many more collaborations still to be released. In the meantime, Hickey will release three new tracks in 2024 as ħelwa, with Sold Cheap out on the 7th of June 2024.

Sold Cheap is about misplaced trust and the ache of being unable to move on. It explores the hard-to-explain place between knowing you’re being taken advantage of and going along with it anyway. On the surface, it can be read as the chaos of a toxic relationship but at heart, it’s about the struggle to find identity in a deeply corrupt society. The music video, shot along the coast of Hickey’s hometown, plays with the gap between the facade of prosperity and the backdrop of collapsing standards of living and infrastructure. The passive, subdued tone echoes the defeatist Mediterranean politics at the core of the issue and a culture of inherited willingness to give in to colonising forces. It is, in effect, a bittersweet postcard from home.