Posted by: – Oct 13, 2009
Monotonix are a profoundly intense three piece that hail from Israel. After being banned from playing many of the venues in their homeland, they set about conquering floors across the world with their confrontational live set and fuzzed-out garage riffs. They recently released their first full-length album, Where Were You When It Happened?, on Drag City.
Landis Wine: When I saw you in Washington, DC I was blown away by the intensity of your live performance. What concerts or performers had an impact on you and your style of performance?
That's the thing. Living in Israel, we didn't get to see that many shows. I think we were more inspired by music we listened to at home, by the energy of old rock and punk records. When it came to live shows it was more about legends we heard about Fugazi, Beat Happening or Lightning Bolt more than shows we've actually seen... See, Israel is pretty secluded, not a lot of bands go through there.
The new album manages to capture the energy of your live shows quite well. How important are records compared to performing for you?
It's just two completely different things.
Shows are kind of the natural thing for us to do, it's something we've done over 600 times, it's something we love and it's our way to make a living, it just became this natural thing.
Recording is something we stop to do every once in a while. We take it very seriously when we do it, and it's kinda the same thing, but different. You have to put a lot of sacrifice into both, that's how I felt making this last record.
When it came to recording it, we tried to keep it very simple, very live, and I think the album kinda captures the smell of our band. I don't know if that's good or not, but it's definitely us.
I saw you perform with the Silver Jews and I thought it was a great pairing, even though the musical styles were quite different. How did you end up working with them and Drag City?
The Silver Jews played Israel and we supported them. Ever since David Berman became a big supporter of what we do. He took us on tour with them, back when they were still touring, and introduced us to Drag City. He's been pretty great, we still keep in touch with him.
You’ve played an incredible amount of shows in the United States and all over the world in the past few years. Has all of this travel had an impact on the new record and the way that the band writes songs?
I think we played 400 or 500 shows between writing the EP and writing the album, so yeah, it definitely did. I think our lives changed a lot, but I think more than anything, over these few years we learned a lot about what we like and don't like about our music and our sound. This is why I feel this record is a better capture of our band and live show.
There's an intense amount of movement and energy going on at your shows. Has anyone in the band ever been injured during your set?
Yeah that happens. Ami got a really big bruise on his hand last night in Detroit. It's part of the thing I guess. Usually during the show we barely feel it, only the next morning there's a huge mark. Nothing serious, except for a few broken bones.
One of my favorite tracks on the record is “Hunt You Down.” It’s such a haunting track. Do you see the band going in a direction like this in the future?
Ha, I have no idea.
It was weird with this song, it started like a regular rock song, but then it became obvious we had to do it differently with this one.
Monotonix will be performing with Turbo Fruits and Brainworms on October 14th at Plaza Bowl
Check out more RVAmag coverage:
IN THE BLACK & WHITE: 015 - Monotonix - by: PJ Sykes