Published Jan 23, 2011Yes, their live shows are myth-making spectacles that frequently eclipse their musical output. A three-piece garage rock outfit hailing from Tel Aviv, Monotonix's notoriety stems as much from their absolutely unhinged performances, which frequently end up with the drums moving (mid-song) to some other part of the club, vocalist Ami Shalev inciting near-riots and cops getting called after about ten minutes, as their songs. The stories aren't exaggerated and their manic live consistency has taken the band all over North American multiple times on word-of-mouth alone. Here's the thing: Monotonix are also a great band that write awesome songs that will totally get you pumped if you can manage to hear them over the sirens and general mayhem. They're not reinventing the wheel, but they're churning out Motor City garage gems with all the creativity and flair of bands like the Dirtbombs or the Oblivians and Not Yet, with a vital, raw feeling, courtesy of Steve Albini's experienced production, is as good as any trendier garage punk record you're going to hear this year.
How did working with Steve Albini compare to your past recording experiences?
Guitarist Yonatan Gat: Steve was great to work with because he gets that great sound so fast, so you can just focus on playing. The studio was very comfortable; all we did was set up and knock down the songs. Our attitude was very different with this record though. We were much more about being spontaneous than about getting the takes right. That made the work easier and more fun than anything else we ever did. And I think you can hear it.
Is it frustrating when people focus on the live spectacle of Monotonix and ignore the music? Your experience with last year's All Tomorrow's Parties seems demonstrative of that.
Actually, the ATP experience was great. We told ATP we would play seated and ask the audience to sit down. We were just going play the ten songs that are the new record. We were seated, playing our songs, no shticks. After three songs, the audience got up and went wild ― started dancing and going nuts together. When ATP saw that, they stopped the show immediately out of fear it will become a riot or "dangerous." I loved seeing that the new songs had such an effect on people that they didn't even need us to do anything; we just played the songs and everyone got up and danced and acted exactly the same way they would at a normal show we would play. I liked that. I don't care if someone says the music stinks and the shows are good, as long as people come to the shows and listen to our albums. I think time will change that perspective and I hope after we're gone people will go back to these records we made. (Drag City)