Ciara Fitzpatrick asks what make Monotonix so special. Apparently, it’s the lack of clothes or a stage
Monotonix are a rock band – no understatement. Videos of their gigs show three longhaired, bearded, semi-naked men, completely surrounded by an enraptured crowd, creating very, very loud frenzied music.
The lead singer scrambles amongst the dancing crowd, is carried by them, and scales the height nearest to him whilst blasting out vocals to an appreciative crowd, loving that the gig takes place beside them, above them and all around them. There is no need for a stage when Monotonix perform – or, for that matter, full clothing. “We’re like swimmers,” says frontman Ami Shalev. “We swim between the audience, and it makes it more easier if you don’t wear a lot of clothes!”
Montonix –Shalev is backed up by Yonatan Gat and Haggai Fershtman – hail from Israel, which is “a kind of conservative place to play shows”, says Shalev. The Israeli rock scene, according to Shalev, is quite small, but Monotonix left their mark irrespective. “There was a period of time that they can say that 80 per cent of our shows in Israel were stopped by the police,” reports the singer with a slight air of satisfaction, explaining that the police would be called following noise complaints, or that the owner of a venue would claim that the band had trashed it.
Monotonix’s performances break down any barriers that conventionally exist between crowd and performer. “We decided, ‘Let’s try to perform on the floor, and among the audience and see what will happen’, and then we put on a first show like this. And I mean it was wild and very fast, and the energy was great; so it’s the best way for us to perform.”
Shalev feels that the band will never perform on a stage, as performing on the floor has become the central part of the band’s show. He’s keen to add, however, that for all their physicality the shows do not get violent, and if there is a security issue, the band will never argue with security. “It’s all about fun, people dance… I mean, we’re climbing and doing a crowd surf… but it’s not getting violent.”
Though Shalev mainly sings in English, there are unconfirmed plans for the next album to be recorded in his native language of Hebrew. “If you want to sing in Hebrew it’s very, very different to singing in English, because the language is so different from English, so we kind of change all the melodies and other things that we go into the song.”
Regardless of what language Shalev may choose to sing in, it seems unlikely that the enamoured crowds will disperse anytime soon.
Monotonix play Crawdaddy on Friday 27th November. www.crawdaddy.ie