As part of our editorial shake up, Music Export Fund will be publishing a weekly feature called “Five Minutes With”either a musician or a band.
The first band was rock trio (or if you read their Facebook page “Heavy Dance Music” trio), Monkey Tank, who recently caught up with one of our new Music Scouts, Nikita.
Based in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, Monkey Tank is made up of lead guitarist and vocalist Mantas, drummer Vytas, and bassist Alanas.
Since forming in 2012, they have gained a pretty wide fanbase – for example, they already have over 1000 Facebook followers, and in 2014, released an 11-track EP entitled ‘Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice’, which you can check out here.
Last year, Monkey Tank was also nominated as the best rock act in Lithuania at the prestigious M.A.M.A. awards. They also played at the GRANATOS LIVE festival.
Music Export Fund: When did you guys get together?
Mantas: In 2012, or something like that. We‘ve been Monkey Tank for about three years now.
MXF: Could you tell us more about your musical background?
Mantas: Me and Alanas started playing in bands like 10 years ago with Vytas when we were teens. We’ve all known each other since childhood…
Vytas: Yeah, we grew up together.
Mantas: I‘ve played in multiple bands like Moondust, for example. Before that, me and Vytas played in a band called Sun Abyss and before that, in some others. I can’t remember all of them.
Alanas: I started when I was 14 years old. My first band was called Threat. We played shitty metal [laughs]. We were complete amateurs. It was my first band, so it didn’t sound that good.
On the other hand, the second band was really awesome! It was a thrash metal band, with the hair, skinny jeans, white sneakers – all that.
Mantas: I had no knowledge of that!
Alanas: [laughs] Yeah, and after that, I was in another band called Part Time Porn…
MXF: How did it affect your current music and is there any influence from previous bands?
Mantas: Not from my side. When I was done with Moondust, right when Monkey Tank started, I tried to get as far away as I could from what I‘d been doing before. From my point of view, that was quite successful.
Vytas: I generally think that music and inspiration for music comes from no other source than life itself.
You live your life and you have these experiences. I wouldn’t say that necessarily it comes from the influences we had, but probably it’s more from where you are now and what you experienced in the past.
Mantas: But obviously, you can’t deny there’s something from what we used to listen to – we really loved Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Blink 182, and Sum 41. Something has remained inside. You don’t necessarily try to add, but the music you used to love still influences your current stuff, even if you don’t mean to put it in on purpose. It’s like the music you used to love is in you.
Vytas: It’s probably in the back of your head somewhere, and you don’t even realise it.
MXF: What do you think is Monkey Tank’s biggest career highlight?
Mantas: Our album, Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice, is what I’m personally very proud of. We managed to gather all the songs and put them on the record the way we wanted them. Although, I have to say, I don’t think the moment of a career highlight has come yet.
Alanas: The gig in that club called Exit [laughs]!
Mantas Yeah, we were on TV..!
Alanas: For like 30 seconds…
Mantas: We were nominated as one of the best rock acts in Lithuania during the M.A.M.A awards. We had to go there and play two songs on TV.
Alanas: I think it’s something, actually…
Mantas: Well yeah, being nominated as one of the best bands in Lithuania was quite special.
Vytas: But not the event itself…
Mantas: The event itself was pretty uhh… Yeah.
Vytas: Don’t say that! It wasn’t terrible from their perspective, but from our perspective… You know, let’s not get into politics.
Mantas: It’s just not the sort environment where we’d have generally imagined ourselves.
Vytas: I measure stuff from concert to concert, so I would probably say that my favorite concert and so, sort of highlight, was playing at the GRANATOS Festival last year – opening that show was really amazing!
One moment we were doing the sound check and the other moment we had like what, 500 people? They were really hyped, and we felt really good about that.
MXF: What’s your most popular and best suitable track for a new listener?
Mantas: It‘s tough to say. Sometimes I hear these comments like: “dudes, why did you release that song as a single when you have much better songs on your record?” I feel like err, “okay.”
For me personally, I think that it would be ‘One Way Ticket’ for a rock lover and if you’re into some stranger stuff, I would say ‘Everybody’s Little Secret’ or ‘Mass Media God.’
Alanas: The first song that comes to mind is ‘Mirror Man.’ I think it was the first or fourth song we ever wrote. It actually portrayed our initial concept of the band – to play disco beats and heavy riffs. Basically that song is what we wanted to do.
And of course, over time we experimented and like, we don’t have any boundaries as we did in the beginning. It’s now about creating music.
Vytas: I really like ‘Pigs.’ We have a song called ‘Pigs’ which isn’t on the album AT ALL.
Mantas: It’s our B-side!
Alanas: ‘Mirror man’ is also not on the album…
Vytas: So basically yeah, ‘Pigs’ is actually one of my favorites to play on stage. It has this raw thing going on, it has this groove and it’s super angry.
Monkey Tank official Facebook: www.facebook.com/MonkeyTank
Monkey Tank YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/monkeytankband
Monkey Tank Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/monkeytankband
All photos by Sakada.