Perhaps Tel Aviv wasn’t the best environment for Israeli rockers Monotonix to grow as a band.
You can hear regional and traditional sounds in Monotonix’s music, and a familiarity with mainstream pop culture. But the band is quick to admit that its hyper-energetic, often chaotic live sets and the electronic pulse of its songs have made the band somewhat of an outlier in a country that—-centuries-long regional conflicts notwithstanding—-tends to move at a rather easy pace. “Israel is a young country,” drummer Haggai Fershtman says. “Lots of food, sun, and spirit, but it’s more about that sort of vibe than music there.”
Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we will die. What, Haggai: Food, sun, and spirit isn’t enough for you? Apparently not. And mortality never seems to be a major concern for Monotonix, at least when it performs live. A Monotonix show is all entropy, and that’s evenbefore the band gets to its signature outrageous stunts. Frequently, Fershtman will perform while crowd-surfing, drum kit and all. There have been instances in which the band’s members have set themselves on fire.
That rawness wasn’t suitable for Tel Aviv, at least in the eyes of nightclub owners. But Monotonix had to start somewhere. “There is no tradition yet, in Tel Aviv,” says Fershtman. “Because of that, you pick the rules.”
Fershtman says the band wants to “get over the barrier of the stage, because we’re not just artists. We want to see what happens when the crowd gets involved.”
Tonight the band plays at Comet Ping Pong in Chevy Chase, D.C., which at least size-wise should be ideal for the band. “The small settings are more special,” says Fershtman. “We can work personally with the crowd, and it makes the mosh more interesting.”