Urban Soundtracks: Vilnius According to Solo Ansamblis

 

Even less frequent readers will have noticed by now that Vilnius has a special place in Post Pravda’s heart. Okay, it might only be me, but rest assured that my love is more than enough for everyone involved in the magazine – and those outside.

Let me digress a tiny bit and say that to me there are three things worth living, fighting, and all of that cheesy rom-com, shit for: love, writing, and music. Music is love, and love is everything: it works in all directions. Vilnius has all of the above. Regardless of the city’s mesmerizing charm, I will never stop falling in love here – be it not for the thriving music scene.

Post-punk isn’t very common in the Vilnius music scene, let alone post-punk in Lithuanian. Vilnius natives Solo Ansamblis like to call their music “sad dance”, which is not far from truth. Either way, their experimental, unique tunes pick up speed, tension and energy with every sound of the numerous instruments that they so masterfully operate, only to then slow down, gaze up again, hypnotize, grab you by the lapels, and hold tight until the very end.

 

It is quite interesting to see how the top alternative artists, as opposed to the manufactured artists from Lithuania, decide to sing in Lithuanian. Is it simply because it is easier for you to put your ideas together in Lithuanian, or is it a matter of principle for you to make music in your native language?

For us, the Lithuanian language is unique, rare, ancient, and very musical. When we work on lyrics, we always seek interesting sounding consonances, not only for meanings and codes. If it is interesting for Lithuanian-speaking listeners, we dare to hope that it could also sound as an autonomous musical instrument to non-speakers. Or maybe it’s just because we really enjoy creating in this language, and don’t care about the music business.

 

At last year’s What’s Next In Music conference, some of the key players from the British music industry that had listened to demos by local artists pointed fingers at you as the most interesting band. Have you thought of promoting yourselves abroad?

Actually, we don’t want to push anything too much: we just want to let it happen. The main and only thing for us is music, and our freedom while creating it. On the other hand, we already feel the interest from Europe reaching us little by little, as more and more people from abroad discover our music. We are really happy with that, and want to share our music and point of view as widely as possible.

 

I saw you live for the first time at last year’s Loftas Fest. It was very atmospheric because, like in true post-punk fashion, the show was in a smoky basement with many red lights. Although it was the best performance I’ve seen that weekend, it was not something very typical of a Lithuanian music festival. How do you evaluate the Lithuanian music festival scene, and what do you think will happen to the local music industry if the government eventually passes this new drinking law?

A small country like Lithuania is full of quality festivals: from big, pop to really niche and cozy. We love those that are less mainstream and have their distinctive style and atmosphere, which means a more interesting line-up and crowd. We also love to see a lot of new interesting and creative acts emerge, who consequently light up the scene. Also, despite having strong opinions and positions as citizens, as musicians we don’t want to talk politics, because music is much higher than that. We let the music talk. Music will survive anyway, and all the creative people will find a way to exist fully and freely.

 

The mix you’ve put together is very you and very interesting. Can you explain how it reflects Vilnius?

The mix reflects Vilnius as Solo Ansamblis sees it. The city itself is colourful and different, and everybody will experience a subjective and unique face of Vilnius. Actually, it’s a very beautiful, cozy city: green and spacious, old and alive. But we wanted to look at our beloved city at night, when you can get lost in dark and moody spaces, encounter stinging parties, or get involved in crazy and dizzy adventures, yet still have the feeling of something wonderful and bright happening next.