Interview: Direct and honest – Frank Fitts

Every once in awhile, a band comes your way and completely rules the stage, has all the right elements and barely leaves you a second to catch your breath. Frank Fitts is one of those bands. We were lucky enough to catch them play twice this past summer (at Galapagai and Roko Naktys festivals) and to be honest we were blown away!

interview-frank-fitts

It’s been too long since we’ve seen a band that’s been able to communicate their heart and soul on stage the way Frank Fitts manages to do. Their live shows are full of enthusiasm and downright explosive, all the perfect traits that make up an epic punk rock band.

Based in Vilnius, Lithuania and named after a character from the movie American Beauty, they are already setting the music scene alight here in Lithuania. Unsurprisingly, their lyrics and songs are direct and honest (and so they should be), while maintaining a youthful, punk-rock enthusiasm combined with catchy melodies that just seem to work. There’s also a weightiness and urgency to their music which in our personal opinion is one of the bands best qualities.

Frank Fitts itself is a relatively new project, although, the trio who are all still in their late teens, had been playing together under a different band name a few years before. What can definitely be seen, not just in their onstage performances but also offstage, is the band’s complete dedication and passion for what they are doing. We were lucky enough to sit down and have a chat with them at Galapagai, let’s see what they have to say.

Frank Fitts is:

Gintas Bagdonas – Guitar, vocals.
Žygimantas Verba – Bass, vocals.
Dominykas Babikas – Drums.

Standout Tracks:

Hate
Everything’s Fine
House of Ashes
Trip

Interview:

Do you guys sing in the shower?
Yeah a lot
Even if you’re a drummer?
Žygimantas: He sings the most off stage actually.
What would you be singing?
Dominykas: Mostly pop, you know those catchy songs.
Gintas: Probably Metallica, James Hetfield that kind of stuff.

So we’ve been told that one of your grandparents comes down to catch a few shows, is this true?
Žygimantas: Yeah, that’s true it’s Gintas’s grandad.. It’s very punk rock you have to admit!
Gintas: We once lost the keys to our studio and my grandpa came down and broke the fucking lock with his hand.

How did you guys all meet? At School?
Dominykas: I met Gintas 4 years ago, I think they had this girl drummer at the time and Gintas just called me up and asked me up if I was interested in playing, I said yes we started jamming and writing songs together and that’s how it came to be.
Žygimantas: Well, Gintas and I actually met at a bus stop when we were 13, I was going to choir at that point. It was a really nice choir. The people there weren’t the nerdy type of folks, they were all pure metal heads. It was a cool place because the metal heads would mold the little kids into line. They would bully them yes, I’m going to be honest with that, and they would bully me too but, I’m very thankful for that because you know it turned me into what I am today. I don’t know a single person from that choir who’s not a cool guy.

So you recently released an EP called “Everything’s Fine”, what’s the meaning behind that?
Gintas: Well it’s the song name.
Žygimantas: Also it was an ironic statement because everything wasn’t fine. Everything at the time was intense as fuck to be honest. It’s funny, well for us at least.

Foo Fighters is FF and so is Frank Fitts, coincidence?
Žygimantas: These things always come after, you don’t really realise them until afterwards.

The Band gets it’s name from the movie American Beauty, so if a band came along and called themselves Ricky Fitts (Frank Fitts son) would you hate them?
Gintas: No why?
Žygimantas: Well imagine this, if your greatest enemy walked into your favourite restaurant, does the food suck there? People are ruining there lives with labels they created, it doesn’t really make sense. One of the best examples would be, in Lithuania there are a lot of coffee places and people say “let’s not go there, it’s a place for people I don’t like”. I don’t give a shit, if I like the coffee there! If I like the movie and I don’t like that band, I’ll still think it’s a cool name. I try not to miss out on anything.

Growing up was there an album or song that really changed everything for you or influenced you?
Gintas: I found Red Hot Chili Peppers – By the way, I heard the song when I was a little kid, maybe 5 or something and, it stuck in my head as a perfect melody. At the time I didn’t know what it was and then when I was 12 or maybe earlier 10, I heard the song on YouTube and it was like “OMG, that’s the song!”. Then there’s things like System of a Down which was one of the bands which turned us to the heavier music.
Žygimantas: We used to play a little bit heavier stuff but when we were changing the name we understood we don’t want to label ourselves but we also realised that we didn’t have a constructive direction before. A lot of people say that we’ve changed as a joke mostly but, they would say “we miss the heavier stuff!” or “did you guys sell out?”. First of all – no, we’ve spent even more money… we found jobs just to pay for this and the second thing is we don’t feel like that anymore. The influential bands in our heads change, at least in my head, nothing really gets stuck for too long, we try to keep it up to date, it’s important to know what’s going on out there.
Gintas: I think we all listen to different music.
Dominykas: When I was 13 or 14, I guess, I was into death metal scene. Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, that sort of thing.
Gintas: We’ve been listening to Power Thrashing Death by Whiplash.
Žygimantas: We liked the thrash scene. The old school thrash scene, that shit is inspiring.

Even though you don’t want to label yourselves, we saw that you are kind of labelled as garage rock revival?
Žygimantas: Yeah, we take it as a joke to be honest.
Gintas: That’s the only thing that we really thought about, like what our genre could be called.
Žygimantas: The whole term Indie… I’m confused about it to be honest.
Gintas: Indie right now is like Nirvana didn’t want to be called Grunge, so now Indie bands don’t want to be called Indie because it’s turning into I don’t even know “WTF”.

Do you guys think you’re the only band in Lithuania which stands for that genre?
Žygimantas: No, not anymore, there’s a few bands out there now. Jauti in my opinion.
Gintas: Abii, Abudu, ba.
Do they sing in English or Lithuanian?
Gintas: Both, but they try to sing in Lithuanian more.
Dominykas: It’s kind of a new thing now.
Gintas: I think that ba. kind of left a mark and after ba., bands are more into singing Lithuanian.
Žygimantas: He modernised the whole look and sound of the language and showed you that it could be successful too.

There are some pretty big 3 piece bands out there, Blink 182, Green Day, Alkaline TrioNirvana. How do you feel about that? Does it work for you?
Žygimantas: Definitely.
Dominykas: We had another guitar player a couple years back, well we actually had a few, but it sounds and feels a lot better when it’s just 3 of us.

That was our time with Frank Fitts be sure to check out our Podcast episode 4 (soon to be released) where we will be featuring more highlights from this interview. We personally think that Frank Fitts is a significant turning point in the music scene here in Lithuania and a much needed one. These guys deserve all of the success which will no doubt be coming their way.

Want to know more? You can find Frank Fitts at the following sites.

What do you think of Frank Fitts? Let us know and remember to share, like and comment.

Thanks to Frank Fitts for taking the time to hang out with us.

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