The band Akli onstage supporting Fontaines D.C. in Vilnius, Lithuania
Credit: Ignas Avizinis


Lithuanian post-punk/industrial project Akli was established by Kristijonas Valančius (guitar, vocals) and they are described as “aggressive and brimming with philosophic contemplations of self-worth, lust and disorder.” The trio, which also includes Jokūbas Andriulis (drums) and Benas Kalinauskas (bass) talked over zoom to discuss their origins and the music scene in their home country. Akli’s third album III was released in December 2023.

So to learn a little about the band, how did you form?

Well, we’ve been playing for a while. Before we were in a band called Giza. And we were playing like a bit more punk rock stuff, you know, and maybe some metal thrown in there. And I started working on a solo album. And I finished it and kind of just pitched it to people around Lithuania. And I got a lot of traction locally. So we just decided to switch gears as a band and just went with Akli for our main gig, and it’s sort of popped off about four years ago. And when we started we already had an album finished. So we started with a release and just started touring and doing gigs and stuff like that. It’s worth mentioning that it’s started doing COVID when we were in lockdown.

You started during lockdown and your music was influenced by that time, by the isolation and the solitude.
There were a lot of angry people around those times. I used to work in a music store. I would scan people coming in and coming out, and the overall vibe of everybody around was not too great. Stuff started coming out of me and I started writing these songs and they took shape and became Akli and our first album Taika (Peace), and especially on our second album Refleksija (Reflection).

Are there a lot of artists in Lithuania? Is there a strong music scene in the country?
There’s quite a big scene. You know, actually a lot of rock bands, that have gained acknowledgements from the local music industry. We’ve got a few famous bands and artists and people go to shows. It’s a very vibrant scene, I guess in comparison to Latvia. We’ve already played there and it seems a bit more mellow. So in comparison, Lithuania has a really vibrant alternative rock music scene. Especially in the last 10 years, the rock scene has grown exponentially, a lot of bands popped off. And yeah, it’s still growing. The amount of bands is getting really like big.

Are there are lots of music venues around the country?
Not as much. I think there should be more because the amount of people and bands that are popping off it’s getting a bit crowded and the country is kind of small. They’re just too many bands and not enough people to go to all those gigs. Sometimes you can have 12 concerts happening in Vilnius in one night and on a Wednesday. It’s really difficult for bands, especially for newer ones.

And do many bands from abroad come to Lithuania to play?
Quite a few. The guys who are running the venue Lukiškių kalėjimas 2.0. 8 Days a Week, have booked quite a few awesome artists. That started happening during the last five or six years, maybe a lot of bands came. We opened up for the Pixies in Vilnius and it was through the same promoter.

And is that the sort of music that you listen to, and are influenced by?
Yeah, we’re kind of into rock music, alternative music, I guess, some electronic. I guess our tastes are broad. But we really love bands like Idles and Fontaines D.C., the alternative UK scene and artists that are coming out of there. A lot of amazing artists are coming out of Australia. So we’re just keeping track of new music.

How was your last album received? Did you get a good response for it?
The fans loved it. But commercially, it didn’t do as much as I thought it would do. I don’t know. I just hoped it would reach more people. Maybe people will find it along the way, you know. People come to the shows but I don’t know if it necessarily translates into streams and stuff like that. But yeah, people come and see us live. The first concert for this album, in Vilnius we actually got the biggest crowd for a headline show. Yeah, it was like six or 700 people. We didn’t have a support band, we just played!

Do you have the opportunity to play outside of Lithuania? Or is that very difficult?
We’ve played in Latvia in Riga. We’ve played in Estonia, in Tallinn and Tartu. And also in Prague. We’re really hoping that these kinds of opportunities like opening up for Fontaines D.C. will kick start us getting more gigs outside of the country in the future.

What are the plans for Akli looking forward? Have you new music coming out? Are you playing shows throughout the summer?
We’re playing shows throughout the summer. Next week, we’re playing a pretty big show in Kaunas, Lithuania. We’re also working on a single which we’re planning on releasing sometime this summer.

So, if you had a dream support slot who would it be for?
Good question! Led Zeppelin, fuck it Jimi Hendrix! Somebody in Lithuania, maybe six years year ago, created a Facebook event. It was supposed to be a gig in the countryside of Lithuania. The main acts were Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, The Beatles and some other artists! If Nine Inch Nails ever come to Lithuania, we would do anything to do that support!

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.