Deaf Chonky (Adi Bronicki & Tami Kaminsky) are a velvet scream that made me feel like the 80s never happened, and the 90s never happened, and everything else after that never happened and I am 16 again and feel like I need to tear my head off to feel right. They gave a fierce performance at The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, a festival celebrating women’s power and creativity produced by Nivi Yahalom and Moran Weissbush at the Abraham Hostel, this past Saturday, April 8, 2017. At just 19 and 18 years old, respectively, the band has already released their debut album Farsh. Their raging energy, humor, and rapport onstage is electrifying. Riffing on the festival’s name, they started up a very feminine competitive call, each one saying in a cloying voice: “I’m the most beautiful woman in town.” Working it up and turning it around to a powerful assertion in tandem: “I’m not the most beautiful woman in town.” Subversive, sublime.
After their set, photographer MUPERPHOTO and I went up to the chill-out roof with Deaf Chonky for photos and conversation. Turns out that the band’s name originates from the Russian for “girls” – “dyevchonky” – which is what Tami’s father called them (derived from Девушка which is pronounced more or less as dyevushka).
Adi on music, friendship and Deaf Chonky:
I listened to the Ramones for the first time when I was 9 or 10, and it opened up a whole world. Crass, the Dead Kennedys, and the obscure stuff that follows from that… Omega Tribe – England 77. We bonded over the fact that we both really like Russian folk music. Tami’s Russian, so she grew up on Russian folk music and I grew up a lot on classic music and American folk music and there’s this whole genre going on right now of folk punk like Blackbird Raum, Taxpayers, that mix accordions and violins, so we really like that.
It’s the sound of our childhood so we try to incorporate that into what we do but we don’t play violin.
We actually tried that [adding a third musician]. We met a violinist who’s from Austria, she was in Israel for a bit, we played with her and it was really, really, cool but then she went back to Austria. I mean, it’s kind of like we thought of adding a third, but we’re best friends and we have the same brain – so, adding a third person, it’s like them being part … we’re on a different wave than everyone else… we’ve done guests, but not like all the time.
I write the songs by myself, lyrics and melody, and I bring it to Tami and we work it out together. It’s all very friendship based, we just hang out together, and then we write songs. It just comes on it’s it doesn’t… it’s not like a band you know who have rehearsals, and write the songs in the rehearsal. For us it’s open and dynamic, and if we come and we’re like in a bad mood then we’ll just spend the whole rehearsal talking about our feelings, instead of playing music. We’re first friends and then a band.