This coming weekend the new Lithuanian national selection Eurovizija.LT kicks off with it’s first semi-final, showcasing the talents of eight local artists and bands. One of the competing bands is the newly formed VB Gang created by longtime musician and actor Vidas Bareikis, whose song “KABOOM” has already racked up 78,000 plays on YouTube in the last 8 days.

The band is made up of six members, VB and Gabija Lokytė (“Keto Gabi”) as vocalists, Rasa Vaštakaitė as “Drum Girl”, Mantas Ralas as “Guitaral”, and Agnė Grigonytė and Dovydas Slivka as dancers “Kitty” and “D-Punk”. Earlier this week we had the chance to sit down with band creator VB himself to learn more about them and their pathway to the selection.

Thank you so much for taking some time out of your preparations for Eurovizija.LT to speak with us today! Why don’t we start our time together by having you tell us a bit about you and your group?

My name is VB (actually Vidas Bareikis), but VB is easier for everybody around the world, and I use this nickname at Starbucks for my coffee reservation, and it works great, so let’s keep it like that.

VB taking his morning ice plunge.

I am a singer, composer, TV host, actor, theatre and performance director, karate kyokushin black belt, and coach. My biggest passion is music, and with this tool we can invite people to our concerts for “good vibe gatherings”. To loosen tension and stress and to be inspired. To gain energy and celebrate life. “VB Gang” is my new project based on my band, with whom I played for more than ten years in Lithuania as a solo artist. This chapter is over, and now it’s time to spread “crazy party music from Lithuania” with “VB Gang” all around the world.

Now you mentioned that the VB Gang is a relatively newer group  – how did this group come together?

Singer “Keto Gabi,” drummer “Drum Girl,” and guitarist “Guitaral” are my friends from my solo band, and we had more than 1000 concerts together, so we have been bonded like “peas and beans” for all these years together. And for this new phase of “VB gang”, I invited two great dancers, “D-Punk” and “Kitty.” I always dreamed of being a member of a band with strong and charismatic dancers. Now it’s reality. 

Now to get to know you a bit better – if you had the opportunity to play a one night only concert anywhere in the world, where do you think VB Gang would be playing and why?

Let’s play it like that! We imagine the future, and it becomes reality. We win the Eurovision song contest in Sweden, and then we start our world tour. And our first concert is in Seoul, where our song “KABOOM!!!” becomes something like the national anthem, and we have our branded chicken soup, and all the people dance our crazy “chicken dance.” Sounds good!

I would agree I think that sounds pretty good too! You’ve told us a lot about you already, but what might our readers be surprised to learn about you and the other members of the VB Gang?

I start my day with a cold plunge in ice water, lake, or sea (in the worst way- shower) – every day.

Plus, I have bigger than normal heart since my birth, and I became an “iron man” in 2020 with some magical electrical stuff in my chest. It always helps not only for my heart, but it also helps me remember how valuable life is and how we should enjoy every moment of it.

“Keto Gabi” eats only a keto diet. She is crazy about food, and she has the superpower of changing voices—actually, nobody heard her real voice ever.

“Drum Girl” has 20 dogs, and she is vegan. She is a big-time nature lover and a really passionate activist for human and animal rights.

“Guitaral” is a former professional volleyball player, and he always gathers a few balls in his case. That’s his big passion.

“D-punk” and “Kitty” are our biggest secrets of the group. We never saw their faces. They come to our rehearsals and gigs with their super bikes and go straight to the stage—always with helmets.

Kind of cool company, ha?

That sounds like great company to have, and quite the interesting bunch! So tell me – what ultimately motivated you to submit an entry for the Lithuanian national selection this year? Was this the first time you’d wanted to compete or has this been an ongoing goal or dream for you as an artist?

When I talked about Eurovision earlier, I always said that we would go there and then we would have a really cool project and idea that we would believe in 100%. “KABOOM!!!” is just like that!

I can tell every detail about this performance and leave my sign behind every second of these 2 minutes 50 seconds we spend on a stage. It is our manifest of a colorful, passionate, and artistic life. Fest of happiness!

It’s interesting that a few years ago, I made a theatrical production called “Euro Vision” in Latvia capital Riga. It was a political satire based on the Eurovision song contest. So I spent a lot of time analyzing this contest’s history, participants, and other stuff.

Now let’s talk about your entry “KABOOM” – it’s a pretty large departure from the other music you’ve released in the past and reminds me of the KPop sound of 2009-2012 mixed with some early 2000’s eurodance. What made you decide to take such a sharp turn in genre and sound for this song?

I asked myself what I like best about music in general at this moment and in what area I am strongest internationally. And surely, it is party music. Energetic performances that involve people to participate, crazy artistic ideas. These were my superpowers during my solo career in Lithuania, and this is my suggestion for audiences all around the world for our future with “VB Gang”. 

And you also made the decision to add Korean lyrics into the song, which is also a new territory for your music. Was the plan always to include Korean lyrics or was it more of a random idea that worked out in the end?

All my life, I was near Asian culture. My karate life, my theatre studies, and friends from other martial arts like Judo, Aikido, and Kung Fu, plus I am really passionate about Asian theatre. Noh theatre, Kabuki, and Chinese opera. I like Asian streetwear style and design. So everything came naturally. 

We were finishing our song “Kaboom!” and I told the producer that it would sound great if we added some Korean words. He said, Let’s sing about food, and let’s give honor to people who wanted to do a tattoo on their body with a really important and inspiring quote: for example “The biggest win is a win against yourself” or something else, but in the end they got the words, “Noodles, chicken, yes. “So this chorus is for these poor people;) Gugsu, chickin, ne!

VB performing during one of his recent tours.

I’m interested to see if the phrase “Noodles, Chicken, Yes” takes Europe by storm. Ha! But from your music video I can tell we’re in store for a high-energy performance. Will our readers see references to the choreography and costumes of your music video, or are you planning a completely new staging for the selection?

Our lyrics video was just the first stage of our song and show release. We shoved our characters’ style and the mood of the song, plus some parts of our “chicken dance.” But we saved the best for the semi-finals. It will be a really energetic show with a lot of dancing and the special secret scenography we prepared. 

Plus, we didn’t release the end of the song yet on purpose. So everyone has to be ready for surprises.

Oh my that’s quite the tease! Speaking of your music video, for those who want to connect with you all ahead of or after the selection– where can they find you and your music?

Best way is to follow us on our social media and subscribe our Youtube channel, but you can find me on Facebook and Instagram as well!

Do you have any final words or a final message you’d like to send to the readers of ESCUnited?

Dear Eurovision fans, friends, and all the beautiful people in the world. Prepare your pink and blue outfits, gather your speed glasses (better two of them😎😎) and get ready for a “crazy party music from Lithuania” we are coming to meet ya! 

KABOOM!!!

Thanks so much VB Gang – we wish you the best of luck in the Lithuanian National selection! 🙂

Thanks;)

If #YOU want to support the VB Gang’s pathway to Eurovision 2024 make sure you tune in to the first semi-final of Eurovizija.LT on LRT at 20:00 CET, Saturday January 13th!

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