Austrian band YUKNO talk sound, sustainability and staying humble in the public eye.
Since departing from the humble spaces of the small town where they grew up, the two brothers Georg and Nikolaus Nöhrer have experienced nothing but success. Using music to express their own growth and explore the melancholic fantasies of today’s digitally bound youth, the duo behind Austrian band YUKNO understand and capture the current zeitgeist.
Experimenting with the conceptual boundaries of sound, they have sought to elaborate upon the imagery that seems to waft out of their songs and within their music videos, which sometimes offer rather intense stories, encouraging a new interpretation with each watch.
From their origins in their first band Neodisco, this is a pair that is comfortable with change. We got the chance to chat with the duo and learn more about their beginnings, future ambitions and perspectives on sustainability.
You’re two brothers, from a small-mountainous town of 800 in lush Styria, where I assume there isn’t much of a club and experimental music scene. So, how was it that you came to produce your own music and step out onto the wider, European scene? Who inspired you there?
Yeah, that is true. There is hardly a music scene in Oberfeistritz — except, of course, for the usual Styrian brass-bands… We have been producing our own music for quite a while; starting out by making beats on the ancient Yamaha beginners’ keyboard of our childhood. We kept drifting from genre to genre; trying out different things and figuring out what we wanted to do — with us working together being the only constant. There are many artists and songs that inspired us. It’s hard to point in a specific direction though — it is rather a potpourri of influence that has brought us to where we are today.
Your first album, ‘Feuer’, was back in 2015, two years after departing from your original band, Neodisco, how do you feel your change in music –in terms of transitioning from the club-esque sounds of Neodisco to the darker and more melancholy sounds of Yukno – has changed you both on a personal level? It must be quite exhilarating to be able to musically explore two very different sides of your personalities and in the public eye….
We somehow felt that Neodisco was over. We had been through a process of redefining and reimagining ourselves creatively two years before releasing the Yukno Feuer-Ep in 2015. Considering the change in music, in hindsight, it feels like more of a personal change that led to the creative one. Well, these things are probably always interrelated and mutually dependent. Long story short, we had started Neodisco at a young age and at some point we wanted to do things differently. Turns out, our sound got more melancholic and introspective, which feels more true to us, at least for now – we’ve always tried to keep the club-aspect though. Looking back to the old stuff is always interesting, of course. I guess we would do a couple of things differently now…
You’re obviously close to one another, not just as brothers but also as friends, how does your relationship influence the way you make music?
Judging from the time we spend stuck together in tour buses – yeah, we are pretty close… Seriously though, our relationship influences our music on a large scale. Finding a cooperative creative voice is always tricky. There is a lot of compromising involved as well as pondering and decision making. Being brothers and having spent so much time making music together makes the creative process easier. For instance, there is no threshold for pointing out stupid ideas…
Working in the music industry, you must be aware of how much waste develops through festivals and concerts in general, how do you think the events/music industry could improve to actively support a sustainable future?
Frankly, working towards a sustainable future and working for the music industry doesn’t seem like a perfect match. At least for now. Seeing festivals resort to reusable cups and eco-toilets are cool and all — however, not having a festival in the first place would be even better, environmentally speaking. But I mean who are we to judge, polluting the environment with tons of tour bus emissions along our egotistical pursuit of happiness. Still, I think art, and music in specific, plays an important role in the promotion of a sustainable future. Art talks about these things and people listen. We do too in our songs. And that’s important. Even though we still fill our tank with diesel.
How is Neubau Music supporting this?
We have been a part of Neubau Music since the beginning. The idea of Neubau is to rethink many of the outmoded structures and methods you often find in the music business. This also means bringing ideas for a sustainable future to the table. Now that I’m thinking about, they should buy us one of these new Tesla semi-trucks for our next tour. Let’s make that part of the agenda.