Aus­tri­an band YUK­NO talks 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.

26 Aug. 2019 · NEUBAU EYEWEAR
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