Zack Zack Zack is a Turkish formation driven by Yigit Bakkalbasi and Cemgil Demirtas. They’re based in Vienna (Austria) and this year released their second full length simply entitled “Album 2” on the Austrian Trost Records. The sound mixes Western- and Eastern influences resulting in a fascinating fusion between EBM and Dark-Wave/Pop. “Album 2” took me by surprise and was a perfect opportunity to get in touch with the band. Yigit Bakkalbasi give us more details about the band and the new work.
(Picture credits Ilkan Sucullu / Interview courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Can you first of all introduce us to Zack Zack Zack by giving us more details about the origin and members of the band? And how and when did the band see the daylight?
Yigit: It was in 2018 when Cemgil and I met while working together on a short-feature film set, helping our director friend Fatih Gürsoy with his film “Neverinland”. Cemgil was studying Art at Kunstschule Wien and approached me to perform for one of his class projects. The feedback from that performance was so positive that it just kept coming.
Q: You guys are Turkish natives but I think you’re living in Vienna (Austria), right? Do you feel close to the Turkish underground scene -for as far as we can speak about a scene over there, and how important is the place where you’re based for composing this kind of music?
Yigit: We have always been aware of both local and international music scenes, especially those that are underground and Experimental with a DIY spirit. Music has always been at the center of our lives, in both Turkey and Austria.
Q: Referring to your music, how would you describe the sound you’re dealing with and what have been your main sources of inspiration and references when it comes to the composing and production process?
Yigit: Mostly, when we are composing, it’s organized chaos that eventually becomes a song through different processes, which are not always the same. But mainly, I can say that the songwriting mostly comes from Cemgil, while the studio sounds and recording come from me.
Q: I noticed the band name Zack Zack Zack is meant as an ‘artistic manifesto.’ What is it all about and how do you transpose these ideas into sounds and lyrics?
Yigit: When we started the band, the “Ibiza Tapes” were just happening, and we formulated our band’s name around this significant word. It refers to a particular event that especially Austrians can relate to. The word itself doesn’t mean anything specific; it’s open to interpretation, much like our music.
Q: Tell us about your new album simply entitled “Album 2” and how did the transition from your debut album “Album 1” to the new one happen?
Yigit: The songs in both “Album 1” and “Album 2” come from the same world. We haven’t changed much; we’ve just grown a bit musically. So it was natural for us to name the second album “Album 2.”
Q: According to me, one of the main characteristics is the ‘Eastern’-like touch running through the songs, created by very specific guitar play—or is it a more traditional instrument? It creates an easily recognizable sound DNA, so can you tell us a bit more about it? And tell us a bit more about songwriting and instruments?
Yigit: While making the album, my aim was to fuse Western and Eastern sounds while maintaining Western music standards, so the music could be universally accessible. We have worked with various ethno-music virtuosos who can play Turkish and Persian instruments, as well as modern instruments like the saxophone and guitar. This mixture enriches the listening experience.
Q: A last word about further plans and projects like live performances, new songs, and clips?
Yigit: We are working on a remix album called; “Türlü” that will be released next year (2024), featuring remixes from our dearest friends and great bands such as Solo Ansamblis, Shad Shadows, Emmon, Infecticide, and Fiasko Leitmotiv.
In terms of live performances, there will be a significant shift starting next year. I will take on a more central role, leading a new ensemble of singers and instrumentalists for our live shows. Cemgil will no longer be part of these performances, but I’ll continue to work on Zack Zack Zack’s evolution. And hopefully, the remix album will also be pressed onto some kickass-looking vinyl.
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