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Mid-May in Vienna, the sky is dark and the mood somber – matching the sound of the second album that ZACK ZACK ZACK will release on May 26th via Trost Records. In the studio in a basement in Vienna’s 6th district, Yigit Bakkalbasi and Cemgil Demirtas meet with Katharina Reiffenstuhl and talk about Austrian politics, multilingualism in music and the creation of “Album 2”. They have remained true to their style.

What brought you to Vienna?

Cemgil Demirtas: We came to Vienna to study. We first got to know each other in Vienna through a mutual friend, although we are both from Izmir, in other words from Turkey. We were working on an indie film together.

Guy Bakkalbasi: This was a DIY project where Cemgil did the lighting and I did the sound. Cemgil was at the Vienna Art School at the time and had a project there.

Cemgil Demirtas: A performance project. You could do a lot, I chose experimental music. That’s how we started making music.

Your band name has something to do with the Austrian Ibiza affair. Why did you choose that?

Cemgil Demirtas: There were two reasons for this: First, “Zack Zack Zack” stands for speed. It’s step by step, but fast – like our music.

Guy Bakkalbasi: “Zack Zack Zack” doesn’t exist in English or Turkish, for example. That is something Austrian, an Austrian statement so to speak. We wanted to build on that. And at that time this Ibiza affair was very present.

Do you want to be political with your music?

Cemgil Demirtas: Yes. We’re political in general, but to something different in every song. After all, everyone is automatically a bit political.

Guy Bakkalbasi: I would say we are indirectly political. It’s always a question of perspective. If you are an FPÖ voter, then you have a completely different approach to it.

I’m assuming you’re not.

Guy Bakkalbasi: Of course not. (laughs) We are from Turkey, we make international music with international people. In that sense, “Zack Zack Zack” is also a reflection on what we are not.

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How is the music in your hometown in Turkey?

Guy Bakkalbasi: Our music is definitely influenced by Turkish music, what we heard in our childhood and so on. You can see a lot there.

Cemgil Demirtas: These dark and gloomy lyrics that we have come from Turkish music as well, that’s a good inspiration for us.

You alternate between Turkish and German lyrics. How do you determine which language is suitable for which song?

Cemgil Demirtas: If a song sounds good in German, then it will be German. Otherwise just Turkish. We’ll try that. Sometimes we already have a finished text in a certain language and then simply connect it to the song. It’s also the case that on days when I speak a lot of German, I tend to write in German. For example, “Disco Traurig” was Turkish in the beginning. Then we used this text for “Bütün”.


Were you into this goth/punk genre from the start or has that changed over time?

Cemgil Demirtas: That came with the times. In Vienna you can feel this gloom every day, especially in winter.

Guy Bakkalbasi: 100 percent. It’s Vienna. (laughs) But in the end we never categorized ourselves as goth or punk, that’s what our fans say. We make music and this is an art project, it can be anything.

Your sound has something very unique, which also gives you a high recognition value. Is it important to you to stand out from the crowd?

Cemgil Demirtas: Secure.

Guy Bakkalbasi: We wanted to do something new. A combination of cliché and something new. This newness may also come from our Turkish roots. It’s now a mix of Oriental, 80s sound, Italo Disco, Boogie and Postpunk. All of these genres have certain traits, and we have a little bit of each.

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Cemgil Demirtas: And if you focus a lot on a cliché, I think you get something new and special. Why should we rediscover the world from scratch? There are already enough and you can be inspired by it and make something of your own out of it.

How did your very first song come about?

Cemgil Demirtas: That was art. It was an experiment.

Guy Bakkalbasi: There is also the name ZACK ZACK ZACK developed. We made a sample of Strache where he says that. But very lo fi.

So taking something that already exists and making something new out of it.

Cemgil Demirtas: Exactly.


What can you generally say about your development since the first album?

Cemgil Demirtas: Musically, not so much. “Album 2” is more annoying. (laughs) Of course we didn’t write these songs last week. That took almost two years to produce, and when you’re a little angry you write expressive songs.

Guy Bakkalbasi: But basically there is not much difference between the two albums. It’s just stronger.

Cemgil Demirtas: danceable.

Dancing bear. I often read that about you.

Cemgil Demirtas: You can’t dance to every part of our songs. But there are still many places where this works well.

You are very international in the scene. In which countries can you still be seen this year?

Guy Bakkalbasi: Romania, Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Maybe in Türkiye too. France too, but I don’t think that’s until next year.

In which country would you like to perform?

Cemgil Demirtas: Japan.

Guy Bakkalbasi: Mexico.

(Everybody is laughing).

Why Japan, why Mexico?

Cemgil Demirtas: That could be interesting. I know there is a lot of experimental music in China and Japan. All these synth sounds originally come from Japan.

Guy Bakkalbasi: Mexico because of the crowd. They’re crazy, at least that’s what you hear.

Your black and white aesthetic is also striking. With what background thought did you decide on it?

Cemgil Demirtas: There are several reasons. The first is the contrast, which we like. Second, black is good. Black also plays a very important role in architecture. There is also a connection to our music somewhere. Black, white, gray is just a beautiful combination.

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Was architecture part of your studies?

Cemgil Demirtas: Yes. I studied civil engineering in Turkey and then space and design in Vienna. That’s why I have a bit of this approach to art.

Yigit, what did you study?

Guy Bakkalbasi: I’m still studying, now in my 20th semester. I’m studying theatre, film and media studies at the University of Vienna. I never have enough time to complete it. After that, I want to focus on multimedia. I don’t just want to do one thing, so not just music either.


How regularly are you here in the studio and producing?

Cemgil Demirtas: About three times a week.

Guy Bakkalbasi: I a little bit more I think. Around 20 hours.

Does that mean you work separately?

Cemgil Demirtas: Sometimes. I usually start making demos and bring them to him. Yigit then continues and mixes the first version from it.

Guy Bakkalbasi: Or we do jams where we both play and record something at the same time. That works well every now and then. Sometimes he’s here alone and I’m sitting in Izmir with my laptop and we send samples back and forth to each other. It’s a very interesting friendship that we have.

Is it sometimes difficult for you to be friends and work together at the same time?

Both: And. (laughs)

Cemgil Demirtas: Each time one wants to add something and the other doesn’t.

Guy Bakkalbasi: We are two people, so we don’t have democracy. That’s why we often ask the people around us. That’s how it works.

Thanks for the nice interview!

Katharina Reiffenstuhl



Album Release-Show, 15.6.2023, Chelsea



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