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zweitejugend presse introInterview with

Eli van Vegas (vocals) and Marcel Lüke (drums) from Zweite Jugend

Marcel Lüke and Eli van Vegas appear in the last few years more and more on publications out of the Electro-Punk and EBM area. Marcel is a drummer and songwriter in bands like ZWEITE JUGEND, JÄGER 90 and COMBAT COMPANY and plays as a guest musician with TENSION CONTROL and HÄTZER. Eli is singer and synth-virtuoso with ZWEITE JUGEND, COMBAT COMPANY and has several solo projects like his Techno project under his own name or TRAFO 21. On 1 March 2019, the band’s second album, ‘Elektronische Körpermusik’, will be released. Reason enough to ask Eli & Marcel a few questions.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hello you two. To find out about your path: how did you get into music and what did you do before ZWEITE JUGEND?
Marcel: My father and his record collection are to blame. I grew up with AC/DC, WISHBONE ASH, URIAH HEEP and THE WHO. But also DAF was there. Then he took me to concerts at a very early age, so I must have been 11 or 12. That’s when the enthusiasm was born. I wanted to play drums from the beginning and my parents made it possible for me and drove me to class every week. At the age of 14, I founded my first band with a friend and we covered RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS. Later it was more into the Death Metal area and I started to write songs. Fortunately, the phase was over quickly and I went from the fast knocks on the drums away to more technical things, which was at times Blues. When I came into contact with COMBAT COMPANY and Eli asked me if I want to play along, I completely reduced myself. I thought that would fit best. On the ZWEITE JUGEND albums you can hear that it works well with more sophistication.

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Eli: Hi! I had an early musical education and learned to play the piano and electric guitar during my childhood and youth. Been playing in many bands which was difficult as there are so many bands who play guitar based music. Or let’s say that it is almost impossible to get out of your hometown for any gigs or, if you could achieve, it would be any harder to get there. The market is totally crowded so it’s hardly possible to gain some fans. Though I wanted to study music which I refused later back then, lucky me. But the preparing lessons were great for the work as producer and songwriter. So one day I decided to found COMBAT COMPANY while having some solo projects in electronic music. It was some years of releasing albums and playing a lot of shows but people never accepted that band completely. In 2009 I got introduced to Marcel who became one of my closest friends since then. Later he joined COMBAT COMPANY but the idea of a two person project with us both without any other member has been born very early. In 2013 we created the concept, but it took another two years until we started with ZWEITE JUGEND. Aside other reasons it was because of the separation of the other COMBAT COMPANY founder and me which gave me enough time and room for a new main band. Meanwhile I started other projects but never released any record of them. ZWEITE JUGEND has always been kinda time-consuming and still is.

RoD: You will release the album ‘Elektronische Körpermusik’ on March 1st with ZWEITE JUGEND. Have you changed compared to the first album, ‘Liebe Ist Luxus’?
Eli: Yes, indeed we grew up a little more. In 2015, when we wrote the first tracks, it was a fun band at all, though we always had a tough concept that we have never left for any other direction. As the people started to like our music and after our first album was a big seller [in the scene] we wanted to develop what we have started. The new album is a lot better in all respects. We spent a lot of time for the songwriting, it took almost a year. But at least we have just developed the things. Still it is our friendship who is giving us the freedom of talking a lot about things surrounding us. Some of those would directly be written down as lyrics and then I still use Cubism as a method and filter for the then to be written final texts. After all I would say that I am proud of the new songs.

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Marcel: We have definitely changed. Matured or grown up has become the sound. Everything sounds clearer and louder, without us participating in the volume war of many recent publications. The topics are all very dear to our hearts. It is our interpretation of “Elektronische Körpermusik” (transl. Electronic Body Music) or electronic Punk. The songs are all 100% us. It’s what we are, what ZWEITE JUGEND is all about, and each song has something personal about us and sometimes we give away too much of us. That’s why the listener always finds ambiguity.

RoD: Why did you choose the album title ‘Elektronische Körpermusik’?
Marcel: We have taken a concept that we interpret differently. We do electronic Punk, no EBM or what most people understand by that term. The title song of the album is about the love for your own body, the love for other bodies, love in general and the whole thing about music.
Eli: It is a central record for us and we are close to the roots of all kinds of Body Music. We produce the songs on analogue machines (MS-20, SH-101 and ARP Odyssey only!) and we use minimalistic German language such as many of the pioneers of our beloved Body Music did. It was logical for us to choose a central name that describes more than “it’s just any album”.

zweitejugend elektronischekoerpermusik

RoD: Love has been also one of the key themes on your first album. Does that have a specific background?
Eli: We love it. The love, yes, we really love the love. All things in life can be reduced to the themes love and war. Or conflict instead of war to be precise. This is a key in life, our music contains both and they are siblings. We do prefer love as message rather than conflict.
Marcel: Love is by far the most important thing in life. Whether the love to a person, a pet, the music. For everything, you need passion to work it out, to live it, to feel that tingling and to let go. Listening to your favourite song can be as good as sex, and you want to do it all at the same time! So why not just enjoy, whether on the dance floor or on the coffee table.

RoD: With the single ‘Leah & Alissa’ from the upcoming album you started in the German Alternative Charts (DAC) directly at 16th place and ascended to the top 10. How do you feel about it and how did you come up with the idea for the song?
Marcel: A song with a theme that is important to me and in which we have put a year and a half work, so that everything is perfectly intertwined. If such a song pleases others, one can only be proud. The idea for the song came to me when I dealt with the public appearance of Leah Obscure and Alissa Noir. The two work in adult entertainment and other areas of the adult market. They are lovers both in front of and behind the camera. The two lead a polyamorous relationship with a man and all together shows how beautiful and multifaceted love can be.
Eli: I am proud! I have never believed that one of our songs could reach out for such a result. This might be even more, because ‘Leah & Alissa’ is not that default dancefloor killer of an EBM track. That makes me even prouder. But let us see how our album will be ranked in the coming weeks, I am so curious.

RoD: You are compared to such bands as DAF, NITZER EBB and DIE KRUPPS. Can you comprehend such comparisons?
Eli: Yes, we absolutely are comparable to them. But it’s not being a simple copy, it is the fact that we are writing music in the way especially these three bands did in the late 70s and early 80s. It is all about the process. It is the way of using sequences and words. Most people compare us to DAF, but they might do because of our cast. We use acoustic drums, analogue sequences and German words. NITZER EBB didn’t use the German language but they evolved as any advance of DAF. Maybe people love us because of the closeness to the early days of electronic music. What I have to explain is that we are really close to DAF, because of my use of cubism for writing the final lyrics. I reduce the sentences and themes from the length of a DIN A4 paper down to a few essential words or lines on which I build up the complete text. My ideal aim would be to write lyrics with one word only that says everything to be said. However, Gabi [of DAF] uses Dadaism. The comparison is justified so far.
Marcel: We grew up with the music of these bands and the enthusiasm has not diminished, otherwise we would not be in this category. Our musical inspirations also come from Punk, Post-Punk, Metal, Jazz, Hardcore and Pop. We do not limit ourselves and do not think about whether others would like it or whether we can do something or leave it. We just do it if we like it. With the synthesizer like the MS-20, the Arp Odyssey or the SH-101, we have a similar sound as the mentioned ones. These are great instruments you just cannot get around.

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RoD: Do you have a favourite song on the new album?
Marcel: That changes from day to day. For every emotional situation is a song on this album. There were so many songs in the production process we throw away, because we were not completely behind it. Only the absolute best pieces have landed on the record. But ‘Alte Schule’ somehow stands out.
Eli: It depends on the daily mood and it switches from time to time. Sometimes it is ‘Die ganze Nacht’, sometimes ‘Flucht von der Erde’. I can’t say that I have an all-time favourite track on the coming album.

RoD: You play in other bands too, together but also individually. How did that come about and sometimes it leads to conflicts?
Eli: Yes, it does. We are working full-time beside the music. I am self-employed so I can take the time, but there are always projects at work to be finished. And ZWEITE JUGEND is a time-eater. We are playing less shows with COMBAT COMPANY since 2015 and my work in different other bands will be limited in the future. A day has 24 hours, nothing to discuss about.
Marcel: In the electronic field, I started with COMBAT COMPANY. At a gig in Kassel, Thoralf from JÄGER 90 asked me if I would like to play with him in his project HÄTZER. I accepted the offer thankfully and the first appearance, at a festival on which he should also play with JÄGER 90, moved closer and closer. The evening before the concert, Thoralf tells me that he needs another drummer for the JÄGER 90 gig the next day. I had to swallow first. Although I knew the songs, I was new to the stage without rehearsing. I agreed anyway and so I was there the next day. Two new bands, no idea what to do, but the performance went so well afterwards that Thoralf soon added me as a solid drummer in both bands.

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ZWEITE JUGEND was a heart’s desire of mine. I really wanted to make music that is more Punk, more original than most other bands. Since then I had found the perfect partner with Eli. He wanted the same thing for a while and we gave our ideas free rein. Analogue, direct, minimalistic and in German it should be, without subjecting us to rules. Reduce topics to their core statements and no longer talk. Our instruments, the synths, the vocals and the drums, break out of their typical roles, the rest has developed as it is today. At TENSION CONTROL I’m a live drummer. I have nothing to do with writing and arranging the songs. Michael sends me the finished songs and I’m with him at the concerts (if it works out). We came together through Eli. He mastered the first album for Michael and made the contact. My solo projects LABOURDAY and HANDMADE WITH PRIDE have been on hold for ages. Whether there is another publication pending, I cannot say.

RoD: How do you prepare for concerts, survive the touring life and then find your way back to everyday life?
Eli: We are working a lot on our live shows in advance. There usually are some rehearsals and other preparations. Single club shows lead into massive hangovers. That is okay and can be managed, but if there are multiple shows it’s an even bigger hangover. After some huge shows it feels like having a depression, sometimes during the following weeks. Only logical, you spend a lot of energy for every show. Your body tells you to be sleeping then and to recover. But your mind is much slower to digest all impressions. Shows are sometimes a very exhausting thing. You meet a lot of people, some are long-term friends, and some are new to you. And you only have a few hours aside playing the show and drinking a lot and preparing. I am thankful to have after shows in particular at smaller club shows, now that is the time to relish.
Marcel: I feel the same way. There is this moment after each concert where you realize that it is over. But if you play several shows in a row, you will fall into a bigger hole and take time to get out of there. The last day of a tour is always very emotional, because it’s not just you, it’s the same with everyone else who accompanies you on this journey. I am very happy that Eli and I are very good friends, so you can talk a lot and go through such phases together.

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RoD: Any last words?
Marcel: And to quote an inspiration: Without music, life would be a mistake.
Eli: Thank you for the opportunity and see you somewhere at some of our shows!

Upcoming live dates
2019-03-01 19:00 - Osnabrück (DE) - Dirty + Dancing - Album Release Show
2019-03-02 18:00 - Kassel (DE) - Panoptikum - Winter Stomp 2019
2019-03-09 19:00 - Lille / Lomme (FR) - Bobble Café - EBM Night
2019-03-16 21:00 - Hamburg (DE) - kukuun - Dave’s Classix Special Party
2019-03-29 20:00 - Oberhausen (DE) - Kulttempel Oberhausen - DIRK IVENS Support
2019-03-30 19:00 - Retie (BE) - Jk2470 - Darkest Night /

Live pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /
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