Skype interview by Koen van Bommel
Photos shot by Isolde Woudstra in Amsterdam

With Juggernaut, their first album in five years, out in March, a support slot on A Place To Bury Strangers’ European tour, and a headlining spot at our very own Subbacultcha stage at Where The Wild Things Are, we thought it was high time we caught up with local bravehearts zZz. We called the Amsterdam duo for a little chat about their favourite music – which is, as you might have guessed, pretty much all over the place.

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How would you describe your musical taste?

Björn: Diverse. I’m into jazz, kraut, disco, stoner, electro; everything you can imagine.

Daan: I’m also very much into classical music.

Björn: Oh yeah, me too. But I think Daan is more into it than me. I also like punk and garage.

Daan: Don’t forget psychedelic music from the Sixties.

Björn: Also Can.

Daan: And Miles Davis.

Björn: Mad professor, The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Daan: Aphex Twin.

Jeez. Is there anything you don’t like?

Björn: Everything they play at ‘Vrienden van Amstel’.

Daan: I’m not into all those subgenres of metal.

Björn: Except for Slayer.

Daan: I’ve had times when I saw a good metal band play at a festival, but that’s something I mostly enjoy in that particular moment. I wouldn’t play that at home.

When you listen to something new, and you’re not immediately blown away, do you make an effort to appreciate it? Or do you decide after a few minutes if something is good or not?

Björn: I have the feeling that Daan is someone who will give something like that some time. I’m usually pretty quick to decide if I think something is amazing or not.

Daan: I’m more of an album freak. If an album has got one good song, and the rest is not that spectacular, I’m not really inclined to listen to it – or the album, for that matter.

Can you give me an example of an album that you can listen to without skipping a single song?

Daan: I love classics like The Velvet Underground or Selected Ambient Works by Aphex Twin.

Björn: For me that would be Bitches Brew by Miles Davis.

What kind of music did you hear when you were growing up? What did your parents listen to?

Björn: My dad listened to The Shadows and The Spotnicks a lot. You know, that kind of instrumental guitar music.

Daan: I grew up with a lot of classical music and jazz.

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Were you able to appreciate those styles as a youngster? I mean, jazz and classical aren’t exactly the easiest genres to get into.

Daan: Oh yes, I loved it. And I continued listening to it. My parents were into popular classical music, Mozart and stuff like that. But when I was around 12 years old I had already advanced, and I was in the attic listening to Mahler symphonies. My parents didn’t really like that as much, though.

If you could steal a song and present it as your own, and no one would ever find out, which song would that be?

Daan: That’s a tough one. Give us a moment…

Björn: Yeah, let me look at my playlist real quick.

Daan: Uhhhhhhhhhhm… That one song by The Flaming Lips?

Björn: The Cure, maybe? They have some good songs. Nah, there’s just too many I can think of. Brian Eno?

Daan: Wait…

Björn: Oh yeah! We’ve got it: ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie.

Daan: Yeah, we’re in agreement here.

When was the last time you heard a song that completely blew your mind?

Björn: Can I do this one? The last thing I heard that blew my mind was by Dirty Beaches. Especially ‘Horses’ and ‘Sweet 17’. That’s probably the last thing I heard that made me go wild.

Björn, I hear you’re also a chef. What’s up with that?

Björn: Well, not really. I really love to cook, though. I ran into the guys that run the restaurant BAK, and they’re fans of our band. I told them about my love for cooking, and that I thought it would be amazing to work in a real kitchen. They said: ‘Well, why don’t you drop by?’ So I did a six-month internship in their restaurant, and now I work there as a chef from time to time. Just to practice my skills in the kitchen. I really like cooking and eating. And wine.

Is there a link between cooking and making music? Like, when you record songs, do you follow a recipe?

Björn: No, not really. That just comes into existence through working with Daan. But the things that are on our new record were sort of made in the kitchen. It’s a nice eight-course meal, so to speak. With a huge dessert. But being in the kitchen, like with those guys from BAK, is really a rock’n’roll thing to me. Almost as rock’n’roll as making music. The only thing it can’t beat is playing live; that’s still the coolest thing there is.

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zZz play the Subbacultcha Presents stage in Desperados at 00.45 on Sunday, 8 March.