Yuko Yuko

Interview by Callum McLean
Photos by Piet Oostenbeek in Amsterdam, NL

For a mop-haired youngster from Friesland, Elias Elgersma is going places. Today, quite literally so, as he chats on the move. But also in the sense that across his different aliases he’s made quite a name for himself as a prolic purveyor of loose-fitting, lo-fi guitar pop, and bright, collagic music videos. Elias nailed this formula long ago, and now joined by his band (including sometime bassist, sometime singer Marrit) Yuko Yuko is tearing it up and starting again, slipping confidently into a more buttoned-up sound. Clean harmonies, vintage warmth and neater arrangements define the new Yuko Yuko – one you’d take home to meet your folks. Still only at the texting stage of our relationship, I catch Elias over Facebook Messenger to find out how Yuko Yuko is now coming of age.

For a while now you’ve had your fingers in a lot of musical pies. So what is it that makes Yuko Yuko, Yuko Yuko?

For the past 4 years we were somehow focusing a lot on what makes a song very danceable or heavy or pumping and stuff. But at some point that gets really boring to do. The new sound is more like something an ex-Beatle or an ex-Beach Boy would make – overly mature, even though we are all very young. It’s a very weird combo.

It’s as if humankind transformed in the ‘80s.

Your 2016 record was called More Than A Facebook Friend (although here we are again on Facebook..) What’s your advice for those of us still stuck in the Facebook “friend zone”?

Well, don’t delete your Facebook! It’s beautiful website. Yesterday, I was also in a discussion about social media – that it’s all moving towards Instagram stuff. I’m more of a Facebook guy. And to those being stuck in a Facebook friend zone: you should call! There’s this call function on Messenger and it’s free! People are really too afraid to call these days. So, give her a nice call buddy, and it’ll be fine.

Thanks mate! ‘Mistaken Millennial ’ also seems pretty in tune with our social media generation — how do you see the place of your art in the age of fake news and “alternative facts”?

My ‘art’ doesn’t have any place in this whole debate. Almost nobody’s music does. That whole thing with 30 artists making a Trump song really irritated me. It’s really this thing of choosing sides between ‘right and wrong’. And to me it felt like a lot of artists wanted to make some Trump song just to show their own ‘goodness’. That’s what ‘Mistaken Millennial’ is about.

Give her a nice call buddy, and it’ll be fine.

Despite all those contemporary references, ‘80s nostalgia also seems to be a common thread across your different projects — what’s so magical to you about the decade of cringe?

The ‘80s were so damn overly heavy in everything. Cos of all those new digital technologies, everything got so weird in that decade. Like movies, music, haircuts. It’s as if humankind transformed in the ‘80s. Actually, a couple of years after WW2 we started to evolve into creatures with too many fantasies to handle. But in the ‘80s it really exploded!

Yuko Yuko plays L.A.N. Party on 15 December at De School, Amsterdam. L.A.N. Party is free for members before midnight.