Having briefly dabbled in the dark arts of electronic music the brotherly duo of Zwo Eins Risiko wisely headed back to their roots of “dirty rock music.”
The Hamburg duo – whose name translates to Two One Risk – manage to make one hell of a noise out of just drums and a bass guitar, with their German vocals over the top. And the latest offering of this is Herz, which comes from the EP of the same name that was released at the start of this month.
The track begins with rolling drums then a high-pitched bassline over almost spoken, fast-paced vocals. Then a repeating riff over crashing cymbals gives way to a big shouty chorus supported by diving bass riffs and more smashing cymbals.
A second chorus is followed by bass and synthy background noise, then layered backing vocals that build a dreamy atmosphere before dropping into a last smash of the chorus. It’s raucous, rocky and angsty, and we love it. Give it a listen below, and check out the awesome music video here.
We love the use of a cowbell at GR Towers, and we get exactly that throughout the verse of the EP’s opening track Keiner ist zu alt, um jung zu sterben. It leads into a fun catchy chorus with shouted renditions of the song title over a funky bouncy riff, then a verse that references the Rolling Stones and rock’n’roll, with the cowbell making a welcome return. Check this funky track out below.
We had a chat with the brothers Val and Leo to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Zwo Eins Risiko?
ZER: “We are Val and Leo, two brothers from Hamburg, Germany. After rocking out on pots and pans in our early childhood, we played in different bands and music projects during our teenage years. In 2013 we started producing electronic music and playing shows throughout Germany and Switzerland. But in 2017 we decided to go from synthesizers back to our roots: dirty rock music.
“The rough energy of rock music was always hitting harder than the upcoming EDM stuff. So we went back to our parents’ basement, the same place we wrote our first songs 15 years ago, and started messing around with bass guitar and drums.
GR: You just released Herz. What should people be expecting from the song?
ZER: “First and foremost we want the song to motivate and inspire people to do the things they love the most, whatever opposition they face. When we were writing and recording the song, a close friend of ours took a chance and worked hard to make his dream of owning a business come true. But of course he was confronted with a lot of adversity and failures on the way. However, he never even considered giving up. And that spirit combined with the driving groove of the drums in the intro that evokes a beating heart inspired the line ‘nothing beats harder than your heart.'”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
ZER: “Given that we’re only working with drums and bass guitar, we stuck to the basics: fervent riffs and heavy grooves. At one gig we played they introduced us as ‘if Rage Against the Machine and German hip hop crew Deichkind had a baby: Zwo Eins Risiko.’ Which we thought wasn’t far off at all.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
ZER: “With our lyrics, we like to paint sarcastic pictures of our society. All lyrics are somehow connected to our lives. So you find that typical German narrow-minded smugness/petty-bourgeois in Anarchie Made in Germany or the call to arms against the power of the boring, stay at home couples in Keine Macht den Drögen. But we also like to celebrate the diversity of people and tell them that they should do exactly what makes them happy.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
ZER: “We love the rough energy of Rammstein and their approach to songwriting, to distill the message into a few strong words. Other bands that influenced us the most would be Queens of the Stone Age, with their dirty rock sound, and the duo Death from Above 1979, that showed us that you can sound like a four piece band with only two members.
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
ZER: “We recently went to the studio to record some new songs, some of them are scheduled to be released in 2019. And since we are really into music videos, the songs will not come unaccompanied. We will also be playing a few shows in Hamburg.
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
A great song always sparks ideas for music videos in us. It evokes distinct visuals in our minds that we’re itching to sketch out on paper or bring to the screen. As you can probably tell, videos are very important to us and we believe that a good video can lift the song and make an even bigger impact. Other than that we have recently created our very own Frankenstein’s monster from two organ pipes and a bass guitar: the Kruzibass (Crucibass) and filmed the whole process.”