No More Words: Yello Talk With Kasra V


Synth pop doesn't always equate to personality, just because you are unique doesn't necessarily mean an audience will dig it. The Swiss duo consisting of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier are known to many as Yello, pioneers of the genre. Throughout the years the pair have released numerous hits, from “Bostich” and “I love you” to “Rubberbandman” and “Oh yeah”, they have developed a healthy back catalogue of thirteen albums including their most recent “Toy”. The duo somehow even managed to charm the world of mainstream culture and their music appeared in both The Simpsons and Ferris Buellers Day Off.

"Toy" emerged seemingly out of nowhere following a seven year absence, its title stemming from the perception of instruments to Boris. Like a child in a playground the possibilities within production remain limitless to the pair. When asked about his interaction with analogue equipment Boris is quick to explain that he uses both old and new equipment alongside plugins, unlike many his instruments don’t hold sentimental value to him.

The duo first met back in 1977 through the owner of an import record store in their hometown of Zurich. The owner of the shop was interested in producing something with Boris and former band member Carlos Peron but thought they needed a singer. This singer would later become Dieter and Yello was born.

However, it was not until three years later that Yello managed to release their debut album “Solid Pleasure” on Ralph Records. Boris reflects upon the early days of producing as a group. 

“Most tracks are timeless, it’s still funny to listen to our very first productions as they are overloaded with ideas and fantasies, otherwise I still feel good when I listen to my old work.”

The label, founded by The Residents could be said to have kickstarted the groups career, their meeting only by chance. Boris and Carlos had previously been introduced on a trip to San Francisco, The Residents had very much been idols in their own right. 

Several years later, during the mid eighties, Carlos left the band to focus on his personal career. Whether this was a blessing or a curse is difficult to say, however only one year after his departure the duo went on to release what is arguably one of Yello's greatest accomplishments, the incredible “Stella”. 

Hindsight is a beautiful thing, as a child I can recall watching the video for “Oh Yeah” on VH1. It was odd, hypnotic and weird, but not in a spooky way. Its bizarrity compared to other pop songs at the time has left a long lasting impression. Yello's visual identity has always been gripping and simplistic. The majority of the pairs music videos simply feature Boris and Dieter dancing and singing amidst projections.

It is very surprising to learn that after all these years the band has never performed a live show. However, the duo are looking to host a four date concert at the end of October in Berlin. Boris describes the pair's plans. 

“After these four concerts, which is an experiment for us as well as it is a package we have worked on for a few months now, we will decide if we are going to continue doing other dates around the world as we have lots of interest in our live show.”

He makes reference to a highly sought after live show featuring the Yello back catalogue but that's a story for another day.

Yello's tendency to draw upon afrocuban influence and merge it with the melodic twists of the Middle East has helped to reinforce them as a singular force in not only Electronic music but in Pop. A sense of humour prevails not only in their music but in the energy of the pair themselves, a debut live show is a welcome prospect.  

Buy Yello's latest album "Toy" HERE

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