Angry Youth hits the mark at Dokufest

This interview originally appeared on Kosovo 2.0, during our annual coverage of the Dokufest film festival. Available in English, Albanian, and Serbian here

One of Kosovo’s best kept secrets, Angry Youth is a collective of thirteen young Kosovar artists, musicians, DJs, designers and other creative types. Yesterday K2.0 sat down with Angry Youth members Zgjim Elshani, Lum Ceku and Brilant Pireva at Prizren’s Menta teahouse to talk about music, the group dynamic, and Kosovo’s culture scene.

Formed in the fall of last year, Angry Youth is a loose collection of people who do multidisciplinary work in music, animation, design and street art, or as Zgjim Elshani puts it, “people who know how to do something.” Unsatisfied with a cultural scene that doesn’t offer much room to maneuver, the creators of Angry Youth set out to carve out a space for something new.

“Basically the point is everyone pushes their ideas, whether it’s something that you listen to, look at, or use. Here there’s a set of ideas about what’s good; each of us tries to promote our ideas, and we help each other,” says Lum Ceku.

The focus of Angry Youth has primarily been music, and their aesthetic is just as diverse as the people in it. In our short conversation the terms trip hop, experimental, dance, and drum and bass were thrown around, and their performance on Tuesday’s Dokunight was as eclectic as promised.

Experimentation, complexity, and making people dance can sometimes be incompatible goals, but the Angry Youth boys’ instincts were right on the mark.

Not angry, but bothered

The name “Angry Youth” is not entirely ironic. Being a young artist in Kosovo isn’t easy, and very often talent isn’t enough for a young person to “make it.” “When you see a good illustrator or a musician, you know that if they were in another place or in a circle of people where the mentality is different, it would be easier for them to develop, to have their talent accepted. They would be appreciated more than they are here, where we know what the masses consume is catastrophic, not just in music but any other field,” says Elshani.

“First of all you’re not even given a chance. That’s why we gather with each other, just to feel comfortable with the people we work with; people who know how to appreciate you, who have relatively the same kind of taste, and who can even offer some criticism,” Elshani adds.

The Angry Youth community at present only has a Soundcloud page for fans to check out recent sets and demos. A compilation album is expected to be released in the fall of 2013, showcasing each artist involved.

At the end of our conversation, Brilant Pireva explains the raison d’etre of Angry Youth in one sentence: “We just want to have fun with music and art. And I know if I go to Duplex (one of Prishtina’s more popular night clubs), I’m not going to have fun.”

Angry Youth is: Zgjim Elshani, Yll Xhaferi, Tomor Pllana, Taulant Qerkini (TAK), Lum Ceku (Greywan), Gëzim Ramizi (XAX), Ari Maliqi (Distorted Distortion aka Kinematik), Alban Telaku (Noyd), Brilant Pireva (AKU), Astrida Breca, Taulant Bytyqi, Hana J. Zeqa, & Eka

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