May 10, 2014

MaNga Blue Jean Interview / May 2014

MaNga has a recording studio of their own which they call "StudioN" in a gloomy office building in Maslak. There are mainly photo studios in it. MaNga's studio is deep inside the building and you can't tell from outside that it's maNga's sanctuary. Ozgur welcomes Dogu Yucel. Right behind him is a poster of Spa. He shows Dogu around the studio. There is a chat corner upstairs. The carpets are lovely. Downstairs is the recording area. Ozgur half in joke introduces the place as "This is where we create the magic!". 
This studio has been their dream since they moved to Istanbul. We've seen where they make magic. Now we'll find out how they make it. 

Q: We understand that some songs have written in English first. Which songs are they?

O: 'Hint Kumasi' ('Indian Silk') was  'Today', but its vocal melody was transformed a lot. 'Bir Varmis Bir Yokmus' was 'What I've Done'. 'Isiklari Sondurseler Bile' and 'Parti' had also English versions, but we hadn't put a title on them. 'All We Need is Everyone' was transformed into 'Eriyorum Nihayete'. 

Q: Will you record the English versions, too?

Y: Yes. We're working with Stephen Aiello who's the song writer of 30 Seconds To Mars for 'Parti'. He's just sent some samples. We're gonna hold a meeting on Skype, because they're on tour with Linkin Park right now. We're thinking about working with several song writers instead of one on this English album. 

Q: How did you get in touch with 30 Seconds To Mars?

Y: We reached them through our agent TCI in New York. We're very excited, because this is something we've never done before. 

F: He also recorded the song with his own voice. 

C: It's very good actually. 

Y: I personally think that if we can get closer to them in the long term, we can do something together. 

Q: In general, it seems that the keyword for this album is 'hope'. So is the title, 'Even If They Turn Off the Lights'. How did you come up with this title?

Y: We made the song first, but hardly came up with the title. We changed it a lot. We weren't satisfied with it. It didn't reflect the song properly. It was the strongest lyrics that Ferman has ever written. I proposed it to be the title. I said, "That's it!". You can put any kind of philosophy in it. It's so open to anything. We liked it and it became the title. 

F: And then it was the turn for the album cover. 

Y: We liked the cover very much. There is a man diving into the bottom of the sea. But when you turn it upside down it looks like him going up to the surface. There is also a light beam. We were jumping down off the cliffs somewhere (in Antalya). This is one of the photos Charles Richards took underwater. Then we thought that we haven't released an album since 2009, excluding "e-akustik". During this time, Turkey had gone through a lot of things. Everybody was confused. The things were gloomy and pessimistic. When we've seen the cover, we came up with "Even If They Turn Off the Lights". The cover and the title together made us think "OK, we've got a very nice story here!". Even though it seems as the things are going very bad, we shouldn't lose hope! Everybody has to keep their hopes high. After all these years, we wanted to come back more positively with something optimistic, not with "Oh, we're dead, doomed!". There are again some dark songs, but in overall we made songs in a fast tempo, contrary to what we've done so far. 

Q: I wonder what triggered this song.

F: Let's see...The words just came out of my mouth all of a sudden. I even wondered why. Then the rest of the lyrics came out easily like a thread of silk.  

Q: Why is "Even If They Turn Off the Lights", not "Even If The Lights Go Out"? Who is the null subject on the title? Who are "They"?

F: I can't exactly say it. Because until you asked about it... (I've never given it a thought).

C: In fact, it has a general meaning. Anything you can't control and affects your life is "Them". You do nothing. There are fights out there. Everybody's feeling demoralized, depressed and you can't fix it. 

Y: In fact, we like leaving the songs with a loose end. We think this is more magical. You can think about something political, about your own relationship with your girl friend or your father according to your perception. It's more beautiful and universal this way.

F: I did it that way anyway. I started thinking about the opposite sex, but then it went to a more general direction and I felt that it would be more significant that way. I was like "I have so many wounds that more than that is not possible; I'm dead, done...They surrounds us with so many walls...". And then I was thinking about my past relationships, and then the depressive and gloomy periods we've gone through...I was looking around. Especially young people was talking so desperate...I saw that on the one hand, on the other hand I was referring to my past relationships. So it expanded rapidly. "Even if I'm incapable of using my hands and arms, I won't give in without you" summarizes it all.

Y: You can interpret "You" as "Hope" as well.

Q: For instance, I deciphered "you" as "freedom", because there are some verses like "one day for sure we will break down these walls".

Y: We later realized that we were influenced by the conditions of the country we live in. Not only the lyrics, but the music also has a search for hope. What can we do as citizens? We know what we can do legally. We can vote. Our second alternative is to make music and reach out to people in some way. I was talking to my father the other day about the state of the country, that making alternative music now is very hard compared to 10 years ago. He said, "You have a very powerful weapon. You're not a political party, but you can make thousands of people gather in one place and even though there are differences of opinion among them, they come together. What you need to do is to keep doing that, inspiring people". Maybe some of them don't understand the message we give but a few understands and if we can make a difference in their lives...that I believe it. The kids who have never listened to rock music before start to listen to rock music, first to us and then to foreign bands in the countryside. We have such a deep effect on them. We embraced it and this album is a reflection of it.

Q: You prefer to give subliminal messages rather than direct messages. 

Y: People nowadays react to a lot of things. Impossible not to. We have contradictions within us. We don't want to say something we would regret. We don't want to say "How stupid we were!" when we arrive at the age of 45. Things you defend blindly can change. Things you had never expected can happen. Then you may say "The way I thought was very rigid". We are a multi-colored society. There are people of all kinds. We should not be separated. The only way to do that is to try to understand each other. It's wrong to split people up into two sections as "you" and "us". In fact, we have to understand the people who think differently from us. Even if they don't try to understand you. Because when you do the same, you're no different from them. So we'd like to keep this profile as much as we can. 

Q: Duman is doing just the opposite and give direct messages. What do you think about that?

F: Direct interpretation goes very well with Duman. 

C: Kaan is a very sincere and direct person. He can easily (verbalize) express his all feelings. So you don't think it's strange to hear such direct mottos from them. And this is their distinctive style. Every band has their own distinctive stand. 

Y: It's is a matter of preference. We love Duman. Before making our proffessional album, we used to go to their concerts in Ankara.

C: Ferman had mentioned to me about maNga for the first time at a Duman concert. He was like "We have established a rock band and are looking for a bassist". 

O: There is an illusion about being direct or obvious. The other day, I watched "We Could Be The Same" video again. Black flags, gas masks, teenagers with sticks in their hands, helicopters in the air...

F: We were clairvoyants then...(Laughters...)

O: We made that video 3 years ago. If we happen to revise and re-release that video, people probably will say "What the hell are you doing?!". Or our songs such as "Kapkac", Libido" on our 2004 debut album...

Y: We give messages if we want to anyway. Now we're 34 years old. I don't even think we can make a song like "Kapkac" now. Not that I don't like that song, but we made that song in our state of mind at that age. This album has a different characteristic. In the process of this album, we made lots of trips abroad; we had different experiences and observed the workings of the music industry abroad. We gained some good things and they are reflected in this album. 

Q: So that's why this album has a more universal sound. "Sehr-i Huzun" was more from here...

Y: We call that "Istanbul album". We talked about it the other day. This album has no city in it.

Q: Yes, it may be New York, Ankara or London.

Y: That's why there are songs which started with English lyrics. We don't think this is a completed form of something. We're heading somewhere and maybe we are on the most important phase to get there. I feel that way now. Soon everything will fit into place. But this is our best album ever. As an artist, I can say this album satisfied me the most. 

Q: The first album or "Sehr-i Huzun" had a wholeness, but in this one each song has a different mood.

C: One of the reasons why is that some songs are born not from Ferman's or Yagmur's ideas, but starting to play with no ideas at all. And our state of mind during the recording of that particular song are automatically reflected in the album. It's an album that we broke the boundaries.

F: I and Yagmur used synthesizer a lot and it has also an effect on that. One more thing, we always used to listen to different genres, but that was it. And we were so strict about some genres. For the first time on this album, we opened our subconsious mind to different styles and we used the final outcome. "Parti" and "Bir Varmis Bir Yokmus" are not from 2 different albums; they seem more like songs from 2 different bands. In the past, we could have opposed that strictly, but now we say "yes, we made both of them". There is nobody who interferes with our business. 

Y: If we get something of Seattle sound, we don't say "wait a minute, we were playing nu-metal once, so let's change it into that!". In the past, we used to say just that and resist against it. Because we had a pattern of our own creation. We stretched that pattern a little bit here. We also have songs of our old pattern. We didn't want to give people a big shock. But we're heading somewhere and this album is a messenger of a change to come.

F: I'm a little chickened out of the next album. One song is hip hop, second song is reggae, third one is a folk song, next one is arabesque...(Laughters...)

C: Since people have an established perception of maNga in their minds, they are surprised when they first listen to this album. But then they get the mood in the album.

F: I checked out Eksi Sozluk for the first time after a long time. Someone posted that he loved the album. Then he edited his post, 'What the hell is "Does Anyone Have Extra Love?"? You're 35, for God's sake! Oh, come on!' (Laughters...)

Q: I was just going to ask about that. You said in an interview that there is no rock band who make music for the teenagers under the age of 15. 

F: Yes, there isn't. And yes, "Does Anyone Have Extra Love?" is a song for the teenagers. I'll always claim that. 

Q: Some bands are mislabeled as an adolescent band, such as Linkin Park...

O: But their latest song is seven minutes long with an intro highly progressive (he refers to "Guilty All the Same"). 

Y: In America, there is no such labeling as adolescent band, middle-aged band...I think this is about the market here being so messy. It's like "it's black, if not white, no color in between". We either love it or hate it. There is a perception such as being a teenager is like hell. We were all teenagers once. Those kids are the future of this country. We shouldn't lose our contact with them. If we lose, we'll have to leave them alone with arabesque-like pop or rock music. Because that's the only type of music they can reach. They only get what's given them on TV. We at least can be a different alternative for them to pick among them. 

F: There is something dangerous here: I'm afraid that 15/16-year-old kids get into mood like "I'm dead, I'm done, I feel pain, my girl friend has left me, I'm in a mess". Because that kind of songs puts you into that mood. Sometimes I see tweets from a 20-something like this. Man, you're 20 for God's sake, get another girl and move on! Are you crazy? (Laughters...) If we stop having fun, if everybody gets into that mood, the next generation 10 years from now will be very spooky. Everyone will make arabesque music...

Q: I'm wondering that if I was 15 years old, there were no such bands like maNga, Pentagram, Duman and I didn't know much about the alternative bands, I could easily think that there was only love and separations in life because of the available bands and singers. 

Y: Only it's not love, but it's just a bad reflections of love. Nothing positive. Just separation, cheating...

F: "Parti" is a love song, but it focuses on the beauty of the moment.

Y: I surfed around the TV channels on the day the video released, and I couldn't stand it much longer. 

F: It was not the case before.

Q: I remember the first release of the video of Kargo's song "Sairin Elinde". It's now very difficult to air a video like that.

O: And there was an "Arabic Whore". Just think about its lyrics and the video...If now, TV watchdog RTUK (Turkish Radio & TV Supreme Council) would intercept it. 

F: Could the video of "Dream" of Ünlü be aired now? Is it possible? They would say "This is nasty!!" (In the video of this song, the lead singer of the band knocks the door of the woman whom he was with the night before at the end of the video. The woman opens the door and greets him with her underwear on. Then she takes off her wig and it turns out she is actually a man or a transsexual). 

Y: They wouldn't even play it.

O: Dogu, the interview won't go to a good direction. ( Laughters...)

Y: But it's true. We can't say "we have a great music industry, everything is great." We shouldn't say it.

O: We released "Sehr-i Huzun". The music in the world was changing. They were saying that there were no CDs, audio cassettes any more. But they adapted themselves to the changing system so quicky. This is our 4th album and we could only make it after so many achievements. It's impossible for a newly-founded band to do it now. We did our own recording, we did our own photography...Poll Production said "Super! We release it." And we released it. But if you're not a band who proved itself like us, it's really very hard to make it under these circumstances. That's why there is no new band now. When we first came out, it was a time that alternative music exploded. There were so many venues we can play. There are very few music venues in Istanbul you can perform. You can't find sponsors except for some familiar brands.

Y: Now the only good thing is that foreign bands come here more often.  But they only come to Istanbul. The most people in other cities can't go to those concerts. When you view from a wider angle, they only listen to what's played on radios and TV.

Q: One of the signatures of maNga music was the scratches. Have you ever thought about putting some scratches into the songs?

Y: We haven't. We didn't need it. We didn't want it. It was Efe's signature. It wouldn't be ethical to hire someone to put scratches in. We'd like people to listen to these 4 guys' music from now on. We've put an end to that era with a DJ musically.

C: We didn't plan it. Our way of thinking changed into that.

Q: What are your favorite instrumental partitions of one another?

C: Ozgur's keeping beat from the rim in "Hint Kumasi" is quite interesting and unusually rare. And Yagmur's arpeggio on the verse in "Romantik Sizofren" is very nice.

O: Ferman's vocals in the folk song are fantastic. Yagmur's arpeggio "Romantik Sizofren" and the guitar parts which pay homage to '90s' Seattle sound after that. The bass parts in "Parti"...

F: I'd say "arpeggios in "Romantik Sizofren".

Y: This is the album Ozgur expressed himself the best anyway. When drums blare so cheerfully, it's impossible for you to turn the guitars' volume down (Laughters...). Ferman sings up as high as never before in "Eriyorum Nihayete". 

F: Yagmur made me very angry when we recorded those vocals. He forced and forced me...I was gonna die up there. My throat got fired.

Y: But he took the song to such an extent that...Because the woman rebels against the life in that song. And the best way to express rebellion is the human voice. Ferman's going up to high notes carried the song to an upper level.

F: You do that at the concerts then...(Laughters...).


We hear some pompous lines from 1965 Turkish drama film "Time to Love" by Metin Erksan in "Hint Kumasi (Indian Silk)". It's about a poor painter who falls in love with a photograph of a woman while at work in a massive summer villa. The poor guys says, "I'm in love only and only with your photograph". How maNga did come up with this idea? The original version of the song was "Today" and in that section Ferman talks like poetry. The band likes that dramatic mood and first they thought about using a stage actor's voice instead of Ferman's, and then using some lines from an old Turkish movie. Ozgur suggested "Time to Love" (Sevmek Zamani) and got in touch with the assistant of the movie's director late Metin Erksan of 14 years, Ozlem Havuzlu. He says, "They liked the idea, too. When we ever make a video, we possibly can use some scenes from the movie".


The story behind the song "Eriyorum Nihayete" (I'm Coming to An End) is also interesting. Ferman tells about it: When Emmanuel died, Hurriyet newspaper's columnist Yilmaz Ozdil wrote an article about her. He was saying that everybody was talking about Emmanuel but we had a Seher Şeniz once. And he added her suicide letter to his column. The words she used in that letter were very interesting, such as "Wrap me in a white bathrope, burn my wigs, scatter the ashes". I quoted them. It was like a rebellion. I imagined how she must have been lonely and what she would go through. I fictionalized it a bit. 

Seher Şeniz was famous for her erotic movies in the 60's and 70's. She was the first Turk to appear in Playboy Magazine. Even though she entered the world of striptease at a young age, she was an extraordinary person who admitted how much she was embarrased to undress. She attempted suicide in 1984 and at her 2nd attempt in 1992 she died. In the song, there are some direct lines from her suicide letter. Ferman gave some tips about he may possibly write a short story about her life for his BJ column "Off-key Stories". 

Translated by Inci

December 31, 2013

MaNga BLUE JEAN JANUARY 2014 Interview

"A New Era Begins"

There is a in-depth interview with maNga by Sadi Tirak in Blue Jean Magazine's January 2014 issue. This is the first interview of the new album. They have finished recording and are waiting for the mixes/mastering from abroad.

Sadi Tirak (of Blue Jean mag) visits maNga at their new studio for this interview. He is welcomed by Cem at the entrance of the two-storied studio. He says, "Come on in! The guys are upstairs!". This is almost like a headquarters of the band. He greets Yagmur. He says, "Bro, you make yourself at home, I have some work to do, then I'll be right back!" and he gets inside the control room, with two sound technicians. Cem fixes some coffee for him. Because it's freezing cold outside. And Ferman enters with a bottle of wine in his hands, "I didn't keep you waiting long, right?" he asks. "Have some wine, let's get warm".

Ozgur isn't around. Ferman and Sadi start chattering. Ferman's vocal are heard from the next room where Yagmur is. "Sari saclarini deliii gonlumeee...". Sadi gets startled and asks Ferman what Yagmur is doing. He smiles and explains that they covered "Mihriban" for the tribute album for Musa Eroglu. He says "Yagmur is trying to finalize the recording".

5-10 minutes later, Yagmur finishes the urgent portion of his work and gets out the room. He says, "Bro, you can start listening to the album, come inside."

Sadi gets inside. Even though these are not the final version of the album, it's quite enough to get what to expect from the album. During this interview, they haven't decided on the titles of the album and the songs yet. So the titles are like "Track No.01" on the Mac screen in front of him. He starts listening and Yagmur leaves him alone in the room to provide him with a comfortable listening atmosphere. When he listens to the album half way, Ozgur finally shows up. He waves to him.
Sadi finishes listening and goes to the next room where the band members waiting for him to start the interview below.

Here we go...

BJ: When was the first moment you thought "e-akustik is over and we start a new album"? How did it all start?

Cem: In fact, it started with this studio. We started building it slowly in the middle of 2012 and our first recording was in here around November-December 2012.

Ozgur: "e-akustik" was released in the middle of 2012. We spent the summer of 2012 in concerts. I've seen in the photos I had taken here the other day, that we had started drum recording around October-November 2012.

BJ: How do you describe the creation process?

Ferman: For the first time we feel that it all belongs to us in this album. Of course we do not decide on eveything. All in all, it's a process where you sign on with a production company and with all the marketing techniques. But for the first time we feel so free, both in the production and in our creation process. Every one of us feels quite at fact we had some outrageous ideas. Not anything as Duman did like going to Ireland, but maybe go to south, rent a house and give it a try...Because after a while what can you possibly find as an inspiration? In my opinion, I didn't think that this studio would be such an inspiration, but everything was so right...We had recorded drums downstairs at an unexpected moment. Even this shows that how it all was so right...I mean all the architectural designs we came up with provided us with an acoustics and all of a sudden unexpectedly we did all the drum recording downstairs. Many similar examples like this connected us to here.

Cem: We used to come here at night in the creation period and we were doing 3,5-4 hour-recording sessions. And then we reviewed all of them to pick some parts that we thought would be useful, like "this is not bad", "this is nice", "we can use this", etc... Actually we discovered how far we could go during this period, with no limits and no plans in our minds. This is completely how we expressed what we felt in that moment and how we described the energy we created in that moment.

Ferman: During the first albums, Yagmur and I used to bring the 80% of the songs from home and Yagmur did the pre-production of the 60-70% of them at home. Yagmur felt comfortable at home, could provide the necessary environment at home. I was like that, too. We used to gather at the studio again, but not for the creation, just for going through what we did at home. But it's just the opposite here. I mean, everyone started to come here and create something here.
We brought some ideas of 4-5 songs from home this time, too, but not much.

Yagmur: 2013 was very busy year for us. Especially many things have happened here in Istanbul. We also went through a series of happenings among us in the band. This is an album where we disentagled ourselves, because we had really got tangled up. We had over-professionalized and our communication with one another got weaker. For a band, that is one of the worst things that could happen. The next step is breaking up. We saw that danger and we had to make some decisions.

BJ: Can we say that this album saved you from breaking up?

Yagmur: Kind of. Even if we didn't break up, we could've started doing bad work or working just for bread and butter. After a while the people wouldn't buy and then maybe we might have broken up. So we think that this is completely "a comeback album".

BJ: How did you get that "comeback" feeling?

Cem: In fact, we go full circle and come to the studio again. It created an aura to be full time at the studio. It has enabled us to connect and hold on to one another.

Ferman: This is like our coffee shop. There is this thing about the bands who play live; after the album release, as the number of concerts increase, you start to change the songs. Because you reach a different vocal technique and you freshen up the song. Yagmur disarranges the usual melody and makes some improvisations. So do Cem and Ozgur. The songs evolve. We always went through this evolving process after the release unfortunately. It's an incredible luxury to have a rehearsal studio, because we record, play, after playing we delete (?) the recording and record again. We start to change it playing over and over again.

BJ: So you say that you had this evolving process at the studio before the concerts, right?

Ferman: It's a great luxury, very nice experience. In that way, the songs kind of brew.

BJ: How free are you when you create the songs? For instance, do you practice self-censorship in the lyrics? Or how effective is the desire to grab people in the process of creating songs?

Yagmur: If you appeal to the general audience, there are some rules of the game. Not only in Turkey, but all over the world. But now WE create these rules by ourselves, without someone forcing us to comply, such as "What should we do?", "Which song should we launch with?", "Which song would be a better promotion for the album?", etc... For that matter, since we know now the marketing part of the deal, we can make reliable decisions now. But in the beginning, we don't think about any formula, or something else. In other albums, there was some formulation, but this time we have put forth our feelings without any initial filtering. You can't insist like "I wanna play it this way!", because you make polyphonic music and your area should be compatible with the areas of the other members. And also, for the first time, we didn't think like "Let's make it short so that it would be appealing for the radios.". But we didn't do the opposite, either. We didn't feel like "We'll make our hardest album!", either. We let it to be hard where it should be hard and also soft where it should be soft. The most important thing about the sound is that we recorded everything as much as possible. We wanted to use synthetic sound as less as possible. Especially we did a very detailed drum recording. And this was reflected in the sound immediately.

Ozgur: I'd like to add to what Yagmur said: Since we make "group music", at some certain points we have to use our personal performances to allow other fellow members to breathe, even if this don't work this way in Turkey. What we'd like to do is, since we're a vocal-based band, not to put the instruments forward, but to make them serve the song in the right way. Previously we couldn't use to do recordings in so much detail. It gives you this comfort to have your own studio, because there is no time limitation. We worked with pleasure on all the recordings and we had this opportunity: Before getting into the actual recording of the song, we rehearsed it and worked on the "where and how can we play it?" part easily. It was fun in that sense.

BJ: Ferman, what did you do? You wrote all the lyrics again, right?

Ferman: Almost yes. The 80-90% of them belong to me.

BJ: Do you think "how does people get them?" after writing one verse?
Do you change the verses thinking that they may be taken amiss?

Ferman: I am free enough, but since I have lots of concert experience, I have this in mind unintentionally: How can the audience join us singing along? Sometimes this causes me to change the lyrics. Especially in the launch song, there is a chorus part and I have written that part imagining the audience's accompaniment. How can we sing this part easily together with the audience? But these are very small changes and don't affect the theme of the song. I put any subject that comes to my mind into lyrics.

BJ: The general "it was always that way" kind of mood of the lyrics in this album somewhat mirror the feeling of negativity. "You suffer something and you sing about it" kind of situation...

Ferman: We always had that...

BJ: This became somewhat your style, right? You write like this...

Ferman: Yes yes...I think this is how I start writing lyrics. When there is a problem. I'd rather write lyrics than tweet. When I see some problem, I can't squeeze it into 3-5 sentences. I'm not good at that.

BJ: But you have some pissed-off tweets...(Laughters...)

Ferman: I sometimes try. That's quite another story. Tweeting is a little tricky...

BJ: Let's talk about the sound...I found this album much more electronic. For instance, one song goes on about 3-3,5 minutes just electronically. You don't have a thought such as "maNga is a rock band.", right?

Ferman: I think this is the most open-minded album of ours. We broke down all our prejudices. We have this song, "Once Upon A Time" or whatever the name will be... The song that we don't know its name yet...(he laughs.) I think that everyone will scrutinize its lyrics. I don't know what it is. I don't call it "grunge", but it started in that mood.

Yagmur: It's about being minor scale or major scale. The most of our songs have minor tonality; that is, sad, gloomy, depressive. But for the first time in this album we have 3-4 major (bright or joyful) songs. We tried something even a little like Seattle major and we were very surprised. This was something that we didn't have in our general structure. I can say in my field that we used a lot old school guitar sound, even a little grunge...or something a little more blues. We think that this is the most optimistic album we've ever made. Of course there are some darker timbres and lyrics in some songs.

BJ: In this respect, I think it's closer to the first album...

Yagmur: Yes yes... It makes you feel enthusiasm. It's certainly very different from "Sehr-i Huzun". We can say that.

BJ: For example, "Does Anyone Have Extra Love?" has the same format with "You'll Draw A Woman"...

Ferman: Yes yes, it has that mood.

BJ: Is that why you want to launch the album with it?

Ferman: We wanted to pay homage to the past...

Cem: But it's not the idea behind the song. It wasn't written with that idea in mind. But later, we kind of thought "Oh yeah, it goes there." And we thought we can pay homage.

Ferman: After we decided on animation for the music video, we actually thought about it as a whole. I mean, it was going to be an animation; it wasn't a song that will be played only on radio or player; it would have a visual aspect to it, so we tried to put timbres that suits it and tried to change its form.

Yagmur: But we're doing it deliberately now, since because it's our own formula. Sometimes I say to Ferman, "Bro, you perform haven't done it in a long time." We had our signatures. He was that way in the first album, but in the second he moved away from rap. "e-akustik" hasn't that sound at all. We missed our first version; we missed our formula, so we'd thought let's go back to the way we were, when we were 23-24 years old.

BJ: Let's talk about the post-production after the recording...You've sent the recordings abroad...

Ferman: We have sent the mix for the first time. There was a time we had sent it for the mastering before, but the mix is a first.

BJ: Why?

Ferman: It can't be done here. (Laughters...)

Yagmur: The mixing is very personal and also very artistic. You send the album to 5 different sound engineers and you get utterly different versions from each of them. It's up to you to evaluate them as good or bad. For instance, I naturally listen to the album constantly all throughout the year. The other day I made a calculation and came to a conclusion that I listened to it over 2000-3000 times. And then you're starting to be subjective. Some things settle in your ears and it becomes something like a law. You don't want to hear anything else.

Cem: You think that everything but that form sounds very ugly.

Yagmur: This is a danger. I didn't want to take this risk. I said in the first place, "Let's allocate a budget for mixing and we don't let anyone of the team do it." Because I did the mixing of "e-akustik" myself with the sound engineer in the next room. It turned out to be good, but we thought that we had to give it a try. Because the professional bands generally get someone else do the mixing and the mastering.

Cem: Also, they do the recordings in separate studios.

Yagmur: They record the drums here, guitars there...

Ferman: Because they have a lot of money... (Laughters...) They're like "Where the hell should we spend it?" (Laughters...)

BJ: In a nutshell, we can say "It's a new beginning for maNga", can't we?

Yagmur: Yes... In the first album, we tried and tested everything. Some people liked it, some people didn't. In "Sehr-i Huzun", we were like "let's get matured and do some slow songs". In this one, we have a bit of both; there is the mood of "Sehr-i Huzun" where the lyrics were romantic and well-written and the mood of the first album where the songs were energic. With that, in this one there is a better sound than the first two.

Personally, I witnessed all the phases of the album the most as the producer of the album. I'm thinking that this is the best work of maNga where the band discovered terms of music and lyrics, as well as in attitudes... And we'd like to celebrate it with good videos and many concerts.

Ozgur: Sometimes it's really hard to make sense and put it into words. You think you can't express it sufficiently. So I'd like to give a good example. It was a pleasant album. In short, this is the only album where we could express ourselves with our blood and sweat. And I find it very sincere because I know and feel how the guys felt during the creation process; and what kind of feelings those lyrics and music arose from. Actually the most important thing for me is, no matter what work of art is, sincerity. Don't we deal with all these to express ourselves in the end, right? It was fun in this respect.

Cem: I want to tell a complete outsider's observation. I'm not a type who can easily like and say "I fell in love with this song, great!". In any case, I always remain aloof and nitpick minor faults. Someone who observed me from the outside and knew me for a long time said to me "This is the first time I see you so excited about something you did". This summarizes all for me.

Ferman: In short, for me this is the most honest work of ours.


The one of the bombshells of the maNga's new album, is the duet with Kenan Dogulu. The meeting of the two parties is thanks to Yagmur's wife, Nathalie. Because she is one of the choreographers of Kenan Dogulu. When the band offered the duet to Dogulu, they got a very enthusiastic feedback from him who likes maNga very much. They wrote the parts Kenan performed jointly. During this interview, the name of the song wasn't certain yet, but it will probably be the second song they'll make a video.


- They see the parting with their previous production company Gergedan as a regeneration the both parties needed. They emphasize that it turns into a family relationship to work together with the same people for a long time and causes some blockage.

- As for the contract with Poll Productions which is mainly known for the deals with pop singers, they say it was because of the fact that they always wanted to appeal to the general and the owner of the company Polat Yagci's friendly attitude towards the band.

- They explain that the partition of Efe was because of the musical dispute among them. Ferman says, "Efe's primary function was scratch sounds, but in this album there is no scratch sound. Yagmur has been already creating the electronic sound". Yagmur adds, "I don't wanna say anything negative about the people we worked before, because they helped us a great deal reach this day. But maNga is reborn now".

- They don't want the people to perceive the parts with the electronic timbres as a challenge to Efe.

- They used a line from the old Turkish movie "A Time To Love" for a song that they plan to name "Hint Kumasi" ("Indian fabric" in Turkish, idiom: the bee's kness), but if they can't solve the copyright issue, they may remove that line.

- In the album, there is a song that Yagmur wrote and did backing vocals. It's one of the outstanding songs of the album in terms of the music and the lyrics. Yagmur wrote this song for his wife. After the first listening, Ferman said "we should put this one in the album!".

- There is another song in the album in the format of a folk song. When Ferman went to Sivas for his TV show Kulaktan Kulaga that he made for TRT Muzik, he found this folk song. And maNga turned it into something interesting with an ambient mood. The folk song belonged to Ferman's great grandfather. The song doesn't have a name yet. Ferman called it "Yaranmaz Ask". His uncles said "Call it whatever you like". And he thought this name would be appropriate for a song that was sung 20-30 years ago.

- They picked Michael Patterson for the mixing of the album. Yagmur have done an extensive reseach on the internet and believed he would be the right name. Patterson has worked with various bands such as Limp Bizkit and Nine Inch Nails before.

- MaNga has concentrated on the man-woman relationships rather than the songs with social references like "I'm a Clown" or "Alisirim Gozlerimi Kapamaya / I Get Used to Close My Eyes". Ferman thinks that this is more suited to the overall fairytale-like sound of the album. When pointed out that everyone expected from the band some protest songs after the Gezi protests, they expressed that they supported the protests directly going to the park. They believe that this is a big social movement and a beautiful explosion for a democratic future and it has an aspect to it so romantic that it just can't be attributed to one wing. They don't find it sincere to make a song about Gezi saying "Come on, let's make a song for Gezi!". Nevertheless, Ferman says "There is still some lyrics in the album that touch the subject like "I turned on the TV and things are crazy again!" or "nonsense to be united, everyone got his cut".

- They covered the folk song "Mihriban" for the tribute album for Musa Eroglu which will be out soon. They say that they added some color to the song without spoiling the song's original chemistry.

Last note: The new album is expected to be released in January 2014.

Interview by Sadi Tirak, Blue Jean Magazine
Translated humbly by Inci

December 18, 2013


Some highlights from the interview:

This idea of #BensizSen (YouWithoutMe) belongs to Birol. Birol and maNga was on stage together for another project before. He thought that Ferman's voice matches with his music very much and offered him to perform in this song of him. 

Q to Ferman: This is the first project for you to take part in, separately from maNga. Why did you lean towards this project?

F: Birol's offer came at a time that I was thinking about doing something different. I wanted to be in a project for myself, apart from maNga, do some electronic music. And Birol came with this project. We had previously worked with him already and had quite fun together. Birol's offer made me rethink what I wanted so much. That's why I accepted his offer.

 Q: Is the reason why you wanted to do something outside the band, you desiring to be in the forefront?

F: No, every musician ultimately have a lot of ideas that he can't dam up. I also had some ideas from time to time. I love electronic music, too. But I have to do it right, because I shouldn't hurt maNga. So I am wary of everything. This project of Birol was unique and special. And maNga will release a new album very soon.

Birol says that he wanted to do a song with a male vocal. They came together on a project and this changed everything.

Ferman: It changed everything to work on "Cevapsiz Sorular".

Birol: When I started playing CS, it received incredible response. After I played it at Rock'N Coke, I couldn't help sending my thanks to him saying "Thanks to Ferman with my love!".

We're now putting an end to staying away from the spotlight. We'd like the young people to know that we can produce this kind of music and lyrics in this country. We represent the music of the future.

Ferman: Some melodies or lyrics have their own time to come. Some parts of this song's lyrics were some little notes I had put aside 7-8 years ago when I was preparing for the album. I have always them in some hidden corner. I always believe that some day something will complete this. Not today maybe, but 10 years later definitely. They occured to me all of a sudden for no reason and then I added some more to them.

Q: After a relationship is over, what is that the women will be missing of you?

Ferman: If that person sees a person who is not in the music business after me, she'll miss the fun part she'd have with me. I'd miss the same thing in fact. Because when we create something, our women are the first people to experience it. That test phase turns into fun. We'll be missing this part the most.

Birol: I'm a creative person. I live a passionate life. Both sides have to be creative and meet each other half way. If the other drags behind, she misses something. Both sides have to be passionate in love.

Q: Tell us a bit about your Turkey Tour.

Birol: It'll start in January. We plan to go to 3-4 university towns every month. We aim to have fun and dance. Because our society feel a lot of pressure almost constantly. I feel very lucky, because I have someone like Ferman who is loved by the people very much. I believe it's going to be very good.

Q: You have only one song right now. Do you play maNga songs on tour?

Ferman: We think to make new ones, too. Maybe some covers. MaNga songs will form a small part of the program.

Birol: And before us, a good DJ will take stage, possibly a female DJ. Because female DJs are not given any chance to show themselves.

Q: Why can't female DJs show their abilities?

Birol: The music perception of the women is quite different.

Ferman: I think some names watered it down.

Birol: They highlighted the sex appeal, too. They presented the venue, but the music was left behind. You can do it just once, not a second time around. But of course this is a male proffession.

Ferman: You don't have to be a musician. The control settings of a TV set or a car are mostly interests of men.

Birol: But if a woman really loves this, she can easily surpass a man. Because the women are very good at observing the details and they have very good visual perception. And this also brings professionalism.

Q: What did maNga fans think about this?

Ferman: We got good comments on the internet. Of course there will be some fan base who won't embrace this, but there is nothing to do.

Q: When people see you in a different project separately from maNga, they think that maNga is left behind...

Ferman: These are totally different formations. We play in different venues. This has its own flavor, and maNga has its own. So both will feed each other eventually.

Q: When will the new maNga album be out?

Ferman: In January.

Q: What other projects do you think you'll be in together?

Birol: I like stability. The important thing is the response we'll be getting. We'd never played in English yet. Who knows, maybe we do that.

Ferman: I think electronic music is one of the easiest musical genres to spread widely. So there is an open door in front of us.

Birol: Why not go international?

Ferman: I think it's the beginning of a nice change, both for us, and for the beginning of the electronic music in Turkey. We love this music.

Birol: I see people surprised and I like it so much.

Translated into English humbly by Inci

December 1, 2013



The excitement that usual trips give us was a bit different for us this time. The only thing that lingers on our minds before we fell into sleep during the 9-hour flight to New York was CMJ Festival and the meetings scheduled with the production companies. The funniest guys in the flight were us, as always. Even though it's gone a little bit too far sometimes. :) 

We were welcomed by a nice gesture of our managers when we first set foot in New York. A white limousine was waiting for us at the exit of the JFK Airport. As if we were born in a limousine, we jumped on our white horse and off to New Jersey. We were about to run out of batteries when we arrived at the flat where we were going to stay. Without asking about the sleeping arrangements, we fell asleep in the first place we've found, accompanied by the stunning scenery of Manhattan. Before going to sleep, the memory of the 9/11 terror attack has flashed before my eyes. The ghost of the Twin Towers would appear among the buildings now and then...

First thing in the morning was putting out feelers about CMJ Festival. After a few interviews at the meeting point, we dived to the streets of New York. The most usual action in this type of festivals is the efforts of the musicians, managers or producers to meet one another wandering from party to party. We also lost ourselves in this river and ended up going to every single place until 2 p.m. The typical astonishment at these introductions is as usual. "Wooow! Turkey??" Yes, some people was still quite astonished by us who didn't arrive on camels. After this hustle and bustle, we ended up in the Ultra Sound Studios where we would rehearse. This was an old apartment which consists of a lot of rooms. The biggest difference from the studios here, that they were charging for jack, too! :) Surprisingly just the internet access was free. There was a vending machine for some small needs like plectra or plugs. This is one of the machines that we couldn't think of and put in the studios here. We made a setlist which consists of new songs both in Turkish and English and started working. To tell the truth, we all missed playing new songs. We all were playing with great enthusiasm. And of course with delicious American beers, it was not hard at all to get in the mood. As soon as we finished rehearsing, the parties started again. After meeting here and meeting there, we went home to charge our batteries. Our home was in New Jersey where located across Manhattan. The neighborhood didn't have a brilliant history. But the most exciting aspect of it was that "The Sopranos" was taken on the streets just where we walk. I remember James Gandolfini on this occasion who died at an early age.

We were at Gibson Guitars' headquarters at 11 a.m. where we would make one of the most exciting meetings. Rooms full of incredible limited guitars, studios set with the most expensive state-of-the-art equipment, rooms where Michael Jackson's recordings took place...we were like we went to Disneyland. Gibson Germany kindly supported us after MTV Awards and sent us Explorer and SG model guitars. Gibson USA kindly accepted to give us equipment support during all our US tours. Like kids in a toy store, we just picked up the guitars we want and left. After that, we rehearsed for the last time before the show. We were ready for the CMJ Festival. In the evening, we went to a friend's restaurant, La Lisse to meet the owner of our management company, Margo Lewis. We found out that Margo was once one of the members of the first girls' band in the music history, Goldie and the Gingerbreads. We saw that the bright light is still in her eyes when she showed us old photos of her. We were face to face with a real star. We left the restaurant of our friend Ozgur who always gives us a hearty welcome to listen to one of Margo's bands.

Finally came the day of the concert. I spent the day giving my voice a rest. The concert was really fun. There was a crowd which consisted of Turkish and foreign fans. It's a good feeling to play your songs for the first time to a lot of people. It's up to you to grab them or lose them at that moment. The adrenalin this feeling gives me, I would not trade it for anything.

We had very important meetings today. We met with some copyright companies and attorneys who might pave the way to the production companies and play important roles for us to get good deals. It was impossible not to get thrilled when we looked at the gold record awards on the walls. It was like Lil Wayne on one side and Amy Winehouse on the other invite us to a new adventure. We invited everyone to SOB show two days later and moved to Fader Magazine's party. There was a British band on stage playing Brit in contrast to the black rappers in the crowd. Needless to say that nobody was interested in the stage I suppose. After introducing ourselves to the mag's owner, we had some photos taken and left. We went to FADA Restaurant for dinner which was founded by a Turkish and French couple in Brooklyn. It was fantastic in one word. We went home after Ozgur took a picture in front of the Bruce Lee photo.

I can say that Cem and I did nothing. We rested at home all day enjoying the view. Ozgur and Yagmur were in the streets enjoying New York. We met for dinner at Sindicato which was owned by a Turk again in Brooklyn. It was a nice Italian restaurant. It gave us pride to have friends who had 3 boutique restaurants in a tough place like New York. We got energized by them who looked happy to have us around them in the city.

We took stage at a place called SOB. It was a show out of the festival and announced at the last moment. We welcomed the big name brothers and sisters at the concert. This was a good opportunity to have longer conversations and play for them live. Then we had a nice long chat with everybody backstage and left the place.

It was the time for the trip to LA. A six-hour flight awaited us. This was our first time to play in the City of Angels. We went backwards again because of the time difference. We settled into homes. After some rest, we went out to dinner. Nathalie, Yagmur and I found a Thai restaurant which its walls were covered with posters. Apparently it was a famous restaurant. We had our meal by a movie poster signed by Tarantino. 

We spent the day to the fullest. Firstly we were welcomed by Gibson LA. Again, like spoilt kids, we picked up our colorful guitars and left. I left with a blue GT series guitar this time. We were invited to the party that night. And then we moved to the Guitar Center and met with the heads of the artists' department. They were impressed by our songs, especially by "All We Need is Everyone". They offered us to play on their stage at a festival in the coming months. After hanging around for a while, we went to Gibson party which we were invited. Just as we thought "it's over, let's go!", Ozgur said that one of his favorite DJs would come to play and we should see him. Thanks to him, we got a chance to listen to Photek and an incredible MC accompanied by him. I haven't seen any rapper this good for a long time. We went to Laugh Factory to meet famous comedian George Wallace and Lisa Johnson who just published her book "108 Rockstar Guitars". Their interest in us when they heard that we were from Istanbul, was incredible! The jokes made us all laugh. 

We played at a club called Satellite. We were welcomed by a mixed and amusing crowd again. We had very important guests again. We got acquainted by Jimmy Pargas, founder of X Games and Jojo Baghdasarian, Backside Burbank music store's owner, among others. I have survived the night off safe and sound in spite of the fact that the oysters I ate before the show put me in trouble a bit on stage. :) But before the show I will never eat oysters again (I think). 

And our first CD signing in the USA... This was a last-minute arrangement with Jojo. We introduced ourselves to the people who came to buy CDs and LPs to the store and took pictures with them and gave them tshirts as gifts. Our friend Jojo of Armenian origin took very good care of us and played our songs all day. Then we all came together again at his home party. We spent great time at his ranch which was built on a huge land.

I can say that I spent the whole day with shopping. I went to a big outlet mall outside the city and bought bags full of clothes again. I rather do shopping all at once than constantly shop. It's less strenous this way.

The last day we did photoshoot with Maneki in Venice Beach.

We had a lovely adventure for 2 weeks. I feel like we're having a similar one to our trip from Ankara to Istanbul. I think we'll spend more time abroad from now on. But don't worry. When you read these lines, our new Turkish album will long gone to printing by then. Or perhaps it will be out. Thanks so much to everyone to open their hearts to us during our tour. See you at the concerts...

Translated into English humbly by Inci

April 27, 2013

maNga VOGUE TURKIYE May 2013 Interview

MaNga VOGUE May 2013 Interview
In the air, on the land, under the sea...MaNga all around...

MaNga's third studio album which they made with their current minds is more matured. It is far from adolescent pains like "Nobody likes us!" and it's more optimistic and younger.

We're on the phone with Ferman Akgul, maNga's lead singer, to make an appointment. I'm in Istanbul, they are in Antalya. His voice sounds like a cheerful fish splashed out of water! He says they're cold, but having fun.

They are in Antalya for the photoshoot for Vogue Turkiye and music video shooting of the launch song of their new album which is about to be released in the coming months. They and photographer Charles Richards have been friends for a long time since Sing Your Song Music Contest in 2001 which introduced a band called maNga to Turkey. Charles has been the man behind their album artwork and music videos since Sehr-i Huzun, their second album in which they had their first professional photo shoot. Ferman Akgul says "When we first met him, he was the legendary director who took Two Ways of the Blue Beard and we were some kiddies who just arrived from Ankara. Since then we never broke away".

When he says this, we're at their recording studio in Maslak, Istanbul. It's a hazy and rainy day outside, but the guys are very cheerful! They love their studio, maybe that's why for sure. Ferman Akgul says, "This is our first shelter after our turbulent lives in Ankara and Istanbul. We made the whole album here. We had some radical changes in our lives recently. We're making the songs out of that excitement".

The guitarist of the band, Yagmur Sarigul says that they are trying a different method with their current minds. They started recording simultaneously what they feel like playing. They moved out of the frame; their lives are more spontaneous now and they are letting themselves free.

They tell about how they felt Istanbul-struck when they made Sehr-i Huzun. They felt the magic of the city; started listening classical Turkish music; tried to write some music on the shores of the Bosphorus; felt like tourists in the city...

They long left behind the days where they tried to capture the spirit of the city reading old books or listening to the old LPs and CDs. Now they feel so originated from this city that they easily complain about the city's infamous traffic chaos.

You know that maNga consists of educated boys who have found one another pursuing music in Ankara. After finishing runner-up at the Sing Your Song music contest, which resulted in an album contract, they moved to Istanbul and they have lived in the same house for 2 years. They gained a huge fan base after their self titled debut album maNga and second full album Sehr-i Huzun, and the band was awarded Best Turkish Act from MTV Turkey and Best European Act from MTV Europe Music Awards; they placed second at the Eurovision 2010; they have been recognized globally and they have performed at numerous international festivals.

Bass guitarist of the band, Cem Bahtiyar says "We can't say that we can get to know the cities we go very well. This is our usual tempo on a busy concert schedule: from the hotel to the concert arena, then to a soup restaurant and then back to the hotel...But we know the soup places very well"..

The drummer of the band, Ozgur Can Oney takes the words out of Cem, "The soup places have also quite an idea about us. I remember one time that we went to a soup place with bathrobes on! You know they hang photos on the walls taken with celebrities. When we see a photo with us like that, we're like 'oh, we've been here before!' They have photos with Ibrahim Tatlises beside ours and so on...".

MaNga's first album came out with music videos with an animated character called Spa. Even though it was dominated by nu metal genre and contained gloomy and literary lyrics, maybe that's why they have found acceptance by a fairly "young" people. Yet, Rolling Stones also has 16+ teenagers jumping up and down right in front of the stage during their concerts, though.

Ozgur continues, "Once I had read about a statistics: The 80 % of the fan base who buy albums are young people between 12-18 years of age. This is a fact! It's pointless to deny. But there are slight changes in audience listening to our music. We have a group of 50-100 fans who come wherever we go on every album. This group changes slightly".

Yagmur Sarigul says, "Also, we understand thanks to what we publish on Facebook that which t-shirt Cem wore that day, or if Ozgur got on bike on his way to the studio, or Ferman's interest in old cars and so on attract people more than how we make our music. When we post a picture of Ozgur and his son, we get incredible views, but how Ozgur plays drum attracts less people. The things that people focus on are different. They show more interest in matters we think ordinary.

Cem Bahtiyar thinks that probably by doing so, they consubstantiate themselves more easily. "But we have to do things that we can satisfy ourselves, too. We can't build our careers upon it. An artist can't continue to exist constantly targeting the mainstream and thinking about the target audience. Of course there are market realities, but we're trying to keep up our experimental side.

MaNga is a group that is always demanded and sought after at the festivals. But Ferman Akgul doesn't think that festivals aren't given deserved importance in Turkey. "We can't have fun enough, we can't listen enough". We can say the same thing about criticism. We only make insinuations. Today, at least 10 festivals a year should be held in Istanbul. We can't make cultural activities out of these social gatherings. Everybody's favorite activity is this: The weather is beautiful; come on, let's hop on the car and get the traffic around Ortakoy paralyzed! Nobody thinks about what to do today; about going to a soccer or basketball game, or a concert.

Ozgur Can: We don't know how to pursue music. We'd rather pursue the venue. I think this is valid for a large section of the population. Other than this, there is always a group of people who listen to good music, follow activities and support. For instance, these people are around 40-50.000 and they are the people who make music and make underground music progress and keep going in Turkey. This is also how we view Eurovision: If we win, it's OK; but if we don't win, the neighbor did or didn't vote for us! When we were in Oslo for Eurovision, I noticed that there was an utopia over there. There were 38 participating countries that year: some of them was fighting in war with each other, but nobody cared about that and they supported their teams with flags in hands, hanging out...You can't unify these countries otherwise. No matter how it look from the outside, but there is something peaceful about Eurovision that can't be reached in other times of the year. We can say the same thing about the festivals. We were in Sziget in 2006. We haven't seen one single fight. But this doesn't change the fact that we still miss the chaotic Turkey after all the peace abroad.


We have been dreaming about filming for a long time. A fictional film about the birth and the journey of a rock band...We might act, we might write; or someone else get the leading roles and we appear as guest stars or cameos. A movie is totally something else and very hard to get it realized. But it's something we always dream about. We made some attempts for this. We're told "write a screenplay and get it to us!". We'll see...


Ferman: We were always funny guys, but the most of the songs that we have made so far were pessimistic. But in this album, we're like "Since we're having fun making music, let's reflect this properly". All the bands take music videos in some dark parking lots. One band almost in every lot! Crying figures on a dark background...We'd like to have fun now; we desire to write more positive, more optimistic songs.


Yagmur: We have this more optimistic, more hopeful and enjoyable feeling about life in the new songs. We were like "nobody likes us, we're not happy" during the first album since we were much younger then. Rather than the songs full of revenge on that album, now we're like "OK, there are lots of things that suck, but we have to hold on to good things".


As the years go by, together with their music, they got matured; some of them got married, some got a divorce, some had kids.

Now they're making their third full album, with its English version. They are in contact with some booking and management companies in LA and New York. In the rest of their careers, they will probably live abroad a lot.

Ferman Akgul says, "We're thinking about what we're going to do if we have a foreign contract. Like we left Ankara, will we leave again? We will if we have to, but it's impossible to break away from here. We must come back and tour Anatolia. We have to feed ourselves with Anatolian food and mix it with something else. But the core of it should be from here. Maybe we'll lose the concept of home again, but I feel that we'll experience something experimental".

One of the 10 songs in the new album is a folk song cover as "a gift from the cosmos" as Yagmur Sarigul calls it. The story of "Yaranmaz Aşık" which is a heritage to maNga from Ferman Akgul's great grandfather, is interesting:

"I made a program for TRT like a music magazine called Kulaktan Kulaga. Travelling 13 cities and compiling local songs, I got them together with guest singers on the TV screen. As the village people sing the local song, on the other half of the TV screen for example Goksel accompanied them. On that program, I made my grandmother and her sisters sing for me. My great grandfather, Aziz Ustun, is Asik Veysel's musical companion. But I haven't listened to him until now, I don't know why. I noticed subsequently that he was a prominent figure on Turkish Folk Music. I started listening to my grandfather's songs when I found these out. They are so beautiful. I don't know what to call it, trip hop or what, but we turned one of them into something electronic. We're lucky that my old folks loved that. They said "do whatever you like it. Because you made us cry".

They think that they lived a couple of different lives for 10 years and 2 albums. So what do they think about 10 years later or maybe a longer period of time?

Ferman Akgul: I look at MFO (Mazhar Fuat Ozkan). It's my biggest dream that we perform on stage at that age and make the audience admire us, and maybe do that in different countries...

Yagmur Sarigul thinks a bit differently. He says "The music will always take an important place in my life. Honestly I don't have a dream of being like Rolling Stones. I don't have a passion like being on stage at the age of 70. If I will have a passion, it must be the right conditions so that I can handle it. Because it's hard. But I guess and dream that I would always do something to do with art. Maybe cinema, or photography...I'd also like to try acting very much.

Cem Bahtiyar also wants to be on stage as long as he's capable. He says, "I studied at completely different schools, but I've been playing bass guitar since eight grade. I've lived in Denizli until the university and Denizli is a small town. I got on stage at the municipal square when I was 16 and then my life has changed. I'd like to be on stage as long as I'm able to be. This gives me utterly different energy".

Ozgur Can Oney's future dream is about being on "a bit higher" platform. He says, "I'd like to go to space before I die. I don't care if I'm at 60 or 70; I don't care how much it costs; I'm really curious about the zero gravity environment. I want to have a look at the Earth from the outside of the atmosphere. I wish we could go to Mars and go up the Olympos if it could be possible. Space tourism will come to that point very soon and it's not an impossible dream at all".

Before we leave, we're listening to the demo of "Yaranmaz Asik". It's the trip hop version of a folk song a minstrel who lived 3 generations before, bequeathed to his great grandson. And it's beautiful.

Just wait and see: It's not going to be long before Ozgur Can Oney waves us down from the stratosphere.

Interview by: Ebru Çapa
Photographed by: Charles Emir Richards
Styling by: Kaner Kıvanç