February 20, 2013

MANGA'S TRT-1 ZIRVEDEKILER INTERVIEW ON FEB 17, 2013

MaNga on TRT-1: Zirvedekiler / 17 Feb 2013

MaNga was on TRT-1's Sunday morning program "Zirvedekiler" (Those on the Top) on Feb.17th, 2013. This program is not live. It was taken around the end of January. Efe was not there again with the rest of the band. No comment about that. The host is pretty Ece İncedursun.

Ece: Good morning! We're having maNga today. Welcome, guys. How did you come together?

Ozgur: We had some common friends. Then I invited Ferman to the band, I was like "There is this band. Would you join us?". The rehearsals were very fun. And thanks to Ferman, we met Cem.

Ferman: This is a typical Ankara story actually.

Ece: So you knew one another indirectly.

Cem: In fact, we didn't know one another before that.

Ece: Wasn't that hard?

Ozgur: It wasn't hard, because the music we were making together was so much fun and magical that it gave us power to overcome all the hardships.

Cem: Maybe this was an advantage for us in the first place. I mean we came together just to make music without a previous acquaintanceship.

Ferman: I still remember it very well. When we first came together in Bahçelievler...

Ece: When you first came together, or when you first did your recording?
Ferman: When we first came together at the studio,...OK, I've known Cem and Ozgur before, but I and Cem haven't known Yagmur before. We first met him at the studio. When Yagmur started playing the first notes, it was a very beautiful feeling, because we were after that kind of music all along.

Yagmur: That day, it was something like a vocalist audition for you. (Ferman starts to laugh) We didn't tell you anything about this, but we wanted to see if you're OK or not.

Ece: Wait a minute...An audition without a notice, huh?

Yagmur: It was not anything official of course. We just hung out a little together. And then I don't know what you call it, an attraction maybe, and somehow that was it.

Cem: Our fate lines have crossed...:)

Ece: The Fates were spinning the threads...:) (to Yagmur) But you played a big part on this, because you laid the foundation of everything.

Yagmur: Well, we can say that I made a spark with a flint at first, and then...

Ece: I heard that you particiated in a contest, Sing Your Song. Alone (to Yagmur) or together?

The boys: Together...

Ece: So that was your first job together?

Ferman: That was our first public appearance together on TV and our first recording for the TV.
Cem: When we came to Istanbul for the shootings of the contest, I still couldn't memorize the names of the boys, calling them wrong names. I knew only Ferman.

Ece: Didn't you cheat writing names on your palm?

Ferman: He was still asking their names...:)

Ece: ...like I did now? (showing them her palm)

Ferman: No, we haven't tried it. But I can try it for the lyrics on stage. :)

Ece: Really? Do you forget lyrics on stage?

Ferman: Yes, we all forget things from time to time. Is it not natural?

Ece: Of course it's natural to forget things out of excitement, energy of the audience, but if it's a singer who forget the lyrics, it's something to get the attention.

Ferman: I often forget the lyrics. But most bands' lead singers have a small monitor in front of them projecting the lyrics and their speeches between the songs. The audience doesn't know it. Because you can easily forget out of excitement caused by the adrenalin. Then the interaction with the audience helps a lot, extenting the microphone to them...

Cem: He makes them sing...:)

Ferman: You make them sing instead. :)

Ece: Hmm...We're getting some tips and tricks. When you forget, "Come on! Let's sing together!", huh?

Yagmur: (to Ferman) You're letting out all the secrets of the singers now, you know that? The magicians have an agreement among them and they don't share their tricks with anyone. This is something like that.

Ece: Did maNga manage to make some things be accepted more quickly in Turkey? Let's get to the point.

Ferman: Good question. We think we managed to cross some lines that can't be accepted with our fans. Because there were other bands making similar music like us when we first came out, but they somehow couldn't emerge into the spotlight. I think we became a pioneer band.

Ece: It seems that you made greater strides...

Ferman: But we still try to go beyond ourselves and cross the barriers of rock music in Turkey one way or another. Because the alternative music in Turkey has some tides, high and low. We're fighting against this with our music.

Ece: I wonder why Yagmur has a nickname like "Yamyam" (cannibal).
Yagmur: When I was a baby, I had a habit of biting people I didn't like. When the boys heard about that, they kept on calling it and we got used to it. But generally my very close friends and family of the first degree call me that name.

Ferman: He's trying to say "don't call me that!". :)

Ece: I noticed that. I don't wanna irritate him, because I'm sitting next to him, so...:)

Yagmur: Don't worry. Because I am pretty domesticated now. :)

Ece: Is it hard to be together as five men all the time? Maybe it's easier for a group of men to get along well, isn't it?

Ferman: Definitely. I haven't seen five women getting along well before.

Ece: Me, neither. I think every three months a new member would join...

Ferman: I haven't seen two of them getting along, either.

Ece: So you came together, participated in Sing Your Song. Did you get the first place?

Ferman: Second place.

Ece: You didn't make the album right after that, did you?

The boys: Two years later.

Ferman: About two years have passed.

Ece: How did you spend this period of two years, dreaming about an album, or getting ready for an album?

Cem: The first 6 months, yes. There were some promises given to us. We got pumped up so much. We went back to Ankara very enthusiastically and started writing songs, recording our demo. At the same time we were waiting for the call from İstanbul. And we got the bad news. Of course that news made us very disappointed. We thought, "Again?". Because we had some other disbandments before. But we picked it up quickly. We clung to one another, continued to write songs, recorded our demo, came to İstanbul and started to knock the doors.

Ece: The album was released in 2004. What kind of excitement was it?

Ferman: Were we at home when we first have seen the music video on TV? We were living at the same house at Besiktas. One day we turned on the TV and our video was on every music channel. We were eating our meal.

Cem: It was a weird feeling.

Ece: Were you shocked?

Yagmur: A little, I guess. It was not a "Woow!" feeling. But when we've seen the video on 3-4 channels at the same time, we began to feel that it's no longer going to be the way it used to be. But we still ate simit and drank tea at the quay of Besiktas.

Ece: What were you dreaming when you first saw your video on TV?

Ferman: Making a tour of Turkey and giving concerts. That was our only dream then. We didn't dream about getting recognized and making money. We wanted a tour van and to crowd into it like in the movies and go play, play and play everywhere. We did that. Of course we got recognized naturally and started making money. But it was not our default (initial) settings.

Ece: I think this is important. Maybe just because you haven't set your first goal to make money, you have reached where you are now.

Ferman: We have still this kind of dreams now. We've been planning some projects for abroad for 2 years.

Yagmur: We've built our own studio.

Ferman: Yes, we did. Most bands don't do it. Because it costs too much. We invested so much for our studio and our own equipments.

Ece: So does this make it possible for you to make higher-quality music when you do everything yourselves?
Ozgur: It makes it possible for us to create more sincere music.

Yagmur: It is arguable that it's higher-quality or not.

Ferman: Yes, it's arguable.

Yagmur: We haven't reached the time that we can compare our new songs with the old ones yet. It's an advantage to have a place you own that you can use 24 hours in terms of productivity. Most people believe in deadlines. If you don't set deadlines, you can never finish an album.

Ece: So do you have to set a date?

Yagmur: Because it motivates you, but I don't think it's right for art to set a deadline. Or this is not our job. And if we look back, this is when we...

Ferman: ...are the fastest to write music.

Yagmur: Yes, we produce very fast. And this refutes this thesis. I mean our studio is very good for us.

Ferman: It's an utterly different feeling to have the studio's key in your hands.

Ece: It gives you a feeling of comfort?

Ferman: Yes, because you know that nobody can get in but you. It is our sanctuary.

Ece: How did you come up with the name "maNga"?

Yagmur: As the band is forming, I was thinking that we need a band name. I had a notebook that I have lost. I wish I could find it. I had written in it 20-30 names that I came up with, no matter if they were silly or not.

Ferman: Did you show it to us then?

Yagmur: I probably didn't show it to you. I only told you the "maNga". Maybe there were better names, but you've never seen them. :)

Ece: He eliminated them first, guys. :)

Cem: But nobody objected the name "maNga". We all thought it was a fitting name. We believed in that.

Ece: And you used that animated character on the album cover.

Ferman: We developed that character later on. We created a character named "Spa" and it was on the posters and covers with us.

Ece: And it played in the video instead of you.

Ferman: Yes, it appeared also in the video, we didn't.

Ece: You came from Ankara, released the first album. It all went well. Everybody loved it so much. What happened then?

Yagmur: Actually we haven't experienced that state of being a "celebrity" so much.

Ferman: We were not so well-known yet.
Yagmur: Yes, because we didn't appear in the video so much. We ended up on the road and concerts. We constantly gave concerts. Maybe 200 concerts in a year.

Ece: Your second album is Sehr-i Hüzün (City of Sorrows). Did you work with the same people on this album, too?

Ferman: The same.

Yagmur: In fact, we relieved our conscience after we made that album. Because we think that we brought out everything one level up with that album. Also, İstanbul had a huge impact on it. In fact, Sehr-i Hüzün is an album about İstanbul.

Ece: Is that city İstanbul?

Ferman: Of course. It was a kind of response to what we've experienced and felt here in this city.

Ece: Did you have any disappointment? Because there is a feeling of sadness all over the album.

Ferman: No, it was not a disappointment.

Ece: The songs are slower on the second album.

Ferman: But the melancholy and the sadness of this city affected us. Ankara is not like that. There is a gloom over Ankara. There is something else in here.

Ece: Do you think that you got the Eurovision offer thanks to the second album where you reflected that feeling? Because you caught an upswing with this album.

Cem: It was a chain reaction. After Sehr-i Hüzün, maNga gained momentum. We got MTV's Best European Act award in 2009. We started thinking about abroad. After that, came the Eurovision offer.

Ece: Just what you desired. I think you accepted it without thinking.

Cem: In fact, we thought about it.

Ferman: We thought about it a little.

Ece: What is the contradiction between them? On one hand, you want to go, but on the other hand you don't.

Cem: It's a big responsibility.

Ozgur: You're in the middle of recording an album....

Ferman: The album was just released.

Ozgur: Or you've just released an album. You think yourself at the beginning of your career. Ferman was so enthusiastic about Eurovision and he fired us up so much. It was a good thing that he fired us.

Ece: Definitely.
Ozgur: You have 3 minutes and you can't be more than 6 people on stage, etc. These are some of Eurovision rules. You have to convey your simplest feelings to the spectators in 3 minutes. Not a very progressive song, not a very melodic sound...You have to express yourselves in a minimum possible way. You can communicate with 40-50% of the European population in English, so we thought it's the best way to use English.

Ece: It was very good thing that you went. Because you brought the second best result to Turkey after Sertab Erener.

Ozgur: In some online user dictionaries like sourtimes, there were 400 or 500 posts about our Eurovision song. After the final, the half of it were deleted...

Ferman: ...or revised comments...

Ece: Very good. Did you follow everything online? You present something. Even though you worked so hard, it's inevitable to get scathing criticism. Did you follow that online?

Ozgur: The social media is widely used in the last 3-4 years. We are also on that, too. It's not significant enough to affect what we do. We get as much as we need. Yet, good or bad, it ignites you in some way. It's essential to get that.
So we follow that.

Ece: Did this award as a new band open the doors for you to abroad?

Ferman: We met so many people thanks to MTV and ESC. We're still in touch with those people. The Balkans, Northern Europe. We released a single and gave concerts over there. This opportunity opened interesting doors to us.

Ece: Will you have any projects?

Ferman: Yes, we will.

Ece: Soon?

Ferman: Now we are getting ready for a festival in America. We've started to make the English album in the meantime.

Ece: Will you release this album only in Turkey?

Ferman: No, we don't think the English album will be released in Turkey. We'll be releasing the English album for this reason: We have released a single in Denmark before. We've sent a single to MTV and MTV carried our song to the charts. But it was always on the basis of a single. Now we want a whole album and plan to do things over there, without sending music from here. If necessary, we plan to spend 3-4 months abroad.

Yagmur: This is something we've never done before.

Ferman: Now we want to give it a try.

Yagmur: Because it's difficult to do things from here. You have to take up what you do; to interview.

Ferman: It's a big problem to miss them, for instance.

Yagmur: But we don't slack off our efforts on the Turkish album. We're working on them at the same time. Some songs will be probably bilingual, in Turkish and in English.

Ece: Interesting. We listen to the Turkish version here, but abroad English version will be released.

Ferman: This is something that had been done before. Some of the known bands did this. Maybe we're going to do it for the first time in Turkey. It's not that important to be the first to do it, but we're going to do it. Maybe we'll be a topic of thesis some day.

Ece: But every major step that you took got back to you positively. I think this will be good, too.

Ferman: The courageous steps get back to you in some way.

Ece: The festivals would not be without maNga. Do you still plan to take stage at the festivals?

Ferman: We do. We'll be busy with festivals in the spring.

Ece: Both the albums, and the foreign projects, so...

Ferman: The forthcoming festival in the USA is important for us. We're working for that now.

Cem: We totally focused on that one.

Ferman: Then the festivals in Turkey begin in the spring as usual. The municipal festivals begin. That means we'll have lots of festivals.

Ece: You're gonna work without a break, huh? So what do you do outside of work? Are you still together?

Cem: In the last 3-4 months, we often see one another, to tell the truth. We're in the process of producing, so...

Yagmur: Since we have a jointly-owned studio, so...

Ferman: We meet every day except for 1-2 days.

Cem: We meet 5-6 days a week.

Ferman: Even if we do nothing, we get together at the studio.

Cem: We're always at the studio. Even just to have a chat, we go to the studio. There are days we don't get down to the recording room at all.

Ozgur: We watch movies, play games together...

Ece: So you don't necessarily have to work.

Ozgur: It stimulates productivity to spend time together. It's not only movies or games. We talk about a lot of things such as books, movies, music. It's fun.

Ece: And you don't know when you get inspiration.

Ozgur: When we drink our coffee...:)

Ferman: From the books...:)

Ece: How about we show what you're actually doing at the studio, playing games? :)
Ferman: Flash...flash...flash! :)

Yagmur: Our studio is a place to escape from the madness of İstanbul for us.

Cem: We isolate ourselves in there.

Yagmur: It's like a meditation to be there.

Ece: I understand that you're not involved in that chaos that much.

Cem: That's right. We're not in the daily hustle and bustle, to tell the truth.

Ferman: We don't have extreme outings, I think.

Cem: We have the luxury of determining our working hours.

Ece: That is one of the best things about this job, I think. Well, does each of you have a specific task to do? For example, you sing, you write music, you play guitar, etc...

Cem: Of course we have small task distributions among us.

Ferman: But that's spontaneous.
Cem: Yes, it's spontaneous. When we first found the band, we didn't distribute the tasks, like you do this, you do that. There are things some of us can do better than the other naturally in different areas. We see this and he become the incharge of that task, but this is not a rule.

Yagmur: We reach that maturity much more after each album. Every one of us lets the other do more and this makes things easier. In the beginning, all of us were more conservative about some things. But we've learned how to go with the flow. This is a good thing, because it affects our music in a good way.

Ece: maNga had younger fans when you first came out. But the average age of your fans has increased now, right?

Yagmur: With our latest "e-akustik" album, we have targeted the people who don't normally listen to rock music. We would be happy if we could achieve that.

Ece: Which one of you has more fans? I have read something like that in an interview and I liked it.

Cem: Of course Ferman has.
Ferman: Of course the lead singer naturally has more fans.

Ozgur: Who is the lead singer? :)

Ece: Can this be a problem? When the fans' attention focuses on one of you, do the others think "Hmmm..."?

Cem: No, mostly we even like it. We run away with nothing in our minds , Ferman remains there with them. :)

Ece: Wow! This is a different point of view.

Ozgur: When they see Ferman coming out, they leave us alone.

Yagmur: We sometimes send Ferman out as a bait. :) When he moves with a group of fans, we sneak away.

Ece: This is interesting. I haven't expected to hear that. :)

Yagmur: But Ferman looked a little surprised. He was like "Really? Are you serious?"

Ece: We kept saying that you're getting along very well, but after this shooting we'll be stirred up bad blood among you, I guess.

Ozgur: There is this thing: since Ferman is the front man, so he is better known. For instance, I can go wherever I like with a beanie on my head, unless the very attentive people who really love me recognize me on the street. But this kind of thing happened only 4-5 times in my whole music career.

Ferman: After I had my hair cut, Yagmur and Cem are more recognizable than me now. The people don't recognize me much now.

Cem: We became more eye-catching because of the color.

Yagmur: Cem and I are like chewing gum. :) When we get on the subway, we're getting attention not because we're well-known, but...
Ferman: "What the hell is this look, man?"

Ece: "What's this hair, my boy?", right? Are you getting this kind of reactions?

Yagmur: No, we're not. But normally you look at someone once, but in our case they look once, twice, 3 times, 4 times, 5, 6...

Cem: They lock on you.

Yagmur: It's no problem at all. I'm having fun with myself. I like getting on the subway. Especially subway in the traffic of İstanbul is a life-saver. We all sometimes take the subway.

Ozgur: I have seen some tweet on Twitter the other day, saying "I've seen maNga on the subway. They were using monthly ticket (AKBİL)". :)

Ferman: I had an AKBIL, too. :)

Ozgur: I have a statement to make, everybody! Of course we use public transport, too. Let's use public transport system so that we have no traffic problem.

Ferman: This is so interesting.

Ece: What kind of point of view is this now?

Ferman: We can't overcome our ego in Turkey. There is nothing more normal than a rock singer taking the subway abroad.

Yagmur: I've seen Kate Moss on the subway in New York.

Ferman: You see?

Yagmur: She was talking to the people and nobody was disturbing her.

Ferman: Here they say "What's your business on subway?!" What does this mean? This is actually an insult.
Ozgur: You should say, "I'm in a hurry!"

Yagmur: I have an İstanbulKart and I'm proud of having it. It's very convenient.

Ece: That tweet is really funny. :)

Ferman: We had to be in time for a wedding some time ago. Yagmur and I decided we can't make it by car. Just a helicopter will do. We had a very little time.

Ece: You must have a helicopter.

Ferman: No, we don't have. I said, "let's take metrobus. We got on a metrobus. Something interesting happened.

Yagmur: It was very crowded.
Ferman: There was a sleeping man with his head banging on the window. He recognized us sleepily, but he wasn't sure if we really are. Someone else took his smartphone out and checked our...

Cem: ...pictures online.

Ferman: But we reached there in 17 minutes. This was a miracle. Why mustn't we take public transport?

Ece: I think you have fun when you see people's reactions to you, right?

Ferman: Yeah, it's fun. We like it when people talk to us.

Ece: It was funny that the man checked your pictures on his cell phone.

Yagmur: I had pictures taken that day on the metrobus. When we separated by the crowd, you squeezed into a corner, remember?

Ferman: Yes, you had pics taken.

Ece: You are still very young, but what would you advise to newcomer bands who want to exist in this business?

Ferman: Take the subway. :)

Ece: It's the essence of the matter, huh?

Ferman: We don't advise anything. We don't do that. Everybody must find their way on their own. The only thing we can say that we were always unprejudiced and we've always seen the benefit of it. I'm sure that it'll open lots of doors to break down the prejudices. We never forgot the streets and the communication with the people. We benefited from all that so much. If they ask us, we advise these things, but everybody finds their own ways.

Cem: One more thing: Education is a must!

Ece: We put an end with this. Thank you very much for coming today. It was great fun to have you.


You can watch the full interview on the YouTube link below:

 

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