5 days ago
December 1, 2013
FERMAN'S USA TOUR DIARY / BLUE JEAN MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2013
FERMAN'S USA TOUR DIARY
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