Through this weekend, there is a concert programme entitled "A Midsummer Night's Stage" at Beykoz Kundura. I am thrilled by the program with the feelings rising after staying home for months. On Saturday, July 25th, following two DJ performances (Chiko and Undomondo) and The Kites, Hedonutopia will be on stage.
Hedonutopia is an indie-electronic music group based in Istanbul. Fırat Külçek on guitar and vocalls, Kerem Feyzi at synth and samples, the members of the group do not hide their love for Radiohead and Sigur Rós Hedonutopia, bringing the words hedonism and utopia together in their name, was founded in 2008. They are in the verge of releasing their fifth album.
In a recent interview they gave, Kerem answers to the question “Which films are often played in the home cinema of Hedonutopia?” picking Werner Herzog's 'Into The Inferno' movie. I see similarities between Hedonutopi’s music and Herzog’s cinema. They both makes feel things that are not easily explicable. They both do not underestimate the viewer/listener to get whatever they would without despise with a style that is both real and phantasy. I wish I loved Hedonutopia only for this.
Just a day before the concert that is being longed for, I met the group members on the phone, to talk about the sound of Istanbul.
Happy to present our little interview to you with my English translation.
We Recorded Our New Album At Home
S: How are you?
F: We recorded our new album. We are busy with its preparation, there is excitement.
S: When will it come out?
K: Bir iki aya kadar çıkış yapmayı düşünüyoruz.
S: What can you share about it?
K: We recorded it home, it is an album that we produced. Preparations continue. It will be labelled with Dokuz Sekiz Music Company and will again consist of 7 songs.
S: Looking much forward to listening. In an old interview you say you there was not a convenient space to make music in Izmir, so you moved to Istanbul. How do you evaluate the music scene in Istanbul?
Music Market is in Istanbul
K: The move was about the spaces you could play. In Istanbul there are much more alternatives. As other musicians are also in Istanbul and all the institutions that you could call as the music market, we decided to continue in Istanbul. In Izmir I was managing a studio, there was that advantage, we could produce work there. Than in Istanbul, we gave concerts especially at the TRT stage, I can say that we became experienced there. Therefore Istanbul is always special.
S: You live in Yeldeğirmeni neighborhood in Kadıköy. Can it be said, that Kadıköy has an eccentric music culture?
Sound of Kadıköy is Hard Rock, Metal, Pentagram
K: Kadıköy’de oturan çok müzisyen arkadaşımız var. Müzisyenler burada olduğu için bir Kadıköy sound’dan bahsedebiliriz. Ama genel olarak İstanbul’un müziğinden de bahsedebiliriz.
F: After the Gezi happenings, after Taksim to be made Arabic, of course everyone moved to Kadıköy. Kadıköylüler (People from Kadıköy) had always claimed that Kadıköy head a sound but I did not see such a thing. Gaye Su Akyol and groups like Dinar Bandosu are building a sound around Turkish film music tunes. Apart from that what you would call Kadıköy sound is hard rock, metal and Pentagram style.
K: Yes, it was mainly rock and metal coming from 90s, from Akmar Passage.
F: Kadıköy might maybe not have a music sound but might be more of an approach to life. It is about being “Kadıköylü”. Other than that, does Kadıköy has a music sound, I don’t think so. But can we say Kadıköy is where people who make alternative music, to be able to see a few folks on the street without spending much money? Yes, possibly.
S: What about Istanbul sound?
F: If we will talk about it, it cannot be in black leather, painted black.
If we are looking for Istanbul's sound, we should take a proportion of the population. There should be arabesque. Take a look at the process of every one of us becoming arabesque because of the arabesque ban of TRT. There should be folk music. Istanbul sound is more like the group Duman, because of their celebrity, as all accepts them. That is Sezen Aksu. Has to be celebrity. Because there are 20 million people in Istanbul, we need to look at the majority. sound is more like the group Duman because of their celebrity, as all accepts them. That is Sezen Aksu. Has to be celebrity. Because there are 20 million people in Istanbul, we need to look at the majority.
But what are the sounds of Istanbul? Are they the sounds that are in Istanbul, not becoming the sound of Istanbul? Yes, so for example, you could make dark wave in Istanbul and could be a little bit known. So did you become the sound of Istanbul? That is too complicated, that we cannot know.
The Sound of Istanbul Could be The Mixture of Many Sounds
S: I think of Fatih Akın’s Crossing the Bridge talking about the sound of Istanbul. Even it shows quite a lot it still does not feel enough, it is an eclectic sound.
S: And Siya Siyabend
F: So the guy actually put all the abstrusity in it. There are also celebrities I believe, no?
S: There is Müzeyyen Senar.
M: Very cosmopolitan.
F: I mean Müzeyyen Senar and Replikas are so different but as I said they both are the sound of Istanbul.
If we are looking for Istanbul's sound there cannot be a sole sound. It can only be a mixture of many sounds. Why is that? I believe that is only in the United States of America and in our country that there are so many nationalities living together. In this kind of places, the food is great and there would be so many folk songs. The melodies would be different.
At the Mountains Music Screams, In the Cities it is Rather Calm
When you go to Thracian, you would hear Byzantium bases. When you go to the Black Sea region, you would hear a variation of Byzantium that tasted a bit of East Anatolia. Going to East Anatolia you would hear eastern sound that is not Arabic. Go down to Urfa, the sound would get Arabic. In Central Anatolia, the sound gets lonely, moves towards to yelling and outcrying. If you live in the mountains, the music would be screaming; in cities it would be rather calm.
Ours is complicated. Americans can say folk music and it is done. Our folk music is classified by race. Kalan Music Company can label records as Alevi-Turkish-Laz. It seems possible that as we have not updated our perspective towards each other, the perspective towards music also cannot get updated, don’t you think?
S: Thank you so much for this interview. And looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at the concert.
F: Sedef take care of yourself, thank you.
M: Thanks for calling.