Sceptic Age: Hello to all readers. First of all we thank you for making this interview with us. To describe it with the most comprehensive genre, we’re a heavy metal band from Turkey. We started playing together in 1989 when we were university students, not very long after we all started learning how to play our own instruments. We were at 19 – 20 years of age then. After playing in some collective concerts, our first demo “Brain in Chains” was released in 1991 including 4 songs. During the next few years we played in some bars and concert halls in Ankara together with many other groups from around Turkey. In one of our shows we shared the stage with Pentagram who already had released 1 or 2 albums back then and that concert could be considered as a further step for us to promote in Turkey. We also had one concert in Adana, our only away show so far where we were onstage with Athena and a few other bands. We were more like an amateur live band rather than professional recording musicians, so we never got signed with any label so far. After graduating from university, the band split in 1994 for several reasons. We’ve been working in different jobs since then and couldn’t find much time to see each other for a long period. It took 17 years for us to decide to come back (in 2011) with just a meeting idea we shared on social media and got fired up again to get together. We then gave a “reunion” concert that year with our previous vocalist Cem Keskin and after playing in some more concerts and festivals we got to recording our old and new songs for our first album “The Dregs”, that we released this year with our latest singer Murat Özgen Özkan.
Here’s the YouTube link which you can stream all our recorded songs in our album “The Dregs”
Bio: It all started with our first 2 members; Çağatay Ergin on lead guitar (who founded the band) and Tunç Toprak on bass. After meeting Celal Sözer who was also looking for a band to play drums, we started filling our songs with his beats. Later we met Sencer Üneri and he became our singer so we started practicing firstly in one music studio that used to be in Hacettepe University’s campus. And lastly Emre Özgümüş joined the band as the rhythm guitarist. Three of us were students at that university, studying in different departments except for Tunç. Soon we had to make two member changes in the band. Sencer had to move to İstanbul and Cem Keskin, a friend from our school replaced him. And Alpay Tekin started playing bass replacing Tunç who left for US to go to BIT. So we played with this lineup in the last few concerts before we split in 1994. After coming back together again in 2011, our old friend Aykut Öz from another split band Wyvern joined up as the bassist. Lastly when Cem moved to Germany, Murat Özgen Özkan joined us as the lead vocalist who sang in the last few concerts and in our album recording. So, Sceptic Age’s last lineup goes as; Çağatay Ergin on lead guitar, Emre Özgümüş on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Aykut Öz on bass guitar, Murat Özgen Özkan on lead vocals and Celal Sözer on drums.
Genre: In late 80’s and early 90’s when we first met and formed the band, we were all guys with the same desire to make the kind of music we had been hearing since the early years of our youth, and that was hard rock and heavy metal and its other branches or neighboring kinds of rock such as punk rock, glam rock, thrash metal, speed metal or death metal, etc. We listened to the famous bands who had already achieved big breakthrough in those years. This type of music with heavy distortional guitar sound, loud and fast drums and screaming vocals was like magic to us; it was like interpreting what was already inside of us as rebellion youngsters with long hair. Our motivation was more like to fulfill our desire to achieve what we wanted to do being influenced by the bands we liked. So we did our own songs with an amateur soul rather than having a project based on one globally accepted genre of music and looking for a certain way to promote according to public trends and make money. And we think this was the case also for all other amateur rock and metal groups back then in our country.
Musical and thematic elements: As we mentioned, we mostly followed these foreign bands and got influenced by their evolving sounds and composition structures. For our songs we put our original ideas together to make them sound unique. Çağatay always showed us new riffs he found on his guitar and asked our opinion before he recorded them for us to add our instrument partitions. And we all thought about how to proceed until the end of the songs with all of their thematic elements and lyrics.
Satisfaction: The songs were recorded by Tolga Aktaş in Studio Feedback and the sound was mastered by Kaya Sevinç We give our big thanks to them on this wise. Yes, we can say we are quite satisfied with what we recorded. However, the volume level of the instruments could be balanced in more detail during mastering process in order to make their nuances clearer against each other considering the diverse moods in the songs. And also the cymbal sounds could be recorded at a higher pitch with more treble in them.
Reception: All our friends and people around us reacted very positively when they first heard the songs, some of which were already known by them before the release of the album as we have a rather small community of rock and heavy metal fans and musicians in Turkey compared to other western countries. Most of us are both musicians and one another’s friends and fans in Turkey and we always welcome everyone’s feedback.
Tours/concerts: We’re unfortunately not a touring kind of band since music could never be in the forefront as an occupation in our lives because we all have other different jobs. But yes, we will have several concerts in our country, the first of which we will be playing in Rock Station Festival on17thNovember 2019for the launching of our album with some other bands and they are Knightmare, Undertakers, Soulitary and Sailsofserenity.
Future: Well, we hope to go on as long as possible provided that we come up with more exciting and unique tunes in our music.
Lyrics: We get influenced by our daily lives and our political structure; in total, we create something with those sources which come from all our lives. In some of the songs, there are analyzes of existence mostly in the light of Far Eastern philosophies as lyrics.
Being on the road or studio: Well, this may be a good question for many touring bands but we had the chance to perform out of Ankara only once when we hit the road to give a concert in Adana with Athena and some other bands in 1990 and yeah it was pretty exciting. Putting that aside, we have two options for the answer to your question; that it is either more exciting when we’re in a studio or on a local stage for a gig. So, all of us would agree that the stage is more exciting.
Composer: So far our lead guitarist Çağatay Ergin composed all our songs with the main riffs and solos while the rest of us put smaller contributions in terms of adding some bridge parts or making arrangements of the ending parts. As for the lyrics, all singers who had come to the band so far wrote the lyrics and also our drummer Celal Sözer wrote some lyrics for some songs.
Inspirations: Well, although that would vary across the five band members we can safely say that they would be most of the trail blazer hard rock and heavy metal bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, Death, Scorpions, Accept, Helloween, Mötley Crue, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Skid Row, Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Sepultura, Pantera, Rush, New Model Army, Faith No More, System Of A Down, Tool, Rage Against The Machine, so on and so forth…
Catering to the audience or music for its own sake: Firstly we make our music to reflect our collective feelings and that would mean “music for its own sake”, and secondly we would like the audience to have fun and share what we feel.
Greatest accomplishment: We think the time we’ve been together in all these years composing and playing our own songs has been fantastic. But, especially the reunion event after 17 years of a period has been our greatest accomplishment and happiness. And we want to go on playing to our familiar audience as long as we can.
Anything else: Thanks a lot for the interview. It won’t take long this time for more new stuff to come out, we will keep composing and recording our new songs. Cheers, bye…
Celal Sözer, on behalf of Sceptic Age