Today, I have a local band for you, Zamankara. I am with Ali (drums), Emre (bass guitars), and Mehmet (lead guitars).
Lady Obscure: So, let’s start with how you guys came together. How did your journey start?
Ali: It all began with a colleague, Eray, posting an ad at our workplace in early 2007. I, together with Abdullah – on the guitars – and Mehmet – just picking up the bass – replied and we began rehearsing. The funny thing is, Eray was the first to leave the band over what we want with our sound. Everyone else wanted a hard sound where Eray was more blues-y rock inclined. Then Emre joined the band and Mehmet went back to playing the guitar.
Emre: I also used to play the guitar but to join the band I switched to the bass.
Ali: I never had a band experience as a drummer before. In fact, I was just an enthusiast who was trying to learn the drums by beating on the pillows at home.
Mehmet: This is kind of a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde story. We are all full-time employed white collars working at the same place but we turn into studio-monsters once a week. Although, it has been five years since we’ve all came together, there were lots of interruptions. You know, we had to take breaks due to military service or babies being born. And of course, there were people who joined and left.
Lady Obscure: You have an album. Or should I say, an EP? Maybe a demo?
Ali: Four songs don’t make an album of course. But I can’t say that it is a demo either, because we do not have any commercial interest. We are only concerned about recording our songs for ourselves. Plus, these are quite properly studio recorded songs to be called a demo, I think. So an EP, I would say.
Mehmet: We were going trough another break in the summer of 2011 since I had to go abroad for a year. We were planning to recruit new people and have a fresh start after I return. Before this break and the new beginning, we wanted to record our very own songs. You know, like putting a milestone in this journey. We already had two complete songs and one in the making. So we added another one and there you have it.
Emre: We wanted it to really belong to us so we decided not to search for a good vocalist just for the album… and the guys had to settle with me
Mehmet: It was a very tight recording schedule. For example I had to record the guitar solos just 2 days before my plane left. And I had to do this before Emre could record the bass parts.
Ali: As amateurs, I must say, properly recording an album was much tougher than we thought. Playing exclusively studio sessions for 5 years, putting a flawless effort was really demanding. Of course, especially for me.
Emre: The thing is we have a great chemistry between us. I mean, playing together brings the best of us and we feed on each other’s presence. For example, while he was recording one of the songs, Ali really had a problem with getting in the mood. I was at the recording room and got in the studio, pretending to play with him. It worked.
Lady Obscure: Emre, you write all the lyrics. Although they are not really my taste, we can say the themes are not the most common ones among other Turkish hard rock groups. What inspires you?
Emre: Since Black Sabbath, heavy metal has explored almost every subject out there, so I can’t say that my lyrics are very original. In fact, two of them are directly derived from the ideas of great bands. Sarikamis is sort of a Turkish version of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper. To quote Clint Eastwood from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: “So many men wasted so badly”. The other one, Beyoglu Katili, is inspired by Slayer’s songs about serial killers. Since we don’t really have a famous Turkish serial killer, I decided to write about an imaginary one lived in early 20th century Istanbul. Lyrics for these were evolved slowly after I first had the ideas.
The other two songs are the ways and facts of life that depress me and make me want to go haywire. I wrote the lyrics for these two songs very quickly, in almost 5 minutes each. They were in there waiting to be unleashed I suppose.
Lady Obscure: So now that you have your EP, what’s next? Gigs?
Mehmet: As we’ve said before we are recruiting new members in order to turn a fresh leaf. Umut has already joined as lead guitarist and now we’re about to confirm a vocalist now.
Ali: Since we have families, kids and day time jobs, a regular weekly schedule is already very demanding. Instead we may be looking for occasional gigs after we put together a reliable team again. All in all, we do not play for the money but for our pleasure.
Lady Obscure: What does metal mean to you? Why did you choose this genre?
Ali: I hadn’t really enjoyed music before I started listening to HM. Given the hard times for rock and HM in Turkey during early 80’s, it can be seen as a miracle how I’ve turned from pop to HM. Both liking what I hear and the desire for the unreachable (as getting HM albums was very hard at the time) made me a rocker. With this delicious poison, today I am an addicted musician. I am happy, because I listen to a kind of music that moves me and makes me feel alive. I am different, because I do this against the words of the older generation, which tried to dictate me what to do. I am a pioneer for my generation, considering the Turkish way of life, because my two children are growing with the love of Heavy Metal.
Mehmet: Although I am a kind of late-comer (I was in high school) and I listen to other kinds of music, I can say that HM is the genre which expresses me the best, both musically and lyrics-wise. I also think HM is one of the rare kinds of music that have reached the top level on a musical point of view.
Emre: Almost the same with Mehmet. I started late and I listen to many kinds of music other than HM. But I have to add that, most of the time, your development as a musician pushes you to try and push yourself. This and its raw energy draw me to Heavy Metal. The studio sessions we do every week is the place where I really mentally relieve.
Lady Obscure: Thanks for the interview guys… Wish you the best on your journey.
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