SL: Hi there Burak, what can you tell us about your project?
BO: Hey guys! First off, thank you very much for your support! I really appreciate it!
This is basically a solo project under my name where I write and record all of the music and try to also express what I love about music production as well. I’m always surrounded by or listening to music on a daily basis so I figured I’d put some of my ideas out there as well and just see what happens! The music is inspired by a lot of melodic, ambient, and atmospheric rock and there is a metal and a progressive edge to it as well. I always try to put a lot of emphasis on the melodies whether it’s a vocal line or a guitar lead etc.
SL: Thank you Burak for sharing your art! And well, that’s an awesome attitude for a musician.
You stated your love for a melodic approach, and the will to integrate several influences as well. That being said, which do you think are the artists that had the greatest impact on your music?
And another question just for sharing thoughts: you said you’re always listening to something, so I figured out you really must have a lot of material going through your brain on a regular basis. Which are your favourite albums of the moment?
By listening to your material, it’s clear that there are little steps in experimentation from one release to another, like different tunings, extendend range instruments and so on. Are you planning any new or “special” approach for your next release?
BO: Melodically, one of the artists that was and still is a huge influence to me is Alice in Chains. Especially in the vocal department… they just sound huge! There is so much going on with the harmonies that just really brings you in. So I think it’s just very natural to me that their influence is there when I write melodies. Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson’s music in general is a big influence as well. In Absentia is one of my favorite albums of all time. I think in general, the albums that Steven Wilson is involved with just sound great sonically and there is always a lot going on musically that you hear something new every time you listen to a song. Some other artists that have made a great impact are Deftones, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Pink Floyd, Anathema, Katatonia, Opeth, Nirvana and Dream Theater.
There is definitely a lot of great music going on right now! Off the top of my head, some of my favorite albums that I am listening to are Altered State by Tesseract. I’m really looking forward to their upcoming album as well. Beacons by Cloudkicker is another one. I saw Cloudkicker open up for Tesseract earlier this year and have been listening since. Other artists that I’ve been listening to in general are Voices From The Fuselage, Lesser Key, Chimp Spanner, Skyharbor, Pray for Sound, The Deadstation, Plini, Intervals, Periphery, Tremonti, Hans Zimmer, and Russian Circles just to name a few.
I’m really happy to hear that you noticed some of the experimentation and the differences between the releases! I think before starting an album, I always ask questions to myself like “What can I do that I haven’t done before? Or what can I improve on as far as the songwriting, the production, the mix etc”.
If I may, I’d like to talk a little history here. The first release, A New Beginning, it was more of a singer/songwriter approach with just acoustic guitars, vocals and a little bit of electric guitars. It was back in 2009 and I had limited gear but still wanted to write and record some songs.
For the next release, We’ve Been Here Before, it was still a singer/songwriter approach and with limited gear, but I wanted to add some string arrangements on all the songs just to try to enhance them a little. My brother Necati Ozmucur recorded all the string arrangements.
I think the big shift happened with the next release Long Until Gone. That’s when I started to do some research and noticed that there are a lot of people recording albums from their home and taking the DIY approach. So I got some more gear and wanted to record an album that was more of a band effort. You know, it’s still just me… but there are drums, bass and other elements that sound like a band. The idea was to write a heavy/riff-driven album. So like you mentioned, there are a lot of different tunings and seven string guitars. It is definitely a very raw sounding album. If I could go back and change some stuff, I definitely would because the recording of it was a very trial and error approach. It was the first time mixing guitars, bass, and drums as well.
With the last release In Silence, I felt comfortable and knew the sounds that I wanted before starting. I wanted to blend a lot of clean and heavy guitars and take a more melodic approach with a lot of ambience/atmosphere, and overall have a more clear sounding production as well. The recording, the mixing and everything was just a smooth process and the songwriting was a little more stripped down and concise. With In Silence, I feel like I finally found the sound that I was searching for.
For the next release that I’m hoping to have out in 2015, the sound is similar to In Silence but just slightly expanding on it. It’s very melodic and dark but I tried to make the song structures a little more unconventional and less predictable. I think overall it’s a little more cinematic sounding as well. There is a song on there that starts off with an ambient guitar tone that I randomly came up with one day that’s inspired by a lot of the post-rock music that I’ve been listening to. There are also some guitar techniques like harmonics and tapping that I never really experimented with before. All the music is recorded and I’m currently writing vocal melodies and lyrics. The EP will be just under 20 minutes.
SL: Nice insight, now I see why melody is so important to you. And you mentioned some great artists as well!
Well I think the “What can I do that I haven’t done before?” approach is always a good one when starting a new work of art. In my opinion constantly challenging ourselves, also with imposing “creative limits” if it’s the case (in a good way, such as “i’ll try this but done just like that…” as a sort of “musical lateral thinking”) is always important, we should really find a push in the strife for originality.
Hope you manage to move another step further in the search for your own voice with your next release!
Coming back to your releases, now on the lyrical side of things: which are the main themes of your compositions?
BO: Definitely. You know, not just music but in anything really… it’s always good to try something slightly new and try to keep things fresh!
When it comes to writing lyrics, in general, it’s mainly a visual imagery that I get while listening to the music. I always write and record the music first and writing lyrics for me is actually inspired by a lot of instrumental music. For example, when you listen to an instrumental song, there aren’t any lyrics, but you still have visual imageries and have certain things that you might think about. So I mainly try to bring those visual imageries to lyrics and anyone can interpret them to what they want or come up with their own thoughts.
For the last EP, In Silence, the theme of disappearance played a big role to shape the music, the lyrics, the song titles and the album title as well. When I was writing the songs, there was a lot going on in the media and news with people suddenly gone missing or being kidnapped etc. So I was just kind of thinking about the idea of everything being perfect, and then suddenly someone that you know or someone that you are really attached to is not with you anymore. It’s kind of a creepy and an empty feeling if you think about it. For the EP, there is no specific story or anything but it was just kind of the idea, and once that theme was decided on, the songs just naturally ended up with what they are now.
SL: That’s an interesting method of coming up with lyrics! Also, leaving a certain degree of interpretation is a good thing for any work of art in my opinion.
Burak, while scrolling your FB page we can encounter not only some photos of your home studio here and there, but also several pics of yourself singing and playing guitar as well as bass and drums. Can we refer to you as a multi-instrumentalist then? 🙂 Are you maybe self-taught for all of them? And which one do you consider to be you main instrument?
Also, referring back to your home studio, you said to be doing all the recording and producing process by yourself. Any advice for musicians that would like to set up their own studio as well?
BO: Well I think I consider the guitar as my main instrument because it’s what I mainly use when I write songs. After learning the guitar, it was kind of natural to just play the bass as well. Growing up, there was a drum set at a couple of my friends’ houses so I guess that’s how I learned the drums as well. I guess you can say a “multi-instrumentalist” but I definitely don’t consider myself a technically proficient musician or anything. I can’t sit down and play a 15 minute guitar solo or a drum solo you know? I mean I wish I had the ability to be able to but I just can’t haha. I just think of those instruments as a way to write and complete a song.
I am self-taught. I did take piano lessons for a couple of years when I was younger. Although I don’t play the piano anymore, I think those lessons helped me with some ear training and just kind of help me figure out what notes could work and what sounds ok when I write.
An advice as far as setting up a home studio… You really don’t need too much gear anymore. Anyone can do it. All you need is a Digital Audio Workstation that you’re comfortable with, Toontrack drums to get good sounding drums and an amp modeler to record guitars and bass. That’s really it…
Another advice that I would give is to be patient because it may take a while to find that sound that you’re really looking for. That’s something that I still say to myself all the time.
SL: Well yeah, if a in instrument ultimately defines the way you approach to music, why not learning to play as much instruments as you can? Obviously, then it’s hard to be proficient at anything, but it’s still a very challenging approach.
Yep, patience and perseverance are never enough!
Let’s come back for a moment to your BandCamp page. We can clearly see all your works are downloadable for free.
In an age in which the music market is overwhelmed by piracy, but still any kind of artist at any level has to invest at least some money for making his music, how would you comment this choice? Why not to put a little price of them? Tricky question here, we’d like to hear your views on the underground scene and the free download policy.
BO: That’s a good question. Speaking for myself, I don’t really think of my music as a way of business or expect any sort of income from it. I take it seriously but I do see it as a hobby. I have fun doing it and I’d like to keep it that way. BandCamp is awesome though! I really like the “pay what you want” feature! I haven’t used it yet but I’m considering it for the future releases because I did get a few messages from people saying that they’d like to support me somehow. So I think the “pay what you want” feature is excellent. It gives the option to download the music for free or if you’d like to give the artist a few bucks, you have that too!
SL: May I say, Burak, that we are of the same opinion! We personally strongly suggest the “pay what you want” policy indeed, as it creates win-win situations, I mean for both the artist and the fan.
We’re getting towards the end of our interview. Let’s now talk a little bit of you as a person: what do you do for a living? Do you have any other hobbies, apart from music?
BO: For a living I do web design & development which I love. As for other hobbies…you know, just regular stuff! I like sports and weight training. I watch a lot of sports especially football, soccer, and basketball. I like going out and traveling as well.
SL: We’re at the end of our interview, Burak. We thank you for your helpfulness in the interview and hope to be hosting you again for your next releases!
Could you remind us where to find your material?
BO: My pleasure!
I had a great time chatting with you guys. Thanks so much once again for your support!