The Turkish metal scene was always like a big question mark in my head, an unanswered question which placed my mind in a thick fog; I knew that metal music is alive in Turkey, I knew there are many good instrument players there from seeing them on the internet, also I heard about them from friends of mine who had visited Turkey. But those visions and words couldn’t answer me, I always asked myself why there is no super-active band from Turkey in the world metal scene who tour Europe, America and Asia every year and…. My trip to Istanbul was a good chance to walk in the path which could hopefully lead me out of that foggy world.
To begin writing one of my experiences about the Turkish metal scene, I need to first give a little background information. Many Turkish people I encountered do not speak English well and also I do not speak Turkish. But luckily my friend who was also the manager of my hotel there, Ceyhun Eşberk, was a great help. He speaks English well and is also a metalhead who knows many Turkish bands. It was a Friday evening when I was in the hotel reception and I asked Ceyhun to suggest me a good Turkish metal band. He offered me MEKANIK with no delay and showed me a video of the band on Youtube too. That night I went to my room and searched for more information about the band and their music. After a while, I found myself really interested to know more about those guys, and also I thought this would be a good start for my journey in discovering more about the Turkish metal scene. So, I arranged an interview with MEKANIK.
MEKANIK is a thrash metal band from Istanbul, Turkey; formed by four talented metallers. I had the chance to meet them at Dorock Bahçe (bar) and I was surprised by their very kind and friendly reaction to my suggestion for an interview. However, the band couldn’t understand my English, but luckily Ferkan Agmal was there to help us to understand each other as he translated our conversation. It was a busy and noisy place though as you will hear in the audio interview, which I recorded during my conversation with the band, but it was still very useful to find some clues about what is happening in Turkey and especially the Turkish metal scene.
I started my questions with the main one; “What is going on with the Turkish metal scene?” The band explained:
“There are so many bands in Turkey, but they are underground in general. The main reason is that they are playing cover songs rather than making their own songs. The other reasons are that there are not so many places to play – there is only Dorock, the metal bar that is standing in Istanbul.
There is no support to the metal scene from the big productions (companies), so the metal bands are not able to get bigger and make their own albums. MEKANIK is an outstanding one and this is one of their main achievements. Because a lot of bands are not able to see the support, they are not able to think bigger. MEKANIK believe that if they see the support, the metal scene will get bigger in Turkey.”
The band logo grabbed my attention during my research about MEKANIK, as it reminded me of the style of METALLICA or MEGADETH ‘s logos. So I asked them about that and also their influences.
“There are so many people saying that the logo looks like MEGADETH or METALLICA. But when you look at it, it doesn’t actually look like either of them. If you ask us, it’s most likely looking to NUCLEAR ASSAULT. We just want to make it look powerful and strong; an outstanding logo.
Our main influences are American 80’s thrash metal – the main reason of the band is living the beautiful 80’s again.”
I went forward to find out what are the dreams of Turkish metallers and as I was curious about their future plans, I asked them about their upcoming news and their wishes.
“Playing cover songs is only a step for the band. The main goal is making our own music and albums. We are starting recording our second album this month. Eventually we will play only our own songs.
Every day we are dreaming of playing a European tour, but right now there is no plan like that. It is our dream to go and play in Europe after we publish our second album.”
You can listen the edited version of my interview with MEKANIK on the audio player below:
Two hours after the interview I entered the bar where MEKANIK were on a tiny stage and playing a few covers and also their own music. I must confess that I was really impressed by their performance. The band’s vocalist and guitar player, Cem Ceyhan is born to sing thrash; powerful, tough and pure thrash. Ahmet Akyüz, the lead guitarist impressed by his control of the guitar; he was playing exactly like a world class guitar player. The drummer Erhan Ballıeker is full of energy indeed, he told me that his favourite drummer is Dave Lombardo and I think Erhan could be on the same level as him in the near future. Also I should mention Caner Öner, the band’s bass player who had great style of playing bass guitar and had an active stage presence.
- Cem Ceyhan – Lead vocal/Guitar
- Caner Öner – Back vocal/Bass guitar
- Ahmet Akyüz: Lead guitar/Back vocal
- Erhan Ballıeker – Drums
Interview by Mohsen Fayyazi