Mix Series #36: Ece Özel

The second podcast in the light of our festival is by Ece Özel. She represents one of the positives emerging off Turkey’s backdrop of political upheavals. The local heroine is a resident at Arkoada Istanbul, which provides a platform for many a local talent. She is also one-half of Müstesna Records, home to underrated and as-yet-discovered sounds that are right up our lane!

While I was searching your name on the internet, I stumbled on the Tumblr account you use as a fashion stylist. Does your drive for styling differ with that for making music?

Haha yes! I haven’t been busy with that side of my life for a while now. Well, I guess I always did styling as a job and mostly worked in environments where I wasn’t completely free creatively. Not that I really wanted to be, so it wasn’t really a disappointment. With music everything is purely personal. I just do what I do, I don’t know anything else. There are a lot of moments where I am free from myself; I don’t think I feel like this about anything else. Except when someone tries to direct me about music, then I’d be completely offended.

Also there was a period where people from the styling world had no idea I was a DJ. People were asking if I knew about a DJ that’s also called Ece Özel; that was funny. But those two worlds never came together.

If we could have a look in your wardrobe, which clothes would you point out as your special performance outfits?

I don’t have such a thing. But you can find a rack of white shirts.

You are a resident at Arkaoda Istanbul. What is this place to you?

A while ago I was a resident at Minimüzikhol and the time I spent there meant a lot. It was my first home as a DJ and I learned a lot about how things work and what don’t. I always played what I wanted and I think the time I spent there gave me a lot of things to work with as a DJ today. I’m now a resident at Arkaoda Istanbul. It is one of the first places I played when I started DJing and I’ve been going there for over 15 years. It holds quite a long period of my youth. It used to be more of an indie place and there wasn’t any dance music. It is quite nice that I was both involved and a witness to that change.

The mix you made for Strange Sounds From Beyond is a fluid combination of dancefloor-oriented songs and enigmatic songs. Why did you choose this form?

I like the idea of dance tracks arising from a place of mystery; I think they become more effective and interesting. It’s not always possible to do it on the dancefloor. It’s mostly not the time or place and sometimes I don’t really feel it with the crowd. So I like to put that out whenever possible.

Let’s talk about changes and trends a little bit. How did the sound of music change in Turkey in recent years?

The last few years have been pretty hard on everyone, but I believe creativity always has its way. When it comes to putting music out, it’s limited here. Lately I’ve been hearing more DIY and independent music and there is more experimentation going on. I think internet platforms helped a lot there. Meanwhile how we party has changed as well. There is a distinct loss in the scene. I don’t see the production of dance music going anywhere though; there are still very good producers from Turkey.

Are you subject to fashion?

I am free from fashion. I like style though.



Raymonde – Grand Batisa [Zébres Records]
Maxx Bass – Untitled [LIES]
Chris Carter – Pantavistiq [Conspiracy International]
Friday Dunard x Ian Hatcher – Ymas Feel Bient [SPA]
Johanna Knutsson – Stackedala [Kontra Musik]
AIR LQD – Overlapping Territories [Vastechoses]
Helena Hauff – yyh [Handmade Birds/Dark Entries]
The Grid – Disturbia [Moog Recording Library]
Pete Namlook & Burhan Öcal – Gel Gör Beni Aşk Neyledi [Fax +49-69/450464]
Conrad Schnitzler & Gen Ken Montgomery – Oh Gott [Generations Unlimited]
Piezo – Bro Music [Ansia]
Port of Notes – Talk To Me, Baby (Idjut Boys Slow Beating) [Cru-L Records]
La Mort De L’Hippocampe – Chant 3: Désordre Mental [Enfant Terrible]
GD Luxxe – Changed Body [Interdimensional Transmissions]
Syn – TAT 93 [Fax +49-69/450464]
P.A.L – The Skunk 2 [Ant-Zen]
Greta Wohlfahrt – Sicherungsverwahrung [Greta Wohlfahrt]
Antoine – Dokument One [Krakzh]
Mars89 – Throbbing Pain [Bokeh Versions]
Andy Rantzen – Play the Bones [Space Ritual]