Number 11 in the mix series is made by Zozo, a very diverse artist from Turkey who has been in the center of the Istanbul dance music scene since the late 90s. This lady is on a mission to spread her message of love through music to anyone lending an ear, as demonstrated in this captivating listening experience. Our editor Lounes Doulache spoke to her about the Istanbul scene, her recent Boiler Room debut and green beans!
Hi Nigar, how’s it going? What are you up to these days?
Hello Lounes and people beyond! Life is hard (and full of melatonin nowadays) but music is good!
I’m trying to focus on the good things. Mostly music and my polar cat and beloved ones.
I’m about to pack my stuff and fly to Berlin tomorrow; I’m gonna play at Sameheads this weekend for Halloween, alongside Dane Close, Lokier and Oscar Der Winzige and some other friends from Sesame Street. And for the upcoming week… REC Festival, SSFB afterparty at BAR and Rotterdance!
I read somewhere that you have been in the center of Istanbul dance music scene since the late 90s. Although I have never experienced it myself, I hear that there’s quite a vibrant nightlife out there. Could you describe the city’s club culture?
The recent political and social climate had its toll on Istanbul nightlife. It is getting harder and harder to keep it going especially if you are musically a bit on the left side. But to summarize it, the city has a strong nightlife heritage dating back to the 60s. Our parents claim that we are the last generation who got to experience the real thing in İstanbul.
Who do we need to keep an eye out for when it comes to the talented people in your country’s scene?
Mavi Güneş 69 (The first music project of Baba Zula’s Murat Ertel), Gaye Su Akyol, m-IN, Debora Ipekel, Kozmonotosman, Grup Ses, Havantepe, Ece Özel, Anadol, HüNKAR (Çerikunda), Tayfun (Deform Music), Mr. Zula, Mr. Sür, Zattirizat, Undomondo…
This year, you are celebrating 10 years of playing and collecting music, how has the ride been so far? Could you share some highlights with us? And how would it continue?
10 years?! I think I’m getting older but not sure if any wiser.
The most important turning point of this journey is quitting my ex-job (I was working in the fashion industry as a designer) and focus on music and music-oriented stuff.
After a year of this decision, I got asked by Laura Le Merchand to join the On Board Music roster. This was right after the coup attempt in Turkey. I feel lucky and it’s a good thing. I really appreciate this. I’m traveling more, meeting new people and having remarkable memories. And I can still apply for some visas. Would I? :^)
What was your idea behind this mix?
Green Beans! :^)
While I was preparing for the mix, I heard this lady’s voice (from beyond) selling green beans. She is actually a mobile vegetable seller and she had some fresh green beans that day.
I found myself making this field recording of her promoting her amazing green beans. I placed this at the beginning of the mix and moved on to some world music of choice. So basically, it is a journey from my neighborhood to the world with mixed emotions.
I also got myself some of her green beans and cooked it. They were really fresh and tasty, hehe!
You recently debuted with a set at Boiler Room Istanbul, which was great! How was that for you? It seemed to feature some experimental sounds to me. Is this something the Turkish audience is used to?
It felt like a party with friends and familiar faces that I’d love to see wherever I play. I managed to overcome the stress of being in front of the camera with a guest list of 45 people.
In recent years there is a hype surrounding vintage Turkish folk and psychedelic pioneered by people like Baris K, Kaan Duzarat, Grup Ses, etc. But this is a niche corner for the Istanbul night life.
Festivals with big names and 4×4 beats are what draw the crowds.
How did your affiliation with the Macadam Mambo crew came to be and what does it mean to you?
It means sooo much to me. It’s like finding your own sanctuary while drifting in space. There are so many talented DJ and producer friends in the crew like Oko Dj, Albion, Mori Ra, Eva Geist, Pilotwings, etc…
I was following Sacha Mambo and the label for a long time. As we had booked him to Istanbul the first time, we became friends. Now he’s my brother and soul sister, haha! But long before that, I was the annoying follower constantly asking for track IDs on social media. After joining On Board Music, we had several opportunities to play together in different locations and that’s how everything started on the Macadam Mambo side.
Looking forward to hear and see you play the 4th of November at BAR Rotterdam. Any last words?
Thanks for having me!
I remember the first announcement of SSFB music festival 2016. I was so impressed with the line up. 2017’s programme was really good too! I love you guys.
Keep on rockin!
Our pleasure, see you this Saturday Nigar!