Fotoğraf / Photography: The Coveteur
It’s hard to get a grasp of pop-culture when there are literally millions of things happening that appeal to a mass media every minute. There are celebrity news, political stories, environmental issues, technological inventions, fashion victims, fast food open- ings… All happening at the same time. There are only a few names that can select a good mixture of pop-culture to inform their readers with. Introducing: Idil Tabanca.
In our opinion, your sense of sarcasm defines the basis of what Bullett Media is all about; could you tell us a little bit about the formation process of the iconic “brand?”
To make a very long and complicated story short, I would say “the brand” formed very organically when a group of creatives (and friends) came together to build an aesthetic and experience for a niche crowd of international and culture savvy audience.
Whether it’s loved or detested, everyone has an opinion on pop-culture. What are your thoughts on this modern-day phenomenon?
I mean I could write a book about this… I guess one thing I know is that ‘pop-culture’ today is an extremely oversaturated landscape. Because of the privileges that the advanced technology allows us, the projects that would never see the light of day maybe 10 years ago are being shoved down our throats every day.
It’s easier and cheaper than ever to produce and market content; whether it’s a movie, a magazine or a fashion collection. You have 3D printers, cheap equipment, Youtube… Of course there are major advantages to this, such as providing a platform for talented people who might not have the me- ans to put their work out there. It also cuts out the middle man (the production companies, labels, etc.)
However, this also comes with its disadvantages. When it’s this easy to produce, everyone does it, so you just end up with oversaturated mediocrity. You end up with the Kardashians. What I think of pop-culture is that it is full of mediocrity. Con- cept to completion, it’s rare to encounter anything that blows you away nowadays.
The magazine went from printed media to exclusively online content. What was the reasoning behind this?
People’s content consumption habits are shifting. Readers no longer consume content through print medium, and they sure as hell no longer want to pay for it.
The future of magazines is digital and it’s based on free access to information. Companies who think they can fight such a substantial shift are simply delusional.
It’s a matter of time before you see more and more media companies shifting their business plan to fit the evolving habits of their audience. It’s an adapt or die industry. If Blockbuster were smarter, they would become Netflix instead of going out of business and letting someone else become Netflix.
Yoğun sosyal medya kullanımından dolayı kaçınılmaz olarak modası geçtiği için basılı medya sektörü yavaş yavaş küçülüyor. Sizce bu dönemde nasıl bir içerik ayakta kalabilir ve hala baskıya gider?
Bana kalırsa baskıda var olmaya devam edecek tek şey zamansız sanat kitapları, fotoğraf kitapları, sehpa kitapları ve moda kitapları. Ve bence bunlar çok pahalılaşacak. Periyodik dergilerin uzun süre ayakta kalacağına inanmıyorum.
The printed media sector is slowly decreasing due to inevitably being outdated through the intense use of social media. What kind of content do you think can survive in this period and continue going to press?
I think the only thing that will survive in print is timeless fine art books, photography books, coffee table books, and vanity books. And I think they will become very expensive. I don’t see periodicals surviving that much longer.
You have an undeniable careless attitude towards your job, in a sense that it appears as if you don’t take yourself too seriously. How did your childhood affect this approach to life?
Having a sense of humor towards life simply makes it better. I don’t know if it has to do with my childhood, but I certainly don’t take myself or the fashion industry seriously. I can never see myself as that editor who uploads a look- of-the-day selfie everyday and photoshops it before posting it on Instagram.
I grew up far from the glam and the glitz of the fashion industry, had a pretty humble and simple childhood, and I am grateful for that every day. I have seen what too much exposure at a young age can do to people.
“For the young people in our country, there aren’t nearly enough role models who pursue their dreams courageously, disregard- ing the limitations of habit, language.”
Nature is important to me, culture is important to me, people are important to me. But the idea that clothes made in a third world country and sold for thousands of dollars are important is pretty hilarious.
Living in New York, there is always something going on. What do you pay attention to when featuring an article on the website?
I just see if the story fits our vibe. We have created an aesthetic and an attitude that’s very specific. If the story fits that POV, or if we have an angle we want to tackle that is original or diffe- rent, then we green light it.
Sometimes I have to do a reality check with the writers because they do too much celebrity content. They like to do pop culture stories because they are addicted to the ‘likes’ that the story gets. I remind them that our celebrity content should be the bait. Because posting about a Donald Trump photo made of dick-picks really does draw a lot of people to the site. We then have to take that audience and show them something that matters..
You frequently feature news and authors from Turkey on the website. What aspect of your hometown do you try to promote?
I think everyone does that whether it’s intentional or not. When you become successful, a lot of people from your hometown reach out, wanting to contribute, wanting to be a part of what you’re doing.
For the young people in our country, there aren’t nearly enough role models who pursue their dreams courageously, disregarding the limitations of habit, language. It’s inspiring when you see someone do that, it makes you want to do it as well. I assume young Turkish journalists or editors would probably rather reach out to me than an American or Parisian editor who might not be as familiar with the hardships of trying to make a place for yourself in a foreign land, a foreign industry.
I own a media platform, so when things happen that truly affect me, like Gezi Park, of course I feel obliged to put in my tow cents, to say something that could challenge the way people think about us.
What kind of perception of Turkey do you face that is not true?
I mean, all the perceptions I faced that would make me defend my nationality relentlessly now seem to be becoming true one by one. The perception is, of course that Turkish people are very conservative, that they are not secular. Another one is that they don’t put enough value on fine art and education, which are both kind of true.
For those who want to be in the magazine business, what are the most difficult and rewarding aspects of it?
I don’t think there will be a thing as “magazine business” very soon. I’m not saying magazines will die, but they will certainly change form and adapt to the reality of this time. The most difficult thing about printing a magazine, for me, was reading the damn thing 17 times before it went to print.
What we call “closing” is the process of proofreading a magazine before it goes out. For a quarterly magazine, sometimes this takes up to 3 weeks, which means for the whole team, camping at the office, day and night and reading every story as many times as it needs, to the point of delusion. Because once it’s out, you can’t take it back.
I think the biggest reward is having a voice in the world. Once you build an audience, you get to inspire them.
What would be an “average day” for the Editor-in-Chief of Bullett?
It’s different each day, depending on what I work on. Most of the time, half my day consists of answering an avalanche of e-mails – I get about 200 a day. The rest varies anywhere from going to screenings, press previews, comedy clubs, and lots and lots of reading about what’s going on in the world, discovering new art, new music, new movies… I always try to stay on top of youth culture.