The music of sunny days, of the sea, of freedom.
Some bands truly know about the fun in the essence of music, how to entertain by having fun and the importance of focusing on their own production… If you need an example, let us introduce you to Palmiyeler. Because music only grows when it’s shared!
How did you come together?
MERTCAN: Tarık and I met back in 2003 in Foça. 10 years lat- er, when Palmiyeler was shaping up, we then included Rana in the band.
TARIK: Barış joined us last year to play the second guitar and the keyboard.
“As a rock’n roll band, we are not supposed to be com- patible in every situation, nor do we have to be perfect.”
You released your album two years after you recorded it in 2013. Can you talk about this process? What made you take a break then?
RANA:I guess we were all trying to sort our lives out. I was studying for the university entrance exam while also focusing on my music, to improve myself. When we recorded the EP for Palmiyeler, I was only 17. I thought those 2 years before releasing the album would be a good period of time for myself both personally and music careerwise.
MERTCAN: We went in the studio in November 2013, after which we started to work on the results, eliminate and improve what we had. This period took quite long as it is. Our personal agendas, the period we were going through and the exhaustion of working on the same thing made us want to get away from the album for a while.
What is the most difficult thing about making alternative music in Turkey?
RANA: I don’t think we have faced any big difficulties so far. We always get nice feedbacks from our audience. The musicians around us are really open to sharing, supporting and collaborating. In short, we have been on a great road so far in the past year, we hope it stays this way.
MERTCAN: I think the biggest difficulty is the prejudice, and, although rare, those who demoralise you. Of course, as a rock’n roll band, we are not supposed to be compatible in every situation, nor do we have to be perfect. Those who claim the rules of art and of producing are actually posing the biggest challenge for themselves.
TARIK: I’m very happy with the course of things. We get to hang out with sweet people. I love everyone.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
RANA: The music of sunny days, of sea, of freedom.
TARIK: I say “Rock with Turkish lyrics” or I could say “post punk style, lo-fi stuff” obviously to someone who has more knowledge about these.
MERTCAN: I would say, “Something we are trying to make sound old.”
Your live performances are much enjoyed, everyone is having fun with you while you play. How do you describe a happy stage?
RANA: My favourite thing about being a musician is going on stage. You get a chance to observe how people receive and react to the music that you make, that you believe in. It motivates me a lot to see the audience dancing, letting themselves go into the music or at least shaking their heads. With our performances, we try to boost our existence on stage by which we boost the audience too. The level of joy raises this way and we all have a lot of fun!
TARIK: In the end it is a show that involves the audience in itself, you play for them. Honestly, what makes me the happiest is to see happy faces and play in sync as a band. Of course preparing for concerts also excite us a lot, everything gets more fun then.
You only play your own songs. Do you never think about doing covers to play in the concerts?
RANA: Honestly, I don’t really support this idea, but we did talk about maybe giving it a try, with Mertcan and Tarık. I think doing covers create bigger and different expectations in the audience than what you first started off with. Palmiyeler produces a lot, I find it more delightful to enjoy that, making original music.
MERTCAN: : We discussed this a lot while rehearsing; I was the one with a couple of suggestions. Rana generally disagrees; Tarık also came up with some songs but in the end we didn’t feel the need to do covers. We already can fill 45- 50 minutes with our own songs and we all agreed to not go out of the concept of the album. I can say that we have done covers of Klinik a couple times; when people shouted like “Great!” we did not want to upset them and played it but we never put it on our setlist.
Inflatable palm trees, pictures as decorations and even costumes! How do you prepare for that colourful stage of yours that changes form each time?
MERTCAN: When we started giving concerts, we set this one concept and agreed on sticking with that. Inflat- able palm trees, pink lights, gold balloons, the backdrop visual on that 4m fabric we’ve made to hang on the stage celebrated our music and also fed the audience visually. All this stuff barely fits in one big suitcase and even if we travel by plane, we carry that suitcase with us wherever we go to decorate our stage. Last year, after every sound check we spent another hour decorating the stage. We do this both for ourselves and the audience coming to have fun.
Whose stage do you find the most exciting?
MERTCAN: I find Flaming Lips’s stage very exciting; their visual shows are quite coherent with their concept. King Gizzard concerts also look pretty good.
TARIK: The stage of Haylayf Ş. Üçgeni has some positive vibes. Also Jakuzi had a great first concert, it was nice to be there.
RANA: I love the concert DVD of Talking Heads. The Smiths, Metronomy…
What kind of music was playing at home while growing up?
RANA: On one hand there was Simon & Garfunkel, The Car- penters, Cat Stevens, Joan Baez, Kenny Rogers and Abba… On the other hand there was; Bülent Ortaçgil, Sezen Aksu, Candan Erçetin, Yaşar ve Tanju Okan.
MERTCAN: I remember cassette tapes of MFÖ, Erkin Koray, Barış Manço and Grup Vitamin fondly, I think because I liked them.
TARIK: Honestlwe didn’t really have music at our place, or at least I do not recall so. But I think I first listened to those cassettes of Led Zeppelin, Queen and Fedon.
MERTCAN: [Laughs] Fedon again!
Your last discovery on Spotify?
RANA: I’m crazy about Spotify Discover Weekly! My last dis- coveries are L’imperatrice and Vicktor Taiwo.
MERTCAN: Glue Trip.
TARIK: Mine is not a Spotify discovery but the one album I listen to the most these days is “Nonagon Infinity.” If you are looking for something upbeat, this is the answer.
What’s your next move?
MERTCAN: Lately, we have been busy with the video we shot for our new song last month. Along with that we are working on the new album we recorded recently. We are excited to present our new songs to our audience. Obviously we are also focusing on the visual side. It takes quite a lot of time to plan and organise the album cover design and video shoots. We want to release the album and have more concerts. Be- yond all, the best step to take as a rock’n roll band is to pro- duce and share; this is what we do – with the way we know how to.
Photography: Tabitha Karp