My pleasure, it might please you to know that I hand made that artifact which now belongs to you, like all the Yayla CDs that exist so far. I am very glad that you enjoyed something very important for me, the atmosphere. Nihaihayat is the upcoming Yayla album. To me, it is the end of the trilogy which includes Ruhizolasyon and Sathimasal. A short film is very soon to be released online in the name of this album but also as a finality to the trilogy. It is called Integumental Grasp Through The Sigil Of Hate; Immortalizing The Nine Disguises Of Evil In Senility.
What formats will ‘Nihaihayat’ be available? Where can fans get copies or hear your work?
Nihaihayat is available on CD with 2 kinds of packaging and as digital download. You can listen and order them through www.merdumgiriz.org or Yayla‘s bandcamp when it is released. I am working on trying to include the short film into the digital download package.
What seperates this album from any previous works you have done? It seems you have been very active musically as of late. What things did you do different on this album as compared to previous works of art?
A very hard question for me to answer actually. Its funny, I have almost never thought of my work in relation to my other work. When I stack this up with my other metal albums, I believe there are certain formal qualities that separate it. For instance the synth and the guitars almost never make contact for the first time in one of my albums. I experimented less. If I may speak in a more abstract way for the angle I approached in making it, I was more in touch with “the end” rather than “the means” in making it.
Give us a history, if you will of Yayla! How, when, where and why did you begin writing and releasing music under this name?
I always wanted to explore sound and music as an artistic outlet. I’ve always felt that within the memory lies a fascination castle. Visual art might hold your hand and take you to a specific trip inside this castle whereas music gives you certain keys and lets you choose your path. I started writing music under this name in 2007 with Merdumgiriz who now manages my label. We quickly made a stream of consciousness demo, which came out to be a very pastoral and psychedelic sounding music. Then we moved to different locations, and I continued the band solo. I made another demo in 2009 and looked for a label with it to no avail. After that I formed my own label and started releasing music in 5 January 2011. I only sold one album that first year because I certainly do not know how to promote myself. Then I asked Merdumgiriz to help me with my label, and he has been doing all the promotion and managing the label ever since. Thanks to his social skills and the success of Sathimasal, we started getting somewhere.
One of the things I liked about ‘Nihaihayat’ was how thick the sound was…very atmospheric but still very intense without being ‘fast’. Also, the focus isn’t on the vocal and the arrangement doesn’t seem to follow the lyrics. Tell us a little of your songwriting or creative process, if you would.
Thank you for the kind words. It feels so right when someone tells me they like the sound because that is the most important element of my music for me, along with composition. Coming from a background in painting and analogue film and photography, I am extremely interested in the texture of things. The physical n ature of the medium I am working with is very important. I like to think texture in music is mostly sonority and texture in general means atmosphere. In certain works of mine, like Nihaihayat, everything is complimentary to the atmosphere. Songwriting starts with composing on the guitars or the synth and after that I take the feeling I get from those compositions and try to take them close to their fullest potential by arranging and stripping down to its essence and amplifying that which is most important for me.
What about the recording process? How do you like to record and produce your art? Being the only member of Yayla, is it difficult to be the performer, the producer and the engineer or do you have people helping out?
The recording process is fast. Composing and mastering is long and hard. There is just one person helping me with the technicality of recording, mixing and mastering. After everything is composed, I take my equipment to the studio and we try different production techniques and when we are done setting things up, I am left alone. Then I get in character and record the instruments and vocals. After that process, it takes many, long days in discussions, decision making, engineering and getting the sound I want in collaboration with Cristobal Urbina. Being the only member of this band is not hard at all actually.
Doing a little research, it seems that you also are responsible for Merdumgiriz, the label behind your creative efforts as well as a recent short film, titled ‘Fear Through Eternity’. Tell us a little about these other projects of yours, how they relate to one another and how they are seperate.
I am more of a filmmaker than musician. I believe I can get closest to my feelings through moving images and it feels more natural when I am making films. My humble opinion on how my different work relates to each other is that I believe I make two different kinds of work. Take it as two dimensions. One is the sort of fantasy driven works in the vein of Yayla. The other is a more impressionistic approach like my photo series Turkish Landscape and Suffering. To me, all my visual and audio projects either fall in one or the other of these vague categories. There is also an inter-dimensional relationship since the inspiration usually comes from the same place, and executed through the same hands.
Fear Through Eternity is still awaiting response from some festivals, after that, we will be able to release it. It is considered a short film but it is actually around 36 minutes in length. The soundtrack of that film is available as a Yayla album of the same name on the website and bandcamp. I am also going to release a long video called ADANA; Grief Of The Certainty That I Will Kill Myself on DVD later this year which is the sequel to a film that I am working on right now.
With being the sole creationist behind these different projects, how do you balance your time? Is it difficult to prioritze the projects? Do you enjoy doing promotion, interviews and other stuff or would you rather be writing?
I make one visual and one audio art piece at a time. This approach really freshens me. I enjoy handicraft of making album packaging and doing interviews. Truth of the matter is, other than answering these questions, all the other promo work is done by Merdumgiriz. I am not even sure what he is doing, he just does something that works in the end. When it comes to creative work, there is no problem in being able to do most of everything alone. I wish I was able to do everything by myself. The problem is working with other people. That is when I have to wait for them and listen to what they have to say all the time, being unsure what they really mean when they say something. Deal with their laziness and unwillingness. Luckily in music there is only one other person helping in the entire process, and that is why I make so much of it. But filmmaking is so hard. Luckily I am a writer, cinematographer, camera operator, director and editor. But still, working with actors is very very hard. Not necessarily on set, I like directing. But everything up until the time I get them into the set is so aggravating. I’m sure the actors feel the same way about me!
From where do you draw your influence for both film and music? How does it translate into your own work and why?
To be perfectly honest, I try to transform my negativity into art. I do not know if it could be called influence, but I use my work try to cope with the tribulation that surrounds me. I do not like negative feelings and thoughts. As a matter of fact, I cannot accept them as facts of life and take it. I find the only place I can dispose of negativity is through art. Either experiencing a work that has it, a representation of negativity that I can relate to, or I try and bleed my negativity into a work of my own. As soon as I channel abstracts that bother me into something without, in my case art, then I feel its weight lift off my shoulders. My existence feels justified. It seems kind of unhealthy and I end up having to make tons of art rather than really dealing with my problems, but this approach has been working fine so far. We will see how it goes.
My English tongue is no good for Turkish and must apologize before asking for a translation of your album title. What does ‘Nihaihayat’ mean to you, to this album?
Its all good, no need to apologize. I on the other hand might be the one who has to apologize for choosing not to write my own interpretation of the words. I feel if I do, I might take away from the experience that I’d like to create with Yayla. I like people to be able to interpret things their own way to the fullest extent, without my or any other persons’ interpretations.
I will nevertheless be happy to write the linguistic translations.
Nihai means “eventual” Hayat means “life”
Sathi means “spurious” Masal means “tale”
Ruhi means “spiritual” Izolasyon means “isolation”
What other projects are you involved in that we should know about? Other bands, films or creative efforts?
My new film is coming up, It is going to be my first feature length narrative film. This work is in the other dimension that I have talked about. I am simultaneously editing, scoring, foleying and subtitling it. An album is in the making for the film, which inevitably spawns another band for me. It is a more rock oriented album and less serious in its nature than Yayla. But there is a certain darkness in that music that will even surpass Yayla. Actually the film is about a fictional character who makes this music, therefore I need to get into character to make this music which is demanding but very fruitful so far. Needless to say, it sounds much different from Yayla. After I am done with the film and soundtrack I plan to produce another Yayla album, which I very much look forward to make. It will be much slower and the compositions very ‘pastoral’ if you will.
The last words are yours!
I would like to thank you very much for your interest in my music and art. I share what is very dear to me, my work. Work that comes from my spine and makes me live. An escape that makes me calm and able to cope. Knowing that people like yourself enjoy and interpret my work using their own imagination makes all the troubles worth it. All my presently available work can be found through www.merdumgiriz.org