Black Metal Spirit
The Metal Observer
Dungeons Of Darkness
The Dungeon Grimoire
Occult Black Metal Zine
Hi Emir! Please tell us about the early days of Yayla first! When and how did it all start?
Me and Merdumgiriz (drummer of Blliigghhted) started it when we were teenagers. We were listening to the most extreme music out there and we just couldn’t get enough, we wanted an extremity that was more than all else. We were spending a lot of time on the mountains just being in nature and listening to music. We used to do things like make demos on tape and bury the only versions of those tapes underground. Now we don’t do such things but it is how it began, quite intense.
Have you played in other bands before?
I played in Flying Faggot, which is the basis of Viranesir. I might revive it with an album.
What´s the meaning of the word Yayla? Is it a Turkish word? And how does it fit to the concept of this project?
Yes a Turkish word meaning alpine tundra. We named it that when we were 17 years old to express our enjoyment of being in the meadows isolated from civilisation and the feeling we had when we were in nature. It is a vision of death, total spiritual isolation, which is what this band deals with.
Which bands are your main influences?
I grew up listening to orchestral music, pop, folk and rock from my parents. Therefore I always cite Vivaldi, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, and Cat Stevens as my main basis. The foundation of my melodies lie within orchestral music while the intensity and experimentation comes from more modern music.
Your lyrics seem to be very philosophical. What do they exactly deal with? And who or what inspires you for lyrics?
Being a soldier for a war you don’t understand.
You run Yayla as a solo project. Didn’t you find the right musicians? Or was it planned as a solo project from the beginning?
I never think that I need anybody to make art. I just do it by myself, fuck people. I made feature length films by myself, what the fuck is a band. Having said that, Yayla actually started as two-man project back in 2007, and in the last album that founding member also came back and did the drums. The point remains however that other people are not a necessity to make art.
My films by the way: http://merdumgiriz.org/Gotsiken/Films.html
Your first album “Ruhizolasyon” was an instrumental album. Why did you choose to use lyrics later on? Or the other way around: Why haven´t you already written lyrics for the debut?
I wanted to make a new kind of extreme music, a totally isolationist ambient music made with metal instruments. I also wanted to not do drums on that album, but I ended up keeping the ones I used for keeping the tempo. Good question, I may make another totally instrumental metal album one day, maybe without drums…
On your latest album, “Pas.to.rale”, the songs are way shorter than before; all around 5 minutes, not 10-5 minutes anymore. Did this happen on purpose or accidently more or less?
I suppose I was not very interested in monotonous and long music when making that album so I kept it short.
Between the last two albums, “Nihaihayat” (2013) and “Pas.to.rale” (2017) there has been the longest break (4 years) in Yayla history. What were the reasons for that?
I made much other music in those 4 years. I also committed suicide and spent some time in the mental asylum. I felt like experimenting a lot with all the other projects that I used as tools. Yayla is not an experiment tool.
On Bandcamp it´s told that there are also tapes available from all albums, and that they are self-made by yourself. How important is it for you to keep this old traditional cult format alive? Or was it just made because of the costs?
This is the best sounding medium for me. It takes good technique to make great tapes and I like things that require technique and craft. My tapes got a lot of character and often my artists tell me the tapes I press sound better than their masters. I take great care converting the digital binaries to actual analogue sound. It is not a matter of money as it costs more to make tapes. I don’t understand the point of CDs when there is better quality digital audio available. If I had my way I’d just make vinyl and tape, but I don’t have enough funds to make vinyl.
How many CD´s and tapes have been done? Are they limited?
Mine are unlimited as long as I am alive. The artists I release are limited to our individual arrangements in contracts.
All your releases (CD´s, tapes and shirts) are released by Merdümgiriz Records. Is it a real label or just a name to distribute all your stuff?
It is the most real metal label with some 20 artists from around the world. I released works of artists from USA, Canada, Italy, Iceland, Germany, Norway, UK etc. We also did a European tour playing live. We don’t care about money or fame, just pure art.
Is it true that you paint all Yayla logo shirts on your own? Why don´t you print some? How is the quality? And how many have been made? Or do you only drawn one when it´s ordered? How do you manage that?
Not only for Yayla but for all bands on my label. It started out as being a continuation of not depending on anyone. Then it morphed into being an artistic medium. Quality is very good; I only paint when it’s ordered.
I am also a real painter by the way: http://merdumgiriz.org/Infernal.html
If I take a look at all your projects (Funeral Of God, Viranesir, Blliigghhtted), they all seem to sound nearly the same, more or less, because you mostly combine black metal with ambient elements. Where exactly are the differences between them all, in your opinion?
I don’t think this is right, they don’t sound the same it’s just the genre tag on Metal Archives that says bm and ambient for my projects, which is misleading. Most Viranesir albums aren’t even metal or ambient but Synthpunk. Anyone who actually listens to my stuff would know the difference I don’t need to point it out with words. Also, Funeral of God is not my band I only do vocals for it.
The only exception is a death metal band called Red Bible Black. But they are from Italy! How did it happen that you joined the band? Have you ever rehearsed or just sent files to each other? How did that work?
It is the same guy who does Funeral Of God he is from Italy. I took his projects to my label because he makes extreme as fuck music and he started asking me to do vocals for him. We just exchange files, I don’t even know what he looks like.
Please let us also talk about the Turkish metal scene, okay? I only know two bands actually: Pentagram (who were later called Mezarkabul) and a black metal band called Death Ritual. Are there any more bands you can recommend? And is there really a metal scene in Turkey where bands support each other?
There is actually quite a large one. Almost every city has extreme metal bands; most ones come from the big cities. There are also very good syndicates supporting the bands and the scene, like Takas Pazari and stuff. Them and some others also organize concerts all the time as well. I am friends with most main bands. There aren’t many bands pushing boundaries though, in terms of content and form, they are mostly unoriginal and good worship bands at best. That is partly the reason why Turks don’t really follow my music nearly as much as westerners, because they are kind of primitive when it comes to appreciating and making art. They don’t like new stuff very much, or experimentation, which is what I strive to do. They like their kebab like they have for centuries.
Is it hard to be a metalhead in Turkey? Is there a kind of witch-hunt by the government or censorship there if you are into black metal? And is this also the reason why you moved to London? Or were there other reasons for that?
Well, in Turkey there is no witch-hunt or anything, you can be into black metal nobody will give a fuck. Moreover, you can also sing about racist stuff, degrading women, genocide and metal stuff like that where in the west you’d get censored for it. The real witch hunters that are a threat to Black Metal are Antifa, which we don’t have in Turkey. So it is freer then west for freedom of speech in that regard. However if you say shit against the government or islam you might be prosecuted or beaten or killed etc. Win some lose some. However, those who would prosecute you don’t speak English and they wouldn’t know your black metal lyrics so nothing would happen.
I moved to London not because of metal but because of the general attitude of people. I have lived most my adult life abroad, I am no longer Turkish, I feel alien there. I just occasionally go back to eat some kebab and fuck cheap prostitutes.
If people are now interested in getting all your stuff after reading this: How can they get in contact with you?
They can e-mail me or add me on fb.
Please tell me about the future plans of Yayla?
More and more unconventional albums.
All right, Emir! The last words are yours!
Thanks so much for the interview Dan. Metal is more than music, push the fucking boundaries!
Good evening, thank you very much for accepting to answer these questions, how about everything for Nanrum or London?
Namrun is full of religious sons of bitches and disgusting peasants I am glad I am in London. Though I miss the vast and transcendental nature, the religious cockroaches ruin a great place where our band was formed and takes inspiration. London is a great place to live; I travelled a lot and found that this city is my favorite. Truly atmospheric, I can even write an album about London one day.
1. Yayla was born in 2007 and publishes its first demo a couple of years later, we can say that Yayla unlike Blliigghhtted, Funeral of God, Red Bible Black and Viranesir, your other projects, has a special meaning, what led you to to create Yayla? What does Yayla's name refer to?
You look at a distant landscape and it looks beautiful, but there is no way of touching it except you go there, and when you go there it is no landscape. This is death seen from life, and it is what this band is about. Yayla was our high school band with Merdumgiriz. We were listening to lots of obscure extreme music back then and always wanted to hear something more violent and depressive than anything else so we did it ourselves. I really liked brutal and powerful metal, soul tearing misery in music, grandiose orchestral, acoustic, dungeon synth and I wanted a more extreme form of all this. I wanted to be the voice of death, and am still trying. Yayla is my first project; it means alpine meadow, we formed it in Namrun’s meadows where we would spend months in isolation making art in ancient castles. I wanted to channel the essence of death I got from nature and ancient ruins, which is where I get it the most, into any sort of music that I make with this band.
2. Unlike Blliigghhtted and Viranesir with those who have been editing material fairly regularly, the truth is that Yayla had been parked almost four years, what was this silence?
I committed suicide and spend a long time in the mental asylum after the last Yayla album. It had a lot to do with the last album and naturally it was hard to go back to it. I wrought very monotonous and hypnotic pieces of magic in the fist isolationist metal trilogy (Ruhizolasyon, Sathimasal and Nihaihayat), also I also made a monotonous audiovisual project with dungeon synth soundtrack (Fear Through Eternity). I thought I was ready for a certain death, but it seems I wasn’t, so the journey had to go on. Time had come to make a new beginning, dynamic start, hence I tried lots of things with the other bands and started making dynamic and progressive music, and I did a Yayla album with all that experience of 5 years in my side projects with the depressiveness and powerfulness of metal and ambient as usual, Pas.to.rale is the result. https://vimeo.com/76544669
3. The themes you deal with in your other bands are more controversial, however in Yayla you approach philosophy, transcendence and ancestry, what leads you to try this theme in Yayla Where does the essence of Emir Toğrul reside, The extremes of irreverence or at the end of philosophical thought or yet it is situated in a middle line?
The essence of Emir Toğrul lies in beauty and harmony. I am a very happy person that has everything he wants. In all these projects, the lyrics I write are relatable things that make sense rather than occult bullshit or mindless overdone metal aesthetics. Be it controversial, satanic or philosophical my lyrics are accessible and easy to understand yet speak of truths harder than even the most ultimate badass would like to hear. My essence is that I do not pretend to believe in objective values. In Viranesir this manifests in a lack of morality, in Blliigghhtted as a satanic indifference to evil, and a beautiful lack of connection to life in Yayla which means it is as controversial but very indirect in its delivery compared to my other bands. It can be called a musical expression of nihilism and death.
4. It is clear that the music you produce and in this particular case in Yayla is dark, cold, and even at times uncomfortable, is your music the reflection of your mind and personality?
There were times that I lived through intense and prolonged suffering which of course shaped the approach of all my bands. People often tell me I make the most uncomfortable, intense and dark music they have heard. I have spent years in unjust sufferings and mental disturbances that only got progressively worse at the time they were happening and I have been very keen on channeling all this into my music. On the other hand, in my current daily life I am usually quite happy and have a lot of friends, lots of sex and fun. I got money and live in London, don’t drink or smoke or take drugs. I am an easygoing person who is socially very active and healthy. But I went through Dante’s hell to come to this, and that will always be where my muse comes from.
5. Do you find it difficult to take care of all the instruments and voices when recording and producing Yayla albums, or do you have the help of third parties?
I don’t find it difficult, matter of fact it is easier and more fun than working with others. I have people begging me to help them with their own music and I feel sorry that they are unable to do it themselves. I don’t need help, I learned how to do everything myself, it is the best way to make art. Fuck people.
6. In his music there are classic black influences from bands like Bathory, but there is also a background of classic bands not so related to metal, is this true?
The beauty of the melodies equals the brutality and violence of my music. That beauty comes from non-metal music. I listen to a lot of classical music, maybe more than metal. Sir Ralph Vaugen, Albinoni, Vivaldi and million composers mostly but not limited to pre 20th century graves and adagios. Everyday I listen to symphonic, chamber, ballet, vocal, symphony whatever goes so long as it is not happy. They really influence my compositions. I also listen to a lot of pop, house, ambient, gangsta rap, folk, industrial and everything in some sort of way influences the beauty of the melodies. I grew up listening to Mozart, Cat Stevens, Barbra Streisand, Simon & Garfunkel, Jesus Christ Superstar, Dire Straits going through forest landscapes at night, so it is where my heart lies.
7. As a musician, you are a photographer, direct from the cinema and actively participate with the record label, where does he make time for everything? And which of these disciplines do you feel most comfortable with?
I am a dictator and can’t be under another boss with my art but running my own record label sucks, doing PR, sales, releases shit like that is boring as fuck. When it comes to making art, I love them all and feel comfortable in all of the areas. Time is no problem because I gladly spend most my free time to art, I really love creating its my addiction. It is like asking a smoker how does he find time to smoke 2 packs a day. I wish I could do more films, but it takes more people to make music, which sucks. I don’t like working with people, so I do more music, which is a singular job. But here are some of my films: http://merdumgiriz.org/Gotsiken/Films.html
8. With Yayla just released album recently, but what future plans does it have with all the bands of which it is part?
I see a new death; hence as I said, I started a new phase with Pas.to.rale; there will be couple albums that I will spend in this phase. I want to make an acoustic album and a full on orchestral or ambient one. But who knows what will happen, it is my muse that dictates what I do not the other way around. Viranesir will keep making psychotic and perverse albums, Chaoscunt (ex-Blliigghhtted) will be more violent than ever, and all of my projects will be miles ahead of the rest of the current garbage that gets released in the name of music.
9. The release of most of your music through your label "Merdümgiriz" seems to be almost necessary due to the high volume of publications for your different projects and certain aspects that surround it, but what criteria do you follow at the time of To select bands for the label?
The most important criteria have become not fagging out. I don’t want politicians who claim they are “just interested in the music”, I want total psychos who know that art & especially extreme metal mean more than music and ready to go all the fucking way. I want people to be ready to die for their beliefs, and reflect this in their art. I had many artists who couldn’t rake the stress of this label and left and I needed to kick many people out as well because they were lesser than I initially thought. It is an elite label that does not give a fuck about money and fame but supremacy. I need bands to stick to the label in tough times because everybody hates us and wants us to fail. Webzines threaten my artists to not work with me, and stuff so I need the artists to be with me full on like their life depended on it. We will go on and I need warriors to go on with me.
10. I suppose you will be satisfied by the repercussion and good criticism received by this "Pas.to.rale"?
No, I always want more and more, I am never satisfied. But yes it is getting quite a lot of good reviews and sales. It hasn’t been a month and I got like 10 reviews all over 80/100. Lots of people who reviewed my previous work say it’s my best. I like it when it gets a lot of attention. But at the same time, I want to make new things and Pas.to.rale is a thing of the past.
11. Thank you very much for taking the time to Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for the followers of Yayla, this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.
Extreme metal is more than just music; push the fucking boundaries don’t be a domesticated faggot. I really liked the questions, thanks for talking to me and reviewing our albums!
Fran Rocha Fernández
Since the first project emerged in 2009, Emir Toğrul of Turkey has quickly become one of Extreme Metal’s most dynamic and engaging personalities, with acts such as Blliigghhtted, Viranesir and Yayla churning out consistently high-quality releases with short turn arounds between each release. On top of that, he runs a label, Merdümgiriz, where he makes everything for each release by hand as well as engaging in promotion and PR duties for the bands on his roster. Recently, the talented and multifaceted musician spoke to one of our writers, Don Anelli, for a special interview.
1) What was your initial introduction to extreme metal? Why does it appeal to you?
Firstly I hate most people in this music genre; they are truly the scum of the world. My initial introduction was when my family tried to immigrate to New York when I was 11 and I got my hands on some Venom and Acheron tapes. Didn’t work out and we returned after couple months but I never lost interest in extreme metal. It appeals to me because I believe it is the most fitting soundtrack to this existence. Most people listening and making it have a very lame understanding of it though, they want it to be accessible and safe; they are faggots…
I was always creating art (painting, filmmaking, writing etc.) and always an avid music listener. I thought it would be a most fitting way for me to release the chaos from within to try it hence I did. Never stopped ever since… If I had known what kind of losers were in this art I might have had second thoughts but now I am glad I started for sure.
Quite the contrary. It is not like I write for the groups, it is more that I just write music and it ends up being released under certain names. If the music was giving similar feelings I would just release it under one name if that makes sense. Music comes first, names later. People are always asking how is it possible to make 23 albums that are of such quality. It is like how a drug addict does so much coke; if I weren’t able to release so much music I would be in hospital or prison for sure.
PS: Funeral of God is not my band, I only perform vocals and write lyrics for it.
Merdumgiriz was created because no label would release my stuff back in the day. But more and more I realize it was the only choice for me because A) I make too much stuff that I can’t wait for someone to release. B) I make very politically incorrect and unreleasable stuff that I will never censor.
I also started releasing other artists at some point, now I got some 20 people from around the world. We are more than a label and I need the artists to be warriors, not cheap trolls or pussies guised as tough guys behind their loud music. Sometimes I need to kick people out of the label.
I would really not call it business because if it was a business, I would act according to people, but I am acting completely according to my desires in all these projects. I enjoy making music the most; the rest (releasing, promoting, etc.) is just chore. I also really enjoy seeing those sad faces as I perform Viranesir.
It is my first band formed by me and my friend Merdumgiriz back 2006 in Turkey. We wanted to make metal that would pierce your ears with its depressiveness and power, showing the relentlessness of existence juxtaposed with the beauty and boredom of nature. Reflecting the inevitable death, which makes life a voyage of anxiety and suffering.
Dark ambient orchestra made with black metal instruments and demonic vocals.
This was always my main project and it was a procedure of pure suffering holding myself back from releasing it before it was perfect. I already had these compositions back then, but I felt like experimenting and letting other projects inspire the music of Yayla. I used Viranesir and Blliigghhtted (a.k.a Blighted & Chaoscunt) to this end; I did very visceral albums made in 30 mins and stuff. But I also made amazing albums like “Into The Cunt Of The Witch” and “Kosmoskapf”. They all influenced the new Yayla sound, and I am very glad with it, but also want to make new things now.
I am never pleased with the reception, I always want more. I like attention and sales. But this one is my highest “rated” one so far.
Viranesir was first made to do the soundtrack for my first feature length film.
Then it evolved and evolved. From psychedelic Synth music to Raw Blackened Death Metal.
We do not think of life to be something to keep a low profile and live without troubles. Art even less and metal the least… I am a pussy in this regard as I would really like to cause terror and live the extreme life and die before my time, but the least I can do is be like that in music, which I am. People constantly ban me and I don’t give a fuck, I am independent. This is Viranesir.
There are so many albums completely different than each other that it is impossible. Their common point is the experimentation, depressiveness and extremity. Subject matter is always extreme, sometimes very in your face sometimes more distant.
Of course, but it only kindles the flame of Viranesir. I especially puke when a band tries to censor itself to get more opportunities. Dis-gus-ting… So Viranesir is a must to have on my label and tours because it weeds out the pseudo-artists.
Yes, this one is more like a childish project to me; it is where I let myself completely free to express any emotion any style very viscerally. I really vent out a lot with this project, I love it. It is my best live band; there is a lot of blood, political incorrectness and throwing around. I also play as a sexy lady.
It was Ruhan’s idea, she wanted to use my and Merdumgiriz’ musical talents to do her “Satanic” music. She wanted to do so much more than just music but she couldn’t so she killed herself.
Satanic Black Metal (the most overdone thing in the world) that pushes boundaries (the most underdone thing). Music was very chaotic and improvisational at first but became tighter and tighter while retaining the chaos. In the future, it will be even tighter and structured but also more chaotic. Our lyrics used to be schizophrenic and about the occult back in Ruhan days. From now on it will be about our sense of life as Chaos Theologians like in “Into The Cunt Of The Witch”. We write relatable and understandable lyrics in the name of Satan unlike the occult gibberish and bullshit out there.
I never considered it because the moment she died I understood that she wanted us to carry on. Normally she wrote all the lyrics but insisted I write the lyrics to the last album, I resisted and did not understand why, but when she blew the brains, I understood what the intention was.
Having said that, we changed the band name to Chaoscunt.
Yayla BUT it is because this project presents the “now”. Viranesir is childish and sloppy hence it presents the past, Blliigghhtted thoughts about theology and what lies beyond so it might be seen as the future. Viranesir is very visceral so its like sex while Blliigghhtted is like a book. Yayla is definitely actual walks in ancient ruins and life itself.
I don’t really think I accomplished anything yet so I haven’t even begun. I just made some good albums, but I must make shit that blows the mind, which I don’t think I accomplished yet, that is the goal.
Metal is more than music, push the fucking limits, don’t be tame. Thanks to you Don Anelli for your great contributions to writing about metal and our projects!
For those who don't know Yayla, it is a Black Metal one man band from Turkey. This man is Emir Toğrul and they play a very melodic Black Metal. The band has been active since 2007 and already released a few albums. Lachryma Christi had the opportunity to interview Emir, so keep reading if you are interested in what it is all about.
1) What does Yayla mean?
Literal translation is alpine meadow. Means the flatness on the heights of a mountain. Means the ecstasy in the eye of suffering. Means the enlightenment on the meaninglessness of chaos. Means the nothing in everything.
2) Where did the idea for Yayla come from?
Merdumgiriz and I used to go to these alpine meadows in southern Turkey on the Taurus Mountains and make music. We used to make tapes and bury them underground. We used to do many things of this nature on this flatness on top of steep heights. At some point we’ve played with matches and ignited some essence that we are forever under its spell.
3) Why a one man band? Have you ever thought of getting musicians to play live?
A one man band because where there is many, it is shitty. For thinking about recruiting sessions, yes I have, and I might. The thing is, I can convince neither Merdumgiriz nor Ruhanathanas (my bandmates from Viranesir and Blliigghhtted) to play live with me. They have their reasons. However, I still must find a drummer capable of Merdumgiriz’s talent and another member capable of Ruhanathanas’ insanity, which if I do, I will try playing live for sure. On the other hand, I am playing live for some other projects.
4) What are your inspirations? What are your songs about?
My inspirations are the inextricable. My songs are about I.
5) Since you do everything in Yayla’s music, and this might be a strange question, what is it that gives you more pleasure? Which instrument, which part?
I like this question very much actually. I consider what I do to be similar to black arts, so I manipulate matter into magic and every different step of mind gives another shape to the form of the matter. My greatest joy comes from playing the guitar. I am a sound engineer so; by the time I completely set up my microphones and recording devices, arrange everything and am ready to record is the moment I get the most excited. All the different aspects of doing everything by myself gives so much pleasure to me. From the spark of a vision that pushes me to explore depths into making a new album to the second I press play after I’ve mastered the final product is a constant orgasm.
6) How does the process of composing go? What comes first, and next...?
This changes all the time. I usually feel the urge; I feel a power higher than me trying to manifest its interpretation of this cosmos through my hands, and there I float and cast the work.
7) How do you see the Black Metal scene in Turkey?
I do not think there is one, or even if there is, I am not aware of it. I just know Witchtrap, Sorg Uten Tarer and Raven Woods. They have great songs, especially Witchtrap, but they do not excite me nearly as much as early Deathspell Omega, Dissection, Manierisme or my own music for that matter! I have heard some other bands over the years and most sound like muslim feet. They also get really mad when I don’t accept to collaborate with ‘em (aka. help them get a little bit more famous through my name).
8) What can we expect from Yayla in the near future? What do you have in store?
You can expect an album so grand, it will change the world. Before that, I will release couple Viranesir, couple Blliigghhtted albums and some films.
9) Anything else you would like to add to your readers? Any message or advice?
The spurious and variable wall of moral principle does not ride the lives of these peasants, it tries to stand between their malcontent and me, while actually only wavering in between their inadequacy and their words.
1) Tell us a little about your musical background.
Parents used to play Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Scorpions, Barbra Streisand, Vivaldi records (all of which I now like very much) and such over and over and over again against my will so its safe to say that those types of things are among my main musical foundations. Then someday, I remember seeing Metallica’s Unforgiven II on TV and saying, “This is it”. After which point I started listening to everything hard rock and punk I could get my hands on, which was not a lot of things given my age and location. At the same time I started getting into rave music, which was becoming somewhat accessible through the likes of The Prodigy. Then my family moved to New York for a couple of months when I was 11 and by the sheerest chance I got my hands on three black/death metal records by Venom, Acheron and Bathory. After which point I started getting into darker and more obscure music while slowly purchasing musical gear, teaching myself how to play and produce.
2) How did you get into film? And where do you go to shoot these amazing videos.
I remember being utterly bored and uninterested in virtually everyone and everything until I started seeing life through exercising and experiencing art. I started drawing and painting at age seven and took it very seriously. I studied it until I was 11-atelier style. Soon after, I got myself into video art and creative writing. Finally at age 14 I bought a guitar and got into playing music. By age 15 I figured, I needed to be involved with something that combines all these things that I liked doing which then got me into filmmaking. Though I am practicing many different forms of art nowadays, I have principally seen myself as a filmmaker ever since. The outdoors locations in Fear Through Eternity are in Namrun – Turkey. The main castle is Lampron Castle’s upper ward. The one in the very end is the gate at the western wall of Sinap Castle.
3) What are your inspirations - both musically and visually?
Concordant to the last question, art is like a mirror through which everything seems beautiful and meaningful. Like most people, I have grown up to view everything in a very negative way and for the longest time, again like most people thought that maintaining this view to be the only righteous thing to do in this ugly world. Now I am convinced that we are here to suffer and any moment spent without suffering is a malfunction that one must hold on to. Stripping moments from suffering and justifying the future and past through expression are the main ways in which I choose to work out my own salvation. Therefore, everything in this life became an inspiration after I’ve started carving this path out for myself.
4) What was it that first motivated you to combine ambient music and film?
I think and philosophize most effectively when listening to ambient music, without the need of conventional communication forms. A place that music takes and guides me with its magical structures is how I am best able to think creatively. How long sessions of immersing myself in the music of a composition have rendered the narrative in a given work into just another element of that mise en scène for me is another story. However, I’ve wanted to make films like ambient music for a long time to further this experience and to further deconstruct the concept of narrative (film) in me. But most importantly, through images and audio I’ve wanted to further my study in a certain metaphysical myth.
5) You filmed a 37 minute video for "Fear Through Eternity" - which I have to say I rather liked. Tell us a little bit about the process of putting it all together - I imagine it would take a lot of time and effort!
A sculptor friend and I had been gathering in his house and writing what we would call genesis hypotheses for fun for the past four years. A genesis hypothesis is a fantastic fictionalization on how the universe and time function, much like a theological explanation. One of which I have came up with is called “Forsaken Children Of Evil”. I remember wanting to explore it further in moving images and music to carve more out of its essence. After finishing the writing I bought a lot of 16mm B&W film stock, cut them into 100ft batches, boxed them, packed my Bolex Rex-4 and tripod went to Turkey to shoot it in Namrun. After shooting the outdoors stuff, I went to Canada and shot the interior scenes with an Arri 16SR. After which I processed all of it with two friends of mine in a Kodak Prostar film processor. Then sent it to Technicolor to get it digitized, while composing the soundtrack on synthesizers, recording, mixing and mastering it. Then I put it all together. Overall, it took two years, one of which in waiting for film festivals to reject it.
6) How has your video been received?
I like it more that people actually sit through it rather than their positive or negative attention, which it has been getting both. I have yet to experience the pleasure of indulging in thoughtful conversations about it. I like it when people share their somewhat felt interpretations about, or noteworthy experiences throughout the film. After all, I plant seeds and it is certainly nice to have everybody else’s input in making them into forests. I have some ideas on how to make that actually work a lot better in the future. While I am at it, I must point out that I put it online in spite of people watching it on very small screens and shitty sound systems. We have uploaded it in really good quality for people to be able to experience it larger than life. The way to watch this film is through a projector and with huge sound. Interpret, experience and philosophize. Intake of drugs is optional.
7) Which would you say takes more time and money to record - music or film?
Simply because I always produce original music for my films, film is ultimately harder. It does not really feel like either one is taking time because I am in a trance while I am making art. To me it’s like asking if sex or TV dinner take time, but I am sure that this is because not many people are involved in the process. Moneywise, it really does not cost much because I do most things by myself with the gear I have slowly purchased over the years, even the making of the actual merchandise. To keep this going the way it is in all departments, I try to limit the amount of people interfering with the process. This not only saves time, but also a lot of insignificance and doubt.
8) Where do you draw your inspiration from?
The main inspiration is negativity. More than getting inspired by it, I use art to cope with the bothersome interpretations that my mind conjures through life. I know that there are other ways of dealing with them, but this is the way I choose. As many might agree, our existence is absurd and repulsive and we strive to make something out of it while trying not to make it worse. All the while feeling that our only hope in making it better is getting tired of hoping it might get any better. Voices tell us to live now and enjoy life, but we all know that it is impossible unless one is able to find something that would work effectively in his deceiving himself. Mine is art. Having said that, I should point out that if only I could someday free myself from fear, which I find to be the ultimate goal of my (and know it all as it may be, everyone’s) existence, then I might as well just appreciate this world and dwell freely in it rather than forcing myself to constantly struggle against the unity of death.
9) Is there a message you want to convey with your music and videos?
The initial pulse is certain paths that my inspiration guides me to. Through making work, I walk these paths. Although I have ideas about what kind of journeys they shall prove to be, I never know where they might lead beforehand. My music and images are my road journals, and that is the message. The energies I strive to somewhat channel into my work are not things that I would be able to discuss in a way that would be explanatory. Moreover, I think very lowly of people who try to “understand” the “message” the artist has supposedly infixed. Even lower for so called artists who assumedly attempt to get something across in such manner. In a world where one spends a lifetime trying to understand oneself, I think it’s delusional, futile and dull to try to “understand” anything about what comes out of somebody else. I feel that if what one wants to communicate is best explored through art then its source must even be beyond the limits of the artist and perhaps the beholder who might reach even greater heights through the work than the artist. Luckily, works of art have the means of coming together unlimited despite the shallowness of whoever is making and/or experiencing it. That is above all, why I chose to involve myself with this path, rather than merely trying to suggest a point of view.
10) Many might consider "Fear Through Eternity" the first music video ever done for the dungeon synth/dark ambient genre! I certainly can't think of another! So, congratulations on that front. Do you think this is a trend that others might copy?
As far as music videos go, there has been one for “Reisene Til Grotter Og Ødemarker” by Mortiis, which was a major stylistic influence on “Fear Through Eternity”. It is this video that, after watching I have told myself that something like this had to be shot and made into an actual film. Some time later, after deciding to study “Forsaken Children Of Evil” into a film, it all made sense to incorporate my interpretation of that style into what I was doing. More than a music video, I think “Fear Through Eternity” came together as a film, and in that sense it might have its moments in the pioneering side of things. I am really not sure if it would become a trend but I would love to see something that I might like influenced by my work.
11) Which is more important to you in your word, the visuals or the music?
I consider myself to be more of a filmmaker than a musician, but none of them are more important than the other. Music gives a more immediate joy that requires you to participate while visual art gives a longer lasting and more guided joy I find. Cinema however gives the most ritualistic and vastest joy, but it is at the same time not as immediate or ergonomic as the other ones. One cannot experience high quality visual work through a compact system yet, which enables people to carry their art along. Like one has to go to a gallery but can listen to music through everyday life. When it comes to making work, I do get a pharmaceutical effect from making music whereas I get a therapeutic effect from cinema. Both are good depending on discomfort.
12) Do you think your album can stand on its own, or does it require the visual component to come into its own?
I think that if it does or doesn’t really depend on the viewer. My opinion is that it already stands on its own to the extent that I released it as a Yayla album. I certainly would not offer it separate from its visual counterpart if I somehow felt that it absolutely needed it. But then again, I have grown up dubbing dos-game music to tape on loops to be able to fall asleep on. I also used to print enlarged paintings and photographs to cut out certain parts of them for reframing the work. I still fancy listening to overlapping background music over people talking in cafés. Therefore, my understanding of the wholeness of a piece is quite loose and I can and more often than do deconstruct and reconstruct on the spot without much need for how something has been put together to get what I want. In that sense, maybe I am not to say if one who might need this can actually get it from the soundtrack alone.
13) Where can our fans find your works?
We have a label called Merdümgiriz where hand-made copies of all my work can be ordered through: www.merdumgiriz.org
14) Any last words for the readers of Dungeons of Darkness?
Thank you Levi for your interest and challenging me with these great questions. Keep up the good work with Dungeons of Darkness. Whoever is truly interested in my work, expect more and new.
1. What inspired you to do this kind of music?
Fear Through Eternity soundtrack was mainly inspired from the film itself, what its concept implies to me and the different layers of philosophy I carve out from it. A filmmaker friend of mine once told me that one could not film philosophy. This meant nothing for our communication at the time as I understood at once that his understanding of experience, ergo concept of philosophy differed vastly from mine. Yet it inspired me to further my study into my fairytale genesis hypothesis "Forsaken Children Of Evil" by not only philosophizing through images but also audio. Therefore I made it into an audio-visual journey Fear Through Eternity. Aesthetically speaking, Yayla is a band without a definitive style, but has been (rightfully) passed around as a purveyor of black metal and dark ambient so far. Since the album we are talking about is the soundtrack of Fear Through Eternity, I should mention that the outer shell of its style, as far as I can see I have been very influenced by being a child in the 90's and watching (and so hearing) a lot of television during that era, the classical music CDs that pharmaceutical companies were flooding our house with at the time, the sound of various Mortiis "Era I" projects, Jeremy Soule, Ildjarn's ambient albums, Vangelis, 80's 90's synth music, fantasy dos-game music, Barry Gibb's string arrangements and such. Also, Salvador Dalí and The Taurus Mountains helped shape the structure of the songs.
2. What are your main influences for Yayla?
This is a very wide question, wider than meets the eye. I believe that everything that I have ever experienced influenced my music. Some can be seen more than others in certain works. When I am asked this question, first I try to think of the most important artistic influences which then makes me think of all the other influences and how one is more important than the other in terms of style and deeper realms and my brain just melts in the process. I try to experience everything other than my art as an influence for it. I have long maintained a way of thinking that guides my subconscious into making all my experiences work for my art. In the conscious side of things, the main inspiration is negativity. Like most people, I pretty much live inside a ghastly aura of a self defeating and cyclically deceiving half-way consciousness which because of inadequate efforts caused by lack of will and strength, I have been unable to alter for a better life experience. On the other hand I am blessed with finding meaning in making and experiencing work so I have learnt to master my ways of wielding negativity, rather than bleeding my energy to try and cast it out in other ways, therefore my art started taking this formula. Yayla, as people know it, has started releasing music after I've come to that revelation and its influences.
3. Can you talk about your next release?
The next Yayla release will be very different from my previous work. I have completed Ruhizolasyon, Sathimasal and Nihaihayat trilogy, Fear Through Eternity ritual and am moving onto new concepts and structures. I have a lot of ideas and compositions, but I develop things very spiritually, therefore, until I delve myself into the process, which yet I haven't, the image of it is not very clear. All I can say is that it will be a slower and pastoral sounding music. Its outer shell will be a mixture of the aesthetic qualities of all the Yayla albums so far and more, while maintaining a dynamic approach eons away. It will be something else, and I can't wait to saturate my being with it. Though, before that album there will be at least one Viranesir album which has stylistically nothing to do with neither Yayla, nor anything I have ever done before.
4. The whole concept of Yayla is about what?
Yayla is a filter through which my thoughts take certain forms. It is a paradigm in which whatever I summon from wherever, takes shapes of what its nature permits and influences the subject to be. So it can ultimately be called a universe with its own nature and laws, in a way which changes its contents outer shell but not so much its core. I allow myself complete freedom to put anything into it, more often than not things I put into other dimensions (like Viranesir) as well, but as soon as I plant the seeds into this dimension, it becomes a work of Yayla. Transmogrifying into a distinct form for further study of its essence through new gates opened thus. Its concept is whatever its outcome would evoke in the audience, because I believe it will be of interest to those who interpret the entanglements of existence in a similar way, and without further explanation from my part, lead to revelations. But to me, it is vaguely an over worldly interpretation of this cosmos, like asking questions to a higher being and getting unique answers in mere human words.
5. Based on what you said earlier, you mean that when you compose or do art, your into a form of meditation? Because I believe myself that music like that is a form of meditation.
Precisely. Moreover, I believe it has become a religious ceremony for me to be able to deal with life. Some people who make art usually lack the will and strength to deal with and adapt to certain essential ways of life. They are certainly not the only ones that lack this will and strength, but at least some of them are the only ones that rather take it out on a piece of work rather than people around them. In a way, I find this to be very noble. That is precisely what I am doing, rejecting the utterly uninspiring ego wars of life and finding meaning in making work. In my opinion life and its contents are very transient and one feels a deep existential depression through the absurdities that he indulges himself in this ephemeral chaos precisely because he knows no better. Ones values and points of view makes him suffer, and they are very pointless, but one cannot let them go because then the image of his past becomes very unjustified. Letting go of the past for this sake means letting go of the future and signing a pact with the vaporous shallowness of life and reaching higher levels of consciousness. The way of faith is to justify lower consciousnesses through fairytales, and that is precisely what we are doing with out art. Ritualistic documentation of the suffering caused by future and past on oneself to justify the lack of meaning and cause. This is our belief system, this is the fairytale we choose to worship.
6. When you say the next release shall be more "Pastoral''. Does it mean its gonna sound like Dungeon synth music? Which leads me to ask also on same occasion; what is your views and opinions on whats happening now in this scene of Dungeon Synth Music?
Not for my understanding of Dungeon Synth music. I am flattered that I am called a Dungeon Synth artist for my Fear Through Eternity album, and have been very influenced by Mortiis in its making, but I do not consider it to be essentially a Dungeon Synth album. Although I consider the whole Fear Through Eternity project to be very dungeon spirited, I think the music sounds a bit too new age to be Dungeon Synth in my opinion. The reason I call the next one a pastoral album is in the fact that the riffs and compositions lined up for that album is very pastoral to my ears. It will have synthesizers, but it will also have live instruments both guitar, bass, percussion and orchestral wise so I do not think it will be as minimalistic and archaic sounding. Having said that, I have grown up with Dungeon Synth sort of music so the influences will be there big time. Dungeon Synth as a genre is getting quite big from what I have been seeing. Probably with this grow rate, the same things that happened to so called Black Metal will happen to it. I do not think that it is bad that it is saturating so much, I actually think it is very good. Sure, it boosts the mediocrity, but it sort of deconstructs the myth around the presumed genre and forces more creativity to construct something impressive. It will be harder to find good bands, especially if big labels get their claws on these projects, but there will be exceptional music with new and previously unimagined magic in the presss.
7. Your own core universe? That reminds me of the old saying of band like Mortiis, he did some great work that is for me Dungeon Synth and do you have same approach has him? Meaning,...always a very different universe, for each albums? While being in his own bubble.
Mortiis not only did great work, but also created this genre. He called it Dark Dungeon Music and now it is called Dungeon Synth. I love his work and have a framed artwork of Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost hanging in my living room for 4 years now. I've looked into Mortiis' lyrics, I could not get ahold of Secrets Of My Kingdom, but my interpretation is that his universe for Mortiis "Era I" is more like a fictional universe (I could be wrong) whereas mine is like a paradigm where the reflection of my thoughts take the shape of its qualities. I do feel that interconnected they may be, all Yayla albums are journeys on their own, thus always a different universe in my own bubble. Maybe there might be similarities in our way of working but I think I should rather speculate on my own stuff. In doing so I should mention, as I pointed out in earlier interviews that I have two streams flowing through my system, they have no names but one includes my projects like Yayla, Fear Through Eternity, Solipsizm (Fable In Three Layers Of Existential Depression), Sigilphosphorescence, the other includes Viranesir, Drink From The Fountain of Uncertainty, Adana (GOTCTIWKM), Axiom Rotting and stuff like that. We arrange Merdumgiriz' hierarchy through artist, medium, year of production so there is not a clear way of knowing which is which, but those two are my main cosmoses that somehow shape my work.
8. What are your thoughts on the music scene in general. I'd like to know what you think of the new social medias and how it affected the music in general.
There is more exposure and the all so famous 15 minutes of fame for everybody now. Concordantly, even the most famous artists have to come down from their thrones to converse with their fans to be able to keep up their legacy which is funny but cool. The world of art is losing its utopia through social media. This is the era of grotesquery, ignorance, underdevelopment, deconstruction, meaninglessness, faithlessness and it is quite natural what is happening. Though I loathe it in many ways, I do not reject the modern world and its ways. I don't really mind all the massive undigestible crap it floods our lives with and I actually love its pinnacle, the internet. Right now, to find good work there is more responsibility for the artist and the audience than ever before. This is definitely not a bad thing, and challenging it may be, will lead to better experiences than ever before. For those who're willing to dig deep both within and without that is.
9. In your country, do you have a special hide out place which inspires you to create music?
The outdoor locations in Fear Through Eternity is where I lived for a long period of time. I've long used it as a stronghold in which I would practice my alchemical art and stay away from modernity. That place is where Merdumgiriz and I formed Yayla. It has become uninhabitable for various reasons which I can't really discuss here, and I live in a completely different setting now. Namely the concrete psychedelia jungle. Though I occasionally go back there, rather than physically going there to make music, I make music to go there in my mind. In that sense, it is still my hideout from this urbanite mud that I am putting up with. The gate to the Yayla universe is still there, and to be able to go there, I have to make music. Without my time in there, I would not be able to make art the way I do. My only hope is that I can make it a physical reality once again.
10. For concluding, any last thoughts for fans and other artists out there?
I'd like to thank you very much Daveak for your interest in my art and challenging me with these great questions. I really appreciate knowing that people interpret my work in their own way, my fans can expect more work from me in the future which will hopefully reach out to new horizons. After all, its all about the work one makes. I have nothing to say to artists, I would like to experience what they have to say through their art without mine or anyone else's unsolicited say.
Keep up the good work, I salute your kindness for your time to answer this interview! :)
1. To start, the big to-do with Yayla is how the band is primarily DIY in practically every facet. Does this lend to the notion that you're a control freak? (Not like that's a bad thing…)
It is funny how things I do out of convenience become huge inspirations for people to build an image of this band. I think I might be considered someone who likes to start and finish things rather quickly. I really enjoy making art so I constantly make it and make new stuff. Usually, the more people involved delays the process, therefore I choose to work as singular as possible. This is true not only in music but in my films too. So all this "DIY" thing is actually me trying to compose at my own pace. Whether I am a control freak is a moot point, in certain ways I am careless in others I am obsessive but I certainly would not have others' unsolicited say in my work.
2. Because you've been doing this on your own, I wonder if you've been met with any resistance from labels you've approached. Was anyone resistant to Yayla when you were starting out?
Yes, I sent out demos to all sorts of A-listed metal labels back in 2009, the only one that ever responded told me to give up searching for labels with such music, and sarcastic it may be, advised me to go ahead and release it myself. I told this to a friend and he suggested to go ahead and actually do it, which I did. Other than that, since I do not have many friends who fancy this sort of music, I did not get any resistance or feedback for that matter.
3. Yayla can be translated to "alpine meadow" or "mountain plateau." What made you go with the name?
I have the feeling that some names represent objects, some represent ideas, yet some others represent both. I like the latter because I see in between the illusion of formality and the delusion of meaning, there lies a portal to ascendance. A place where one sees existence in a different way and the singularity of the mind finds form. Yayla is certainly one of those words. It is true that it translates to what you call it, but at the same time all Turkish people would know that it also has different meanings to each his own, for some spurious whereas for others deeper and more philosophical. For me and Merdumgiriz (the co-founder of Yayla) Yayla used to have a very distinct and spiritual meaning. It is connected to a certain place in the highlands in southern Turkey where we used to make all sorts of art.
4. All things considered, what was the recording experience for Nihaihayat like? Do you prefer to work during certain times of the day?
All things considered, Nihaihayat was about getting it over with. I have no preference, any time of the day is a good time for art, so much as it is for a joint. I have made this trilogy in my mind a few years back which is Ruhizolasyon, Sathimasal and Nihaihayat, and how they were supposed to turn out was already in my head. By the time I recorded Nihaihayat I was actually somewhere else, but the process of getting it out of my system helped me get into a certain atmosphere of existential despair which is actually what the trilogy is fuelled with.
5. The production is suitably raw and pure…perfect for black metal of your style. What do you think of BM bands that have super-professional production jobs? Would they ever suit you?
The metal music I make in Yayla is very distorted, guitar heavy and strong in a lot of the midrange heavy frequencies. However, that is not what I would call raw since I spend a lot of time changing the initial (raw) recording of every instrument to get what I want before I even start mixing, and the manipulation goes on until I finish working on it. The final product might still be relatively raw to those other bands since I see fit where others might see error, hence not clean it as much, and even enhance certain things of that nature. When it comes to those bands, or any piece of art for that matter, I try not to have preconceptions about anything at all. Whenever I find I do, thinking that I will only limit and fool myself, I try to fight it rather than maintaining or wording it. So the answer would be yes, they would suit me.
6. What type of lyrical concepts do you explore?
It is basically poetry with various subjects, objects and concepts that to me are all coming from and going to the same thing. For Sathimasal it was a whole different setting and I do not know if I would ever release its lyrics, but I would still say its effectively coming from and going to the same thing. For my upcoming band Viranesir, a completely different setting as well, but somehow coming from and going to the same thing. So the only thing I can say is that it is coming from and going to the same thing which I would like to call "unities". I would not want to write my own interpretations of the words for the reason that it is important for me that people find the freedom to interpret the work any way they want that fits in their imagery.
7. In some cases, black metal bands will state their lyrics aren't of equal importance to the music. I don't get the feeling with Yayla. What's your take on this?
I am not someone who considers what could be seen as parts of a work of art as separate from the wholeness of a piece. To me, lyrics and music are parts of a whole for whatever the piece is. I do not think that one aspect of a composition, say the lyrics, are more important than the music: that is why they are all there. I have a certain respect I see as a necessity to have, for the sake of experience, which is accepting whatever cosmos put forth (by the artist). By that I mean accepting the piece as composed in its entirety, concentrating on whatever it evokes as a whole, or concentrating on that one thing one bonds to and accepting that the other is a part of something that it has to be. Perhaps even philosophizing and seeing reflections in the work to further revelations because of this fact. Isolating and analyzing things do nothing but hurt the experience of art in my opinion. But in any case, I do not think that the artist's intention or opinion matters at all. And if people desperately need my opinion, then my opinion is that everybody is allowed to experience Yayla in any way they see fit.
8. Do you feel any sort of kinship with fellow one-man black metal bands like Xasthur or Leviathan?
Feeling kinship with people I don't personally know seems pathological to me. But I like their music if that is what you are asking.
9. What would you say to those who claim you are simply following in their (Xashtur and Leviathan's) steps?
I think I would not linger around someone who suggest this claim long enough to be saying something to them, but it is true that one other interviewer have asked me a similar question. I told him to clarify this vagueness that is put forth as "steps". In any case, I do not believe in comparing a piece of art to another. In my opinion it creates a drawback against experience. One can someday understand that it is they who see the likeness or contrast between things. This does not necessarily reflect the nature of what the subject may be. This idea may seem off and unjustified to a lot of people, especially those people infected by and dependent on common sense and public opinion and may need long hours of thinking on their behalf. But, only a handful of people take the time to think enough to accept this as an enriching fact of life, otherwise I think the world would be a much more serene place.
10. Finally, what's on the agenda for 2013?
I have finished my new film "Drink From The Fountain Of Uncertainty" and its soundtrack album "Fountain Of Uncertainty" by my new project Viranesir. This is my first attempt at producing a full feature narrative film. My film "Fear Through Eternity" which has a soundtrack by Yayla and my video piece "Adana; Grief Of The Certainty That I Will Kill Myself" will both be released on DVD. When it comes to Yayla, a new album is very close to beginning production. It will mark some sort of change for the project, a very small change of many changes to come. A very pastoral, narrative and slow change.
Thank you very much for the interview and your interest in my art.
David E. Gehlke
1. Congratulations on your new album. It's simply fantastic, pure devastating black metal.
Thank you very much for the kind words. I believe that it is you who is able to see the fantasticality in it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one can only see the reflections of the things within. To me, any and all goodness you find in any glimmer of anything in this forsaken existence is a show of your own connection to ascendance.
2. To tell you the truth, I didn't know your music before, but I saw you released four albums since 2011. Can you tell me something more about your previous works?
I have always been making art. Since I was 6 years old, I have been deep into making and experiencing art. Back when I was a child, I started drawing, then watercolor painting. Then I had a period where I was writing fiction. Strange fiction stories which included elements of what is considered to be magic realism. Then I started making video art and short narrative videos. After that I started making music, at the same time getting into cinema and photography. I recently decided to release some of my work which I believe represents some of my better creations although my art is continually evolving. Yayla is a project that is very slowly building itself. In the albums that you are talking about I have been using what is considered to be metal and ambient music to create certain things, but it might change in the future.
3. Can you tell me what does "Nihaihayat" mean?
The names of the last three metal albums by Yayla are that of the compound nature. The linguistic translations of these conjoined words, which become names of albums that form a trilogy are,
Nihai "eventual" Hayat "life"
4. The cover of the album looks like a vision. I guess there's some concept behind that picture.
I would agree with you on that there is a concept behind it. But I am speaking as someone who experiences that concept as a beholder just as you. I as the person who is considered the creator of the work choose to hold my own interpretation back from the public. I apologize for not sharing it here, but the reason I am doing this is because I encourage people to make up their own ideas of what they see. I don't want to take away neither the first, nor the developing impression you have when you experience an art piece. There's something magical about how our individual beings conjure up an attachment of what they're seeing and this experience is at its most fresh or unadulterated form when that art piece is first observed. I don't want to poison that realization with my impressions.
5. How are requests for the album on Bandcamp going? It's a simple system; bringing music written by a musician to a wide public.
Nihaihayat won't be posted there until the 21st of January. I find it to be a convenient service, however maintaining accounts in these external hosts is not my favorite activity. Merdumgiriz manages tall of the accounts which allows me to spend more time being creative. We use this tool to embed our music on Yayla's official album pages and I would encourage people to do so on other places. I do not know much about what goes on inside it because as I said, it is not me who manages the exterior stuff.
6. Merdumgiriz is your record label, if I got it right. Have you got any other projects for it?
Merdumgiriz is the name of the label and the alias of the person who manages it. In the start, I did not think of this label for putting out anyone else's but my own work. It is not only a record label, but an outlet for any art that I see fit. I sell my photographs there, and as time passes by, we will try to find ways of releasing art in other mediums like my literary works and moving images. Other than me, we have a deceased War Veterans take on war photography which I have posthumously restored from his Kodachrome transparencies and edited. A certain artist called Ken Muslimovic whose Neverdays project really struck me is also on our roster. He composes some of the most beautiful acoustic music ever made in my opinion. He also has an electronic music project called Wavefunction Collapse which we also agreed to release. We may take certain artists in, and let them propose further projects to be released on us, but it is the crossroad of my and Merdumgiriz' tastes that decides whether they get to be released under the name or not.
7. There are two ambient tracks in the album. How do you fit this genre into another one, like black metal? Does it add something? Has it a special role or function?
To explain the first question regarding what I think of it as different genres, I think I make two different kinds of work. Their difference is very hard for me to put into words, but one consists of projects like Yayla, Fear Through Eternity, Sigilphosphorescence, In Necormansaverseance and all those projects have directed me to compose work which is formally very inspired by ambient and black metal music and fantasy art. The other side of the coin is works like Turkish Landscape and Suffering, ADANA; GOTCTIWKM, my upcoming film and upcoming band that are aesthetically more inspired by impressionistic, low-fi art and rock, electronic music. There are no definitive terms and I believe nothing can be understood, therefore explained, so these definitions are only representations darkly of the two vague currents that I believe my art is presently able to flow through. Yayla falls into this first stream, so everything that I do within it is essentially the same to me. The second and third questions regarding if the formal variety adds something, I would have to say that I used different ways of formal approach to amplify a certain idea similar to how other artist's works which have both genres amplify the same thing for me. But this attempted explanation is for the most shallow of the formal quality and I do not want to go deeper than that otherwise I think I would start to explain my own interpretation of the music and as I've said before I aim to let the listener come up with their own understanding of my art.
8. What does "Yayla" mean?
It means high plateau in Turkish language.
9. You are Turkish; do you live in your country? The label indicates it is in Canada, from Montreal. If you live in Turkey, can you describe how life is over there? Also give us a clue about how your people see Europe. If you live in Canada, can you tell me how it is there, do you like it there, and is there any Turkish community?
Yes I am Turkish. I do live in my country Turkey, in which I hold my only citizenship. I also live in Canada as well. I have not yet completely settled in a country, and not sure if and when I ever will. I would call life in Turkey as opposed to Canada to be adhesive and contentious but warmer and more mentally down to earth. How people in Turkey see Europe is probably how people who rule the world want Turkish people to see Europe. Something that I am unable and unwilling to comprehend, but I get the impression that no one I know feels any connection to neither Europe nor the Middle East. Turkey is its own thing: its like a Pink Floyd song. Canada is safe and relaxed, but it is too empty and sterile in many aspects, which gives way to mental unease. I do not like living anywhere that I have experienced in my life so far. One place is just as bad as another. But some places are even worse. I do have Turkish friends in Canada but I'm unaware of a Turkish community. Its not something I would willingly go out of my way to find. After all, I find that experiencing everyday life impacted by many cultural influences is somewhat a gift to creative life. Living in two countries is good in the sense that there is always forsaking, bad in the sense that forsaking always is.
10. Thanks for this interview. Feel free to tell me a few more things about Yayla for the readers of Metalhead.it.
I would like to thank you Alberto for the interview. We are going to be able to release my film Fear Through Eternity which has a soundtrack by Yayla in a couple of months time. Yayla will be releasing a new metal album in a couple of months which will be very different from what I have been doing with the project so far. Other than Yayla I am starting a new band along with this new film that I am working on which is a feature length narrative. As much as I compose art and music to satisfy my own creative desire it is always a great gift to learn that there are others who appreciate my effort. I wish that everyone who experiences my artwork finds something unique in their interpretation of what I do.
1. Hey Emir, first of all just tell us everything we need to know about the new Nihaihayat. Are you happy with the way it came out?
Hi Mario, in my opinion one does not need further knowledge of what I can get out of Nihaihayat. In other words, I would not want to elaborate on my own interpretation of the piece for the mere fact that people might stop making their own conclusions of it. We seem to live in such a world that the maker is not considered just another voice, but the voice. The only hint I have been giving out is that I conceived "Ruhizolasyon", "Sathimasal" and "Nihaihayat" as a trilogy. Coming to how "Nihaihayat" came out, I am very happy with it. When making it I got something I enjoyed getting from it, looking back to the end result, it pleases me greatly.
2. What kind of peculiar meaning does Nihaihayat artwork supposed to suggest?
That is up to the beholder. As I said, I would like to hear how people interpret these things more than trying to suggest a peculiar meaning. To me, my view is just another interpretation of the piece. Of course only I am able to interact with the work while it is in the making, and in the process, make decisions as to what direction it will go. But my glance upon the end result is only one of many to this piece of labyrinth that somehow came together. And if you are asking my own interpretation of the end result of just the image of the artwork, since you are a very good friend of ours, I might make an exception and just hint looking at the title of the last song on Sathimasal.
3. How far do you mean to get with Yayla's music? What kind of feelings do you want to instill with your music?
Vaguely put, I would like to go to different horizons. I would like to keep on making albums so that I can look back and see some sort of a self portrait within my body of work. It takes years for me to look back into a work of mine and get what I want from it. See myself from another angle through recorded self expression. When it comes to the feelings within Yayla's music, to me it is a fantastic realm in which any sort of feeling or thought entering can take the shape of its form. Everybody seems to interpret Yayla as something pitch black. That is one way of looking at things, but I am surprised that I have not heard of anyone finding it liberating. I, for one am very liberated when listening to this music. I feel very fulfilled when I see that I can express such dark things in a beautifully powerful way, rather than keeping them in and corrupting myself and others with my negativity. Not that I care about people but life is not worth fighting, and suffering is suffering no matter who, what, how, when or where. So it is better this suffering is trapped within an album rather than growing within and flowing through the hands of a tyrant. Perhaps I would want people to be able to enjoy or use my art this way also. But I will not change my approach so that people will hopefully feel a certain way. That to me is a corrupt delusion.
4. How were Yayla born? Would you mind spending a few words about your first three albums?
Me and my friend Merdumgiriz who co-runs my label have been making all sorts of art together since we were 16 years old. We would go to the mountains during our off time, and make narrative video works and play music. We started Yayla together when we started recording our compositions, then we went on different life paths, continuing our lives in different places. I continued the path of art and Yayla naturally followed. I was making much more work among Yayla, but it was something I thought I could get out there. Then I made a demo and sent it out to labels to no avail. It made me uneasy having to go through these people to be able to put my work out, so I decided to start my own art collective. Basically a virtual gallery through which I can kind of sample and sell my work to the parties concerned. When it comes to the previous albums, since the demo I have been wanting to do a trilogy that I had conceptualized and composed in my mind which are "Ruhizolasyon", "Sathimasal" and "Nihaihayat". As you know, they are finally finished and I am through with this concept. They are out there and people can interact with them in any way they wish. When it comes to "Fear Through Eternity" it is the pre-released soundtrack album to my film of the same name which will be released as a DVD very soon.
5. Let's talk about Turkey and metal, how do things go over there? It's been some time since the last time I 've heard new high level stuff coming from your country.
I do not really know many bands, there probably are good bands, it is just that I have been so fixated upon making stuff that I slowly started not paying attention. Its a shame because this is a very good time for exploring new music through the internet, but the problem is it needs energy, and I spend mine in making stuff. If I was not making art, I would probably give a very good answer to this question, but still the words Metal and Turkey bring back a few memories. The first extreme metal album that I ever purchased is "In Silent Agony..." by "Raven Woods", it is definitely my favorite Turkish metal album, but their later albums are not my cup of tea. I know a band called "Witchtrap" and their album "Witching Black" which is a also a very good album. But my highlight in Turkish metal would be a band called Sorg Uten Tarer whom I really enjoy. He makes a lot of albums, puts it all out for free and I enjoy it.
6. It's always been Merdumgiriz which produced your works, how do sales go? How difficult is it to get financial satisfaction within this "wild downloads" era?
I do not sell much. Since I have never done anything for money, nor approval, I do not feel bad at all about it. The sales are okay but it is because I am set for zero that it seems okay. Financial satisfaction looks to be more than a dream through the art that I make but I would never complain because after all, being able to express oneself through art is rewarding in itself, asking money from it would be asking too much. It is something I enjoy making, and afterwards put out for people to enjoy the end product, and if they want to have it, give me money to do so. Simple as that. People still buy CDs and t-shirts occasionally, and it really makes me happy when they do this thing which they do not have to do at all in this "wild downloads" era. And since all Yayla CDs and t-shirts are handmade by its creator, they get something that has a very sentimental value, which is a sort of thanks on my end.
7. Do you feel like mentioning some bands who might be considered as basic for Yayla's sound?
Not for Yayla's sound. Because Yayla has no definitive sound, if anything it is rather something that is more than a sound which I try to express mostly through sound. The formality which is the most spurious of the ways at looking at work in my opinion, will change in the future. Don't be surprised if I start making something completely different with the name, but not for the next few albums. For my approach in the trilogy I was inspired by all the music that I have ever listened to. Of course their shell (outer formal aesthetic) is what is considered to be ambient driven black or death metal and I would have to mention bands like Summoning, Velvet Cacoon, Xasthur, Acheron, 1349 and stuff like that as obvious inspirations from which I took the music to new horizons both sonic and structure-wise if you ask me. For the soundtrack of "Fear Through Eternity" I was inspired by classical and electronic music, soundtracks to give a band I would say stuff like Mortiis and Jeremy Soule. But as I said, these are just the most immediate of things that catches the eye. I have been inspired by so many things in my time in this existence that it is impossible to point out so much good music out there, so many good films and art, and things beyond art that consciously and subconsciously effect the work.
8. Pros & cons of doing everything yourself? Do you think you might accept some new entries in the band for the future, or do you just think you're going on making everything on your own?
One of the main reasons I am making more art than anything else is the fact that it can be so singular. It comes from within me, goes through my body and becomes a thing on its own. Now that is a delusion, but a very effective one at that. Of course, as everything in this hetero-existence, it is not singular, and is infected by many things. But I find it to be the most effective way of constructing a dramaturgy of that one thing that cannot "exist". Working within existence to reach out and bring oneness into it. Coming to the practicality of producing a work without help is something I do out of convenience really. Doing most of everything by myself is good because I don't have to wait for anybody. I cannot think of anything negative about it. I still get help setting up in the studio (mic placements, equipment choices and stuff) and mixing-mastering. I enjoy the process of making, but I hate the process of depending on others to enjoy this process, therefore I have thought myself to make by myself as much as I can. Yes I might have certain people in the future, but I don't know if as full time members. If I can get him back, I would definitely want to have Merdumgiriz again in the band as a full time member though.
10. Could you mention some recent past years albums which impressed you particularly?
Now that you ask all these questions, I understand that I should definitely get back into searching new music.
Just off the top of my head with some concern on stylistic variety,
Furze - Psych Minus Space Control, Sorg Uten Tarer - Our Nightsongs Will Forever Be, Manierisme - フローリア, Matthew A. Wilkinson - Post Namers, ▲NDRΛS - Invoking The Triangle, Neverdays - Neverdays (We signed him to Merdumgiriz, this album is a masterpiece if you ask me), Til Det Bergens Skyggene – Vandringen I (Skoglandskap), Bohren & der Club Of Gore - Dolores
11. Finally, I couldn't but renew my compliments to you. Just finish this interview as you will.
Thank you so much for your interest in my art, and your support Mario. You are a very decent, almost extinct guy who really wants to support artists in any and every way and that needs praise, so my compliments to you.
1. What is the concept behind YAYLA? What is it in black metal that you find enticing?
Yayla is a name under which I make heavy hearted and powerful music. Take it as an alias I use to make certain kinds of films. I like to call it a paradigm wherein the reflections of my thoughts take the shape of its qualities. My vision of Yayla is way beyond the style of music I play, but so in any other work of art I experience. So far the formality of Yayla has been in the vein of music that is considered to be black metal and ambient, but who knows what the future might hold. Interconnected they may be, I feel all Yayla albums are journeys on their own, thus different concepts. I like certain formal qualities of black metal which take it further away from rock music and make it closer to ambient and use them.
2. What kind of freedom do you experience in your creative process? Do you put limitations on what works and don't work for YAYLA?
Since I am the only member, I am as free as one can be. I constantly compose music. Whenever I feel a composition is closer to Yayla I gather it under the name, and explore it further into the paradigm. I have certain ideas about how I'd like to present certain works, which one can also call limitations I guess. But most of it is very hard to explain because they are abstract limitations not formal ones to which I can put names to. And their images are like birds on a fence; when I think too much about an image it flies away. When it comes to formality, I can only say I go for a more ambient approach than a rock approach when shaping songs into Yayla. Other than that, I do not put any sort of formal limitations or deviate from anything within or without.
3. What kind of creative process do you go through? What comes first, the music or the lyrics/themes?
I believe that my creative processes are what one can call to be very unconscious. The order of physical occurrences depends, but everything comes together as an album. Usually some form of music comes first. But when I say first, think of it as coming from a few years back. Then some sort of concept. After that the music and concept start developing each other until they grow enough to come together as an album. The seeds play themselves in my mind until I can virtually visualize them. I currently have many compositions and concepts lined up for Yayla and my upcoming band Viranesir, but I take my time in developing and producing them. Until they are completely recorded, they keep developing in my mind, until an album is finished, they keep evolving in the physical realm.
4. How much does the society you live in play a part in the creation of songs? What is it like to live where you live?
As far as I can see, which is not very far, my interpretation of the concept I see as society has not been playing a dominating role per-se. I am not very socially interested as a person, but am interested in the whole I see as society. And being a part of the vision of a cosmos I represent with my music, it certainly does play its part. I have lived in different parts of Turkey, Canada and America. I can say that everywhere feels quite the same to me. Everywhere is full of people that I feel are trying to justify their ephemeral existence through everything they say and do, and however anyone does whatever comes from and goes to the same thing for me. Unless the basic contemporary human needs are compromised, which in my case they currently aren't, the value of where I live comes down to a matter of physical relevance.
5. How tough is it to do everything yourself? How much of input from the outside do you get so that you know that it works and isn't just crap?
Doing most of everything is not tough at all, it is more a blessing, I wish I was able to do everything myself. Its important to me that my music is open for the hearer's interpretation. Whether people like it and what they get out of the music is for them to say with no prompting from me. If they do like it then great, its always nice to hear that others appreciate my art. However, its not the focus of my work. I know if my final piece has achieved how I want it to sound. If its crap to someone else is for them to deal with. To me it fits, and I certainly don't need someone else to tell me otherwise. In other words, I do not get any input from the outside to be convinced that my art works. I do not do it because its good for others, I do it because I feel good doing it.
6. If I say that YAYLA follows in the tradition of bands like Burzum and Xasthur would I be totally off?
7. What would you say has been the greatest inspiration? Where does the spirit of YAYLA come from?
There is not one single thing that I can pinpoint as the greatest. The initial pulse does not come from easy and enjoyable things, I would say that the main inspiration is the interpretations I get from whatever I am subjected to. I can only justify the negativity that I feel through a work of art. Either through experiencing someone else's art, or making my own. Having said that, I do not feel that the art I choose to experience or make is further torture. Rather, it is a liberation through expression, and I use it as a way of meditation out of darkness. In short, things that I cannot deal with in life become burdens, and not to carry those burdens I've learnt to recycle them into art. But this is the case with all my art. When it comes to Yayla, I believe it is a project in which I work with these interpretations in a relatively more out-worldly, internal and dreamy way.
8. Is black metal a big thing in your area? What kind of reactions do you get from the metalheads around you to YAYLA?
I wouldn't know because I do not hang around metal people and have never been in places where one interacts with them frequently, nor met any metal musicians. I know only a handful of people who listen to metal among other things and they are not what one may consider to be metalheads. Nobody I know seems to listen to Yayla enough to give me an opinion. I find this to be kind of bad in some but good in many ways. The idea I have on how people react to it comes from reviews and fan stuff that my label manager sends me, I think there are many varied opinions on it which is a quality I find to be positive.
9. What is black metal to you? What does it represent to you?
Black metal or ambient are just words that have simple meanings to each his own. To me, it is a name, nothing more than a certain tool, like an electric guitar, or a certain style of playing, like tremolo picking. It is only a couple of words put together to vaguely try and specify a style of formal direction, it does not represent anything further. In relation to Yayla, although I might be using certain qualities of this presumed genre, it is not something that I think about my work, in other words, I do not feel bad nor good about making black metal, so much as making powerful work.
10. What future do you see for YAYLA?
1. What is the origin/genesis of your Yayla project?
Making and experiencing what I consider to be art, to me is "something" deeper than any aesthetic, mental or spiritual information. Where other things might fail for me, art only expands. I was already deep into making art back when I started Yayla. It started when I felt it was time for me to explore sound and music as an artistic outlet. When listening to music, I enter a meditative state and interact with otherwise imperceptible things. I dare not describe the experience, and I cannot find a more fitting attempt at explanation for any quality than being somehow lovable (which I find to be an anti-explanation in itself) for a song to take me there. However, certain music makes it easier for me to enter these kinds of mindsets. But whenever I make a conscious decision to listen to music of my choice, I more often than not effortlessly enter this state. That is what listening to music is for me, interacting with the work that dances me away. When I started making Yayla, the focus was on making work that would ultimately help me achieve that state easily and effectively by interpenetrating in ways necessary and work with rather than for the listener. Of course, since the beginning, I compose music putting myself in place of the listener, but can never really experience it as a third person, so I would not know if and how far I achieve this. This becomes irrelevant because I find it would be pointless for me to wonder if I achieve that goal which I feel to be a matter of faith anyway. However, I feel it is helpful that I point this out, since these stepping stones of relevancy and irrelevancy deal greatly when creating aural work.
2. How would you characterize the style/sound of Nihaihayat?
To me, as all previous Yayla albums, it is more a journey than a compilation of songs that make an album. I would simply describe its mere physicality to be very thick and very dark. It is a long and substantial road to walk on, as opposed to a joy ride, from what I gather, some people (who I deem not ready) to be calling monotony. Looking inward at some of my reflections in particular albums, I would describe it as an abyss filled with transparent substance, or the heavy presence of the unseen compounds. A great level of aesthetic characteristics of this record would be in the realm of what is considered to be Black Metal and Ambient music with the addition of a narrative and inward evolving song structure. The patterns I use to structure this music is something I would keep for myself, but a clue would be that I am in what is called the existential realm. I would call the outer aesthetic to be a deep and expansive wall of aural presence, with the addition of being very present. The wholeness of it I would describe as a very powerful and heavy hearted experience. It is simple, marbled, saturated with sound and emotion. Not to mention, with a very visual substance and structure that has been effected greatly by my time spent interpreting, making and imagining visual art.
3. You have been very prolific, releasing four albums in two years. What else do you have in the pipeline?
Right now I am making a more rock/punk/synth oriented album for my feature film. It will spawn a new band for me, and I will keep on making new music for that project. The movie is new and very different from most of my previous work. I take this opportunity to announce their names. The English title of the movie is "Drink From The Fountain Of Uncertainty" the new band is called "Viranesir". When it comes to Yayla, I am presently looking into compositions that I have made and reworking them for the forthcoming albums. The next Yayla album will be produced in a few months time, and it will mark some sort of formal and internal change for the project, being very pastoral and slower in relation to the previous metal albums. However, that change is only for the next album. After that, although somewhat visible, the horizon is too dark to give what I would consider to be a rather concise description. That is the beauty of composing and creating too. I do not know what is to come. But the feeling I have is that Yayla will very slowly evolve into a considerably different form.
4. What types of films have you made/are planning to make?
The outer aesthetic or "genres" of the moving images that I have been making vary greatly from project to project. The two main categories would fall under what is considered to be experimental and narrative. I have been making experimental films for the past 4 years. These include the soon to be publicly released two long works Fear Through Eternity and Adana; Grief Of The Certainty That I Will Kill Myself. Fear Through Eternity is a project closely associated with Yayla and it has a soundtrack made exclusively on synthesizers already available on our website and bandcamp. Adana; GOTCTIWKM is a 53 minute journey, which is what I consider to be one of my most powerful works to date, but one needs to be most patient in working with (experiencing) it. I will release its soundtrack under the new band "Viranesir" because this video is actually connected to my upcoming film "Drink From The Fountain Of Uncertainty". This film is what I am currently working on and it is ultimately a feature fiction about the musician making music under the name "Viranesir". Not that by any stretch I give much thought nor value to what is to me an ephemeral thrill vis-à-vis the depth of art; namely aesthetical originality, I would still like to mention that this new film is very far from anything that I have personally seen before, because to me, the thrill stems from and works with the depth of this particular piece. In the near future, I will probably keep on making what is considered to be narrative films because I am currently very interested in them.
5. Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
I'd like to thank you for the interest in my art, and challenging me with these questions. The only reason that I am living is my art currently, until maybe some day I can find another reason to be. It is very good seeing other people appreciate that which is this dear to me. As you said, I am very prolific, and as long as I am alive, one could expect me to release multiple projects every year. The future holds very different horizons for and with all my projects.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 nature 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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!
9. 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.
10. 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"
11. 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.
12. 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
1. Can you tell us a little bit about the project for those that have never heard of you before?
On the surface, Yayla is a musical project that makes heavy hearted and powerful music. It is a narrative, philosophical, depressive journey saturated with sound and feeling. Music to sanctify those who are in the deepest dark.
2. How would you describe your musical sound?
The dark form of dark content. Since I play completely different genres on and within albums, I would describe it simply as a very sorrowful and dense sounding trancelike metal alongside shooting dark ambient. Sometimes these two styles are fused together. In terms of sound, the future holds different horizons
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Various subjects. To tell outright my own interpretation of my work would maybe take away from the sort of experience that I want to create with Yayla. After all, the things I feel before, whilst and after the writing of lyrics are my personal interpretations of what I experience interacting with the work. This experience is only just as valid if not less than what other people might interpret. The lyrics for Nihaihayat are actually going to be released as a print within the CD packaging. It is only a matter of time before people post it online and make their own interpretations which I eagerly look forward to.
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
The word has a literal meaning in Turkish, it is used to describe a certain geographical landscape. My humble opinion on what Yayla is, it is the reflection of my feelings within the paradigm that is Yayla. It is legit to call it a parallel universe or existence. But at the same time, this paradigm is way too vague in my head to be called that, or in other words, I do not feel adequately aware of its nature. It has its roots in the entirety of my mind, ergo the entirety of my thoughts. But as said before, it is but the reflections of my thoughts in the paradigm. The essence is, some of these reflections are able to grow in that paradigm, and try to become, whereas others, and the ones that reach out of its boundaries, they either stagnate or dissolve into oblivion. Those that feel the need to grow the most, grow until they become Yayla albums.
5. Currently the project is solo, have you thought of forming a full band or do you choose to remain solo?
Yayla actually started out as a two piece, and we have demos from that period. Nowadays I compose, conceptualize and play the music myself. The recording/mixing/mastering involves a friend called Cristobal Urbina without whom, Yayla would not be sounding like Yayla. As far as actual composition and performance ( a.k.a creative collaboration) goes, the only way I see it ever happening at this point is if I recruit that same person from the start again. Until then, I have no problem remaining solo.Yet, I never say never.
6. The new album is coming out on Merdumgiriz Records, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you describe the support that they have given you so far?
I co-own this label with a manager. I was looking for a label with my demo back in 2009, only sent the demos to the highest regarded metal labels. One of the labels told me there was no way anyone was going to release such music and that if I'd like to see it out so much, to release it myself. I have told this story to a friend of mine who said we should get together and start an art company. It started there, but then he decided to call it quits halfway and I found myself alone again. From there, I asked the previous Yayla member Merdumgiriz to help manage the label, he has been taking care of promotion and talking to people and all that stuff which leaves more room for me to make films, photography, music and art for the label.
7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?
Surprisingly very positive. Usually for my work in other areas of art, peoples' feedback is of the "beauty hidden in unrelenting rawness" nature. Unsurprisingly for my music, people say it is very fascinating but very hard to listen to. Which at first glance does not make sense, but after a while it does... Reminding me of how I used to be ravished by rave music when I was 7 years old, yet had a hard time digesting the aggression. So far as reviews go, they have been very positive and entertaining. Few months ago Merdumgiriz sent me a batch of many reviews that have been made so far, it was like reading a psychoanalytic report of myself. I had a good time reading what people seemed to think to say the least.
8. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I am currently working on a rock album for a feature length narrative film that I have shot and been editing. This album is not going to be released as Yayla but under some other name, and I will probably be making more of it in the future. After that, first thing is to make another Yayla album. This time it is going to be a slower and a more pastoral sounding music. Afterwards, I will make two more Yayla albums one of which will most probably be acoustic and the other one will be a gnawing and extremely bleak black metal/ambient album. All these albums and more are composed, I just need to find the time and space to produce them.
9. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
That question is wider than meets the eye. And if I do not filter this answer I am sure some metalheads will be alienated when they hear last night I listened to the album Guilty by Streisand two times. Moreover, I think as far as I can see, all the bands that I listened to and liked, even some that I did not like have influenced my music. The main six bands that I grew up on thanks to my mother and father are Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Scorpions, Gipsy Kings. When I was 8 I started listening to Metallica and they are pretty much the main influence on me choosing metal as an artistic medium. In my teens came death and black metal and I am still listening to and making it. The influences are pretty apparent there, take it from Bathory (include his rock albums and viking albums) sweep across the globe and bring it till today. Nowadays I am listening to a lot to Neverdays; another band that we have on Merdumgiriz. Not many knows them but this one man band makes one of the finest acoustic music ever made. Other than him, I found out about Nocturnal Poisoning few days ago and been listening to it, Depressive Silence is another recent find which I love.
10. Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in your music?
None whatsoever. I am not saying I will never directly use the schools of thought or philosophical cosmoses of the ones before me but I currently choose not to. I have spoken about Occultism to friends of mine who are deep into it. Very good people with whom I have the best time philosophizing and creative thinking. They have been telling me about their ways and how the way they live and think effects their work. The idea seems interesting, and I do not think submission and discipline is unfruitful, but what I have been faced with so far would not seem to float my boat. Moreover, I do not think I am currently able or willing to perform the loyalties such teachings require, simply because I am afraid of disappointment and having to deal with the hatred that comes with it. But I do have my own ever growing school of thought about existence and death, which plays a great role on all the art I make.
11. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
I am more of a filmmaker than a musician, but we have not yet put out my films. Festivals are not showing any interest in them so far. I am guessing this is because I do not have friends in the film world and simply because my films are long and monotonous like my music. In any case, very soon a short film for Nihaihayat will be released online and my two long experimental films Fear Through Eternity and Adana; GOTCTIWKM will both be released on DVD. Other than that I am into photography and art in general. I do write a lot also, but it is long down the road before I find a proper way of releasing it. All my other work can be sampled through www.merdumgiriz.org
12. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for the interest, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is supporting my work. More is to come, towards new horizons!