Interview with Islandman

Ahead of their UK debut at the Bagri Foundation’s At the Cutting Edge: Experimental Sounds of Asia concert, Elizabeth Horton, our Senior Communications and Marketing Manager, spoke with the Istanbul-based band Islandman. The band, set to bring their psycho-electronic beats to Café OTO on 13 November, 7:30pm, will perform on the same bill as Nabihah Iqbal with an experimental set drawing upon her influences of Turkish, Indian and Thai music and DJ Kobayashi who will mix from his vast collection from Middle Eastern grooves to Global Funk. The band member answering the interview questions was Islandman founder Tolga Böyük.

EH: It is fantastic to have you in our At the Cutting Edge concert series! This is your first performance in the UK, can you give us an insight into what the audience can expect?

TB: Thank you so much, we are looking forward to the show. Our performance is based on improvisation, we have certain themes from all around world music and we like to ride them differently every performance; the audience and the setting takes an important role.

EH: How and when did you meet and form a band?

TB: We have been friends for more than 10 years, met during university, played together in several projects. ‘Islandman’ was born as a solo project when everyone in the band was living in different cities after finishing university. And after 3 years of self-released music we came together in İstanbul and formed the band and released our first LP from ‘Music for Dreams’.

EH: I wanted to ask about your ‘sound’, which is almost ‘unclassifiable’. You bring together a mixture of world music influences and various genres with electronic structures, dance beats, rock and funk to weaving this with Turkish Psychedelia and African roots music. Your latest album too fuses ethnocultural material from Japan to Bulgaria, including field recordings of throat singers from Tuva, Central Asia. How did these musical influences develop? Where did this come from?

TB: We are what we eat:) Turkish folk music and the instrument ‘Saz’ were my first steps through music when I was a child. I think because of that I have always admired the roots of different cultures. And I use the electronic components to build the bridge between today’s dance floor, giving us more flexibility, mobility, and volume. It’s a fusion that comes out of necessity more than aesthetics.

EH: Who influenced your musical taste growing up?

TB: Local heroes from 70’s Turkish psychedelia, Baba Zula, Can Kozlu, Okay Temiz, and Fusion Festival. For our drummer Eralp; ‘Rush’ has always been the one. But I think the biggest influence is coming from the journeys and the festivals we had together.

EH: What is next for you after your At the Cutting Edge performance?

TB: The next one is a trip to Thailand and Bali, we have been wishing to record with some locals from this part of the world for a long time.

Book your tickets for At the Cutting Edge: Islandman, Nabihah Iqbal And DJ Kobayashi here:


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