Turkish producer Grup Ses, released his second LP called Alliance with full of guest appearances from local music scene, few months ago via Besides Records. To celebrate this wonderful record, we brought him and DJ Fitz together to talk about the record, their own collections and some digging stories!
DJ Fitz: How are you?
Grup Ses: Fine. I’m working on a new podcast for Tektosag Records.
DJ Fitz: I am a Terrible Journalist, here are some questions: How Did Grup Ses start? Take me back to the beginning?
Grup Ses: It started with mash up versions of silly Turkish pop tracks around 2007 I guess. First Grup Ses performance was at Gözel Geceler organized by Serhat Köksal (2/5bz). A year later second version of Grup Ses came ‘Grup Ses Beats’. Which is more based on instrumental hip hop beats mixed with samples from Turkish records. I present 3rd wave of Grup Ses with the new record. Now I’m trying to make music which is more detailed and influenced from different genres of bass music.
DJ Fitz: Whats the main Inspiration behind the Grup Ses’ Alliance record, musically?
Grup Ses: Actually I’m inspired from sounds of local musicians I’ve met since 2006. I was able to include some of them in Alliance. Most of the tracks in the album are collaborations, thats where the name of the album comes from too.
DJ Fitz: On this new record, you have more collaborations than on the first Grup Ses album, what was it like working with Collaborators?
Grup Ses: Always refreshing. Every collaborator brings his/her approach to music while working. Which is more fun than making tracks alone.
DJ Fitz: Does that slow down the process overall?
Grup Ses: Sometimes yes, but it worths.
DJ Fitz: Will you do conventional tours / shows to support the record?
Grup Ses: I will do DJ sets to support the record, not sure about a big tour yet.
DJ Sets: What current Music are you listening to? Any Particular Favorites?
Grup Ses: Music from Memory is a recent favorite label. Latest records of Roadside Picnic (Le Horla Records), Da Poet (Tektosag) and Ethnique Punch (Well Gedacht) are my local picks.
DJ Fitz: How is the music scene in Istanbul/Turkey in these times? I assume the country’s political situation has a big impact on it?
Grup Ses: The more the pressure on people increases, the amount of cultural outcome increases too. The courage of local independent musicians keeps me produce more. Now we plan a new record with Ethnique Punch for a label in London. I will release records more often hopefully.
DJ Fitz: How has the reaction been to Grup Ses releases in Turkey?
Grup Ses: My record is available on local record shops, its going well until now.
DJ Fitz: What’s the plan for the future? Will you make a third album in the same style as the previous two, or do you plan any other musical directions?
Grup Ses A record with Ethnique Punch is on the way, I want to start Alliance Part 2 with new collabs. Also some remixes are on the horizon.
Grup Ses: Its my turn Fitz be prepared! One of your DJ sets featured in David Bryne’s website. How did it happen? Do youknow him before?
DJ Fitz: I never met David Byrne, but I know the guy who manages his Luaka Bop, who is Eric, he has been nig supporter of my jams/sessions and turned David onto them. Then Byrne e-mailed me asking me to do that special radio mix of Middle Eastern and Maghreb funk.
Grup Ses: What kinds of jams we can hear in a typical Dj Fitz Session?
DJ Fitz: Afrobeat, Latin Funk, Brazilian rhythms etc.
Grup Ses: How audience react your sets? You jump from one genre to another quite fast.
DJ Fitz: Usually it varies greatly from town to town, country to country. I just play jams I love and jams that make the people move.
Grup Ses: I know you dig records hard from the places you’ve been. Tell us one of your strangest digging stories.
DJ Fitz: I think in Bombay was the greatest in history at a shop Called Haji Ebrahim. It is a small store in the Nul Bazaar, deep deep in Bombay. A shop that looked like it sold broken equipment and trashed memories on old LP covers. I spent hours in there digging for Indian 70’s and 80’s jams from soundtracks and more. The guy in the shop kept going into the back room and bringing out 50 LPs at a time, and started playing jams from them, some were amazing and some were totally shite. He kept saying “More, more, more” and I kept saying “Yes” and he kept going out the back searching for more and more records an playing them. AFTER 3 hours, I said “Okay, how much for these?”, a pile of bout 100 LP’s I had put aside and he said I have to call the owner, my brother, Haji Ebrahim. I was like “Jaysus, really?” So, he then says we wait for Haji Ebrahim. We waited for one more hour, Bombay traffic is monumental, it makes Istanbul traffic look like children on toy cars at a kindergarten, for real.
When Haji Ebrahim arrived, he looked at my records pile and started laughing and said “Ok my friend, you want to listen to some good music now?” I said “Ok”, thinking who is this crazy guy? Then he goes into the back room and brings 50 LPs that are so insane, freaking out stabbing synths, rolling grooves, Bollywood bass and Indian female vocals that would slice the head off Mount Everest. It made all my selections seem stupid and pointless, so I immediately dumped all the records I had put aside and said “Ok I take those 100 records you suggest.”
PS: This process took two more hours. Then we made deal and he only wanted to deal in US Dollars currency, I said Rupees (India currency , he said “No good here my friend.” So I starting Paying him in dollars and then he says Euros also work. He was an awesome guy and it was a great digging experience.
Grup Ses: What are your recent favorites old or new?
DJ Fitz: I love Les Filles de Illighadad from Niger and also Juan Pablo Torres from Cuba.
Grup Ses: You have been in Istanbul quite a lot. When was your first visit? Were you aware of Turkish record culture before?
DJ Fitz: I first came to Istanbul in 2007 as tour manager for the shamanic Japanese psychedelic ensemble called Ghost. I came back several times over the years and have DJed there many many times and I love it a lot. I knew One turkish record before I arrive the first time in Istanbul: Elektronik Türküler by Erkin Koray. Since then I have learned alot more, many thanks to you my friend.
Grup Ses: Which online platform is best to follow your sets?
DJ Fitz: www.mixcloud.com/fitz5000