Band: Hayvanlar Alemi
Country of Origin: Turkey
Rooted in Turkey, Hayvanlar Alemi builds on their country’s amazing foundation of psychedelic music while extending beyond the Turkish borders, incorporating additional popular global styles such as surf and dub. The band blends smooth signature dub rhythm seamlessly with the wandering, improvisational and experimental psychedelic guitars while their surf approach offers a fresh, fuzzy treatment of the style’s signature sound. The band has been active for just over 20 years. Their most recent record is a compilation of career highlights spanning 2008-2016.
The band shows no indication of slowing down as they were recently signed to Subsound Records, an Italian label, with the intent of releasing a new record followed by a short European tour in April. They mentioned that this new record was recorded several years ago; however, finishing it took a while because all band members live in different countries (including their second guitar payer who apparently lives in Global Garage’s home state of North Carolina). This upcoming record will be more focused on “slow-and-heavy songs in the spirit of psychedelic doom and drone metal.” We here at Global Garage are looking forward to giving this upcoming release a spin! Check out the band’s answers to our questions below and give a listen to their mind-altering approach to global psychedelic music.
1. What is your desert island disc (the one album you couldn’t live without)
Well, among all those albums it would be very hard to pick one, and one that all of us would agree with. We tend to answer this kind of questions by pointing at our common influences from our early days, so let us use this opportunity to introduce the readers of Global Garage to the album Mi Kubbesi by Nekropsi. It’s a very idiosyncratic record from 1996 that opened the eyes of many musicians in Turkey at that time. It’s instrumental rock that has prog, folk and psych in it, recorded by a band that used to play speed metal prior to that. Though perhaps a bit too dark to have as your only disc on a desert island.
2. How did the band members meet (or, for a solo musician, how did you get started)?
We grew up and went to school in Ankara. Three of us were classmates in the sixth grade, around when we were 12 years old. Two of us were actually sitting next to each other, coincidentally. We became friends and started to exchange cassettes, and then others also got involved. At age 14 we decided that it’s high time to pick up some rock instruments and play together. It was the year 1999.
3. What is the underground music scene like in your home country?
Besides the well-established global underground scenes like metal and punk, there was a lot of unique stuff going on in Turkey when we were growing up, though it was almost exclusively happening in Istanbul. There were quite a few bands that came from an experimental rock background and wanted to incorporate folk music into that. It had a historical connection to the 60s-70s local folk rock scene, but this new generation had more influences available to them like post-punk, krautrock and electronic music. Today the number of underground bands, and the variety of styles they play, have greatly multiplied, but it became harder to find things that are truly exciting and/or unique, with singer-songwriter music, bedroom pop and electronic music having dominated the alternative currents, and even the styles we are more interested in have started to sound more like it’s produced within narrow genre boundaries. Our judgement on these things surely has, to some extend, something to do with matters of taste and with a generation gap, but probably some of it has something to do with substantial matters, like how the changing aspects of music production and distribution, together with the changing habits of society, have recently [diminished] some elements in music that we find attractive. A topic too big to enter here. But the scene is lively and sure it will keep giving interesting fruits.
4. What are some of your biggest influences outside of music?
Too many to count. If we would mention one salient influence, it would be travelling, especially travelling together when we were younger, you know, going into the unknown, discovering the exotic together. It’s kind of like an initiation rite for a band, especially if you’re trying to create music that has a feeling like that. And you can feel those experiences being channeled into the music while you play.
5. Tell us about your favorite show you ever played.
Again, hard to pick. Last year we played at an anarchist venue in our hometown Ankara, after not playing in the town for eight years or so. We weren’t sure what to expect after such a long break and with younger people today not much interested in this kind of music, but it was totally packed with a very enthusiastic crowd. It really felt like “we’re back!”. We had to make an intermission in the middle of the concert because the club got suddenly raided by the police checking people’s IDs as part of a city-wide crackdown, and that made the rest of the show even more emotionally charged.