Onur Özer is a name synonymous with the underground, but despite years of DJing no one knows too much about Turkey’s first underground star. Seemingly flying under the radar and evading too much contact with the press, Onur Özer lets his music do the talking.
In a rare interview, we caught up with Onur ahead of his set at our 4th birthday to talk growing up in Turkey, his love of playing back-to-back, and taking his mother to gigs.
Q. On 26th November, you’ll be in London to play at Rhythmatic’s 4th birthday. What have been your past experiences of playing in London?
A. I always enjoy playing in London, especially Fabric. This club is another world and has an amazing sound system, which allows you to play very versatile music. This is very important for me, because than you have the chance to create a dimensional flow. This is a great experience for a disc jockey.
Q. You grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. Was there much of a ‘scene’ there?
A. It was amazing in the past when I started. Now, it is almost not there anymore. Sad. There was an amazing club, but once it closed down somehow the whole scene got weaker every day. However, there is a strong scene in Bucharest now, which makes me very proud as an Eastern European.
Q. I read an interview once where you said that “techno was missing something, so was Turkish music. But when they collide, they complete each other.” How much of an impact has Turkish music had on you?
A. Well, as many examples have shown in the last few years, acoustic music combined with electronic music gives a lot of possibilities. The most important thing is, this combination gives us many fresh feelings when we listen to it, which we didn’t experience so much in “pure” electronic music productions in the last decades.
When I said that they are completing each other, I meant both worlds: acoustic and electronic music, not only Turkish melodies. Therefore, the music I have produced so far had nothing to do so much with Turkish music, just couple of tunes. But for press, I think it was interesting that someone coming for the first time from an Eastern country in to the electronic music scene exaggerated a little bit!
Q. What was it about techno that grabbed you? Was there a particular track that got you hooked, or a night out?
A. My interest for electronic music, I never limit to techno actually. For me electronic music, “if it is interesting to listen to”, is something which is reaching your never discovered perceptions. It is able to make you feel 10 feelings at a time in one minute. I think this is the major thing that took my interest.
Q. What did your family think about your career choice? Have they been to see you play?
A. My mother supported me a lot in my career choice. Whatever it might be. And yes, it is still my duty to take my mother for a gig.
Q. How has moving to Berlin affected you, both professionally and personally?
A. This was a big step. Not so much in person, but professionally. I met with a lot of people who later all became my friends. We share our musical knowledge every day and this is priceless.
Q. This summer you played eight dates across North America, despite hardly playing there before. How did the parties go?
A. First of all I met with super nice people and had a great time in general, not just at the parties. Almost all the parties were nice, people were in to the music so much, and seeing many people who are following the music and seeing many local DJs who were still supporting the vinyl was a very good thing!
Q. Which was your favourite party of the tour? Were there any disasters?
A. There were no disasters. Every party was nice and had its own speciality. For me the highlights were NY, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Miami and especially the amazing roof top party in Washington DC.
Q. You have mentioned that you love playing back-to-back. What has been your most memorable b2b session?
A. Yes I really love it. It’s all about sharing the same moment and vision. During this year I had very nice gigs with Dorian Paic, Tobi [Neumann] and with Ricardo [Villalobos] and Raresh at Cocoon closing at Ibiza.
Q. Which DJ’s are you digging at the moment?
A. I really like many DJs coming from Romania who have a great approach and vision in playing techno and house, and most importantly supporting 100 percent vinyl. The rest are all my friends who are already very well known. As newcomer, Binh from Berlin who is also a resident in Club Der Visionare is one to watch.
Q. For someone with your level of success, you don’t seem to give too many interviews. Is that a conscious decision?
A. I have no problem to give interviews from time to time if they are interesting to answer. In fact, it is very important to concentrate on your art with your full mind-energy instead of concentrating on media and social networking craziness every day, which I am really not a big fan of.
Q. And finally, what does the future hold for Onur Özer?
A. At the moment I am working on my second album and some other projects. I don’t want to give a specific time, but all of them will be out during 2012.
Onur Özer will be playing at Rhythmatic’s 4th Birthday on Saturday 26th November alongside Livio & Roby plus residents Stathis Lazarides, Wesley Razzy and Archie Hamilton.
• For tickets and more information click here
RA: Onur Özer
Facebook: Onur Özer
• Interview by Simone De La Fuente
Follow Simone at Twitter @simonedlf
check Simone’s blog: Speaking Sounds blog