Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Cenk Taner Interview - When Did The Train Leave?"

Vol. 9

There should not be high-speed train, which would be contrary to its nature. If you wouldn’t watch around and enjoy, there is no difference either getting on a train or getting on a plain. The cultural heritage of the train lies there. You eat, drink, talk, sleep, read a book, watch around, and write something there. Trains already present these. I did not understand high-speed train. We have no right to make this. The Japanese have done this, it’s ok, but no high-speed train concept remains as foreign in Anatolia. Recently, everything has been based on alienation, irrational, with Mr.Spock’s word “illogical”.

Hi all, I want to begin with a question which has been keeping on saying for a long time. To be included in the middle of the conversation and journey: When did the train leave? You’ve asked nicely. Now everyone has their own spiritual train. Considering the western understanding, the lie is a journey as a result. The Westerners think so; The Eastern- ers consider the event a bit more cyclical. Their train moves a little bit more cyclical. Since everybody has their own train, they tend to feel train has been missed. Especially in our country, you feel this more. You go to Haydarpaşa, the train is no longer there. Then an invention, high-speed train, arises. Acceleration; destruction. It also emerges as a romantic idea. There is an idea of train. There are wagons. The dreams of the wagons is full. We have signed this in a song. This is not such a pessimistic question. “When did the train leave?” There is an irony inside. There is something like that inside it; Behold, if the train left, it has left. What can we do? Don’t worry, the new trains always come. What contained in life is related to keeping pace with the new train. The trains are always available. They were meant to go. It is up to you; you can catch or you can’t. The theme of journey is employed in our songs a lot. We have a song named “Journey is over”. Actually, there is an understand- ing of that one journey is and the other begins inside it. The planet is also the same. Seeing that people think that the planet is restricted with themselves, this would not happen. If you ask when the train has left, I say, if there is no train, there is a ferry. As long as you won’t get into car, we are in favour of public transportation, the more people you know, the better. When playing the songs through which the trains are passing, also mentioning the trains; I want to ask what the real train journeys means for you. Train, of course, is a very different vehicle from the others. It has a romantic side once. As you know, according to me, it used to be more enjoyable in the past, because the restaurant and bar were available. It was good at that time; you could go and drink beer. The kith and kin gets on and fills the compartment, or the like. There was a romantic environment. No car individualism. The railway has always been special. It has a special place for us as well. I went between Izmit and Istanbul for long years. Sometimes it gets very crowded; you complain a lot, but the train is populist. It is an instrument where you stand close to the people. I see it as an instrument as well. Actually, there is no car individuality in it, no taxi individuality. When compared to the ferry, it has a brotherhood with the ferry. For example, the plane is not like that. Ferry and train are in a different place for me. The world is like that. I love Japanese, the Asian culture rather than japan. The train is also important there. Therefore everything which is popular resounds warm. There is no elitist attitude. Of course, I differentiate the high-speed trains. Have you ever gotten on the train? No, we refused. They wanted us to get on and ride for a concert. We said no. There should not be high-speed train, which would be contrary to its nature. If you wouldn’t watch around and enjoy, there is no difference either getting on a train or getting on a plain. The cultural heritage of the train lies there. You eat, drink, talk, sleep, read a book, watch around, and write something there. Trains already present these. I did not understand high-speed train. We have no right to make this. The Japanese have done this, it’s ok, but no high-speed train concept remains as foreign in Anatolia. Recently, everything has been based on alienation, irrational, with Mr.Spock’s word “illogical”. The name of the first album is “Dipten ve Derinden” (From the Deep and the Bottom). The first song therein is “İstanbul, İstanbul”. In the songs of Kesmeşeker is always a narrative of İstanbul. The city is inside this narrative. Do you also believe that the cities have voices? Of course. The name of the first album was “Dipten ve Derinden”, which then became the faith of Kesmeşeker. We have been a group going from the deep and the bottom. The ones of us who know much have known much, the ones of us who do not know have not known much. Nothing has been available atween. Istanbul was based on the place where we live, and became the album-opening track. It also became the faith of th group. The cities are so important for the group, you can see on two books I have. Because I believe that the cities have a magic-resonance. That is to say, you can love a city just for its name without seeing there. It happens to me a lot. There is a city called San Jose, I’ve never gone and seen. In the south of America. The name so creates associations with respect to how the city might be. Every name has a connotation intertwined. My name is Cenk and yours is Asya, that’s it. And human has connotation as well, the names give the preliminary ideas, so are the cities. It is about giving the meaning. Kadıköy is a district, but when we say Kadıköy, what comes to your mind? What comes to my mind is a freer and more comfortable, more democratic; a place where the young people are. The cities are also the same, the name is very important. Mankind gives a name to everything. This planet has also name. You call it “dünya”, they call it “earth”. The name is closely related to the sound. Music is a kind of magic. Frequency, when you transmit that frequency, you open another door; and also opening the door in your mind. Music has been doing this for thousands of years. This can be applied to sound, words and magic stemming from the combination of those letters. When we look at the last period of Kadıköy, we see many immigrants coming over. There is a new appearance in question with respect to the reviving and mobilization of the streets. When you have to compare the old and the new Kadıköy, what kind of influence of this situation is on the city and, moreover, on you? Here is a metropolis, and Kadiköy is part of it. When we look from this point, the formation of a chaos as well as the order is inevitable. Like ying-yang, black-white. If there is an order, the chaos is right opposite. I can say Kadiköy used to be more well-ordered and tranquil in the days of old. Now it is not so tranquil but, I am not a man so fan of this tranquillity about some issues. There is no nostalgic situation. When our generation comes together, saying “Those were the days of Kadıköy?” Let’s not get into this, because I disagree on this at all. Actually, it seems to me that the current youth is better. They are freer and more robust. E production is still underway in the first place. I follow the young writers, poets and musicians of Kadıköy. Thanks for their works, they do and bring. When talking about the landscape, the green became a thing rarely found, this is a bad thing however; Kadıköy is on a later point with respect to other ways. Now it has more social structure. The unknown features have emerged after Occupy Gezi. Because the real resistance occurred here. The people left here. The youth, to whom everybody is making fun and not paying much attention, showed themselves. I was quite sure that it was not exist. In fact, the centre of the resistance was here. Of course, this added more value to Kadiköy. Here is fertile area. This arises from water and weather, from that liberty structure. Here is tranquil not by its structure but by its weather. This weather feed people a lot. For instance, when you go to Taksim, you encounter a commotion. And when you come back here, you say an “Ohh...”. That’s why, when we play in Taksim, we deem it away game. Every generation has their own memories, there is no need for nostalgia here. There is expression from Tanpınar in this regard: “İstanbul districts undergoes a change every ten years, and the life goes on so.” This a very valid determination. The environ- ment changes in every ten years. A music group should leave its job every ten years. A painter passes from the red era to the blue era. The innovations should be kept up with. As long as the essence do not experience a change, then we start to complain. There is no need to be so conservative, there is enough conservatism in these soils. This an uncompromised region. I hope it won’t reconcile, this is good like this, being opposite.
Ten years ago, there was 90’s generation. The most important thing in my mind from that time is the exchange of cassettes. Did you also have such relationships with your friends or loved ones? Surely, we were doing. We used to listen to records more. There were recorded cassettes. It was like the exchange of books. The records was a little more expensive, the cassette was cheaper. Music always remains the same, the industry resells this by having this listened in a different way. You can still listen to the cassettes, but the CD sells, then mp3. But the records are still played. Sterilization is imposed on us, whereas the crackling sound in the background is extant in life itself. There arises a situation; everything is for the capital, darling. In fact, a departure towards live music itself, as was the case previously. Could you listen to Mozart or Beethoven live? Is there any live concert record? No. That works is played from notation and transferred. We listen to the interpretation. However everything will turn to the ones alive. There is turning back to analogue in the first place. Because this is the foundation of the work. For instance, piano is analogue. The digital is the reproduction of it. This industry works in line with the purpose. And once again, Tanpınar says “There are impossibilities as much as the possibilities”. For example, consider a library, there are dozens of books, but you should know which one you will read twice. You have to expose this to a transformation right here, but human has a disease of collecting. I did this a few times, distributed my books to the young friends. You are packed with it again. Cassettes are like this, these are the objects not to be returned, and we tend not to return. We did it, it is not a sin. You put the books into a free circulation. When talking on music and innocence; talking on staying out of the market, street music and how far it can be performed, the idea of Kesmeşeker came to our minds. You said “Dipten ve Derinden” became the faith of the group, but we have seen that you have not shot music video clips a lot. You seem to have a stance outside the market. What kind of difference between the music at that era and the music at present? In the period we live 80’s, we experienced a military coup, and there was nothing ahead of us, we were finding anything gropingly. Seeing that an archive tradition is not exist in our country, for example, if you look for a book belonging to 70’s, you cannot find, there are still unpublished albums. There is a gap. The only name you could watch on the TV was Barış Manço. He had a saviour status. In early 90’s the rock bands started to be founded, however; as if rock music had never been made before, and there is an environment in which nothing like that had never been seen. When you launch an album, you go to Unkapanı. There was a situation like “Is it Rock?”, nobody is sure that they know. Everybody buys two-three album with the purpose of supporting each other. Then the industry have seen that rock music was listened especially by the young people, they began to adopt this into “pop”. One making guitar solo happened to be a rocker. Supposing that rock music is performed with only guitar solos. They reach the Anatolian sound with the employment of baglama. They were not interested in its stance, spirit and a different life style. We also occurred in that period. There was one channel, TRT. We have also been on television, but most of our songs were censored. When you are young, you can happen to be here and there, but we were unable to bring ourselves to the hollow popularity. Anyhow, you cannot stay outside the industry, because we launched an album in Unkapanı. We launched the album from Ada Müzik, we could not agree with the other record companies, because we wanted to be free. We were what we were. The audience adopted the group, besides they could hardly see us by means of the posters. It was not like now. Creating an event on Facebook was not an issue at that time, aura has expanded with the internet. I am speaking for all artists not just for musicians; the ones who do their jobs properly are heroes. They should be taken under special protection. There are so many things that make you prevent from producing. Now you have to alienate yourself from there. The ones who can do this are still alive. We want to talk about your solo albums a little bit. What will happen after that? “İzin Vermedi Yalnızlık” (Loneliness did not let) was published in 2000. I wanted to make a solo album in the tenth year. Until this album, we have seen many peoples not knowing Kesmeşeker. It was a broad expansion, and good. After then, “Yoldan Çıkmış Şarkılar” (Songs Gone Astray) came. An organic lifespan of a group is ten years, as I mentioned earlier. If you force, it can be up to twenty, maybe thirty years. As a result, if a single working makes you free, honestly, it seems to me that it will go as solo after this. When you were talking about your audience, you said “Immense Minority”. What do you want to say to this immense minority? They are everywhere, but are not comprised of hundreds of thousands people. But they are everywhere they go everywhere you go, to the concerts. There are cases spread from ear to ear. We have a missionary situation; everybody tries to promote, because there is such a love situation. This arises from the stance. I believe that we are made of the same essence. I believe that the maker and listener are made of the same essence. This is similar in book and picture as well. We can sit and talk to them, they can be good friends with each other. Because we are coming from the same frequency. An audience that bewilders everybody. A very special audience. What I want to say to them; do not sell your dreams, they are so valuable. I know it is very hard in Turkey; there are families, schools, government and dads. It is very hard to exist against these, but the one who persists wins! There is a meaningless word in Turkey, but very meaningful in the world “Stability” whatever you do, it returns to you at the end, unless, as long as you hold on.
Vol. 9
Kunter Şekercioğlu Interview Engin Güneysu Interview