Lets not forget that Braindance isn’t just party music, it’s also the music of introverts.
FluctuosaMUSIC . April 15th, 2020
We are very pleased to release our first PREMIERE on WERTN followed by our talks. It is the result of a fruitful collaboration with Fluctuosa, prolific braindance producer based in Istanbul.
When did you start producing music and what or who were your early passions and influences?
I started working as a recording assistant in a studio called Noseist here in Istanbul. During those days I would sometimes play the drums for some of the albums we were recording and I also spent most of my nights there going though recordings. I would always gather the ones I liked and bend and reshape them to try and get something. I had then already started to surf in wave form.
Record labels that I follow closely like Skam and Rephlex are and will always be my roadmap but inspiration isn’t something that comes randomly out of nowhere it’s more subject to what we feed our subconscious, every piece of music that I was listening to, everything that was happening in my life and everyone in it inspired me.
For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others? What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own path?
Of course I was like one of those little Richards (Aphex Twin) on the notable “Come to daddy” clip and I was emulous of Aphex always and tried to follow his steps in some way but in time I realized that my obsessions would continuously force me to be myself , to stay simple and take what I know and bring it to its highest potential. This made things like the time and certain circumstances I was in, closer to my essence. I mean one would never change Hopa’s air for Corwall’s you know?
With your own approach, what is Braindance music?
Braindance was coined by Aphex Twin who would, whenever his music was called IDM, say that it wasn’t that it was braindance :). Just you look at how multifaceted Aphex is (pun intended). Braindance in that sense is also not constrained by any genre and is free, sincere, humorous, unprecedented, lighthearted yet bittersweet.
Tell us about your studio. What are criteria when setting it up and how does this environment influence your creative process? How important are factors like moods, ergonomics, haptics and technology for you?
I don’t really have a studio like that. Half of my gears is what I gathered from here or there and the other half is borrowed from close friends. It doesn’t really matter where the studio is either but I can’t do without cleaning the space I’m going to work in. I have this weird obsession where before creating anything I have to clean the area like I’m collecting my thoughts in the process otherwise I really cannot work.
While producing, do you go with concept in mind and work over it until it is perfect or do you opt for something more raw and impulsive approach?
I always wait and let my gear tell me about their day first. I casually power them on then sit and listen to their sentences to turn them into stories. Sometimes also reshape the devices default presets and bend them to my will, so it’s a little bit of them and a little bit of me.
Could you describe your creative process of your first album (Gastropods)? Where do ideas come from, what did you start with and how did you go about shaping these ideas?
For me, Gastropods is Assos. Assos is a small village in Çanakkale. I spent 2 years living there and the emotions of the memories are engraved in the album. Pure love, the sea, some sand and the sun, the forest and all their existence. I also recorded the whole album with my Roland MC909 I remember forcing myself not to use any other equipments and computer or anything, I get fixated on stuff like that sometimes but I guess it makes me more of who I am.
In 2019, you released your second album R.I.P. MC909, under the label project of Vodor L Zeck, called zanderhythm. I read somewhere that you composed 8 tracks with your MC909 literally everywhere, put them on a tape and concluded the project with the annihilation of your gear. Can you tell us more about how this project started and why did it end like this?
Actually we can call RIP MC909 the B side of Gastropods. The tracks are remainders of that period in my life. All the tracks were made within the same timeframe. But because I preserved this fixation for a long time I didn’t get tangled up in any other technology and I just carried my 909 wherever I went, during that time I just started remodifying the tracks that were inside the MC909 which exponentially made my fixations worst. I realized that things were getting out of hand and that I was squeezing too much out of the machine and that I was forcing it to perform beyond its potential.
My creativity was almost devoured by my obsession so I stopped myself. I couldn’t and wouldn’t produce any music for a while so I didn’t. Then I learned that the point where artist isn’t able to surpass himself he himself has to be responsible for his own ego death. So because I wasn’t able to willfully give up the one instrument I made music with I ended up saying goodbye to it by wrecking it.
The 909 was a divine character for me in that particular story. And I do believe now that praising or belittling things is not my thing. Everything exist as a whole. And so now I can create music with whatever I can get my hands on without needing any specific device appreciating what I have and this in turn has made me more mentally comfortable. Ultimately what matters is what we ended up creating not tools we used in the process.
What are your next projects for this year?
As of now i am sitting on three complete albums. First off we are gonna start by releasing one from Sitdownandance and the others from one of the labels that we are in contact with outside of Turkey. Besides Fluctuosa though, Arketip and I have also have been recording and working on a project and news of that will be out soon.
Istanbul is a huge city where different artstyle coexist and interact. Is there a strong core community around Braindance in Istanbul and by extension in Turkey?
Well actually Turkey does have a quality audience for every type of music but all of this changes periodically and there isn’t much of a consistency or continuity. A lot of people love Braindance thanks to Aphex and there are relatively more people who know and are trying to understand this music, but unfortunately it seems like a deep-rooted crowd is non-existent. Even those who belong in that cluster are either out or on their way out of the country. But lets not forget that Braindance isn’t just party music it is also the music of introverts so who knows maybe there is a flock of other Braindancers who simply don’t go out. Presumably more than we might think.
We have noticed that some great venues took place in Istanbul attending some big names like Ceephax Acid Crew, Aleksi Perälä, Speedy J and more. Can you tell us more about Vayb, the promoter of these events? Is it still running on?
Pff those were some good times I’ll never forget. I am so grateful for Vayb! Our dear friend who is running Vayb moved to Athens and founded Salyangoz. And of course Vayb parties are still subtly still going on ;).
You are also the initiator of a label called sitdownandance, can you tell us more about it too?
Sitdownandance for us is the only channel in which we can blithe fully share music and our love for it without expecting anything in return and we have been working really hard to keep it that way. Trying to stray away from today’s aesthetics and staying true to ourselves, we are flowing without worry. We might say that it is also the only label in Istanbul representing braindance culture. We do have label night from time to time and get to meet new people. Our parties have even become the only parties for some people who don’t get out much attend.
We have been chasing some former Rephlex and Skam artists we would very much love to release something from them possibly on vinyl. We are working on it.
You have collected several autographs from top guys in the game. How did you get the one from Aphex Twin?
Actually every autograph has a hilarious story and I cherish them all. But for the aphex one to be honest being Turkish worked in my favor for the first time in my life :D
While I was traveling from Istanbul to London Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher) was in the seat front of me on the plane. Total coincidence. That’s how I got Toms autograph. When I landed in London I went straight through to Field Day Festival. Aphex’s stage was very crowded and I only got to see half of the show but toward the end I started looking for a way to get backstage, in order to get an autograph of course but also to give him sitdownandance releases on a usb I had made beforehand.
It didn’t seen so possible. There were big English bodyguards warning me with their eyes not to even think about sneaking in. Just as I was about to give up there was a vehicle on the side towards the way to backstage, and they had opened the gate there probably for the vehicle but had forgotten to close it. So I snuck in. But Richard was still playing and within 2 minutes one of the guards caught me.
He was telling me that I wasn’t supposed to be there and that I was supposed to leave so I told him the whole story how I traveled all the way from Istanbul and how I had been in love with this music ever since I was a child and stuff. But the moment he had heard me say Istanbul he got so exited and hugged me and insisted we take a selfie for his boxer uncle who lives in Istanbul =) . He said that I could wait here and ask Richard for his autograph without bothering him. 5 minutes later Richard got off stage and before I could say anything saw the record in my hand and said something like “oh your part of the family?” We talked a little bit then when I was about to give him the usb I realized that I had dropped it in all the hustle so I couldn’t. I ended up give him just a piece of paper with some sitdownandance links written :D
Fluctuosa is a Turkish Braindance producer living in Istanbul – find him on Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Instagram.
Credits / PREMIERE’s artwork : Aylin Kutku, GIF artwork : Zeynep – Photos : wertn