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31 mrt. 2020

Interview met Silicon Empire

De 18-jarige Emirhan uit Turkije is nog relatief nieuw binnen de wereldwijde synthwave scène. Toch mogen we al onder de indruk zijn van dit jonge muzikale talent. Zijn debuutalbum ¨Umut¨, onder de artiestennaam Silicon Empire, is een mooi begin van wat hopelijk nog een lange en succesvolle carrière gaat worden in de muziek-industrie. Tijd voor een interview!

18-year-old Emirhan from Turkey is still relatively new to the global synthwave scene. Nevertheless, we may already be impressed by this young musical talent. His debut album "Umut", under the moniker Silicon Empire, is a great start to what will hopefully be a long and successful career in the music industry. Time for an interview!

Silicon Empire

Silicon Empire, can you please introduce yourself?
Hi there! My real name is Emirhan. I live in Istanbul, Turkey and I'm 18 years old. I got interested in music as soon as I started learning how to play the guitar at a very young age. I've been playing and making music ever since. What got me truly wanting to play music was discovering rock and metal music early, thanks to my brother. As time passed by, I became well-versed in a wide variety of musical genres and instruments.

Over the years, my musical interest changed from just a pastime to my favorite activity to lose myself in. One thing that hasn't changed is my love for guitars and black/death metal. But after discovering the feelings that synthwave induces in me, synthesizers have captured my interest. And I'll keep producing until I can find my own unique sound.

You just started with releasing synthwave music. When did you heard about this style?
I heard about it when a friend was trying to get me into electronic music, roughly a few years ago. After listening to some playlists on YouTube and hours of discovering random artists, I was pretty hooked and I decided to dive even deeper into electronic music in general. And then one of my friends introduced me to Perturbator's music. I can say that I immediately fell in love with darksynth, considering my roots in metal music. It was really surprising to see how a lot of darksynth artists had a background in metal. Also playing Hotline Miami 2 was a very good introduction to this genre for me.

Talking about your debut album ¨Umut¨, what can you tell us about this album?
It consists of four synthwave tracks with ambience. It starts with a rainy cityscape vibe with strings and sax, evolves into gritty synths, then drops to slow, heavy basses and then finishes with a slow ¨Drive¨ inspired track. I completed the full album within my spare time after last summer, but originally I wasn't intending to release it. I decided to release it later on.

My feelings about it are complicated actually. I was playing the Blade Runner point-and-click game and when Blade Runner Blues came up, I got so inspired that I immediately closed the game and started working on the first track Şehir. After I finished it, I was surprised with how it came out, since I was still very new to production. I showed it to some friends, and I received positive feedback on it. Thanks to that I started working on some more tracks, and the result was "Umut". I call it synthwave, but generally it's way more ambient than what's considered synthwave. I think only the title track fits into the genre. The thing that bothers me is that it's not really where I want it to be in terms of production, but I guess it's always the case when you first get started and want people to hear your tunes. Well, I guess I can just remake it now.

What I can tell about this album is that I poured my thoughts and feelings at that time into it. The titles of the tracks translate to City, Night, Escape and Hope. The background story of the album is the attempt of a man who tries to sever his ties to modern society to attain a state of freedom, in a contemporary setting where everybody is dependent on each other. I think it's really my way of expressing my wish of freedom. I tried to tell the story through the titles of the tracks and the change of the feelings in the tracks.


Which song is most special to you on ¨Umut¨ and why?
I think it's the title track, I like to listen to it when I'm feeling down and I immediately start feeling better.

What equipment do you use in your studio?
I have a guitar amp and an Epiphone Goth Explorer guitar. For production, I have a laptop, a pair of speakers and earphones. I know it's not much, but it lets me produce music. I am currently planning to buy a MIDI keyboard and some equipment for recording my guitar.

What other musicians do inspire you?
There are a lot actually. It's hard to name specific inspirations but I really like Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Jason Becker and Muhammet Suiçmez (Necrophagist). They're all guitarists, but their stories are interesting, and their music is nothing short of amazing. I enjoy playing their songs a lot. In the electronic side of things though, listening to Perturbator is what made me learn music production. I can listen to his music all day without getting tired. I hope that someday I'll reach the level where I can inspire others as well.

How is the synthwave scene in Istanbul?
I have no idea. I know that Turkey has a synthpop band, Jakuzi, and other artists and bands that use synths such as She Past Away and Bewitched As Dark, but I don't think we have a synthwave scene at all in the entire country.

What are you further plans for this year, though life is not normal nowadays due to COVID-19?
I plan to study for my university exam, practise my guitar, my music production skills and hopefully release new content. I already started working on a darksynth release, so I can say that it's going well.


What do you like most about the ´80s?
I missed the '80s by two decades, but I what I like most about it is Cyberpunk. The aesthetics of it, the setting, the idea of transhumanism being taken to life in fiction, hackers, computers, body augmentation and longetivity, offworld colonies and so on. I have an interest in computers and electronics, so I think that's why I like it so much. I like '80s sci-fi films as well, and I really like anime in the kinds of Jin-Roh, GiTS, Akira, Serial Experiments Lain, Texhnolyze and especially Cyber City Oedo 808. I can also say that I like Neuromancer, but who doesn't, if they like Cyberpunk?

And finally, any last words to the synthwave community?
I wish I had been introduced to this community earlier. The synthwave community is full of talented artists and musicians and I'm very happy to be a part of this community. Thanks for being helpful to and accepting a newcomer like me. I hope that I'll reach the stage where I can help others like this someday.

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