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......::::YAYLA (Turkey)::::......
Realized at: 28th, March 2017
Author: Daniel Müller

Turkey is not really famous for its metal scene. Some people might know Pentagram who later known as Mezarkabul. But could you imagine there is also black metal in Turkey? It is! One of those bands combining black metal with ambient elements, is the one-man project called Yayla which just released its fifth album “Pas.To.Rale”. The songs are shorter and more compact, but the album is their best one to date, in my opinion. People hardly know about Yayla, so let me introduce this interesting project to you right now. Here we go!  

Hi Emir! Please tell us about the early days of Yayla first! When and how did it all start?  

Me and Merdümgiriz (drummer of Blliigghhted) started it when we were teenagers. We were listening to the most extreme music out there and we just couldn’t get enough, we wanted an extremity that was more than all else. We were spending a lot of time on the mountains just being in nature and listening to music. We used to do things like making demos on tape and burying the only versions of those tapes underground. Now we don’t do such things, but it is how it began, quite intense.  

Have you played in other bands before?  

I played in Flying Faggot, which is the basis of Viranesir. I might revive it with an album.  

What´s the meaning of the word Yayla? Is it a Turkish word? And how does it fit to the concept of this project?  

Yes, a Turkish word meaning alpine tundra. We named it that when we were 17 years old to express our enjoyment of being in the meadows isolated from civilization and the feeling we had when we were in nature. It is a vision of death, total spiritual isolation, which is what this band deals with.  

Which bands are your main influences?  

I grew up listening to orchestral music, pop, folk and rock from my parents. Therefore I always cite Vivaldi, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens as my main basis. The foundation of my melodies lies within orchestral music while the intensity and experimentation comes from more modern music. When it comes to metal, first and foremost it´s Burzum who took metal and made it into ambient music while still using guitar, drums etc. Next is Xasthur who pushed that idea even further. These guys used romantic music melodies with hellish atmosphere to make ambient music; very influential.  

Your lyrics seem to be very philosophical. What do they exactly deal with? And who or what inspires you for lyrics?  

Being a soldier for a war you don’t understand.  

You run Yayla as a solo project. Didn’t you find the right musicians? Or was it planned as a solo project from the beginning?  

I never think that I need anybody to make art. I just do it by myself; fuck people! I made feature length films by myself. What the fuck is a band? Having said that, Yayla actually started as two-men project back in 2007, and in the last album that founding member also came back and did the drums. The point remains however that other people are not a necessity to make art. My films by the way: http://merdumgiriz.org/Gotsiken/Films.html  

Your first album “Ruhizolasyon” was an instrumental album. Why did you choose to use lyrics later on? Or the other way around: Why haven´t you already written lyrics for the debut?  

I wanted to make a new kind of extreme music, a totally isolationist ambient music made with metal instruments. I also wanted to not do drums on that album, but I ended up keeping the ones I used for keeping the tempo. Good question, I may make another totally instrumental metal album one day, maybe without drums…  

On your latest album, “Pas.to.rale”, the songs are way shorter than before; all around 5 minutes, not 10-15 minutes anymore. Did this happen on purpose or accidently more or less?  

I suppose I was not very interested in monotonous and long music when making that album, so I kept it short.  

Between the last two albums, “Nihaihayat” (2013) and “Pas.to.rale” (2017) there has been the longest break (4 years) in Yayla history. What were the reasons for that?  

I made much other music in those 4 years. I also committed suicide and spent some time in the mental asylum. I felt like experimenting a lot with all the other projects that I used as tools. Yayla is not an experiment tool.  

On Bandcamp it´s told that there are also tapes available from all albums, and that they are self-made by yourself. How important is it for you to keep this old traditional cult format alive? Or was it just made because of the costs?  

This is the best sounding medium for me. It takes good technique to make great tapes and I like things that require technique and craft. My tapes got a lot of character and often my artists tell me the tapes I press sound better than their masters. I take great care converting the digital binaries to actual analogue sound. It is not a matter of money as it costs more to make tapes. I don’t understand the point of CD´s when there is better quality digital audio available. If I had my way I’d just make vinyl and tapes, but I don’t have enough funds to make vinyl.  

How many CD´s and tapes have been done? Are they limited?  

Mine are unlimited as long as I am alive. The artists I release are limited to our individual arrangements in contracts.  

All your releases (CD´s, tapes and shirts) are released by Merdümgiriz Records. Is it a real label or just a name to distribute all your stuff?  

It is the most real metal label with some 20 artists from around the world. I released works of artists from USA, Canada, Italy, Iceland, Germany, Norway, UK etc. We also did a European tour playing live. We don’t care about money or fame, just pure art.  

Is it true that you paint all Yayla logo shirts on your own? Why don´t you print some? How is the quality? And how many have been made? Or do you only drawn one when it´s ordered? How do you manage that?  

Not only for Yayla, but for all bands on my label. It started out as being a continuation of not depending on anyone. Then it morphed into being an artistic medium. Quality is very good; I only paint when it’s ordered. I am also a real painter by the way: http://merdumgiriz.org/Infernal.html  

What about the idea to just use an abstract symbol instead of a real band logo? Don´t you think it´s irritating to people that don´t know Yayla?  

All my band logos play on the idea that metal logos are incomprehensible. Well, mine are absolutely abstract! I always want to make my music and art a step further of the extreme aspects of the styles that I swim in. The biggest success musically is “Ruhizolasyon” as it became a total abstraction of black ambient, and also the film “Fear Through Eternity” (https://vimeo.com/76544669) which is an abstraction of dark dungeon music aesthetics. But I also do the same in Viranesir´s synthpunk albums and Blliigghhtted´s pushing the boundaries of progressive chaos metal. Everything is an abstraction and exaggeration in my art, so my logos only reflect that. I never do stuff to please people, and if it irritates people, it is good! I always wonder what the album is when I see the cover that I can´t read or an image of something different.   

If I take a look at all your projects (Funeral Of God, Viranesir, Blliigghhtted), they all seem to sound nearly the same, more or less, because you mostly combine black metal with ambient elements. Where exactly are the differences between them all, in your opinion?  

I don’t think this is right. They don’t sound the same. It’s just the genre tag on Metal Archives that says black metal and ambient for my projects, which is misleading. Most Viranesir albums aren’t even metal or ambient, but Synthpunk. Anyone who actually listens to my stuff would know the difference. I don’t need to point it out with words. Also, Funeral Of God is not my band. I only do vocals for it.  

The only exception is a death metal band called Red Bible Black. But they are from Italy! How did it happen that you joined the band? Have you ever rehearsed or just sent files to each other? How did that work?  

It is the same guy who does Funeral Of God. He is from Italy. I took his projects to my label because he makes extreme as fuck music and he started asking me to do vocals for him. We just exchange files, I don’t even know what he looks like.  

Please let us also talk about the Turkish metal scene, okay? I only know two bands actually: Pentagram (who were later called Mezarkabul) and a black metal band called Death Ritual. Are there any more bands you can recommend? And is there really a metal scene in Turkey where bands support each other?  

There is actually quite a large one. Almost every city has extreme metal bands; most ones come from the big cities. There are also very good syndicates supporting the bands and the scene, like Takas Pazari and stuff. Them and some others also organize concerts all the time as well. I am friends with most main bands. There aren’t many bands pushing boundaries though, in terms of content and form, they are mostly unoriginal and good worship bands at best. That is partly the reason why Turks don’t really follow my music nearly as much as westerners, because they are kind of primitive when it comes to appreciating and making art. They don’t like new stuff very much, or experimentation, which is what I strive to do. They like their kebab like they have for centuries.  

Is it hard to be a metalhead in Turkey? Is there a kind of witch-hunt by the government or censorship there if you are into black metal? And is this also the reason why you moved to London? Or were there other reasons for that?  

Well, in Turkey there is no witch-hunt or anything. You can be into black metal; nobody will give a fuck! Moreover, you can also sing about racist stuff, degrading women, genocide and metal stuff like that where in the west you’d get censored for it. The real witch-hunters that are a threat to Black Metal are Antifa, which we don’t have in Turkey. So it is freer then west for freedom of speech in that regard. However if you say shit against the government or Islam, you might be prosecuted or beaten or killed etc. Win some, lose some. However, those who would prosecute, you don’t speak English and they wouldn’t know your black metal lyrics, so nothing would happen. I moved to London not because of metal, but because of the general attitude of people. I have lived most my adult life abroad. I am no longer Turkish, I feel alien there. I just occasionally go back to eat some kebab and fuck cheap prostitutes.  

If people are now interested in getting all your stuff after reading this: How can they get in contact with you?  

They can e-mail me or add me on Facebook.  



Please tell me about the future plans of Yayla?  

More and more unconventional albums.  

All right, Emir! The last words are yours!  

Thanks so much for the interview, Dan! Metal is more than music. Push the fucking boundaries!  



Author: Daniel Müller  

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