There is a distinctive blend evolving from the Turkish underground at present. Electronic music at a crossover with folk, funk and disco is the flavour of the day with artists such as Khidja, Mehmet Aslan, Red Axes and more finding themselves inspired by something which sits somewhere in between a range of inspirations and sounds. Ave Astra lives in Istanbul and finds himself an active member amongst this genre crushing scene. He has recorded a Turkish inspired mixtape ahead of his release on his own Roit Recordings. Listen and read the interview below:
Please introduce yourself… Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hi, Ave Astra from Istanbul. I’m an electronic music producer, music enthusiast and also a music distribution professional.
So, this mix is built up of Turkish music and influences, how did your musical tastes evolve to as they are now?
It’s built up of Turkish music from 70’s and 80’s and I added some drums on a few tracks. My taste evolved from various genres such as jazz, rock, hip-hop, house and techno. I produce House, Techno & Disco Edits, and I've been digging up analogue recordings from old Turkish music for a while.
How would you describe the musical scene in Turkey?
The musical scene in Turkey is quite similar to others, lively and hip, but there are only a few good musicians and DJs in Istanbul and the events are not as diverse as any other nightlife-heavy cities.
How would you describe your relationship with electronic music growing up?
My relationship with electronic music started in 90’s when I was a kid. My mother asked whether I wanted a electro guitar or computer, and I chose the binary life, and digging into it ever since. We also had LPs from 70’s and my brother had lots of mix-tapes from 80’s and 90’s. I was playing with tape recorders all the time, and I was recording my own voice to these cassette tapes in those years. I discovered the genres of Detroit Techno, Chicago House, UK Garage and Euro Dance artists with those tapes. I fell in love with electronic music as I got deeper. I was listening Massive Attack, Snap!, 2Unlimited, Technotronic, Inner City, Black Box, The Prodigy, Marshall Jefferson, Afrika Bambaataa, Mr. Fingers, Frankie Knuckles, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, Paul Oakenfold, Cybotron, etc at that time and their influences are still present on my music.
Where was the mix recorded?
Mix was recorded at home on Ableton through on an 8 track tape recorder.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
A Thursday night in your comfort zone to go through all the open doors in your mind.
What should we be wearing?
Dress code is irrelevant, all the vibration happens in your head. Wear light to feel the breeze.
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
In a festival, with machines from 90’s, live.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
“Cem Karaca – Kavga” which is dated back to 1975.
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
I have more than just one, but I really love the mixes from 90’s by Frankie Knuckles, David Morales, Kenny Dope & Carl Cox etc. back in those days.
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
RIP, Frankie Knuckles. Because he was the best producer and DJ in House Music, and he influenced me so much.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
I didn’t have any specific DJ setup before, I was using Ableton with APC40. Now I'm using Ableton, APC40, 8 track recorder, Korg Volcas, Roland TR-8, MS-20 mini, FX pedals and a turntable.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
I think both, because I like to surprise with the first track and I like to give the energy step by step through the end. In this mixtape, the track I start is from Baris Manco - 2025 (1975) which I had a chance to get the original master tape and save to my computer. It’s a pure psychedelic, electronic track. The last track is another one from Baris Manco which I had edited in 2012 for FOC Edits (A Turkish Dance Edits Collective from Istanbul).
What were the first and last records you bought?
I couldn’t remember exactly, but the first one should be a cassette of “Snap! – The Madman’s Return”.
Last one was “Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain LP”.
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
It would taste like delicatessen food at the beginning, than shish kebab through the end.
If it were an animal what would it be?
Two doves, flying from one windowsill to another together.
One record in your collection that is impossible to mix into anything?
I’m not very good at mixing vinyls but I do edit them, and at the end, everything becomes possible to mix!
Upcoming in the world of…
There will be a new track (edit) by me, which will be coming out from Disco Halal. The song is also in the mix. I’m managing a label called Roit Recordings by which we release House & Techno records. There will be a new split release on vinyl coming out on June by me and Embezzlement Society from Ireland. Before the end of the year there will be another Roit release which will feature the talented Herb LF & Arttu.
Anything else we need to discuss?
There will be more Turkish cuts and edits on my SoundCloud page as well as Roit’s upcoming releases. Stay tuned.
Follow Ave Astra on Facebook HERE.