An interview and mix with Istanbul native, Baban… »
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Such is the global appeal of modern-day electronic music that it’s appeal is very much not limited to Detroit, the UK or Germany. This of course, is a very good thing, as it’s resulted in a huge new wave of influential producers and sounds, many of whom incorporate sounds from their native country into their sound palette with impressive ease. Needless to say, you don’t need to tell us (a website with a sound indebted to Romanian-inspired house and techno) all this. Anyway, another such producer who fits a similar bill is Burak Baban, who operated as Baban. A native of Istanbul, he’s been finding favour with crews around the world, with the Romanian collective,  Tzinah (and their label boss Dan Primary aka Primarie) really taking him under his wing. The results have been brilliant too, and we especially recommend Baban’s Kiku EP as a fitting introduction to his sound. Indeed, one of the great benefits of running a blog like this is that we can sort deserving up-and-coming talents, and hopefully help push their careers in the right direction. What’s more, Baban has also provided this week’s mix, an intoxicating introduction to his many sounds, and we reckon you’ll enjoy it ss much as we have. Read on to learn a bit more about the man behind the music…

Can you first introduce yourself to people who might not be familiar with your music?

Born in the early 90s, I am a dj and producer based in my hometown Istanbul, Turkey. Going with the stage name Baban and my real name is Burak. Both the production & DJing journey has started for me in the year of 2019. From early childhood, the music was so ıntrıguıng for me that at some point this interest grew beyond passion and I felt that I cannot stop thinking about my life without making rhythms and tunes. I love producing groovy and hypnotic sounds, and love to use dreamy pad & synths in my tracks. When it comes to production i spent the most time to create a baseline where I try to find authentic and unique sounds and textures

Tell us a bit about growing up in Turkey. What was it like as a place to experience music?

It has ups and downs. Turkey is a place where it has a lot of history involved and when it comes to history there is always a piece related to music. Growing up in a very multicultural country makes me experience and hear different types of music created with a variety of instruments where it belongs to different cultures. And this taught me how to not look at music in an artificial way but seeing layers of the culture in music.

Do you remember your first electronic music experience there? What was it about the music that moved you so much? And was it as much about the music as it was the sense of freedom that came with it?

The first electronic music experience that I had was tiesto’s event in Istanbul around the 2000s.It’s been almost 20 years since then, so naturally my taste in music has changed over the years. Seeing so many people come together to listen to electronic music made a huge impact on me.

Can you tell us a bit about some of your early heroes in electronic music, both inside and outside Turkey?

To be honest, there are not many early Turkish heroes, since electronic music production really started getting recognized in the mid 2010s. However when it comes to international heroes of mine, Richie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos are at the top.

Does electronic music stand for a changing of cultures in Turkey? Is this generation a lot more open-minded about other cultures and music would you say?

Yes I do believe electronic music stands for a change of cultures in Turkey. However, I think it would still take some time since the electronic music scene is still very new in Turkey. I also believe the new generation is more open minded, due to information being easily accessible today it is very easy for everyone to discover new genres and events.

At the same time, how do older generations view it? Are authorities generally supportive of events being held? Or does a lot of it simply come down to money?

It’s difficult for older generations to understand this type of music since they were brought up by a completely different musical background. Unfortunately the authorities are not really supportive of this type of event, and of course as usual in most cases it does come down to money…

If we’d 24 hours to spend on a music trip to Istanbul, what would you recommend we get up to?

There are some nice record stores where you can find a variety of Turkish music, but it’s hard to find electronic music record stores in Istanbul. If you only have 24 hours to spend here, I would recommend you visit Mini Muzikhol which is the oldest underground club in Istanbul and go to after hours at Sumahan. It also depends on the season too, if you are here in summer time you can try to go Suma Beach or Kafes beach they are both located in the same area. Kafes’s music is more melodic, progressive and techno so I like to go to Suma Beach where I can find some minimal/house sounds but not always. 

You recently played the Istanbul Rooftop Festival soon, which looks really great and has a nice mix of local and international talent. Can you tell us a bit about how that went?

Yeah, it was a good experience for sure. I was lucky to get an invitation from the Istanbul Rooftop Festival crew for their 7th edition. This festival was held on numerous rooftops, which brought more than 40 local artists and some international artists as well. This year, they chose 10 different rooftops in the city and I was playing at W Hotels for a 2 hr set. The set started at sunset time, so the crowd was on point and everyone was having a great time there. It was a nice way of saying goodbye to the summer.

Your music has been supported by a lot of Romanian guys, chiefly Sepp, Nu Zau, Gescu, Primarie, Prichindel, Direkt, Vern, Vlf and more. What is it about your music that attracts a certain type of DJ?

I have a huge respect for all these guys and would love to thank you again for playing and promoting my music, as I am a big fan of Romanian minimal music! It’s an indescribable feeling to hear your music played by your inspiration artists. It shows me that I am on the right road and just need to improve my production skills.

I love to use groovy and dreamy sounds in my music, for that when i make music production, pads & synths are my essentials to create that dreamy ambiance. Bassline is the other essential key of my tracks, because I think if you already created a nice & groovy bassline sound nothing can go wrong afterwards. I also love to spend so much time on background & drums. So when all these elements are all together, I think you can come up with really cool ideas and your music can attract a lot of people.

We loved the Kiku EP especially. Can you tell us a bit about that one? And your production process in general?

Thank you for your kind words, really appreciate it! The Kiku EP consists of 2 original tracks by me, ‘’You’ve Got Issues Babe’’ is more micro house/romanian combines with a smooth vocal, steady bassline, arpeggiated synths and drums, ‘’Wishes Don’t Change the World’’ is a breaky, combines with punchy drums and hypnotic synth sounds. To be honest, I did not spend too much time on these ones. I would say, it took almost a week to be done with it.

My production process usually starts at night time and it goes for a few hours. I really enjoy making beats late at night when there is no sound from outside and everyone is sleeping:) I always try to concentrate on finishing a 1 track, and don’t like to jump on to another one until it’s done. So, when you have your own rules on music production nothing can stop you making good music!

Speaking of DJing, can you tell us a bit about some of your highlights from the past few years? What makes a great gig in your eyes?

Good sound system, good people and good vibes its difficult to to get all them at once in Turkey but i really enjoy playing some local clubs here such as Mini Muzikhol and Sumahan

You release a lot of music and never slow down! Where does this work ethic come from do you think?

I try to spend most of my time making music production and watching tutorials on the web. I have been trying to finish a full track every 1 week for 3 years! and it goes pretty good. The key point of production is focusing, practicing every day and finishing all your loops. My best suggestion so far would be, please don’t leave your loops for a long time because it is hard to get back to old projects and create new ideas. Always try to focus on finishing a whole track and then everything is gonna come naturally.

You’e quite closely aligned with the Tzinah records crew. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with those guys and how it came about in the first place?

Haha yeah, before I started music production & djing i was collecting lots of tracks throughout the years. I was following many labels on Soundcloud & Bandcamp and Tzinah Records was one of my missions to release an EP. After releasing a few EP’s from different labels, I felt that it was the right time to send all my latest productions to the Tzinah’s label boss Dan Primaru aka Primarie. He really enjoyed some of them and gave me a chance to be on one of their recent VA’s and then he offered me to release an EP with them. I was so happy to be able to achieve one of my goals in 2 years, my first EP from Tzinah came out with them in Sep 2021 as 3 tracker EP + a remix by one of my favorite romanian producers Vern. Now we are looking forward to releasing a second EP in October 2022, this one also will come up with 3 a tracker EP + special remix by one of my fav. producers in Romania! Let’s keep the name as a secret for now. 

Your sound is just as indebted to minimal as it is hip-hop. Can you tell us a bit about your love affair with hip-hop? And how it influences your own sound?

I have been a huge fan of hip hop since I was a kid. I really enjoy taking hip hop samples and adding into my productions while mixing and matching them to create my own grooves.

We also noticed you’re a big football fan, and wear jerseys from PSV to Betis! So before we go, who is your team? And who are you picking for the World Cup as Turkey isn’t involved?

I am a big fan of Galatasaray, since my childhood I’ve been to more than 200 games of Gala.

Sadly, we are not gonna be able to join the World Cup again, I would support Argentina or Belgium for the World Cup. Go Messi! 

Keep up with Baban on Instagram, Soundcloud, Bandcamp and Facebook 

Listen to Baban’s mix for us below  

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