“I often look like the idiot – probably because I talk so much,” says Süheyl Gül to laughter in the concert hall. “He always stays cool.” The “he” he’s talking about is his older brother Sertan, who is standing on the stage with him in the Peyote club in Eskişehir. Together, the two brothers born in Switzerland make up the duo Audio Kombat, which has been performing their electronic music for over 4 years in Eskişehir, Ankara and İstanbul.
Away from the concert hall, Sertan is just as gregarious as his younger brother, and we had the pleasure to meet the duo in a café in Eskişehir. They talked to us about their musical beginnings and the music scene in Eskişehir, which forces you to become an improviser.
Could you please briefly introduce yourselves to our renk. readers?
Süheyl: I am a freelance graphic designer, and at the same time I make music and DJ.
Sertan: And I am a German teacher at Anadolu University here in Eskişehir. On the one hand, I’m doing a PhD, and on the other I’m trying to promote our music.
When did you discover your musical side?
Sertan: We started as children. Back then we had an old German keyboard that still used a fan. Then came keman, bongos, etc. That was back in primary school in Switzerland. Luckily we continued after we moved here.
Süheyl: I played keyboard, but that wasn’t really my thing, so I continued with drums. We both started with one instrument and then later, when we played in different groups, we tried more instruments. We were just experimenting.
How did Audio Kombat come to be?
Süheyl: As time passed, we didn’t want to just play, but also produce music ourselves. We did that for a while, but then our band members began to gradually leave. In the end, we were the only two left. So we became a duo.
Sertan: You don’t become friends with someone in order to play, it’s the other way around.
Süheyl: And at some point we were ready to perform on stage.
And what is the meaning behind your name?
Sertan: I don’t even remember anymore. We were throwing a few ideas around and at some point agreed on Audio Kombat.
Süheyl: It’s written with a “K.” It fits, because then you can pronounce it in Turkish. Not like the Darjeeling tea you just ordered. I can’t pronounce that so easily! (laughs)
How would you describe your style?
Süheyl: What we play with Audio Kombat is something we don’t usually do – we used to always play acoustic music. I think that being a DJ is not the same as producing electronic music. We aren’t deejaying when we perform as Audio Kombat. I mean, it’s not just electronic, you could also describe our music as funk.
Sertan: We use jazz samples as well sometimes.
Süheyl: We don’t want flat melodies, rather we search for something deeper. I often describe it as house, but it’s a bit different. Perhaps you could call it “old French house music!”
When did you perform for the first time?
Süheyl: That was in December of 2011 in Hayal Kahvesi here in Eskişehir. We enjoy playing live more than at home or in the studio.
Sertan: It is something special with an audience, you see how they are enjoying themselves and it makes us happy.
What has changed since then?
Sertan: Luckily we are more relaxed before shows now.
Süheyl: Back then we didn’t use any acoustic instruments, now we sometimes play the drums or bass guitar for the last few songs.
Sertan: There weren’t so many people who knew of us back then. Just friends and acquaintances knew we were making music.
Süheyl: A friend of ours, even after 5 years, still hasn’t had a listen! (everyone laughs) You can come to at least one concert, right?
Sertan: He must have stopped listening to music.
Süheyl: Well he’s a businessman now and doesn’t want to hang out with the punks anymore!
You were born and raised in Switzerland. When did you come to Turkey?
Sertan: We were born near Zurich, in Winterthur, which is about 25 km from Zurich. When I was in high school and Süheyl was in primary school, we moved to Eskişehir.
Sertan: Our parents are originally from here and live here now. And we stayed, too. Süheyl: I don’t need the stress of İstanbul.
Sertan: If I were to live in İstanbul I’d probably become a junkie or something. (laughs) So I’d rather stay here.
What is the music scene in Eskişehir like?
Süheyl: It’s not easy here. There are lots of venues but you can’t find a stage.
Sertan: The musicians aren’t as active or they leave the city sooner or later. That leads to problems on the technical level, as well. There are certain things you just cannot find here. For example, a friend of ours brought us a synthesizer from Berlin. Imagine what happens when it dies! In İstanbul you can solve things like that much quicker.
Süheyl: Here you wait at least a month for spare parts!
Sertan: Once, a button broke and on the next day we had a concert. We were so lucky that the guy had a replacement button. Out of necessity you become a technician here and you need good contacts.
Have you also performed in other cities?
Sertan: We played in Kite in Ankara for a while, like we do here in Peyote. Once we played in Peyote in İstanbul. That was an event with 8 groups on two floors.
Süheyl: That was difficult, carrying everything in and the sound check; we were dead by the end. But we did it.
What is the next step for Audio Kombat?
Süheyl: As time has passed, more and more people have gotten to know us in Eskişehir. But the people come to the concerts and then go again. People don’t often listen to us on their phones or such.
Sertan: We’d like to record in a studio and bring out an EP soon.
Süheyl: And we’re currently working on a single, which we’ll soon be shooting a video for.
You can check out the duo’s music here: Soundcloud zu hören:
Photos: Lennart Hölscher