Özgür Kankaynar has graduated from İstanbul Bilgi University and is the guitar player of the group ‘Kurban’.
Music is totally different field of study when compared to mathematics or science as you know. How did your immediate friends and family feel about your career choice?
At first, it was not welcomed actually. “Oh, my God! Our child is going to be a troubadour” they commented in a humorous manner. When I was at high school, I used to take different subjects but none made me as excited as music did. My father was also interested in music and he would play “the bağlama”, that is, my ear grew accustomed to the tunes and this lead me to arts. When I proved to be successful, people around me gradually started to support me.
I bought my first guitar myself. Then, at high school I met, Gökhan Özcan, a very close friend then and a very good drum player. We formed our first band “Protest” together and started practicing. Then I realized that I could be successful at one thing and I felt I could be good at it.
This is a rather funny question, but why “Protest” were you protestin g something?
Actually, we felt like protesting g things cause we were young we were against everything and we were very energetic. The idea came from this attitude of ours. Protest music could be perceived differently though, for example Selda Bağcan’s music is protest music. Protest name comes from the attitude and the spirit of it. So we put the name of the group on the floor to give this spirit. When the policemen came we had to tell them the name of the group.
Then we see you coming to İstanbul with your new Blues band. Then you travel to France and spend some time there. Can you please tell us about the France experience and then tell us the differences between Turkey and France?
I went to France after my military service. I spent two years in France, I learnt French, and I met new people at parties and places I had gone to. We started a new group there and I had a friend Olivie who had composed music and Anton was our bass. Our music was hardcore /metal and solely based on the compositions of our friend. For some time, I arranged some of their pieces. Our vocalist Chris also joined me in Southern France and we performed there together. I met a Marseillaise band I played the bass guitar with them. Afterwards we went on our to Italy together with that group. Our cultures were different but music was the only thing that was common. Religion, race and language. They do not matter. Music really is universal. When I was abroad I established good contacts and made friends. I am still in touch with them. When I was there I had quite good experience, more that I would if I had stayed in Turkey. From France, I could look at Turkey and evaluate my own culture, country and her systems objectively
Then you joined “Kurban”. Kurban had their first album in 1999 then you joined them. I am quite certain that you have been asked this question too many times, but I am curious, why did Kurban have a silent period. Were there problems within the band?
I joined Kurban in 2000 which was after their first album. We performed for too many years and released 2nd and 3rd albums. The group had for members and obviously four different views. We shared the same ideas and feelings mostly but naturally we had different perspectives at times. We spent too much energy and time on the albums, recordings and concerts, so we decided to have a break for a while. Especially our vocalist Deniz, was very exhausted. He wanted to give a break. It was an unexpected decision but we all respected. It was a year or a year and a half break. During this time Deniz completed his military service and when he got back we started again.
This could be a difficult question to answer; which piece you would choose as your favourite among your compositions?
“Misafir” song which is in “Sahip” album. It is one of my favourites. Especially the lyrics and the melody. Other than that “Sarı Çizmeli mehmet Ağa”s cover. As far as the music goes, yes “Misafir” is my favourite.
What are the things that are crucial for a band’s motivation? This is the main theme of this interview actually.
Just like in every effort, discipline and seriousness are important. Other than that sensibility is a prerequisite. In a b and every member should listen to each other attentively. Each player should be sensible about the instrument that they are playing, when and how and at which volume. Or else this could turn into a solo performance. I like to voice myself within a band within a group. Group spirit for me is similar to a family atmosphere or a close friendship. Everfy member should be sincere in their attitude and should be tolerant and honest to one another. Discipline, motivation, seriousness strengthens the bonds within a band/group. In time, members start to help each other covering each other’s weaknesses or loop holes. A different chemistry is established . If something is done in sincerity then the result you get is fascinating.
How about your upcoming projects?
Other than my compositions for “Kurban” I have other compoisitons which I would like to perform with my closest friends. These are electronic and acoustic based compositions. Kurban is planning to release an acoustic album, we are planning to start its studio recordings soon. This new album will be made up of songs that we have not yet performed and the ones from the previous albums. Kurban is a rock band but we talk about acoustics then we mean electro guitar. Our new plans and projects are along these lines.