Güray from Istanbul chats about music and the state of the world today with frontman Hord of horrible old school black-and-roll terror-mongers OCCVLTA.
INTERVIEW BY GÜRAY TOPAÇ
• How much of your inspiration come from the city, Berlin? Were you born in Berlin or moved in the city later? Can you image your life somewhere else?
The city itself is not a direct inspiration, but I live in here since many years now, so the city is definitely more present than nature. It affects me very directly, other than the countryside. What I see, taste, hear and smell has a different texture then in our home area, and I believe if I would still live there I would write other lyrics, and Torm would maybe write other songs.
We come from a village in West Germany. Very close to the old inner German border. I moved to Berlin almost 20 years ago, Torm three years ago. I can imagine living somewhere else, yes, but I don’t feel like I am finished here. Kreuzberg was different when I moved here, emptier and older. That was why I liked it so much. Now it is crowded with young and wealthy people and tourists, and it’s getting worse every year. It became a place to be for creeps.
• Berlin is the biggest Turkish city after İstanbul and you probably are living in Kreuzberg, right? So what is your opinion on multicultural society in Germany? Do you think that it is successful model for now or will be in future?
I used to live in Kreuzberg, but since four years I live in Neukölln. Kreuzberg always seemed like a little oasis, compared to the rest of the Germany I know, with all the punks and Turkish people. But it never felt like we were all really living there together, more like parallel. With respect for each other, and sometimes you would penetrate the imaginary borders, and enjoy being a welcome guest.
I definitely don’t think that it is a successful model in Germany, and I can’t see why it should become one in the future, but luckily humans have the chance to create islands of respect and curiosity in the German society and that is not normal these days so I am glad to live here.
• A few years ago somebody stole your t-shirts and it was sold on streets by a gypsies or Bulgarians? Were you able to find who did it?
We can’t reconstruct how it happened, but most probably we forgot them on the street after the load-in. Few weeks later a friend of ours discovered them at a flea market. The woman who sold them said she didn’t know where they came from, and we got most of them back after talking to her friend/husband/partner in crime. It’s a funny story. I think the woman was a teacher from Hamburg with a German Shepherd Dog and she was driving a Volkswagen. Her name was Gudrun or maybe Heidelinde, and she was a protestant christian.
• Are all of your live performances are intensive as I saw on the Youtube videos? What is a definition of the great show for you? Perfect playing, headbanging, extacy or something else? Which are the best live bands you see or toured together?
Usually they are quite physical, yes. And that is how it should be for me. I try to reach a state where I forget myself and become the music. I don’t play any instrument, and I think mistakes can make an Occvlta concert even better.
Oh, I saw many bands during the last years. Most impressed I have been by In Solitude and No Future. Pelle and Gottfrid combined is gold.
• Are in a somehow “a clan” with bands like Maggot Heart and Wolf Fest guys? You were in their video at least, talking about Maggot Heart’s one.
I guess you could maybe call it a clan, yes. We share the rehearsal room with Maggot Heart, and the Wolf City people are also part of this clan. I did the logo and artwork for the first Maggot Heart EP, and also the Wolf City comic strip posters. Ezio of Wolf City and another friend run Teratology Sound and Vision who released the first Maggot Heart stuff. Ricky from Wolf City and Linnea just started the new label Rapid Eye records, and there is many more very talented people around us, and new bands about to emerge, and other projects too. It’s exciting.
• What inspired you to wrote a song about Nosferatu? Murnau movie or Popol Vuh’s album? Do you like The Blue Öyster Cult’s Nosferatu? Or maybe Repugnant’s “Hungry Are the Damned” which is based on the same topic?
The inspiration was Night of the Vampire by Rocky Erickson. „Eyes stare through the darkness with no form“. I couldn’t get that particular line out of my head and decided to write lyrics about Nosferatu based on this. And I am a big fan of the Werner Herzog movie and his portrait of the vampire, or Abel Ferraras The Addiction, but I don’t remember listening to any of the songs you named.
Anecdote: A few years ago someone stole Murnau’s head from his grave here in Berlin.
• Do you have any interest from labels or will do your next album by yourselves again?
I can’t answer this question. It doesn’t matter to us at the moment, and I don’t know what to tell you.
• In fact do you have any new ready material or ideas etc?
• You are doing lay out for other bands. But the cover art for Night Without End was done by someone else. Can you trust other people, how much they can transform your visions? Also how do you work when it comes to your artworks, do you care about opinions of the band who asked you, or do it straight by yourself?
I choose the people we collaborate with very carefully, and once I made my decision I trust their passion and skill, but usually I tell them very specifically what I want. The album artwork was all our idea, but I didn’t want to draw it myself, because I thought Sebastian is the better choice to manifest our idea. Same goes for the photos on our album, and the new band photos we recently did with Lupus from Kadavar. I give people a very precise direction what I have in mind, and from there I trust in their passion, and expect them to give their best.
I quit drawing a year ago, because I figured that I did never really enjoy the work itself. I am very proud of the people/bands I worked with, but I prefer being the art director over being the artist. But to answer your question: I always used to ask for their opinions and guidelines, because I never saw myself as a full artist, but as a medium to manifest their vision.
• What about Mirage? How it started and why metalheads playin’ post punk? And use a German lyrics when you keep Occvlta’s ones in English.
I don’t see myself as a metalhead. Never did. I listen to metal since I was 11/12, and it plays an important part in my life since then, but my religion is darkness. Stooges and Nico & Velvet Underground, Bellmer, Balthus, Lagerquist, Lautreamont and Bataille are my prophets, and they started preaching before heavy metal was created.
Cato and I became friends after playing a few shows together with Deathhammer, and when he realized we share a common taste in music from all kinds of genres he told me about his idea of a post punk project. He is an incredibly great person, and I am so happy to be the one he asked.
I always found it very tempting to write German lyrics, but it never came to the point where it felt natural in an Occvlta song. With Mirage it was completely the opposite.
• Will you do more music with Mirage? Who is the driving force in Mirage? And same question for Occvlta? Are you the leader of the band or you do everything together? How is to work with your brother?
Cato already finished writing the Mirage debut album. He is already recording it, but it takes time. Step by step. He is definitely the driving force / songwriter. It’s his project. I will write lyrics once the recording is finished, and maybe he will write a few lines too, and then, hopefully in 2021 we can play a few shows.
Working with Torm simply feels very natural. We know and trust in each others passion and skills. We discuss a lot, also with Kalt and Haut during rehearsal. Torm and I share a very strong feeling for what is Occvlta and what is not, and we are very patient with eachother.
• I tried to find more info about your band when working on the questions for this interview but there are only a few bits here and there. So you are not that popular band around webzines etc?
No we don’t get many requests from zines. It was different when the demo was released, but since then it only happens once in a while, and that’s fine.