I really would like to introduce this interview, but I guess that Anzeria did my job more than well and provided so many information about this symphonic/ prog metal quintet from Turkey. Founded by Damla (vocals) in 2009, they’re working on a first EP after lots of live performances around Istanbul and a quite interesting feature for Chaos Magazine you can find under the cut. Metal lovers of WtMiO, check them out and you won’t be disappointed.
I was quite interested by the origin of your name, being both a fictional world in a Japanese game and the Greek work for “protect, watch, observe”. Can you explain us a bit more about its genesis, maybe something more about the word in the Japanese game itself?
– DAMLA: Actually, it has an interesting story. I was looking for a name for the band and one day, the name “AnzeriA” just came to my mind like a bolt out of the blue! Then, I checked its meaning and said “Wow, I think I found a really good name” 🙂 When you search for it on Google, you can see people have started to give this name to their realms in some MMORPG & FRP games.
(By the way, the name of the Japanese game is “Royal Stone”).
– ÇAĞRI: I don’t have an answer to this; I didn’t name the band. But it’s very exciting to fulfill my longstanding dreams with a band that takes its name from a dream world. I can realize my wishes in this band. But what I live isn’t a dream; it’s the reality.
– ERKUT: I absolutely agree with Çağrı. I just want to add that you will find both your dreams and your reality in this band.
– MERT: I am the newbie in the band, playing for just 3 months. So, when I came, the band has already got a name. But if you ask my opinion, I really like the name. Because I’m so interested in games and books that have a fictional world or fantasy realms.
You started as a cover band, among which ‘Your Voice’ by Deva was highly appreciated. Is it better in your opinion in readapting the classics without losing its core, or to implement your own creative licence?
– DAMLA: I think it’s determined by the song itself. The song gives you this inspiration. You can just play a song as it is, or you can re-create it thoroughly. But personally, I like marking my own creation on the song and presenting a real cover to our listeners.
– ÇAĞRI: We could release only one record so far, but you’ll see that we love playing the songs in our own style and with our own feelings. We actualize this in especially the songs from different genres. Of course, we don’t try to take every cover song to a very different point.
– ERKUT: This varies according to the song to be covered. We really changed some songs and interpreted them in our own sense. We gave them a very different style. But I think it would be wrong to alter the core of some songs like “Your Voice”. I’m sure you will understand us more clearly in our future projects.
– MERT: Actually I’m a supporter of creation, but once you began walking on this road; you gotta pass thru the way which veterans had constructed. Then you’ll be able to create your own way when you have grown up. In my perspective, cover songs are the roads destined to the creation and maturity.
How much do your personal influences inspire you while writing and composing your own songs? How much do other bands influence you instead? Could you name some of them?
– DAMLA: I write the lyrics and vocal melodies of our songs and we’re trying to be different from the others, and also trying to be just “us”. But it doesn’t require an extra work, it comes from inside. I can write about love and hate, life and death, mythology, anything that the reality and imagination can offer… I respect all the bands, but can’t tell that a specific band influences me.
– ERKUT: There is no band that we can say we are influenced. But of course there may be some styles that our melodies may resemble as we are, too, listeners for many years. All in all, we can observe that many songs from different genres in the musical world are parallel to each other and even may coincide.
– MERT: The truth is that I’m a brutal/technical death metal fan. But I really enjoy playing with my dearest friends in AnzeriA. And because of my death metal love, drums written for the songs include much more double-basses, speed and some sort of technical moves instead of other bands in symphonic/gothic metal area. My top list of 5 bands which I mostly like and listen to all the time are Origin, Dying Fetus, Decrepit Birth, Death and Opeth
Which is the aspect you prefer about symphonic metal? How can you give your own mark to the genre, as a band?
– DAMLA: Besides my eternal love for this genre, I love the idea to be one of the leading bands of this music in the future, because unfortunately symphonic metal isn’t a well-known genre in Turkey, and it really attracts me to be the milestone in making it widespread in our country. And of course as a singer, I adore singing in operatic style.
– ÇAĞRI: The polyphonic and fast nature of symphonic metal gives me excitement. Besides the hard riffs and melodies, the delicacy of the female voice gives very different tastes. I love the tones of this music. We can’t say that our band has just the symphonic structure. We even feel free to reflect the melodies of our own culture on our music. In this way, we think we can increase the number of people that love this genre in our country.
– ERKUT: Symphonic metal is a very special genre. I’m a person in love with classical music. And I assert that today’s rock and metal music derived from classical music. Symphonic metal, like classical music, is a strong genre that tells directly what it intends. One day, I want to play with an orchestra very much. Our symphonic metal is a world that combines western and eastern cultures. We do and will always try to do our best to reflect all the cultures.
– MERT: As I said before I’m not actually inside of this genre but AnzeriA has great combination of eastern melodies and progressive guitar playing with one of the greatest female vocalists in Turkey. These are the main reasons for me to play in a band of this genre. I think AnzeriA will be the spearhead of a different music genre in the near future. Because our compositions aren’t the same as the bands that are playing symphonic metal and none of our songs resemble the ones that have been played or written before.
How was the experience of filming for ‘Chaos Magazine – The History of Turkish Metal: A Documentary’? Can you tell also the one who are not really keen on this topic, how is the Turkish metal music scene? Any band to suggest in particular?
– DAMLA: The recording stage of this project was really enjoyable. Of course, it’s just like a summary, we can’t tell the whole Turkish metal in only 2 minutes, but we tried our best to express ourselves. There will be many more bands in this documentary and we’re looking forward to watching the full version next year. To name a few bands from Turkish metal, I can recommend Pentagram (Mezarkabul), Almôra and Magilum. Our guitarist Çağrı plays in Magilum, too.
– ÇAĞRI: It’s very proud and enjoyable to have something that will remain from us in the future.
– ERKUT: Yes, I think so. It’s very good to leave a document for the future. Actually, we didn’t do much in this documentary, we just played and our photographer recorded us 🙂 But Çağrı, Damla and I created the theme of this video and implemented it together.
– MERT: It was filmed before I joined the band, so I don’t have so many ideas about taking part in a documentary. But I think that was cool, because we left something memorable from the past 🙂 Turkish Metal Music is really fu**ed up nowadays. No more creations, no more albums, great bands that split up. Thence there is no hopeful step. It’s because the conditions that we are in have been just focused on low-quality pop music. But I highly recommend you to check these bands out: Decaying Purity, Magilum, Morphogenesis, Carnophage, Cenotaph, Pentagram, Whisky, Nord av Snaefells, Murder King, Nettlethrone, Selftorture and Almôra.
I saw you toured a lot in Istanbul, and also at the University Spring Feast in May 2010. In your opinion, how much important are live performances right now, compared to releases? Which aspect of a live performance do you enjoy the most?
– DAMLA: I’m not dependant on what I did in the studio recordings. I can do anything on the stage; I’m free there. It gives a very distinct power and energy. And hearing the applause of the people is worth the whole world.
– ÇAĞRI: Live performance is very important to show the energy, nature and capability of a band to the listeners. It’s also significant in order to market ourselves to the new fans. I love live performances. I feel my energy multiplies. Playing by looking at the people’s eyes and becoming one with my band on the stage help me enjoy more what I do.
– ERKUT: Live performances are the heart of a band. I feel myself free there. The stage is a very special place. In the following years, I’d like to have long meetings with the showmen of this area and to welcome the audience with different shows in every gig.
– MERT: Playing in a great concert and seeing the smiling faces of people that are pleased by the music is an unspeakable sense. All of the bands wanna participate in a festival, concert and live stages. It’s the only moment that the musician and listener become a whole body, one mind. That synergy really feels good.
Always talking about touring, who would like to tour with in the future?
– DAMLA: It would be marvelous if I had the chance to share the same stage with Nightwish, Epica, Therion, Revamp or Lacuna Coil.
– ÇAĞRI: I’d like to play with a Turkish band in similar or different genre – it doesn’t matter – without having the concept of “opening act”. I’d like to take place in an organization where bands with different styles will play. Of course, I also dream of hitting the road with the stars.
– ERKUT: If there is such an opportunity in front of us, I’d like to represent my country in the world with the stars and with Almôra, one of the most successful and limited number of symphonic metal bands in Turkey.
– MERT: That is the most liked question of the interviews by me 🙂 If it could be possible, I really wanted to be in the same stage with Death or Chuck Schuldiner himself. That would be great. But unfortunately Chuck has passed away (R.I.P). With AnzeriA, sharing the stage with any band in a similar genre would be awesome. Of course the bigger bands would be great as well, like Haggard, Epica and Nightwish.
Which are your musical guilty pleasures?
– DAMLA: Besides metal music, I enjoy R&B and I’m a big fan of Beyonce, yes 🙂 We’re open to any kind of music; we aren’t narrow-minded people.
– ÇAĞRI: I’ve listened to very different musical genres in time. I listened to what I like; I didn’t limit myself, nor ashamed of it.
– ERKUT: I listen to any music that pleases my ear. Music is an international field of art. Every melody absolutely has a mark to leave on the ears.
– MERT: If you’re asking about other genres of music except metal music; I’m a great fan of New Age (Gregorian, Enigma, Vangelis, Enya, etc). When I’m reading, I prefer atmospheric/ambient music like Elend and Funeral Dusk. And really love folk music with ethnic instruments. Especially Celtic folk music. And also alternative rock bands like Nickelback, Creed and Alter Bridge.
I know you’re working on your first EP right now, what does the future look like for AnzeriA?
– DAMLA: It’s challenging, but I think we are a glutton for punishment 😛 We are producing more and more (even yet we have enough songs for two albums) at this point, we are trying to do our best and I believe we will get off the ground sooner or later. So, remember our name 😉
– ÇAĞRI: We’re trying to progress in this much demanding way. The geography we live in constrains us very much. However, we believe that we have a mission here. We know we will make people love our music. We just need some time. We will never give up doing our best and I believe we will reap the fruits of victory.
– ERKUT: We will try to attract the attention of our country and the other countries as well with a nice work. Of course it takes time. Maybe we are living in one of the most difficult countries in terms of attracting people to this genre. We may have to think for a while to find a very well-known symphonic metal band in Turkey. So, we’d like to make an AnzeriA album by paying strict attention to our songs and keeping them a little softer.
– MERT: To be honest, we’re in trouble with those extinct keyboard and synthesizer players in Turkey 🙂 Without this, everything is okay. We’re walking in the way that we have drawn. Slowly but carefully. Maybe we can lose our patience for our debut album and this EP album will become a full-length album. Who knows? 🙂