During November 20-22
, 2015, Mustafa Özkent will play his album during the Europalia
festival from Belgium. The LP Gençlik Ile Elele
is brought to life on stage in partnership with a dynamic Belgian group, expressly formed for this occasion. The band includes musicians Sofiane Remadna (bass), Yannick Dupont (drum), Jean-Philippe de Gheest (drum), Axel Gilain (guitar), David Picard (keyboard, organ), Guillaume Codutti (conga, percussion) and Tadzio Baudoux (percussion).
Mustafa Özkent & Belçika Orkestrası
will play three concerts within Europalia
’s program: on November 20, in Brussels
, at Ancienne Belgique; on November 21 in Köln
, Stadthalle Köln Mülheim; and on November 22 in Utrecht
, during the Le Guess Who? Festival.
We can start by asking about the Europalia festival in Belgium, that have assembled a band for you and you’ll be touring again in November for the first time ever. How do you feel about that?
Yes, I feel very surprised. Even for the music, after almost 40 years, I’m still surprised, because I was forgetting that already. It was in my archive. When they called me in 2006 (e.n. Finders Keepers Records) to make the album again, I said ‘what is it?’ I completely forgot. We didn’t have the master tapes, we didn’t have anything; the company was already finished, the boss was dead. I had only one original record in my studio, so I made a master in a computer program. As I’m an arranger, composer, I made a new master; very clean, very good, like new. They didn’t even know I made a new master from the record. It took a lot of time for all those noises; I took them all out, one by one.
I think a repress of the album will be out in a few months, in the future. A new company from US wants to make the LP again, because my contract with Finders Keepers finished a few years ago. That’s why the people can’t find the LP now. I’m looking at the prices… the normal price for the LP was 25 $, and now it’s almost 100 $; or 100 pounds. That’s why they want to do it again. They sent me the contract, I think it will be out in a few months; only LP, not CD. Because the DJs, they prefer this. Many DJs don’t like CDs, they prefer vinyl.
And then, it was two years ago when Chris (DJ soFa
) called me. He proposed me to make a concert. I said ‘no, I can’t’. ‘Why?’ First of all, because I don’t have time. Secondly, the band is not the same anymore. The two musicians are already dead. So I said I can’t. But he insisted. And then, he called me again for the Europalia
, he came to Istanbul and he said he wants me to play Europalia in Belgium. He came to Istanbul two times. He said ‘I have a band; it will be very easy for you. You will only take your guitar and the band will be ready to accompany you on stage. They like your music, they rehearse your music, they know it.’ So I sent them the CDs, the partitions, the arrangements and they started to rehearse already in Belgium.
So, all this is still a surprise. Like a miracle! After 40 years…
These musicians playing in this album, this orchestra is not mine. The musicians playing in there, in studio, the old ones, they are not my orchestra. We used to play together in studios for every production made in Istanbul. At Evren Records
. I was playing with them, I was accompanying the others. Always the same group. They were the best musicians of Istanbul.
And then I built my orchestra, but it was very long after. Because the musicians have to be the best. But in Belgium, with Belçika Orkestrası
, I don’t know the musicians, but I trust Chris.
So at Europalia you will play only the old songs from your album 'Gençlik Ile Elele'?
Only the tracks from the album, nothing else. But each track will be longer. They asked me why are the tracks so short? Because technically, in that time, around the ‘70s, it was not possible to make albums longer than 30 minutes. Maximum 35 minutes. But now, with the new technology, you can do anything you want.