Recently closed down venues and cancelled festivals and shows created a pretty introverted ''New İstanbul''. Despite that feeling-and in some cases, because of it- there are still many successful creatives in the city who use this ''New İstanbul'' as a means and space of production. We caught up with young producer robogeisha to talk about her creative origins and how İstanbul plays a role in her modes of production. 

You are one of the two artists joining to the 2018 Berlin edition of the Red Bull Music Academy from Turkey. How did that transpire?

I applied to the Red Bull Music Academy thanks to Seretan’s suggestion, who had previously attended. I filled out the form and sent a half-hour long demo. My recommendation to those who apply would be to try to reflect their personalities and their views in their answers.


You took the name robogeisha from a film character. What is the philosophy behind it?

I love this name because it somehow made me question my relationship with the music industry and with listeners. When I share my music with people I feel as if I am entering a relationship with them, and the type of this relationship changes in accordance with the role of the person. As this is economic it is also social. It’s very geisha-like, for example, the duty to fulfill listeners, and the responsibilities we hold toward the people and the venue that enable us to put on a performance, the need for musicians to act in accordance with the contracts they have with record companies. Musicians and their listeners are within a direct interaction, just like geishas with their customers. Even if it is not as concrete as the intimacy of pouring someone a drink, it is similar.


While studying industrial design at Bilgi University, you minored in music. How did you become interested in techno?

When I was younger I played acoustic instruments but I started to make the music I make today during my first year of university. I was constantly watching videos on YouTube relating to music production. In particular I was researching techniques used in different genres. The things I produced were boring at first but as I learned I started to develop new techniques and began to get more satisfying results. At that time I was interested in drum and bass and dubstep, later on I started to get into noise music. Musically I didn’t want to confine myself within one genre but yes, the music I make is closer to techno and noise.


What do you think about the electronic music scene in Istanbul?

I’m observing an increase in the number of those making independent music at home and the emergence of new music formations and collectives. In fact it’s not just Istanbul but Turkey’s electronic music scene that is developing. For example, in Ankara there is definitely some activity. Turkey’s political and economic situation made it difficult for international musicians to come, and this resulted in venues providing more spaces for local musicians. It encourages local musicians.


Do you feel a sense of male domination in the music business?

I do but this is not something unique to the music business, it’s something I feel in my everyday life. The most obvious example I experienced it through music was a manager claiming that I had the opportunity to go on stage thanks to the person I’m dating. Here’s a more vague example: I asked a musician friend why a record label that we are interested in hasn’t put out anything by a female artist. He took offense to this and replied “If the subject will keep switching to feminism, I’m outta here.”