Two things that many people in the music business lack today are boldness and originality; because it takes some audacity and inventiveness to stand out from the crowd, but even more to have the constant interest to discover and experiment with unflinching determination different musical backgrounds and genres. Gecko Chamber are two bright, fearless daredevils that have decided to go on an adventure, and to embark a thriving battalion of enthusiasts across the Bosphorus all the way up to the UK along with them. Two weeks ago, their first album “The Other Side of Sanity” was released, and their intricately playful, psychedelically dark tones are a true delight for the ears. From throbbing, exuberant melodies to layered waves of mysterious, dusky percussions Gecko Chamber have this captivating and unchanging quality to excite the body and trigger a progressive, almost unnerving curiosity. Without a doubt Cem and Coskun, the two Geckos, are set to fluster and shake up more than one ear with their balanced brews of warm, sweeping tunes, dubby beats and vividly entangled layers of experimentation.
Graziella Buontempo: Who are Gecko Chamber?
Gecko Chamber: Hello! Gecko Chamber are just another drop of water in the ocean, but namely we are Coskun Akmeric and Cem Serter.
GB: Describe each other in 3 words.
GC: Coskun is zen, intelligent, and unique, while Cem is insane, creative, and hyper.
GB: How did you come up with such an unusual name?
GC: Our name is just a word-play on the phrase echo chamber; which was a purpose-built room, long before the dawn of effects units, with loads of microphones and speakers and reflective, jagged surfaces. Engineers used these chambers to create artificial echo and delay effects, so what you would do is for example blast the vocals into the echo chamber, and the microphones would pick up the new sound, the one that includes all the echoes from the sound bouncing around the walls, and ta-da!
GB: How do you complement and differentiate each other? Do you always get along? Is there one of you that spends more time producing rather than actually playing and vice versa? Or is there total balance between you two?
GC: Absolute, total 100 per cent balance between us. We don’t always agree, but we do always get along. We forged a brotherly bond spanning over a decade; we know each other inside out, we know how to talk to each other, how to behave and treat one another.
GB: Your debut album “The Other Side of Sanity” is set for release on February 27th. What is the inspiration behind it? Tell us about its process of creation.
GC: OSOS is a concept album, one that was born out of difficulties in our lives. It began accidentally and working on it quickly became our soul cleansing ritual, our therapy.
(Click on the player below to listen to an amazing exclusive set Gecko Chamber recorded especially for this blog!)
GB: What is your studio setup? Is there any analog in your productions? How important is analog vs. digital to you?
GC: Ahh..the question that’ll never get old The heart of our studio is Ableton Live, because it’s the most intuitive software DAW out there; the distance between idea and product is so short it just allows you to focus on the creative side of things more than things like Pro Tools. We love our microKorg digital synth, its really deep bass sounds and rolling pads provide much of the character of our debut album. And for drums and percussion we’re fairly obsessed by Motu BPM, Maschine, and BFD…We constantly try to minimize our equipment to maximize our productivity, because it’s so easy to lose yourself in presets and settings and samples..like Woody Allen, we believe the best an idea can ever be is when it’s in your head, it’s just a matter of how much you ruin it as you try to turn it into a finished product.
Our opinion is that analog and digital have different benefits and shortcomings, so we edit our set up depending on what’s most important for that project or show, just as an example, digital gear is more reliable for live shows, in general cheaper, and easier to manipulate while the analog sound just feels more natural and attractive to the human ear. For The Other Side of Sanity the majority of our gear was digital but we have made great use of our Moog Little Phatty synth and our hand-built analog SSL master-buss compressor clone, not to mention a Takamine Iki semi-acoustic guitar, a Fender Precision bass guitar and a Gibson SG electric one.
GB: Your upcoming album “The Other Side of Sanity” stands out for its very experimental tones. I personally do not feel it falls under the category of minimalism as there are so many intricate layers and a lot of playful, psychedelic elements. Some tracks, like “Substance P” and “White Lies” almost feel like listening to a live electronic orchestra (something like Francesco Tristano’s collaborations with Carl Craig mixed with more exuberant Marian-like elements), with processed strings, percussions, xylophones and a ton of different, small sounds. Your sound spans in every direction, and this is often something very difficult to achieve. How important are these elements? What is the general feel you like to infuse your productions with?
GC: Well, you’ve actually nailed it. Marek Hemmann is forever our number one and we are die-hard fans, so it’s extremely gratifying to be mentioned in the same breath as him! However, we’re not writers, if we could convey the emotions via words we wouldn’t have settled for the abstract language of sounds.
GB: When building such layered tracks as yours, how do you start your work? Do you have any special ingredients? Any recurring elements?
GC: We don’t have a specific process, in fact every track has it’s own process and method, we go by feel more than anything else, and we obey the voices in our heads and see where they take us.
GB: What are your plans after the release of “The Other Side of Sanity”? Any upcoming projects or collaborations?
GC: We’ve just released “The Other Side of Sanity” with great reception, “500” made it to number 3 in the “10 Must Hear Electronica” tracks on Beatport. Our main focus until fall 2012 is gigging, however we have a few projects in the pipeline…We will be mixing Matthis Meyer’s debut EP as well as remixing some tracks from upcoming Low Brow artists.
GB: It seems that more and more people want to launch themselves in the musical industry, and even electronic, techno, tech-house, and minimal music are evermore commercialized (think about the entire “new-disco” wave with Hot Natured that can be heard literally everywhere right now). What can artists and producers do in order to keep the music going on for the sole sake of music, rather than image, business and a bunch of people who have growing bad taste?
GC: Writing music for money will always have some degree or another of pressure from the audience, critics and venues. Especially now that we’re at such a strange junction where barriers to entry into the field are so low thanks to technological advances, it seems a lot of people want to make music to try and impress others as opposed to channeling their emotions through a positive, creative outlet. We compose music to stay sane and clear-headed. But you have to pay the bills, and stroke the ego as well, and that’s where playing gigs comes in. We firmly believe that hard work is the reward itself, not a means to an end like fame.
GB: What are five EP’s that have changed your perception of music?
GC: Too many EP’s contend for the same slot, so we’ll list you 5 albums instead:
Marian – Only Our Hearts to Lose
Dillon – This Silence Kills
John Frusciante – Shadows Collide With People
Fritz Kalkbrenner – Here Today Gone Tomorrow
SBTRKT – SBTRKT
(Click on the player below to listen to Gecko Chamber’s album “The Other Side of Sanity”!)