An Interview with: She Past Away
She Past Away took some time away from their busy schedule to sit with us on The Toilet. For those not familiar with the group, they are unique; goth rock and darkwave, that’s, well, dark for a change. The kicker? They’re from Turkey, and sing completely in Turkish, giving it a strange and melancholy vibe. Anywho, we got to talk about the music, Turkish culture, food, and everything in between, with one of the most unique and dark bands out there.
For those unfamiliar with the band, tell us a bit about the history of the band, and your influences.
She Past Away: The group was created in Bursa, and since then we have moved to Istanbul. We have been actively performing since 2009. We have published one EP Kasvetli Kutlama (“Gloomy Celebration”) in 2010, and our debut album Belirdi Gece (“The Night Emerged”) in 2012. We released our second album, Narin Yalnizlik (Delicate Loneliness) in May.
One of the things that has struck me and many others as unique is where you’re from (Turkey). When I think of Turkey, at least from what my dad has told me about the place when he was there, it’s not exactly a place you’d think of when you think of cold and atmospheric goth. How would you describe it there?
We are in the middle of Asia and Europe, and there’s an interaction of many cultures present here. But unfortunately it’s a Muslim country. It came over time and wherever there is Sharia it’s very restrictive. We still have to talk about any darkwave subculture.
How would you describe some of the current political climate over there? Does that affect some of the possibility of touring there and getting your music played locally?
It is very poorly managed, and how the elections are approached. We hope that something will change. We can not do a lot of concerts here. But this is more because of a lack of darkwave music originated from here and a lack of followers. It has done several events and concerts, though. We are a very popular band in the underground market, and playing concerts that offer bands that play other styles.
What has it been like being perhaps the only band of your kind over there, given the conservative nature of Turkey?
Actually, no. Many Turkish rock, indie rock, metal, and electronic bands are from here. 80’s darkwave culture is here too, rather than the overwhelming conservative is here too, I think.
How did you decide on the name She Past Away (which is an interesting play on words, btw!)?
You can read in two ways, and because we prefer it. It makes sense to post. We preferred to be uncertain and strange. Some mistakenly thought we were doing it. It’s pretty funny. We do not think that such a group must comply with the rules of grammar names.
You’ve been touring almost nonstop since Belirdi Gece came out. How has the reception been so far?
We’ve played many concerts after long intervals between albums. We went to some places twice and have had generally good responses.
Any plans for touring here in America, Canada or South America?
In the coming months we will play in Peru, Chile and Brazil. We want to play in Canada as soon as possible.
Any talks with labels over here in those areas?
The other point that really stood out to me is the fact you sing completely in Turkish, and the first time I’ve heard Turkish sound cold (then again, most of my experience of hearing it is from 3 Dev Adam and really bad Turkish remakes of Western films. Bad examples!). Was this a natural decision, or something that came over time?
If you evaluate it with the old B-movie Turkish remakes of films sentiment, yeah, pretty much. Really bad movies! But I enjoy watching them. The main reason is they speak Turkish and speaking Turkish is in our being, and makes us feel alive, in the way that best represents us.
What kind of feel does Turkish give that you feel would be missing in English?
We promise to make music that reflects our inner world. It would have been a distortion if we sang in English, and it would be far from sincere.
I recently saw your live set in Portugal. Was that in a cathedral or castle? The venue looks incredible!
Yes, it was a pretty impressive place! It was an outdoor festival. The church was a place we played in the castle. And it was enormous!
What would you say has been the best place to play live so far?
Hard to choose, but above our churches, and concerts in Mexico in the festival atmosphere are good. Those are the most memorable ones for us.
A lot of people I’ve known, and myself included, have always gone between goth/industrial/darkwave/etc. and metal. Do you see She Past Away catching on with some of the heavy metal crowd, and are there any metal bands that you like?
According to others, underground heavy metal is very popular in Turkey and from time to time I come across a really good group, usually death metal or black metal group. Last time, I found out about a good industrial metal band called Black Front, who are fairly successful.
What are some of your plans for the future?
Last week we released our album. We have an expected plans to publish within the next few months, and some concerts. [Note: the album was released in May]
Any more videos planned for the near future?
We are working on a new video. We are putting it together.
OK, as I’ve mentioned before, all I know of Turkish movies is 3 Dev Adam and really bad remakes of western television shows and movies (Batman, Superman, Star Wars, etc). Are there some good Turkish films or tv shows you’d reccomend?
Somersault in a Coffin, Home Is Against The Aall, Cheap Novels , Muhsin Bey, and many other great Turkish films come to mind . I would recommend that you watch Bulabilrsd with subtitles.
Any other Turkish bands you’d recommend?
Kim Ki O, Rhythm 0, Kara Cephe, Cenk Taner.
And, last but not least, I always like talking cooking with bands at the end of interviews! Any recipes you’d like to share, or good Turkish food besides the usual that you’d recommend?
Turkish cuisine is very rich cuisine, but unfortunately I’m not a good cook. I can recommend things, and things you must eat if you come here. If you are not a vegetarian, then try iskender and pita. And pita types of food such as meatballs, and dry beans for vegetarians, dishes like stuffed sarma.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for the interview. Our new album is out now, on digital and CD format and will be released very soon on LP. With love!