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Finding the “Balance” naturally: Kamufle & Lara Di Lara

Blog
Finding the “Balance” naturally: Kamufle & Lara Di Lara

27.09.2021

Interview: Biçem Kaya

Kamufle & Lara Di Lara, who will be on stage at Müze Gazhane on October 2 as part of the 31st Akbank Jazz Festival, answered our questions on their collaborative EP Denge [Balance] which came to life during the pandemic, being on stage again and their musical practices.

You shared Denge EP in the early days of June. A-Bacchus, Da Poet, Barış Demirel are among the guests. How did the idea of this collaborative EP come about?

Lara Di Lara: It started without much planning and in a natural way. Kamufle and I of course knew each other through music but we had never actually met. We met backstage of a Da Poet show that we both performed as guests. Our vibes matched and we became friends. Then quite quickly, we found ourselves making music together! After we started, the rest was easy together with such valuable musicians.

Kamufle: I have known Dilara since the 123 project. Babylon backstage was the first time we got together. I was already into making a single with Dilara. I sent her 4-5 beats and then those 4-5 beats became 45 beats and we found ourselves in a purely natural production and friendship process. Denge was created through sending each other demo recordings while we were staying home, and it was decked out by the musician friends surrounding us. 

In terms of each other’s solo creations, what are some of the nuances that you find attractive and that push you to work together?

L: I believe Kamufle is a true music person. Instead of following after the formulaic and similar sounds that float around, he is always after sounds of his own world, which I find impressive and pleasing. Although we make different music, I believe we intersect at feelings and approaches. I also think the solid friendship we’ve built is also effective in our collaboration. Both of us being open to taking different roads and trying new ways might be the one defining aspect of the work we create together.

K: I believe Dilara has a very distinct musical style. The depth in her lyrics and her ability to observe are rare skills. Her vocals are water-like but inside that serenity lies a dangerous rebellion, just like in rap music. I think we are both walking the same path spiritually. Therefore we can say that the Denge EP was destined to be.

Denge holds the dynamism of two different musical characters. How does this atmosphere correspond to the writing process? Can you talk about the production process of the EP?

L: Since we go on our way and we put ourselves, as we are, in our work, the dynamism reflects on our music. We didn’t force anything and we created a flow by holding onto our musical characters. The lyrics came to be through brainstorming sessions, keywords, sentences, long conversations or meetings in this flow. The tracks by A-Bacchus became one of the base materials of the musical creation. Amazing touches by Da Poet and Barış Demirel were the complements of the EP. The creation process took place partially physically and partially digitally. With the pandemic, it was difficult to get together so we were forced to work on computers at times. 

K: Because of the pandemic, we recorded the vocals at home and sent them to each other. This could actually be risky since we would be making music together for the first time but the songs came out very smoothly. When the coronavirus measures started to loosen, we had the chance to physically get together and revise the songs. With the arrangement of Yiğit Avcı's keyboards, Barış Demirel’s trumpets and Da Poet’s scratches for the song “Hissizleşmiş” on top of A-Bacchus’ tracks, Denge EP became a unique project.

Melih Kun directed the videos “Hissizleşmiş” –which takes place in a sand quarry–, and “Gidesim Var” –which is soaked in the chaos of Istanbul. They are both shot on smartphone cameras. How much are you involved in creating these visual accompanists?

L: Frankly, in terms of the visual aspects of the videos, we gave Melih full control. He and his wonderful team are the sole creators of the visual world. We talked about the ideas in a couple of Zoom meetings and then took action. I surely admire how he created such different worlds through a smartphone camera.

K: I was worried at first because they would be shot on smartphone cameras but Melih and his team did a wonderful job. They analyzed the songs very well and elevated their messages to an impressive visual level.

In the interview you did for Bant Mag., you talk about how you discovered that you could make music alone during the pandemic. In a way, Denge is a collaborative project that came to be at a time when you discovered the power of being solo. Are you planning an album too? What do you dream about the future of this partnership?

L: Yes, once again, I truly lived through the power of being solo. Being unavoidably alone and trying to create within these limits have been a positive experience for me. Apart from this, as someone who has experienced the unique power of togetherness as well, I said “Now that the circumstances call us to stay home, so why can’t we be together in this way” and created Denge with Kamufle. We definitely have plans for the future! We have already started working on an album. On the other hand, with the enthusiasm of finally being able to be back on stage, we started playing Denge shows. Our biggest dream is to be able to tour and meet the listener more frequently!

K: I started working around rap music at a very early age so I am someone who knows the power of solo very well. Over the years, I learned to live off my own bat. At the same time, since I am with a hip hop community, I’ve made music with many fellow friends in this world. When I came across a heart that shares the same feelings with me in a different dimension and in a different world, I rediscovered that togetherness, indulgence and experience are very valuable things. We started working on our album with Dilara and my biggest wish is to be able to keep this project alive for years together. And playing many many shows!

You both released solo recordings Sudaki Çığlık and 19T during lockdown and therefore they could not properly meet the listener. How does it feel to be on stage again and playing as part of the 31st Akbank Jazz Festival?

L: I guess this has been the most depressing and most affecting aspect of the pandemic for me: not being able to play shows and not being able to get together. Now that –although carefully– we get more and more together, I feel amazing and, also hopeful about playing Akbank Jazz Festival, which has been a festival I really love and respect. I am very excited to meet the listener and the audience with our team of excellent musicians!

K: We released our solo albums at similar times and we were both hurt by the same troubles, but it’s over now. I have been following Akbank Jazz Festival events for many years. Being part of such a beautiful project with valuable musicians makes me super happy as a rap musician! Dilara and I, together with our neat team, will make all our guests live an unforgettable evening. 

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