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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
First of all, thanks for having us. I am Hasan Koç, guitar player of the band Katre.
Two things got me into music. The first one is my guitar-playing cousin, who insisted that I should play guitar because I have a good right hand and good ears. This is what he said, I picked up this recommendation and here we are today. The second one is my primary school friend, who put together a cassette for me. One song in this cassette was Metallica – One.
I can’t imagine what I would be doing today if I was a stranger to rock music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I take care of my three kids, give lectures at the university, read and do some research.
How long has your band been around?
Officially we have been around since 2014, but we have known each other for a very long time.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
The band is split – the one half is in Turkey and the other in Germany. This has a huge influence on our music, sometimes we just miss those spontaneous moments - get together, book a studio, jam all night, drink a beer and talk about the new bands and albums. But from a different perspective, it taught us to appreciate our moments, even more, when we are together. Also, as we have to adopt an asynchronous way of songwriting, everybody has to understand the songs first, write his part, and give feedback to the others. I would like to think that this increases the overall quality of the results.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Aycan, a very good friend of ours the ex-guitar player of the band, came up with the name. The meaning of Katre is “drop”, and we thought this is so nice because it represents exactly what we do; being a drop with our melodies and songs in this ocean of life.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I have to let you down here. Unfortunately, we have not had many shows because Katre was initially a studio project. But now things have changed. We are so fired up to play live and looking forward to hitting the stage as soon as possible.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The favorite venue would be SO36 in Berlin, this is a great place to play live and hang around. Referring to the prior question, we do not have any preferences and could play anywhere on earth ?
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
The answer might change based on whom you ask in the band, but for all of us, I think Tool would be number one on the ticket. I would add Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Dream Theater, and Russian Circles to that.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Not that I like giving advice, but since you ask, one thing for a novice musician could be “produce songs and albums that you also enjoy listening to”. To my younger self? Well, with regards to the band, it would certainly be “do not forget, there is only a bunch of people who care about your music”.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is a hard one and as same as the question “which of your kids do you love most”? So, all of them. They are all loaded with a story, memory, true-life occurrences, i.e. with feelings, I have come to experience.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Personally, I am looking forward to playing the opener from our new album Behind the Resilience as well as “Looking for the Pearls” from the same album. They are pretty intense, groovy, but also consist of mellower passages. I am not sure whether there is any particular song which gets requested ?
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Maybe I can start with the second one. Also mentioned in our other interviews, the world is becoming a harder place to live in every day. If it were not for the songs and music in general, then I would not know how to survive, breathe on and endure life. Take our fourth Track from the album “Behind the Resilience”, it is called The Mermaid. Now one day, you go through the news and see a striking picture of a 3-year old kid, whose body came ashore. He was running from the Islamic State, boarded a boat with further 15 refugees, which actually was designed for 8 people, and drowned. You see this picture and the time literally stops. “This has to be another dimension” your mind goes because it cannot grasp – and there is nothing to grasp. Then you think “he, his brother, Galip as well as everybody, who drowned while refuging by seas, they are the Mermaids”.
The songwriting process is, as mentioned, rather asynchronous. I guess it is mostly me who is writing the songs, then everybody writes their parts, we discuss quite a lot until we are all happy with the results.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Since we are telling stories with our songs and albums, one might think that we try to convey messages. We do not. We just tell the stories. So, with regards to your question, I think it makes more sense to discuss what those stories cover.
The first album, Encounters, dealt with the topic of Existence. Who are we and how do we become? How does our journey look like? What is our bond and what paths are taken to grasp the feelings? Those were the questions inspiring the songs of our first album.
In “Behind the Resilience”, our second album, we are telling a refugee story. When we look at where the refugees are coming from, a common denominator of those countries is in my eyes the resilience of their residents. I feel I know these people, I know this culture. They do not give up, do not let anyone break them. This is how they can carry on in their homeland. Hence we noted in our album, “When the waves close over me, I dive down to fish for pearls” (Mascha Kaleko), pointing out a resilient philosophy. But what is behind resilience? The hypothesis is, refuging, migrating, leaving everything you have behind is breaking you, even you are the most resilient, you cannot resist. That is what is left behind. So this is the story of those people, those songs are dedicated to all of them. By the way, you can check out katremusic.com for more details of the story.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Oh yes, of course. This is completely fine and normal. We are grown-up people, we know each other very well and communicate transparently, which already solves 99% of the disagreements.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Yes, we are currently discussing producing a video – maybe capture a live performance, or shoot a short movie reflecting the stories we tell with our songs. In other projects and with other musicians, we experienced this, but not as Katre, as a band. This also applies to playing live. We are working very hard to bring our music to the audience. So you can expect to see Katre next year on the stage.
Thanks a lot for the questions. We do appreciate your interest.