STORMWIND FANZINE ISSUE 2
SW: Hi Bulent, how are you bro? Thanks for accepting our interview. It will be our pleasure to hear some stuff about the early days of Cenotaph. Please tell us about the creation of the band.
Bülent: Hey ! Thanks bro, appreciate the opportunity, my first interview in more than 15 years J
First I would like to clarify any confusion this may cause:I am no way associated with the current band Cenotaph. Their last album was great, I followed the other releases over the years as well but that’s about it for me, that’s not my band. So if you are interested in old Cenotaph just relax and enjoy the ride otherwise you can skip to the next page now! J
The old Cenotaph was active from 1994-2000 with original members Bulent, Cem, Batu and Coskun. We recorded two albums “Voluptuously Minced” (96) and “Puked Genital Purulency” (99) and I wrote most of the songs which may not be so common for a bass player..
Ok here we go, rejoice old Turkish (farts) scene veterans and for others please allow me to bore you to tears; this goes all the way back to 94... Angelskull guitarist Unsal from
Antalya moved to to get some useless geophysics degree
and he was trying to form a band to get rid of his painful boredom. Batu and
myself responded to his advertisement which was placed in front of HayriPlak
and that’s how we met for the first time. Batu’s voice was too extreme for him
and his riffs were too thrashy for me so eventually it didn’t work out. Months
later we bumped into each other at a local gig. Batu said he was working with
Scalprum guitarist Orkun and they had been looking for a bass player and
drummer. During our first rehearsal it became clear to me that this was a
melodic doom/death band, I emphasized my interest in faster/ technical stuff
and showed them a couple of my songs.
Orkun quickly lost interest and dropped out before we even became a full blown
band with a drummer. At the time I had a friend - Umut- whose drum set had been
sitting in my room for the past couple of years. We had been practicing
together with a distortion pedal on the bass as a two piece and were annoying
the neighbors quite a bit. Umut was doing the vocals too while he was playing
the drums....good old Nocturnusstyle !! He became the first official drummer,
the band name was changed to Cenotaph and Coskun took on the guitar duties.
Most songs we composed with Umut found their way into Cenotaph as well. That’s
how it all started basically... Ankara
Later on Bulent from Suicide took over the drum duties and Umut became the second vocalist. At this point we had two front men; Batu was doing the growls while Umut was responsible for the screams. We recorded the first demo Life Immortal (95) with this line up.
For the second demo “promo 96” we had Cem on drums who had played for Diabolic Yard and Witchtrap previously. Umut was no longer with the band. This line up also recorded the first two albums.
Both of these demos can be found on the “Re-puked Purulency” cd as bonus tracks….
One more cd with the demo & rehearsal tracks is available from Sevared Records. But I would go with the re-puked option because I had the master tapes to all those recordings and was not involved with the other release. Probably the tracks on that one got extracted from some old worn out tapes.
SW: I saw your band in a magazine called ‘Rock Kazanı’ which included news about your first live performance. That only picture which taken at concert was amazing. When I saw that, I wished that if was there. It should be in 1991 or 1992. Your music was surely so aggressive for Turkish scene of those days. What was the reaction of fans at that concert?
Bülent: Yes that picture is from 94 and was our first gig. It makes us look like real pros wrecking the stage hahahaJ…but there are of course two sides to the story...This was the very first line up I mentioned above and the band had been active only for a couple of months at the time of this gig. We had limited number of songs and I don’t think the performance was that great. However, the songs at the time reflected our capacity as musicians and they wereslower, may be a little melodic and more accessible too. All of these combined added to an acceptable performance and got a good reaction from the crowd which was about 1200 people!
The other bands on the bill were; Suicide, Scalprum and Slamdive. Also, Catacombed from
was there to play
last although their name was not on the poster. Bursa
SW: Cenotaph released a Picture Disc LP from Sevared Records. The release includes an early unknown recording of the band. What was the reaction from the fans for this release?
Bülent: We recorded the album “Puked Genital Purulency” two times. Second recording got released by Hammer Muzik on MC & CD formats in 99. The first one never saw the daylight as the mix and recording quality was not that good. The term “good” here is relative and highly questionable. So it took a good 18 years to realize that it was not that bad but actually uncomfortable and disturbing. As soon as the perception was fixed we had it released on cd and picture disc formats. The response was a mixed bag. Some people were very interested from the beginning and some were quite pissed off J ...the second “some” kept questioning the quality of this newly surfaced record and compared it to their beloved official “puked genital purulency” release...why a forgotten version of puked genital purulency, why not the original record itself ?...
Simple: for me this one is more brutal and level of ferocity is incomparable. I am a collector of raw/ harsh sounding records and fell in love with this one after hearing it for the first time in 15 years. And secondly I do not have the rights and original tapes, artwork, design files etc. for the official version of the album “puked genital purulency”, it all belongs to Hammer Music and if they want to release it on vinyl of course they are more than welcome...
SW: I think you have had multiple contacts for the LP release from beginning to end and you worked hard for this to happen. Tell us the about the process.
Bülent: The process was quite involved. From the beginning to end I had Sevared Records in mind. However, this label is more focused on cd releases and he didn’t have much experience with vinyl and on top all that I knew he was pretty uncomfortable with the artwork of the cd version of this release. So I had to be pretty strategic because never got a straight “yes” from him regarding the picture disc. I talked to multiple record labels and worked with two artists. Mike Hrubovcak and Jon Zig. Mike had already done the cd artwork so he just changed a couple of things and made it ready for a picture disc release. Jon provided me two types of artwork after getting into some heavy discussions on what I am looking for. One was a complete oil painting and the other one was a black & white drawing.
The oil painting is extremely detailed and dark. Unless you put the flash light on it like I did here the details do not come out. So it could have become a recipe for disaster at the pressing stage. I decided to go with the black & white drawing because it was clear, not very complicated and was able to leave a memorable impression upon first look. So he colored that with Photoshop and after many many iterations on design details involving; colors, fonts, band member pictures and their exact locations we ended up with the final design you see down below on my turntable.
Mike’s design is below as well. Once I got these ready it was kind of slam dunk, I forwarded both to Sevared Recs and got the ok to move forward with Jon’s design.
There was one more problem to solve thoughL....
Because a vinyl especially a picture disc release is a pretty complicated process both design and sound quality wise, I wanted to be in charge of everything at every step of the process. But of course you cannot ask a label to release your stuff and tell them that you want to do everything yourself right?
Well, that’s exactly what happened here for this release fortunately J I talked to bunch of pressing plants, talked about options, got prices and some more. Eventually I ended up with Pirates Pressing. With the suggestion from label we decided to add a jacket and a poly bag. The biggest decision was on the 33 vs 45 rpm. As you may know the last track (most inner) on vinyl gets distorted depending on how close it gets to the spindle. In order to make sure that does not happen I had to work out the track order and their timings and did some research as well to figure out the best option.
On the sound: I had the original recording on a DAT tape. This was mixed and mastered in 97. Because I did not have the source tape with the guitars, vocal, drums etc. on separate channels, the only option was to master this again for the vinyl without changing things much.
I sent the DAT tape to Ron Vento of Aurora Borealis. He runs a professional studio for all types of music and he is pretty good at what he is doing. So he extracted the ancient record and mastered it again. The sound level has gone up and we ended up with a richer fuller sound unlike the cd version of this release. When you hear it for the first time bass is upfront but after a couple of minutes you start hearing the guitars, layers of vocals and other details. Briefly, all the details become available to the dedicated listener after some time. I am quite satisfied with the sound. And the vinyl made it sound even better.
After taking care of all these little details, I submitted the newly mastered record to the pressing plant along with the jacket and vinyl design. My final task was to write a description of the release to be featured on Sevared web page…
SW: I know you are not in the band anymore but you are still in the music and playing bass guitar. Do you play for other bands or do you have plan about playing in a band? And my other question attached to these; will you play for Cenotaph again in the future?
Bülent: I have been living in US for about 15 years now and had the opportunity to play with a couple of bands.Sacrocurse, Aversion to Life and Epic Death are some of them. But seems like my job and kids are almost always getting in the way. I have a couple of songs on my own that I practice from time to time. Probably that’s gonna be it for quite some time L On the Cenotaph frontit gets a little hairy JI tend to make a strong distinction between the old Cenotaph and new Cenotaph and perceive them as completely unrelated entities... sadly sharing the same name and logo... My Cenotaph was Batu, Cem, Coskun and myself as the main song writer...so in that regard Cenotaph is long gone and dead...Having said that; hats off to Batu who kept the flame burning for so many years and these two releases definitely benefited from that sustained existence J
SW: You are living in
Tell us about the local bands if you have contact with some of them. What are
the main differences between Turkish scene and American scene? USA
Bülent: Over thelast 10-15 years Turkish scene has changed a lot. We have a lot of great bands releasing products through European and American labels. I think things would have been easier if they were here. There would be more networking opportunities at shows, festivals etc…even if your music is good another big chunk of the business is how you sell it..So in that regard definitely being closer to all these labels, zines, magazines, writers would make things easier/ faster and better if you know your way around.
SW: These are my questions bro. Do you have last words to add?
Bülent: Yep, sureJ ….I don’t want to come across asanarcissistic guy but to this day I still do believe that to some extend the uniqueness of puked genital purulency is impossible to capture. That is not because we were great musicians (actually we never had the proper training) but the album was mostly written on bass with minimum tremolo/ picking and dependent upon the philosophy of discontinuity of time and space. That is; the songs do not flow…each song is broken down to its individual unrelated riffs and there is discontinuity. Cem is a great drummer and this type of structure let him compose his own songs on top of mine with the drums. Batu did the same on the first recording “re-puked purulency” with layers of vocals by completely eliminating the words…AaanyhowJ…If you want to have a copy of “Re-puked Purulency” picture disc it may still be available from Iron Bonehead (Germany) for those of you closer to Europe. If you are in the states Sevared Recs, Hells Headbangers and NWN should have it...