Kerem Özyeğen (guitar) | Harun Tekin (vocals/guitar) | Burak Güven (bass) | Kerem Kabadayı (drums)
Turkey's primary rock group mor ve ötesi was established in Istanbul by four high school friends. The band had already released three albums before the band redefined Turkish rock music with its groundbreaking, quarter-million-selling 4th album Dünya Yalan Söylüyor. The past seven years following this success saw the band in heavy creative, live and promotional activity. On the live scene, some remarkable moments arose when mor ve ötesi headlined or played numerous major open-air festivals and gigs alongside acts such as R.E.M, Travis, Morrissey, Interpol, Marilyn Manson, James, Groove Armada, Placebo, in addition to about 500 concerts, 5 domestic nationwide tours, 3 European tours (w/ 25 sold-out shows in Germany) under their belt. mor ve ötesi also represented Turkey in Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia. Today, with 6 studio and 1 compilation albums, 22 singles / music videos, more than half a million albums sold and millions of fans around the world, the band continues to be one of the most distinguished international ambassadors of Turkish rock music. The new album Güneşi Beklerken is due for release mid-December.
mor ve ötesi was established in 1995 by four close high school friends in Istanbul, Turkey. The first album Şehir was released in June 1996 by Ada Müzik, a record label known for hosting and championing local talent with an edge and originality who would venture into unchartered musical and lyrical territories. Off the album, the first single “Yalnız Şarkı” and its corresponding video garnered some popular interest and the album received critical acclaim.
1997 saw the band’s first show outside its hometown at ODTÜ (Middle East Technical University) in the capital Ankara – the educational institution typically known as a political hotbed. It was also the year the first line-up change took place with Burak Güven replacing Alper Tekin on bass. In 1998, the band began working on its next album while keeping a residency at the influential local rock venue Captain Hook. The album Bırak Zaman Aksın was recorded by long-time school mate and sound-engineer Volkan Gürkan. Derin Esmer left the band after the recording, and was replaced by Kerem Özyeğen on guitar. The band had found its current line-up and the album was released on March 1999, once again, by Ada.
In early 2000, mor ve ötesi took part in nationwide anti-nuclear campaigns, and supported the cause with various concerts and appearances. In July, the band recorded a song, “Sen Varsın”, to be included on a tribute album for renowned protest singer Bülent Ortaçgil. They closed the year with its most important gig to date, opening for Placebo on its first appearance in Istanbul.
The third album Gül Kendine, the band’s most proficiently crafted work to date, was once again recorded and produced by Volkan Gürkan, and released in December 2001. The promo tour for the album was also the band’s first proper nationwide tour, and the closing concert in Istanbul drew upwards of 5000 people. Receiving wide critical acclaim, the show was regarded by the media as a ‘musical treasure’ and an ‘audio-visual extravaganza’. It was clear that the band was now in a new league, in both an artistic and popular sense.
In 2003, mor ve ötesi joined in for various activities against the war in Iraq and composed the anthemic “Savaşa Hiç Gerek Yok”. The song was performed in Ankara on March 1, along with fellow musicians in front of a rabid crowd of 100.000 people. Having played its part in worldwide anti-war efforts, the band was once again in the forefront of the national rock scene.
In May of the same year, mor ve ötesi released an EP called Yaz. Its opener, a rock style cover of the popular 1990 classic “Yaz Yaz Yaz” became the country’s summer anthem. The band followed this single’s success with another nationwide tour which saw some unprecedented attendance numbers. In Autumn, the band started writing its next album while working on the soundtrack for a film called Mustafa Hakkında Herşey. A song from this soundtrack, “Bir Derdim Var”, was also to be the third single from the forthcoming album Dünya Yalan Söylüyor, and brought the band the prestigious Altın Portakal (Golden Orange) Award at the International Antalya Film Festival for Best Song for a Motion Picture. A new producer, the renowned bass player Tarkan Gözübüyük, was chosen for the album, and work began in January 2004. Following the most crafty production in the band's history, the album hit stores on May 1, 2004 and attained incredible early sales figures. Supported by the first single “Cambaz”, the album took off and got on track to become a twice gold-selling rock album, and the song received huge airplay from both TV and Radio stations. The second single, a cover of the idiosyncratic singer Fikret Kızılok's “Sevda Çiçeği”, further expanded the album’s popularity, and the third single, the aforementioned “Bir Derdim Var”, was not only arguably the most popular rock song to date in Turkey, but was also championed as Song of the Year by musical authorities and fans alike. The commercial success of the album – 250.000 units in sales – was complemented by a very busy and expansive touring schedule, as well as a fourth video single for “Aşk Içinde”. By then the band had played about 150 shows since the release of the album, presenting its music to large audiences nationwide, and the experience enabled the band to become a rock-solid live performance act. The fifth and final video from Dünya Yalan Söylüyor was made for the closing song “Uyan” and it ranked at #3 on MTV’s World Chart Express. The video was a re-edit from an animation created by Andrei Khrjanovsky in 1968 which was shelved by Soviet censors when it came out.
Mid-2006 saw the release of the band’s fifth album Büyük Düşler to huge critical acclaim. The downfall of its record label Pasaj resulted in the transfers of both the band and the album to its own label Rakun. The band’s promo tour of the album in May 2006 took them in front of roughly 250.000 people in 11 cities. The first single off the album was “Şirket”, followed by the ballad “Küçük Sevgilim” which featured Turkey’s prominent female singer Şebnem Ferah on guest vocals. Meanwhile the album was named ‘Best Album of the Year’ by Rolling Stone and ‘Best Rock Album of the Year’ by Blue Jean magazine. The closing single and video of the album was “Ayıp Olmaz Mı?”, and the year’s final recording was a cover version of “1945”, a popular song by Turkey’s well-known composer, the late Onno Tunç, which was released amid big popular praise on a tribute album to the man.
Next year, mor ve ötesi opened the international Radarlive 2007 festival which was host to twenty-nine foreign acts and headlined by Marilyn Manson, James and Groove Armada. The band also did a special acoustic performance for MTV Turkey at the niche Istanbul club Ghetto which was aired as a special broadcast by the network. Four songs from this concert were later released alongside other Rakun recording artists on a special label promo CD which was included in the February 2008 issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
In the international arena, mor ve ötesi had by then played fifteen sold-out shows in Germany between 2004 and 2007 in cities like Berlin, Bochum, Köln, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and one in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Paradiso). The band closed 2007 with the ‘Best Band of the Year’ award by Powerturk – the country’s foremost music television network – and spent half of 2008 preparing for Eurovision that took place in Belgrade, Serbia in May 2008, as the Turkish represantative. The appearance popularized the band in Europe, especially in the Baltic and Balkan nations. The energy-laden Eurovision song “Deli”, along with two new studio tracks, "Iddia" (the 1st single) and "Sonbahar" was issued on the band’s next release called Başıbozuk, an album that also includes three live tracks, as well as some remixes of older numbers. The album was supported by an 11-date European tour and a 7-date Turkish tour in April and May. All this activity earned mor ve ötesi the 'Band of the Year' award at the prestigious KRAL Music Awards, this year held in association with Mü-Yap (the Turkish counterpart of IFPI and RIAA).
mor ve ötesi started writing the 6th studio album in 2009 and released it (titled Masumiyetin Ziyan Olmaz) in May 2010. The album had hits like "Araf" and "Sor", and signalled the coming of a new era in mor ve ötesi's journey. The nexy year, the band recorded "Loveliest Mistake", a new song in English, and released it as a digital-only single. This song was the first recording in English since1995's Şehir album. After excessive touring and promoting Masumiyetin Ziyan Olmaz with five singles, mor ve ötesi started work on the 7th studio album early 2012 and spent most of the year crafting new songs. Produced and recorded (by acclaimed music man Serdar Ateşer), mixed (by Chris Sheldon) and mastered (by Pieter Snapper) in Istanbul, the aptly named Güneşi Beklerken, out December 17th, caused a stir amongst early listeners and music journalists who had a chance for a sneak pre-listen to the album. The first single and video of the album is "Oyunbozan".