Mixtape Interview: Gizem Oruç

What I create is a reflection of my identity and I hold many of them. I don’t collaborate exclusively; I aim to be open to all forms of collective creation”

— OneBeat 2015 Fellow, Gizem Oruç

What was the creative process like working with OneBeat Fellow Ami Kim?

Working with Ami felt both natural and magical. It was the second week of the OneBeat program and our first time getting together, we produced an entire song. The second time we met up, we produced another. We didn’t take any time for granted. We’d work on the bus, in a bar, a hotel room… When I think about it now, it seems a bit crazy. But it felt normal.

Where does the title “Dragons in Gardens” come from?

The title was initially Ami’s idea. She just came up with “Dragons and Gardens” and I misspelled it as “Dragons in Gardens”. A coincidence determined the name of our duo and song title. We appreciate coincidences.

How did you choose the palette of sounds for this song?

The track was based off a snippet of music I wrote for a film before OneBeat. So, some of the instrumental ideas were already established. Ami then wrote the melody and the lyrics, which gave structure to the song. We recorded the vocals during the last few days of the program at IslandWood (Bainbridge Island, Washington).

How did you go about mixing and completing the track after OneBeat ended?

Ami and I kept on talking about the song, how to improve it and also continue with our duo. It took some time until we were both satisfied with how the music sounds. It’s not an easy task especially when there’s a bit of a physical distance (around 6000 miles) between us. We Skype’d a lot, wrote each other notes for every stage of mixing and exchanged files. We’re staying in regular contact and plan to produce and record more music together.

How did you approach collaborating with artists from such a range of backgrounds at OneBeat, while honoring their identities?

My perspective is affected by every single thing I experience. What I create is a reflection of my identity and I hold many of them. I don’t collaborate exclusively; I aim to be open to all forms of collective creation. What matters to me is what the artwork wants to convey and how the collective work is accomplished. And of course how much joy I receive in the process.

You often work with live projection and programming in your performances. How do you feel that your programming and visual work filters into your approach to music (and vice versa)?

Besides being a musician, I’m a scientist who likes learning and experimenting. As a teenager, I witnessed the growth of open source platforms and the makers movements. These things deeply influenced my approach to artistic work. Gradually, I grew interested in creative coding and my graduate studies at MIAM (in Sonic Arts) strengthened this tendency. Programming inspires me a lot when I’m creating. I believe in holism when it comes to art, audio-visual work.

How do you feel that your experiences at OneBeat will influence your music going forward?

I feel very fortunate to have taken part in OneBeat. Meeting and making music with all those talented people was a true miracle. I’ve made a group of close friends spread across the globe and I plan on continuing to collaborate with them as much as life allows. OneBeat gave birth to “Dragons in Gardens” and I am extremely grateful for that. I feel like everything I make about music now and in the future will carry my OneBeat experience.