PLAYY. Mix #178 – Bákayan
Following the critically acclaimed release of his three-part Neowl EP (alongside Grooveshack) on Elif’s Marginalia imprint back in December, German-born, Turkish producer and vocalist Bákayan now looks to grab 2024 by the horns as he lands on esteemed German imprint Stil vor Talent for his latest transmission, Fireflies. Exponent of a sound both entrancingly deep and straight out dynamic, the in-demand, Berlin-based artist has been honing his skills putting out nostalgia-soaked material designed for both the dance floor and daydreaming. This new delivery serves up everything that Bákayan is about, and his mix for PLAYY. invites listeners to enter into this realm of contemplative escapology. We caught up with him to find out more.
Set the tone for us. Where are you creatively at the moment?
At this moment, creatively, I find myself immersed in the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere of Berlin. The decision to take a break from touring has provided me with the luxury of time, allowing me to fully delve into my artistic endeavors. My days are spent within the confines of the studio, where I’m channeling my energy into shaping the future projects that have been brewing in my mind. The city itself, with its rich cultural tapestry, serves as both muse and backdrop for my creative exploration. Berlin’s unique blend of history, art, and diversity has seeped into my work, adding layers of inspiration to my upcoming releases. The studio becomes a sanctuary where I translate the experiences of an exhilarating 2023, filled with both highs and lows, into musical expressions. The forthcoming music will be a sonic journey, a reflection of my emotions, memories, and encounters from the recent past. Each note, each lyric will be a poignant brushstroke on the canvas of my life during this period. I’m excited about the prospect of sharing this deeply personal and authentic narrative with my audience, offering them a glimpse into the intricacies of my journey and the evolution of my art. It’s a cathartic process, and I can’t wait for listeners to embark on this creative voyage with me.
What sort of things have been inspiring the direction of your music? Are there any experiences, sounds, or people that have felt significant to your creative evolution over the past year?
The direction of my music has been profoundly influenced by the kaleidoscope of experiences, sounds, and people that have woven themselves into the fabric of my life over the past year. I draw inspiration from the rich tapestry of my surroundings, embracing the diversity that encapsulates our world. One significant source of inspiration has been the people who inhabit my world, each person a unique note in the symphony of my creative journey. Their stories, perspectives, and energies contribute to the mosaic of emotions that I aim to express through my music. The privilege of playing in different countries, from the vibrant landscapes of Croatia and Slovakia to the dynamic cultural hubs of Tunis, Dubai, and Turkey, has added layers of depth to my artistic evolution. These international journeys have been more than just gigs; they have been gateways to immersive cultural experiences. The memories forged and the encounters with diverse audiences have left an indelible mark on my musical psyche. The rhythms of these different locales, the melodies of their unique traditions, and the harmonies of the people I’ve met have all seeped into my creative process. As a self-proclaimed cosmopolitan, I find inspiration in the interconnectedness of our global community. My music reflects a celebration of diversity, a sonic testament to the beauty found in the myriad of cultures that shape our world. It’s this rich blend of experiences, sounds, and people that propels my creative evolution, and I am eagerly weaving these inspirations into the fabric of my upcoming projects. The forthcoming music will serve as a testament to the universal language of art, transcending borders and resonating with the shared humanity that unites us all.
You ended 2023 with an amazing release on Elif’s Marginalia imprint. Can you tell us more about that?
Elif and I have shared a friendship since 2019, and our connection spans both professional and personal realms. Having just finished some tracks with Groove Shack, I reached out to Elif for her valuable feedback. Elif, being not only a friend but also a highly motivated and professional figure in the music industry, graciously offered to release the tracks on her Marginalia label. The decision to join the Marginalia Label family proved to be more than the right choice. Elif and her team demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the music and an unwavering dedication to their craft. The collaborative synergy between us, both as friends and as fellow artists, translated seamlessly into the creative process and the overall release experience.
Looking forward to 2024, your new EP Fireflies sees you make your Stil Von Talent debut. What was the experience of working with such an iconic label like?
Embarking on the journey of creating my new EP, “Fireflies,” and making my debut on Stil vor Talent has been a truly awe-inspiring experience. Stil vor Talent is a label that holds an iconic status in our music scene, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with them. Oliver Koletzki, the label boss, is a musician I’ve long admired, and his influence on the electronic music landscape is undeniable. From the outset of these projects, I had set my sights on Stil vor Talent as the ideal platform for the EP. Studying the label and understanding their vision became an integral part of my preparation for this collaboration.
Working with such a renowned and respected label was a dream come true. Stil vor Talent’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of electronic music aligns perfectly with my own artistic vision. The collaborative process has been a harmonious meeting of minds, where creativity and innovation are celebrated. The label’s reputation for nurturing talent and providing a platform for artists to express themselves is something every artist in our scene aspires to. To now be a part of the Stil vor Talent family feels like a blessing and an affirmation of the dedication and passion I pour into my music.
Is there a track on the EP that you’re most proud to share with us? And what about this tracks makes it a standout for you?
Each track on the EP holds a special place in my artistic journey, but if I were to pinpoint one that I’m particularly proud to share, it would be “Breathe.” It’s a sonic voyage that I’ve had the privilege of sharing with audiences around the world over the past months. Performing it live in front of thousands has forged a unique connection between the music and the collective energy of the crowd. What makes “Breathe” stand out for me is the emotional depth it carries and the memories it encapsulates. It’s not just a piece of music; it’s a living. The remix by Safar adds another layer to this journey, offering a fresh perspective while maintaining the essence of the original.
How does this mix reflect your current direction, and where do you think this direction might take you in the new year?
This mix serves as a snapshot of my current artistic identity, capturing the multifaceted essence of who I am as a musician. It’s a sonic journey that reflects the diverse facets of my musical palette. One notable aspect is the evolving direction toward a more club-oriented sound. However, even as the mix takes on a more clubby character, it doesn’t lose sight of the contemplative and introspective elements inherent in my musical style. The projects showcased are not just meant for the dance floor; they retain a depth that allows for attentive listening and introspection. It’s a delicate balance, where the music seamlessly transitions between being both a visceral experience and a thought-provoking journey.
Are there any upcoming projects lined up for this year that you are particularly excited about?
Absolutely! 2024 is shaping up to be an incredibly exciting year with a myriad of projects in the works. One aspect that has me particularly thrilled is the series of collaborations lined up with artists whom I deeply admire. Among these collaborations, I have the privilege of working with talents like Yulia Niko, Jonathan Kaspar, and Bondi. Collaborations are not only about creating music together but also about blending diverse creative energies and styles. Each artist brings their unique perspective and sonic fingerprint to the table, resulting in a fusion that transcends individual boundaries. The prospect of sharing these collaborative projects with the world is a source of immense anticipation and joy for me.