Electrifying, epic, and groundbreaking, Surrender! landed on the scene with undeniable vigour and presence. Every track was an instant addiction, and it wasn’t long before fans and A-list DJs/producers were hooked. It’s electro, it’s nu disco, it’s funk, it’s house. It can feel like rock music and it can feel orchestral. However you find yourself describing his sound, what Ulas Koca creates is unique and exciting. Music that gets in your bones and your brain, molding your mood and getting your feet in the groove. We’ve been following him from his beginnings as Opptimo, dancing all the way through the development of his first full length album, and we anxiously await it’s upcoming release on October 14th. In the meantime, we wanted to paint a clearer picture of this emerging producer and get his thoughts on his album, his influences, and what to eat if you visit Istanbul.
Let’s begin with the basics, your from Istanbul, Turkey, and you make incredible electronic music. How did you begin? You were first known as Opptimo right?
Yes, I started out with Opptimo when I was 19 years old. I loved electronic music all my life and was really interested in learning how it was done. So I picked up a software called Reason and I started to play around with it when I was 17. But it was just a hobby till I was 19 really.
What are your production tools?
It’s just a computer. I don’t have any hard synths or other equipment.
Your new album has an undeniably big, often epic sound. Tell us what was going through your head during it’s creation and development, is there a connecting theme or are they a collection of ideas?
The main thing that I tried to avoid was to make it sound like a collection of tracks. So I did go with a theme instead of making random tracks. It was really challenging because I was used to producing EPs that followed a similar formula. But with the album I tried to leave the mindset I had with producing and experimented a lot.
In an interview with Harder Blogger Faster, you talked about how you haven’t listened to much other electronic music lately, feeling that it lacks excitement and that each sound is too formulaic to its genre. How does that affect how you draw inspiration? If the underground electronic scene happens to be flat lining, what role do you see yourself playing in the scene’s future?
I tried to avoid listening too much electronic music when I was working on the album because even if it’s cool to hear other electronic music, it can also influence you a little too much. You have to find a really good balance. I can’t really tell what my role would be in electronic music’s future. Hopefully it will be good and something I can be proud of.
To be quite honest, your the first artist in this genre that we’ve encountered from Turkey, define the music scene there, what are people listening to, what are people playing? And how did you get hooked to this style of electronic music?
We have other electronic music producers but their styles are different than mine. Turkey’s music scene is pretty dead when it comes to local artists. There is not much going on. I think that Turkish people need to give local artists more attention and a chance to grow artistically which would happen eventually if they get support from people. As electronic music goes, it’s pretty dead with that too. Yes, there are clubs and DJs but nothing is going on when it comes to actual making music side of things. I got into this style because of my love for disco and funk music.
You’ve got the production side of the game under wraps, but do you dj as well? Can your fans find you at live shows and tours?
Haha thanks! I have a few shows lined up which I will announce soon and I only recently started DJing and playing live. There is a possibility of a tour after the album gets released.
Out mid October, this album will be playing loud and keeping us burning all winter long, but what do you have planned in the near future for Surrender!? Whoa, looks like I shouted at you when I typed that question… Any new collabs to watch for?
I have made a new EP which will be released shortly after the album and also have a collab going on but it’s still a work in progress.
What’s the one thing I’d have to try if I visited Istanbul?
You have to taste Cağ Kebap! Even most of the Turkish people don’t know about and I can tell you that it tastes so good.
Well Ulas, congratulations on the debut album and thanks for chatting with us!!
Thanks for the interview!
Surrender!’s self-title debut album will be available on October 14th via one of our favourite labels, La Bombe. But right now, you can preview the full LP up on La Bombe’s SoundCloud, preview it below and get excited.
We’ve heard it in it’s entirety and I can tell you that it has cemented a spot in our top album list of 2012. From the electrifying sound of Fast Days, to the sex finesse of Hurry, from the big room sound of Locate, to the absolute funk madness of S_M_A_S_H and everything in between, this album as it all and from start to finish it’s a journey that you won’t forget.
For more Surrender!, check out his latest monthly mix, his interview with Electronic Rumors and follow his social.