I've been a fan of Ahu since 2008 when she appeared on the shuffling, enigmatic "I Know All The Bitches" with my buddy Mr Beatnick. As Dolly she sung on Flying Lotus' astral stepper "RobertaFlack," but this week she steps out on her own with the release of "To: Love" on One Handed Music. Produced by Paul White, it's eerie and languid, soulful and doleful. Ahu sings with a smoky, or maybe smoked out, nonchalance. Her voice sighs with resignation amongst the song's cryptic, spectral shadows. Ahu is Turkish, but has spent enough time in the UK to be eligible for Dollars to Pounds (new rule). Enjoy the video's curious Czech animation and download "To: Love" from her Bandcamp. I spoke to her about Red Bull and 15th century prayer books.
Your new single is called To: Love. What is the colon for?
For that question please check out the picture below:
The sleeve of your new 12-inch is very cool. Where is it from?
I am a big fan of Medieval Arts, that illustration is by Limburg Brothers. It is from a 15th century prayer book called The Very Rich Hours of Duke De Berry (Tres Riches Heures du Duc De Berry). It is twelve full pages of illustrations of the months, basically a calendar. I was reading Umberto Eco's On Beauty—it amazes me how subjective and relative beauty is, and in that book I found Limburg Brothers illustrations and I think they are very beautiful. I have chosen April from those twelve illustrations representing months, because the picture is more related with love, there is a young couple exchanging rings; then the picture was sent to the graphic designer and I think he did an amazing job. By the way, I didn't notice at first, but after reading a bit about the picture, it says there is a crazy person behind the couple (the smaller one behind), so I dedicate this sleeve to all the crazy people. (Also craziness is relative, you know.)
Are you working on an album?
I started working on an album, also I have two new tracks coming up (but not for the album). One is going to be released on Brownswood with Miles Bonny and the other one is with a band from London called My Toys Like Me.
There was lots of amazing, obscure music on your recent FACT mix. Are you a bit of a crate digger?
Thank you very much. Not exactly a crate digger maybe but I search a lot. I am very curious about almost everything. On that mix, I tried to create something like a radio play. I love, love, love radio plays. I also used some voice samples from "American Dad" (one of my favorite TV shows—Seth MacFarlane does an amazing job) and an old French movie called Two English Girls. Also from the movie L'annulaire. Beth Gibbons did the soundtrack for that and it was never released. I love listening to old European soundtracks, I find them very inspirational. I also like listening to old radio shows. Some of my favorites are by Orson Welles, you can check them out here.
How did you come to work on "RobertaFlack" with Flying Lotus?
I wrote that track on a Saturday night, that is what i clearly remember. I was talking to Steve [Flying Lotus], we were sending tracks to each other and he sent this interlude by him, Sam and Byron The Aquarius. Then I started writing on it. It was named "RobertaFlack" before, but I remember that I wrote it and did the pre-recording and sent it back to him like in an hour. It is like it was meant to be.
Is it true you started writing songs at the Red Bull Music Academy [RBMA]?
"Aller Anfang ist schwer"—this is a German idiom that means "Every beginning is difficult," and I do agree. At that time I was only Djing and I didn't have the courage to write a song before. I think courage is the most important thing in life.
You have a Sunday night radio show in Turkey. How famous are you? Are you as big as Fearne Cotton?
I am not famous at all here. My show is called Avant-Garde, it is between 8-9 PM every Sunday. I play whatever I like, but mostly old tracks from soundtracks or jazz, or tracks from my friends and some promos that I like. Turkey has a terrible pop music scene. I cannot stand listening to it. I think rock bands from Turkey are more promising. Old Turkish records are way better than the ones that they are doing today. Turkey has a very small hip-hop and jazz scene but it is really small. Although I believe that there are many amazing jazz musicians in Turkey. I personally still listen to Ajda Pekkan's old records (not the new ones). I don't know much about Fearne Cotton, but I guess she was dating with my friend from RBMA, Mr. Hudson.
You are a trained Yoga teacher. What is your favourite position/pose? I like this one (because it's called cow face).
Actually I don't have a favorite pose but a breathing technique called Ujjayi Breath, it's a bit like Darth Vader's breathing, but it is really calming and you can breathe in/out for 60 seconds or longer. You should definitely learn it if you are a Darth Vader Fan!