In our conversation with Melis Güven, we talked about her world intertwined with music, her interdisciplinary career, and her routines. Her music partner, the beloved Ozan Kınasakal, joined her in this wonderful conversation.
Photos: Elif Kahveci (@elifkahveci)
1. Melis hello! First, could you tell us a bit about yourself? What kind of education have you received, where do you live and work, and what are you currently spending your time doing?
Hello! My journey in music began at a young age with the support of my family. During middle school, I received classical guitar and vocal training in Yalova. I aspired to attend a fine arts high school, and after going through a challenging period during my childhood, I found myself at Avni Akyol Anatolian Fine Arts High School in Istanbul. During my high school years, I received training in classical piano and flute. In my university years, I graduated from ITU Conservatory’s Music Theory Department with training in folk music, the silent flute (dilsiz kaval), and piano. After university, I worked for about four years at a private radio group to learn the ins and outs of the industry, serving as an assistant to the program director and content director. This experience added a lot to my journey. Currently, I am working as a music and style consultant for the Vitruta family, whom I love and admire greatly. You could say I shuttle between Pangaltı and Pera; they are like my second homes. My musical journey mostly takes place at home in Pangaltı. I can say I’m in a bit of a lull at the moment as I prepare to enter the album-making process. I’m listening to a lot of music, being on the road, collecting stories, and saving them for later.
2. Would you like to describe a typical day for you? What do you do on a day when you don’t have a project or performance to prepare for?
I am a creature of routine. I wake up in the morning and, after making my coffee,I greet my daughters (I have three cats), water my flowers, and try not to look at my phone until noon. During this time, I read something. My real-life begins in the afternoon. If the day allows, I go for long walks or swimming. The rest of the day flows according to circumstances.
3.You have a versatile career, working in different fields simultaneously. How does it feel to work in various areas at the same time?
Taking breaks for myself and creating empty spaces is something I accept in my life from time to time. But regarding work, if I’m not actively involved in creating something, it exhausts me not to be a part of it. Therefore, I never want to silence my mind. I love keeping my playground wide. Everything is interconnected, and all disciplines support each other. I enjoy looking at things from different angles. It’s something that nourishes and enriches me. The world I want to create for myself is intertwined with my career and my daily life. I’ve always felt like I’m a part of it, and this sense of completeness makes me feel like I’m always at home.
4. We recently saw you again at Sofar. Can you tell us a bit about your experience with Sofar?
I think we’ve found a great harmony. Ozan is a sweetheart, and how could I not feel comfortable when you’re there for the first time? We performed the song in its acoustic form for the first time with the arrangements of dear Ufuk Kevser.
It was a freeing experience, especially with the feeling of being at home and the lovely audience. It was a narrow space, but thanks to the conversations shared after the performance and the beautiful communication that took place one-on-one, it was a liberating experience.
5. Where do you envision yourself and what you’ll be doing in the future?
I’m currently working on a project that will fulfill a childhood dream of mine, but I can’t reveal it just yet. Actually, it was a project I envisioned for the future, but now it’s become closer. I’m working to expand and grow my musical career, and after the album phase is over, I intend to open up to a wider audience. When I say, ‘Come, let’s go to the garden,’ I’m drawn to moments and places like that. My dreams involve soil, water, and sunshine; that’s enough for me.
6. Do you have a book that has had a significant impact on you and that you pick up repeatedly?
A very difficult question, but I think it’s Virginia Woolf – Orlando.
7. How does the creative process for writing songs unfold for you?
In musical terms, I don’t like to box myself in. In my production process, I have a process that shapes around more stories based on how I feel about the songs shared with me by the producers I work with after listening to them.
It’s a somewhat painful process, sometimes very short, sometimes very long, sometimes very sudden. First, I memorize the rhythm, and that loop state stays with me. I can’t think of anything else. When the words cover the paper, it’s a birth for me; it’s already in the universe.
8. What are some musical experiences you’d like to explore that you haven’t tried yet?
Until now, I’ve always written my lyrics on top of existing tracks. These days, I want to be part of the creation process from the very beginning and experiment with what I can do individually.
9. We often see you in Bil’s, and it makes us very happy. Could you share your experience with our brand briefly? What would you like to see in the next season’s collection?
I’m definitely a shirt and suit person. Material, or what we call fabric, reminds me of the most beautiful times of our childhood. It reminds me of a time when everyone could sew, a time when production was more important than consumption. Therefore, wearing precious shirts requires special care. Bil’s, in my opinion, is a brand that makes you feel special both in terms of quality and style. Most importantly, it has integrated the texture and elegance of the past into the present and modernized that intense feeling. Personally, I’d like to see more black-collared white shirts with ribbons in the next season’s collection and more suits.
10. At the end of this enjoyable interview, we’d like to thank you for taking the time. Lastly, do you have a special place among your songs that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Thank you so much for coming all this way, for visiting me in my habitat; it was incredibly enjoyable, to be honest.
I can say that “Hiç Olmuşsun” is my beginning and “Yolculuk” is my last song. “Hiç Olmuşsun” because it started my path and shaped my life, and “Yolculuk” because it reminded me of things I had forgotten with its story and gave me the courage to move forward.”