Demir Demirkan “Brings It On” with his music – Part 2

We had the pleasure to chat with Demir Demirkan, a 25+ year veteran Turkish singer-songwriter/guitarist.

Beginning at age 19, Demir Demirkan has produced and released close to 50 solo and collaborative albums and singles ranging from blues, rock, metal to film and TV series soundtracks composed for symphony orchestras, choirs and Anatolian instruments.
His life and career has been a journey igniting from Turkey, through Europe and to Austin, Texas – USA where he now resides with his wife and son.

His latest works reveal that he is back into where his roots are, Metal.

While building his career from ground up in Istanbul, he recorded and performed with Turkish musicians and bands mainly as a member of the Turkish Heavy Metal band The Pentagram a.k.a. Mezarkabul. Internationally, he recorded and performed with world-renowned names like Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Dave Weckl, Trilok Gurtu, Omar Hakim and Phil Galdston to name a few. However, you likely now him best for the only Turkish song that won Eurovision Song Contest, Demir composed that song for his girlfriend at the time, Sertab Erener. Sertab Erener is a pop singer whose first album sold over 1 Million copies.

This interview is PART II. Part I was published a few weeks ago. Read more

Demir, can you tell us what brought you to professional musician/composer/producer career path?

I started playing at 12 and my first band was in high school when I was about 17 years old.
I was learning how to write songs and arrange them to the band and write lyrics and play guitar because I started with the acoustic guitar, and then I switched to the electric guitar.

I was going to come to the United States and study business. That didn’t happen because when I applied for that visa, I was denied.
I had to stay in Turkey and study something else. I could speak English. I was really good at writing stuff like songs and stuff like that – the literature. I had a chance to attend a college in Ankara to study English literature and humanities, so that’s what I did.

I met a lot of other musicians there and there was a conservatory. I made friends, formed different bands. I met my bass player friend from the band Pentagram, the first professional metal band ever recorded in Turkey. We still go on by the way.
In an odd way that visa setback turned me on to making professional music. I realized it is s possible to make a living in music IF you’re good. I wanted to be better – non-stop. I would practice eight or nine hours every day. Every day. I got better and better. Finally, I told my father that, “Okay, I’m going to be a professional musician.” The problem was that my older brother said the same before me.

Oh no, how did that go…what happened to your brother.

He came to the United States to study in conservatory. He dropped out after two years. He kind of got lost. He has perfect pitch. My father thought if your brother wasn’t able to do this, you’re never going to make it because you don’t have his talent, right?

I’m like, “Well, this is what’s going to happen.” They supported me as they sensed that whatever they say I’m just going to take my way. That’s how I came to Los Angeles.

I attended a school called Musicians Institute in Hollywood Guitar Institute of Technology, GIT was the department. A pretty good education. I stayed in Los Angeles for four years and that’s how my whole professional story began.

Right before I came to Los Angeles, we recorded an album with that heavy metal band that I was talking to you about – the Turkish metal band, PENTAGRAM . We never thought it was going to be released. I landed in LA and after a month or so, I heard the news that somebody is releasing that album in Turkey. That’s a first. It was year 1992 and the band got to be a huge hit, obviously, in the metal circles.

After four years in LA I went back to Turkey in 1996. I went into production because I learned so much in LA as a musician.

I learned how to become a producer, a songwriter, a shredder guitar player, like really fast and flashy and I learned a bunch of other music. I played with African bands in LA, I’ve played with jazz musicians, I’ve played with metal musicians, I’ve played with rock musicians, whatever. I produced different singer-songwriter material.

With all that knowledge and know-how I came to Turkey. It took me a few months to rise up to the top and become a hit. A hit producer, a hit guitar player, a hit songwriter, and then things started picking up so fast.

I had never seen that much money in my life first of all. It was crazy. I always thought that the more attention I got, the more responsibility it laid on me. I had to be better and better. I wasn’t sleeping for three days for production. I would get sick at the end of it, but it all paid off in the end, right?

It was kind of like a race within myself. The more good work you put out there, the more you have to work to be better. If you produce a few hits, and write a few hit songs, and then write a few bad songs, you’ll be the flavor of the month and then disappear. If you want to be in that light all the time, you just have to do better and better and that takes its toll.

The hair was gone, long nights, endless days, a lot of partying, I have to include that. In the end, you build a foundation that cannot be shaken. You’re a part of the culture and you win Eurovision Song Contest. The only win (for Turkey), and you’re one of the most popular heavy metal bands, flashy guitar player. You have your hits that you sing. You have your film music. TV series music and all that so this whole chunk of work actually is embedded in the whole musical culture of Turkey, which is a good pay off for all that work that I’ve done, without all that sleep, you know.

So what drove you? Gary is as eclectic and as crazy as you are. He is always sort of “I don’t care. I’m just going to keep going until I make it happen.”

I never thought about that. Maybe it’s good that I never thought about it because if I had thought about it, I would just break the spell.
I think it was a very magical run. If I see magic somewhere, I don’t really ask questions about it because if you do the science of how that magic happens, I think it will ruin it. I didn’t really poke into some of the things that I thought were magical. Love being one of them. I learned this in my whole meditation circles.

The drive. I don’t know, maybe it’s a character. I’m the fifth sibling of a huge family, maybe I just wanted to stand out. Maybe it was too much responsibility. Once you do a good thing, you have to be better. Maybe I like the attention or the money or it could be anything. I don’t really look into it. I just did it. I didn’t really think about it.

There were things that I thought about and analyzed, and they failed really badly. If I put thought into something then, like a purpose, a target, an intention, like a preconceived result, to start one thing, and put that preconceived target, or aim or result, as the fuel of the work, I always failed, I have to admit.

There are some projects that I left unfinished. There’s been projects that came up and finally ended into something which sucked and a lot of things like that. I learned not to follow results that my mind produced, if I’m making sense. If I look at the market and say, “Okay, if I do this and that, and after three years, I could be at that point.”

See, this is really a studied guess and it might work in business, but in art, or arts-related businesses, I think it ruins the artists and the creativity. It did in my case, and I lost a lot of motivation. There were times when I took breaks. I didn’t know what to say to my audience or what kind of music to put out. I was still practicing playing, practicing in my room, in my studio. I didn’t want to write or release anything because I was kind of lost because of those preconceived works that I tried to do in that period.

I learned not to do that because that’s also kind of like ruining that magic. If you are authentic and find the spot in the audience, you don’t touch it, you don’t mess with it. You can’t find the person that you’re going to fall in love with and get married and have children with and make and build a family with. You cannot look for that person, that person will come to your life. If you go on dating sites and all that and start doing the dating circle or whatever, or find the person to have kids with, it won’t work. I mean, this is just too much mind. You have to let go and your subconscious or your soul or your spirit or your heart will find its way. It’s just like that in music too. Those kind of projects were successful.

What motivated you to write the winning Eurovision song for that singer in Turkey?

The singer was my ex-girlfriend Sertab Erener. I wrote and produced her records for years as we were together for 18 years. We did some really, really serious hit work.

Wow, 18 years is a long time.

it’s kind of like half of my life. I wasn’t going to write that song. I hate the idea of music being in a competition. I told her, “If you attend, don’t ask me to write any material because I don’t like my songs to go into competition.” The market is a competition in itself but deliberately writing a song to win something is a different story, right? And Turkey’s Eurovision history is not that bright.

Sertab was a huge pop star. So if she lost, if she came even second, that would have been a really bad thing for her career. if I backed out of it and the song didn’t win, I would feel responsible for my girlfriend. Finally, I wrote two songs. One of them was a ballad, and the other one was– You know, they liked the ballad, but she said, “Why don’t we write something that’s really, really easily graspable so people can relate to it. We can make it as Turkish as possible, as easy as possible and then we’ll take it from there. So that figure actually – [mimics music] – that figure is a phrase in a very traditional Turkish anonymous phrase. You can make any song with it.

I made that the first part of the song and then kind of went into the blues territory by going to the fourth degree. And then I wrote a big chorus to it. It worked out. At that time Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé and all that, they were really hot, and I said, “Why don’t we do this with a three-part harmony?” We did that and then I gave it to some other producer to produce the record and then it went to France and a duo named Galleon, they did the remix and the version of it that won the Eurovision Song Contest was the remix of it. So yeah, they went there and did the whole dancing choreography and all that. They did their publicity, and that was the only win of Turkey in Eurovision history, 2003.

So how long were you with your girlfriend after she won?

Oh, until 2015 or 14 and something. So yeah, many years after that. I was 31 and she was 39

Did you feel at that point that in Turkey, that was a height of your popularity or did that success open up new horizons for you?

I quit music right after that for about six months to a year. I didn’t know what to do with the idea of being a name in popular music. I am more from a rock and metal background. I was doing the pop productions, songwriting stuff, hit producing because I was with my ex. She was a pop star.

I was financially doing really good too. I was doing the solo rock / metal stuff on the side but producing a lot of records in pop and writing love songs in the pop genre. And, having won the Eurovision and all that, it kind of places you in the mainstream pop genre. I didn’t know what to do with that. And all my friends were like, “All right, man, it’s time to come out with a new record. You’re hot, just go out there.” I moved out of Istanbul and moved to Bodrum and started living there and just forgot about music for a while and it was a great time. I partied really hard there.

Finally, my manager at the time says, “Okay, well, why don’t we do a record?” I said, “Look, if I want to make a record, I’m going to release it from my own company because I don’t want a record company person coming to me and asking me to make it ‘poppy-er’ or whatever because that’s the story of my life.” Somebody from the company just walks into the studio and says, “Hey, these are really great, but can you make it a lot more ‘poppy-er’?” and all this shit. We formed our company, and then we released that record through that company. I was very happy about it.Those songs are still hits. It’s actually proof that I know what my audience wants. They want what I like. I don’t want any record company person coming in and asking me to change the material to what they think my audience will like even better.

I continued with my career the way I wanted. I still release my songs through my own company.

So would you say the majority of what you released from then was more metal rock or did you mix it up and make it eclectic? I noticed you move from different moods, from ballads to rock to metal. Does your music reflect different phases of your life.

I just wanted to make that album in the style of what I was feeling at that time. If I wanted to put a single out, I would just sit down and write something. I had the freedom to freely express what I was going through at that time of writing that song, or that full-length album. That’s why there’s kind of like stylistic differences among all of them. If I was looking from a business point of view, I wouldn’t do that. On my own material, I was looking from an artist’s point of view. Because if I looked at it from a business point of view, I would have to continue with that album that I released right after Eurovision – the 2004 album. Why? That was my best-appreciated album, right.
I mean, you don’t change things, you just go with that and you just cash in on it, right? That’s the business sense. But no, I didn’t want to do that. I waited. In 2007 I was meditating a lot. I went to a bunch of places in Asia – Japan, China, and Thailand, and all those places. I’ve met a lot of meditation and Qigong masters. I came up with that album in 2007, which was a concept album [for] which everyone thought I was crazy. Because, you know, like instrumentals and all songs are connected and all that like cross-fades and all that kind of stuff. It’s different, like totally way out there. If you want to listen to it, it’s on Spotify. It’s the one with the hand that’s sticking out and then the guitar’s head is coming out of my hand and it’s a white cover. (The albums name is “Ates Yagmurunda Cirilciplak” if you’d want to put it in here) For each album or for each single, I just did what I felt like doing and people seem to like it too. I mean, not all of them are hits or anything like that. Listen, if I want to go for a hit, I’ll produce a hit. That was my day job kind of, but I didn’t want this to be a job, you know? That’s the bottom line.

You got this artistic restlessness . “All right. I’m restless. I don’t want to be pigeonholed in this. I’m going to go over here.”

Exactly. Your niche market, whatever, directs you if you listen to what people like and which is your most listened song. You can follow that too. I have a problem with authority. That kind of feels like another authority to me. I am the producer. I’m the creator here – it’s coming out of me. I’m living this life, and music comes up and lyrics come up. So let me do this thing, and listen to it if you like it. Don’t listen to it if you don’t like it, it’s just that simple. Everything that you release, or you produce, or you just create and put out there, will have an audience if it’s good, you know what I mean? So my criteria is about the song being good and true rather than being correct, right. ?

A lot of the places in Austin don’t like to pay any musician unless it’s a ticketed concert, but then you have to have some kind of a name that people are willing to pay.

Nobody is going to pay you if you’re not a well-known name. You just have to sell your own tickets. And I am the same way in the United States.
I’m not like how I am in Turkey. Obviously, my manager sells the shows there, but here, you can’t do that. Nobody knows you, maybe some Turkish people around, but it’s not a big crowd. Like if I booked or like if I wanted to play in Antone’s or something, it’s just whatever comes from the door. It’s not like, “Hey, I want this much money.” That’s not going to happen. Yeah, I mean, if you prove that you’re drawing in at least 300, 400 people every night, okay, then you can kind of like say, “Okay, why don’t we do this, then? We can switch into the payment system.” But I don’t think that’s the case now. I’d like it to be the case, but it’s not. And still, there are no venues. Who knows when Antone’s is going to open? And who’s going to be playing the first show there? How is that going to be? Will people attend? Will they attend with their masks? Will they be social distancing? So 25% of the audience that you usually draw… So if you draw in 200 people, 25% was 50. Is that going to be enough to pay your band musicians? Is that going to be enough for gas? Is that going to be enough for your rentals, for the sound guy, whatever? Obviously not, it won’t happen. So I mean, the music industry got a huge hit out of this, man. I mean, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

The record industry, no problem. Everybody makes their record in the studios and all that, they put it on Spotify, but the streaming pays, you know what it pays, it’s basically nothing. And if you don’t own your company, and you give your song to the record label, obviously, they take their cut, and the cut that you get out of that point zero one cents or whatever every dollar that you get from one stream is divided into your percentage. So, forget that. That’s not going to save you. Putting records out there for streaming or YouTube videos and all that, it’s not going to save you. You have to make yourself a name even in your niche market. But how are you going to do that without playing live? Can you just do it online on social media? Look, all these people, they’re over 35, 40 years old, and they’re not really that social media savvy so they don’t go around with TikTok open on their phones and doing all that stuff and interacting with their fans. They are people like you and me, man. We’re not going to be like some teenager who’s like a YouTube phenomenon, having like hundreds of thousands of subscribers and actually, different companies are rolling in the money to have their advertising, whatever products on their videos, anything like that. No, I’m talking about regular musicians who live in Austin and go play out there and make a few hundred dollars and then come back to their home and do that over and over in a month, and then be able to take care of their families and then pay their rent and do that again next month. So I don’t know what’s going to happen to that. I mean, that industry, that’s gone. I don’t think it’s ever going to come back because all those people, they quit being musicians. That’s it. How are they going to come back? They have already started looking for jobs. You don’t just form a band just like in a day or anything like that. It takes months and to get your band well-known, it takes years of hard work and playing around and a lot of sacrifices. And all that thing that you build up, can go just like that with a virus.

What would you tell other people who would like to be professional musicians?

Making music is very easy these days. You don’t need studios. We weren’t able to make music because studios were really expensive at the time when I was coming up, but right now everybody can [make] music in their room. I’m talking about world standard recordings if they know what they’re doing. The studio doesn’t matter anymore. Not that much if you’re not a huge band or anything like that not recording like a violin section or something. But it’s just that making music is free, you can write all you want, you can record all you want in your bedroom, and you can be all that good. It’s just putting it out there in that noise cloud and being able to get the attention of some people and build up on that. And that is the hard part. This is marketing territory. It’s not artistry or it’s not musicianship or anything like that. It’s just cold business, so they have to be all of it. In the old times, you just had to be the musician. You just had to create and create and so you would have some other people doing the work for you. So your record would be out and then it could be distributed and all that kind of stuff and marketing and all. But now, especially if you’re starting out, you have to do everything. No manager will pick you up, no agent will pick you up, no record company will pick you up unless you prove that you have some kind of a following and you’re actually promising like 20% or anything that you will make it and you will continue making this.
So you’re on your own basically, it just depends on how much you love this. If you don’t love this 100%, I would recommend [finding] something that you actually love 100% because that’s the only fuel that you’re ever going to get. Your dreams of becoming famous and rich and all that, that won’t fuel it, man. Two years down the road, five years down the road, just working, working, working, and burning out and all that, you are just going to fail, you’re just going to drop out. You’ll be pretty much burnt out if your fuel, if your driving force, your motivation is fame and fortune, but if you really love doing it, you will go like, “Fuck it. I’ll just do this even if I die. I don’t give a shit if nobody listens to me. This is what I do, this is what I am”, that guy is going to make it. He will. Trust me, he will.


I guess that’s why they have started all these competitions that people actually get a platform but whether it’s going to help them, that’s a different story. Because if you look at a lot of the contests, whether it’s American Idol or The Voice or whatever, very few of those even the winners have really made it because you can be really good, you can be everything but if you don’t have good music, what’s going to happen to you?

Yeah, look and the other guy who believes in himself 100%, believes in making music and loves his music. Even if he is shitty, even if the song is just a jingle or something like that, he will make it. He’ll build up on it because that’s what he does. And he’s like, 100% content with it and it’s fine. It’s just he is what he is, and he knows what he’s not. So he’s just going to keep doing that and he will get an audience and he will make it. But if you’re thinking about, like, “I want to be a musician because I want to be just like that guy. Free, reckless with all that attitude, famous, with all the girls and the parties and the money and the jets and all that”, you’ll lose. That’s not it. You can’t go with that. It won’t work. That’s what I’m trying to say. So find a good reason to get into the music industry. That is not a good reason. That’s a really bad reason actually. That’s like the worst reason.


Thank You, DEMIR!!
This was a really cool way to learn about your music, life and thoughts.

AUSTIN MUSICIAN MEMBERS!
Contact DEMIR – either via EuroCircle website, his websiteor through our EuroCircle Austin facebook group.

His website: Demir Demirkan
YouTube: Demir at YouTube

Turkish singer-songwriter/guitarist Demir Demirkan’s new life in Austin, Texas Part 1

We had the pleasure to chat with Demir Demirkan, a 25+ year veteran Turkish singer-songwriter/guitarist.

Beginning at age 19, Demir Demirkan has produced and released close to 50 solo and collaborative albums and singles ranging from blues, rock, metal to film and TV series soundtracks composed for symphony orchestras, choirs and Anatolian instruments.
His life and career has been a journey igniting from Turkey, through Europe and to Austin, Texas – USA where he now resides with his wife and son.

His latest works reveal that he is back into where his roots are, Metal.

While building his career from ground up in Istanbul, he recorded and performed with Turkish musicians and bands mainly as a member of the Turkish Heavy Metal band The Pentagram a.k.a. Mezarkabul. Internationally, he recorded and performed with world-renowned names like Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Dave Weckl, Trilok Gurtu, Omar Hakim and Phil Galdston to name a few. However, you likely now him best for the only Turkish song that won Eurovision Song Contest, Demir composed that song for his girlfriend at the time, Sertab Erener. Sertab Erener is a pop singer whose first album sold over 1 Million copies.

This interview is PART 1. PART 2 will be about his music, his thoughts about business business, success, his desires..and how it all affected his life.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with is. First of all how did you end up in Austin, TX?

We knew we wanted to bring our kid up in America. So we said, “Why don’t we go to New York for about a year and we’ll do our research to pick a place to set a home. My brothers live in Virginia, Maryland and Florida – so we started with that. We went to three different places in Florida and North Carolina. We have two Professor friends there – a couple – they are music professors. We tried Maryland, different places in New York and Santa Fe. I used to live in Los Angeles, so I knew that I didn’t want to live there. We stayed in Manhattan for two years.

Then I called a friend of mine, a guitar player, who lives in Austin – Lance Keltner. We met years ago in Europe when he was playing with Mike Tramp. You might recall him from White Lion (hard rock band). Lance was the only American on that tour.

It really helps when you know and like someone for years like that. So your friend Lance said what…

I finally called him: “Hey, man, what’s it like down there?” and he says “Well, come check it out.” I told my wife, “Hey, you want to do Austin?”

She goes, like, “Where is Austin?”

I said “In Texas.”
My wife says: “Okay, why don’t you go there and kind of vent out and party with your friend. Come back and we’ll take it from there. And call me if it’s really, really happening so I can get there with our son.” So we did that.
Three days later she came down, liked it – this was two years ago. We rented this house in downtown Austin for about a year before we bought a place in Oak Hill.

We are curious what prompted you to go from Turkey where you’re very well-known and now you come to the States and you go like, “All right, now I’m here but now what?” So how did that happen? That’s pretty challenging.

It is. But I always went back and did the tours, released material and kept on with my productions for different artists. I did not leave Turkey for good. We still have business investments running there and my career still is going on. The idea was to keep that up and also bring out material in English and expand into America.

I released a bunch of English songs, a five-song EP and a full-length album and I did some tours of playing around and all that. But the whole thing got so complicated because, until that time, I never released material that sang in English on.
And my audience in Turkey was like, “Okay, is this how it’s going to be after this?” and I had to stop doing that and actually start another project with a different name for the English material.

We had many reasons to move to the USA.
I lived here before. My wife studied in Pittsburgh and graduated from Duquesne University in advertising. Our son was four or five months at that time. We wanted him to grow up in either Europe or America. I have the green card so this was the easiest option.
I have family here, we both know the country and we speak English. We also considered France, Italy, and Holland, and maybe the UK.

So now you’re in pandemic world in Austin. How do you survive? What do you do?

Well, I’m just glad that I wasn’t in New York during the whole thing. When the whole city shut down… My friends were sending me pictures.

I was looking at the pictures on social media and the news – it was horrible there. I thought we were lucky to be in Austin, TX. If you think about the density of the population, it’s not like New York or Chicago. People are kind of spread out in Texas. It’s a million people in Austin. You think about 17 million people living in one city. This is just kind of like a village compared to that. I lived in Istanbul for 20 years.

My best friend in New York, he owns a club. He caught Corona. It didn’t turn into pneumonia or anything like that, but he says, “Man, that was horrible.” But he already had underlying condition. He has stents in his heart and all that kind of stuff. He’s lucky since he got over it. He’s okay now. There’s no problem.

The whole thing is politicized so I cannot really relate to what’s real, what’s the truth. Seriously, now it’s more like a political issue to wear a mask, social distancing or say whatever thing that you say about this whole pandemic thing. That’s a big problem. I’m trying to figure it out. When I look at all my friends in Turkey, it’s business as usual. Everybody’s at the beach. There’s no problem. Everything is open. Nothing is wrong with anything. I mean, everything works. So who’s dying? What, they don’t report cases? I don’t know anybody who died and I’m asking around. “Do you guys know anybody who died of this?” They go like, “No. We know people who got sick, but we don’t know anybody who died.”

So, it wasn’t that hard on me. I mean, we moved to our new house, right at the beginning of the pandemic. This is like a gated community so we would take walks. Of course I wasn’t able to go to the gym, but I would run outside or ride my bike or something like that. My studio is already in the house. I don’t have to go somewhere to make music. I actually released two songs during this pandemic. I was pretty creative!

The problem was, the schools shut down right after the spring break. My son was going to the preschool. Him going to school actually gave us a break. I don’t know if you have kids, but so we can kind of get on with our agendas, right, like music or my wife with work stuff. My son staying in all the time… I mean, we’re not educators or anything like that. It was pretty hard, and it had an impact on our daily routine. We had to find a way to set the schedule, so I could still work and he could still be happy, keep up with his education and the social development. The isolation has a huge impact for little kids like that ( at age four to six) that they can’t see their friends and their social development and their ability to understand is restricted – by the Boogey man out there! Everything is being written in their minds as reality. My four-year-old son comes to me and asked me, “Can I talk to that little girl? Does she have Corona?” It is really sad.

Yes, that’s really hard for toddlers. They need other kids even more than adults need friends for proper development.

Yeah, exactly. I am really sorry that this happened to those kids. Imagine kids from ages three to six. They are in their social development stage. They are trying to understand the world and all of a sudden, they are separated from everybody. Their relatives and their friends, teachers that they love, their school, and locked in the house because there is a virus out there. They don’t even know what a virus is.

It’s just when I look at all my friends in Turkey, it’s business as usual. Everybody’s at the beach. There’s no problem. Everything is open. Nothing is wrong with anything. I mean, everything works. So who’s dying? What, they don’t report cases? I don’t know anybody who died and I’m asking around. “Do you guys know anybody who died of this?” They go like, “No. We know people who got sick, but we don’t know anybody who died.”

Austin’s official motto is the “Live Music Capital of the World” due to the high volume of venues hosting live music performances in the city, sometimes over 100 on the same night. The lives of all the musicians has also changed dramatically in Austin. No live venues. The City was the fastest growing city in the USA prior to the Pandemic – which also meant rents and property values went up fast.

True. Nobody really knows when the venues are going to open. Nobody really knows when the whole Austin City Limits (ACL) or South by Southwest (SXSW) is going to happen. People are throwing out ideas. Some of the clubs, especially in Europe, they kind of have bookings. They started listing some dates and stuff like that. It’s just, they can get canceled or postponed anytime because you don’t know. If the second wave is real, then it’s going to come in October, like everybody says, okay, we’re going to have another shutdown, which is going to be—– It comes in waves so how many times can we do this? How many times are we going to shut down? How many times are we going to stop the whole system and reboot again? So some of the industries, they’re going to have to take shape.

My expanding into the United States and all that became hard. I stopped. I can plan and think, you know, “What am I doing here? And what’s going to become of us?” Thank God of all the savings and royalties and investments in different industries that we have. We can make a living. We’re not in a bad shape or anything like that, but I’m one of the few having that status in music business. I’m privileged. I’m grateful and I’m very thankful.
However, people in music business need to work. My problem of not being able to expand to America right now is an advanced problem. There are real basic problems that matter much more. People can’t pay their rents. They can’t feed their children. They can’t get gas for their cars because they can’t play.

See what I mean? I can wait, I don’t have to do anything. Those musicians who need a show to get get paid, they’re really in a bad shape. Nobody is going to pay you if you’re not a well-known name. If you don’t have a draw, nobody is going to pay you or advance you or anything like that. You just have to sell your own tickets.

When you started out in music, what challenges did you face, were you immediately attracted to music?

I started playing at 12 and my first band was in high school when I was 17 or something.

I mean, I don’t know if you were good or not, but we were winning contests and the school was backing us up. It was a great school and they were pushing us to get better. I would be excused from a bunch of different classes, like lessons so I could actually start writing. They gave me the key to the conference room where all the gear was in. I could just go there and play anytime, even during the weekend, and they really supported me. I worked a lot, I worked very hard for this.

At that time, I was learning how to write songs and arrange them to the band and write lyrics and play guitar because I started with the acoustic guitar, and then I switched to the electric guitar. They were actually buying equipment like gear, like amplifiers and drum sets and stuff like that. They were really supportive and so was my family.

But – there’s a but – I wasn’t going to be a professional musician.

I was going to come to the United States and study business. That didn’t happen because when I applied for that visa, I was denied. I had to stay in Turkey and study something else. I could speak English.

I was really good at writing stuff like songs and stuff like that – the literature. I had a chance to attend a college in Ankara to study English literature and humanities, so that’s what I did.

His website: Demir Demirkan
YouTube: Demir at YouTube

We continue Demir’s story – and talk about his music, music business, composing winning Eurovision Song Contest song for his ex-girlfriend Sertab Erener, etc PART 2 soon…Demir Demirkan is a multi-faceted singer-songwriter/guitarist but he also understands business which is a key to survive in music business.

You do not often have a musician who loves heavy music and composes a song that wins Eurovision Song Contest – a pop song. Note: Heavy metal music has only once won Eurovision Song Contest (Lordi 2006)

Russian House Curbside Pick up & Grocery Market in Austin

Please support all the local European businesses during the Corona virus pandemic!
All the restaurants need our support to SURVIVE!  The same applies to our Polish friends also at Apolonia catering and many more members (Italian, Spanish etc)

Any restaurant must be super worried about rents, insurances, employees – I can not even imagine what it feels like!

=====================================================================================
Hello everyone!

Russian House offers to go menu including self-pickup – 20% off and use of delivery services.
We also sell our famous house infusions to go!

We are asking for your help to spread the word about our to-go menu and let people of Austin know that we are ready to serve them our food.

GROCERY MARKET

We have opened grocery market (with eaters European goodies and most wanted necessity items such as pasta, rice, eggs, milk, toilet paper, paper towels…etc.

FREE ONLINE COOKING LESSONS
Russian House will also offer free online cooking classes so that people could make their favorite dishes while on quarantine.

Sincerely,
Varda (owner)
Russian House
307 E 5th Street
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 428-5442

Austin – Feb 21 2020

EuroCircle Cocktails & Kindness @ The Tipsy Alchemist

EuroCircle is happy to present our nextsocial event honoring Random Acts of Kindness week (Feb 16-23) & reconnecting our fellow friends and members of the community.

We have an area booked exclusively booked for EuroCircle but you are welcome to wonder around.  We will at the more quiet area outside close to the outdoor bar.
The area is completely covered, firepits and heaters in case the weather gets cold/rainy

Meet us on Friday, Feb 21st!

Like Greek music?

On Friday we will raffling 4 tickets to
ALKINOOS IOANNIDIS SOLO in Austin, TX, April 10
Thanks Sotiris Komodromos for the tickets. Alkinoos is one of the best Greek singers.
His music has been performed even by the St. Petersburg symphony orchestra.
NOTE: it is all 100% a fundraising to build a Cultural Center in Austin.

The Tipsy Alchemist creates cocktails with a touch of science, art, and detailed technique with a cocktail menu that features a diverse list of libations.  Featured cocktails include, The Edison, made with rum that is blended with nitrogen-frozen mint and lime and then served in a light bulb on ice, and The Mad Hatter, which is created with vodka, vermouth, lemon, cucumber, and watermelon and then placed into a pneumatic tube transport system—similar to the tubes you deposit checks through at the bank—which encircles the bar so the cocktail is mixed via transport and then served at the other end of the bar.

The lounge area  spreads throughout the 2,269 square-foot interior and 3,271 square-foot patio, with seating will be comprised of high-tops and modular furniture that is easily moved around to accommodate any type of private event

Austin_Tipsy Alchemist.png

Austin – Mar 08 2020

LADY IN PINK – International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Russian House of Austin together with EuroCircle is proud to present International Women’s Day.

Dedicated to women & giving back to the community EuroCircle together with Russian House of Austin is proud to present our annual Women’s Day, cultural extravaganza The night called Lady in Pink dedicated to breast cancer awareness

When: Sunday, March 8, 2020
Where: Russian House @ 307 East 5th street
Time: 4pm – 10pm (followed by disco and karaoke)

DRESS YOUR PINK TO IMPRESS

What To Expect:
• complimentary dessert and champagne tables
• roses for all women

• The night called Lady in Pink dedicated to International Women’s Day and to spread awareness of Breast Cancer

• Live music by Soul Wagon
• Tango performance (dance class lead by instructor)
• Late Hour disco/karaoke • Dessert/ Champagne/Roses complimentary bar

• Silent Auction (we will auction some of the items provided by local businesses such as Kendra Scott, Rachelle Rae Cosmetics, Barre3 membership, designer bouquet, artesian handcrafted chocolates and send all the proceeds to Breast Cancer Fund)

NO COVER
We are looking for local power women and local businesses to donate their services or goods for the Raffles and Silent Auction. (We are not expecting generous donations. Something pleasant and made by local entrepreneurs. Women owned)
• All the funds will be donated to Susan G. Komen
• Your business will be promoted on all of our social media,flyers, and among Russian/European community

Connect with:
www.eurocircle.com
www.facebook.com/eurocircle
EuroCircle Austin Facebook Group
www.instagram.com/eurocircle  

***Note: Varda & her team at the Russian House have done most of the work!!! They deserve the credit.

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To get started, simply visit this link to designate Susan G. Komen as your charity of choice. Visit smile.amazon.com each time you shop and the donation will be made to Komen.

Austin – Jan 24 2020

EuroCircle’s Joint International Mixer

DJ Tuzzo Martini (Francesco) from Italy

Extended happy hour until 9 pm for EuroCircle guests.  No Cover.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Jan 2020 is EuroCircle’s 21st Anniversary – join us to celebrate at W Austin, one of our favorite venues in Austin.

PS.  If you are logged in at Facebook you can use those credentials and sign up (free) as a member super quickly at EuroCircle – make sure to check your EuroCircle city is AUSTIN

EXTENDED happy hour until 9 pm on Friday

COCKTAILS 7
Market Sangria
Our Seasonal Inspiration
Jalapeño Cucumber Lemonade
Absolut Vodka, Jalapeño, Lemon,
Fresh Cucumber Juice

SPIRITS 5
Proper 12 Irish Whisky
Absolut Vodka
Playa Real Tequila*
Silver Tequila
Pineapple Tequila
Mandarin Tequila
* Margarita add 3
Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Benhams Gin
Flor de Cana Rum

TEXAS BEER 4
Pearl Snap Pilsner
Peacemaker Pale Ale
Community Mosaic IPA
Celis White
Austin Eastciders Original
Real Ale Fireman’s #4
Shiner Bock
Independence Austin Amber

WINE & BUBBLES 7
BUBBLES
Mionetto Prosecco
Gruet Sparkling Rosé
WHITE
Chardonnay, Raeburn, CA
Pinot Gris, Kris, Italy
Sauvignon Blanc, St. Supery, Napa
RED
Cabernet, Raeburn, CA
Malbec, Terrazas de los Andes,
Mendoza

BITES
Hand Cut Fries 6
Spicy mayo, ketchup
Truffle Popcorn 6
cheddar cheese, herbs,
fresh black pepper
Warm Pretzel Sticks 5
Spicy beer mustard, queso
Street Style Tacos 4
Citrus & chili braised pork,
pickled Red Onion, cojita cheese,
cilantro on mini corn tortillas

 

Austin – Dec 12 2019

EUROCIRCLE HOLIDAY PARTY @ THE COCONUT CLUB

The Coconut Club, a new rooftop bar and dance club from former Cheer Up Charlies employees Cole Evans and Brian Almaraz, will open this December 2019 in the space previously occupied by Moonfire Lounge.

More details posted later

Austin – Nov 29 2019

EuroCircle PopUp event – brand-new Basque Style venue opened
This is a very casual popup event, no reservations can be made at this brand new venue just opened. I want to check it out so I am going there on Friday at 5.30 pm (Unless works is on my way)
Happy hour ends at 6 pm
It is at the new Proper Hotel/Residences across the entrance from 365 condos
Who knows – maybe I will the only one going but – who ever is around…join me. This is not an “official” eurocircle event – that will be the Dec 12 HOLIDAY PARTY!

On deck will be pintxos (small snacks from northern Spain), which will be displayed at the bar, as well as smaller shared plates. This includes sliced jamón ibérico (Spanish cured ham), preserved seafood, and Basque burnt cheesecake.

As for drinks, there will be the porrón, a wine pitcher which is meant to be poured straight into a person’s mouth from the air, as well as cocktails and wine. The name of the bar refers to a drink from Spain where red wine and cola soda are mixed together (that cocktail will be served on the menu under the name “Tinto de Verano”).

Overseeing Kalimotxo’s drinks are bar manager Brett Esler (who is most known for his longtime work at notable East Austin bar Whisler’s, which he left in October), and general manager Alicia Schmidt (who develops the restaurant -Emmer & Rye – group’s stellar wine lists).
https://kalimotxoatx.com/food-menu

PINTXOS
Ensalada Rusa $4
Goat Cheese and Piquillo $3.5
Octopus Talo $5.5
Romesco Talo $4
Gilda $3.5
Chorizo with Egg $4.5
Jamon Picadillo $4
Tortilla Espagnola $6
Torta Gallega $6

Kalimotxo will feature a stand-up bar, indoor seating, and an outdoor patio, which will be dog-friendly.
The bar’s hours will be from 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, noon to 1 a.m. Saturday, and noon to midnight on Sunday.

Kalimotxo’s neighboring sibling restaurant Hestia is set to open next month on Saturday, December 7, with a focus on live-fire cooking and global influences.