Despite the meteoric rise of Gantz‘s accomplishments and respect in the worldwide community of Dubstep, Emir Ongun was surprised when we asked him to do this feature, after meeting him at Young Echo Sound late last year. No doubt due to his humble character, but perhaps because in his home city of Istanbul, his music and the subculture it belongs to, goes largely unrecognised. When he talks of there being only one club in the whole of the city that caters to sound system music, it is clear Gantz‘s productions are an enigma in the city’s wider musical landscape. While Istanbul may not be the most dedicated city to Dubstep it has clearly played an instrumental role in shaping Gantz‘s sounds. That ‘Turkish feel’ resonates through many of his tracks and an audio clip of protesters tear-gassed in Taksim Square opened his guest mix for Vivek on RinseFM.
His work meditates on both the cultural history and current political unrest of Istanbul; whether he consciously intends for his music to bring attention to the city’s political state or not, its troubled history and anarchic mentality no doubt contribute to the elusive darkness of his productions. Not to dwell on its complications – for Istanbul is a beautiful and vibrant city where East meets West in a unique geographical and cultural way – we asked Gantz about his favourite places to go around the city and he’s also put together a mix for us, formed 100% from Turkish producers.
Favorite place to listen to live music?
Definitely Pixie Underground.
Best sound system?
Pixie Underground again!
Best place to party outside?
Again Pixie Underground, definitely check it out if you’re about
Where do you go to calm down and escape the hub of the city?
Sultanahmet is my escape any time. If i feel like i’m going out of my mind, especially the narrow street just near the entrance of Topkapi Palace, it has a very small and old library, highly recommended.
Where will you find the friendliest, most interesting local you like to have chat with?
I would say Besiktas might be quite friendly and the opposite at times, it’s definitely very intimate though.
Is there somewhere that offers a distinct smell of Istanbul?
Backstreets of Istiklal is what you’re looking for if you want a concentrated dose of Istanbul!
Where would go to see another medium of art other than music?
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art in Tophane might be the place to go for that.
Best traditional Turkish restaurant?
I used to go to Ucuncu Mevki in Istiklal, just behind the Mosque, it was amazing, i’m not quite sure if it’s still there, worth checking though.
Place to experience something uniquely Istanbul?
Just wander the streets of Sultanahmet, Sirkeci and visit the Spice Bazaar. You’re not experiencing that anywhere else in the world.
What is the best and worst thing about living in Istanbul?
The traffic is the worst thing. The overall humbleness and the beauty and the ugliness which creates a unique texture to it, is the most beautiful thing about it.