One to Watch: Islandman


Tolga Büyük, aka Islandman, grew up in in Istanbul in amidst the 70’s Turkish psychedelic scene. Having previously been part of live-performance band Farfara, he started solo producing in 2010. His own tracks are a funky concoction of Turkish instrumentation, Anatolian melodies and experimental electronics. Following multiple self-releases and an introduction to label Music for Dreams with his Balearic remix of José Manuel’s ‘Babylon’, he last year released the wonderfully original Rest In Space LP on the same label. His most recent mix is one we are very excited to be hosting here at YoungOnes. We got in touch with the man himself to find out a little more about his influences, ideas and future plans.  


When and how did music become such a huge part of your life?

It started at the age of 7 when I met with my music teacher at school, he was a Turkish saz artist and he was teaching this instrument to kids. We were lucky because all of the other schools were having music lessons with block flute and our class was like a ritual with 40 kids playing saz together. I think those moments of making music or sound affected me from a young age. 

What first got you into the psychedelic scene?

I think it was really interesting to find out that the music you were listening to when you were a kid; is called 70’s Turkish psychedelic, I remember there was a vibration in these music which catches you and takes you on a ride with lots of peaceful feelings. And in time I followed these musicians as it became an endless road to discovery. 

How did your association with Music for Dreams come about?

Kenneth Bager contacted me over SoundCloud and we released 'Agit’, after that there was great communication between us. It’s a real family-feel label, they are always there to listen and give new ideas. 

Can you tell me more about your Anatolian roots and the importance of it in your music?

It comes from the instrument; Saz, I think its the signature sound of these lands. And it naturally happens in my music because when I want to add a melody I always think of this instrument even I am playing on synthesizer or electric guitar.

Istanbul is famous for being the point where East meets West, the gateway to Asia, famous for its fusion of cultures etc. Do you predominantly find inspiration for your music from East or West?

The best thing about Istanbul is that the city makes you really feel like you are at the centre of the World; from Hip-hop to Afro beat, Indian Classics to Peruvian Ikaru’s; no sound is foreign to our ears. So it is easy to welcome any culture and combine it into your music.

Which artists do you admire the most and have any influenced you in particular?

I can say the entire scene of 70’s Turkish music. Eden Ahbez, Can and Baba Zula.

Do you have a drive to be well known or do you just let the music speak for itself?

To have drive to be well known sounds dangerous, then you can end up with music that you don’t enjoy and this can be a musician’s end. I have a drive to create music which will stay timeless and which I will enjoy forever.

What sort of feelings do you aim to evoke in your listeners with your music?

If a music takes me to a place full of different colours, animals, objects I’ve never seen before; like a weird dream that makes you happy; I love that. I would like to give this feeling too.

Can you tell me about the creative process behind your album Rest In Space

We have been playing as a trio for 2 years now. Eralp Güven on percussion and Erdem Başer on guitars. We decided to go to the south of Turkey, to a summer house and improvised for hours. Then there was the process of listening to these long recordings and cutting the album out of it.

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Rumour has it that you will be releasing another album at some point - is this true?

Yes, we have a long release plan with Kenneth actually, there will be three remix albums coming out and then the new LP, hopefully around September.

Have you got plans to come and play in the UK? 

This year we will be playing at Boom Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival which is really exciting. And for the next year I really want to play in Japan and UK where I’ve never been before.


Words: Daisy