Interview - Santi & Tuğçe present their latest musical odyssey "A Twice Told Tale"
Trndmusik - Germany
Berlin-based duo Santi & Tuğçe presents their latest musical odyssey: “A Twice Told Tale” released by Souq Records. Filled with unmistakable charm and complexity, “A Twice Told Tale” conjures up stories that connect with something deep within the listener. Told with emotional intensity and intricacy, these are songs for and about everyone.
trndmsk: “A Twice Told Tale”, presents a brand new sound and concept unlike any of your previous work. Can you tell us more about this latest EP?
Santi & Tuğçe: “A Twice Told Tale” materializes musical ideas we have had for many years now. These ideas revolved around the worlds of Jazz, Techno and Melodic Electronica. We wanted to fuse Tuğçe’s flowing vocals with a grand piano and the precise and pulsating tones of drum machines and synthesizers. Fusing these elements together was not an easy task. We tried it several times in the past. While some of these earlier attempts sounded more traditional, as though played by a jazz quartet, other ideas were just “too” electronic and not quite matching the fluidity of Jazz. “A Twice Told Tale” is the first time we managed to bring all these ideas together in a coherent way. Another goal for this EP was to integrate all these diverse elements into songs as musical stories, not just beats, grooves, and solos. Each track in this EP is an original composition and a poem. This is what puts the defining signature to this release.
You have been reinventing your sound with each new release. It is quite an interesting journey to follow your musical progression. How do you create an original soundscape with every release?
We are often told that we reinvent our sound and surprise our listeners with each release. This makes us very happy, especially at a time when so much music (and art in general) is made in an “assembly line” manner. Ironically, it never has been so easy to access such a variety of great music like it is right now. The possibilities are endless. It is just a matter of listening with an open mind to different kinds of music, studying, transcribing, and constantly experimenting. Once all these possible ideas become part of your repertoire and imagination, they will be available to you during the production process.
Please describe your process of writing a new song from start to finish. For instance, how did a track like Hikâye emerge?
Each track has its own journey. Some tracks (such as Mercurio) emerge spontaneously in the studio during an all night production session, some tracks (like those in our album Terminal Caribe) come to us first as melodic or rhythmic ideas that linger with us for years until they reach their final form, and some others (such as Bulut in this new EP) mutate many times until they feel “just right”. We often assume different roles in the production process. At times, Santi’s wild, free-flowing imagination finds its defining limits through Tuğçe’s precise, groove-focused edits. At other times, Tuğçe’s deep intuition and multi-sensory story-telling animate Santi’s sharp and inventive production skills. In the case of this particular EP, Hikâye was initially an instrumental track with a more disco-punk sound that Santi started playing in a free-style jam session a while ago. After hearing the jam several times, Tuğçe came up with the idea of the vocal melody (which she began singing in the shower) and wrote lyrics for it the next day, so that we could include it as the intro to our new live set. Santi then added a bit of swing to the groove, some snare brushes samples, a Hammond-like synth pad, a walking bass line and improvised piano lines. The sound was fresh and exciting. We immediately knew we had to get a great player to record on a grand piano; that was the last ingredient, and indeed that became a key element of “A Twice Told Tale”.
This is the first album in which you featured a pianist, Pier Luigi Salami. Tell us a little more about this collaboration. Do you have plans to keep collaborating with Pier in the near future?
The idea to collaborate with a jazz pianist has been around for many years, but we finally managed to turn this dream into reality. We met Pier Luigi Salami online through Souq Records Founder Mohamed Aser, and we felt an immediate affinity for his work. We asked him to record on all 4 tracks of the EP, and he made each track more beautiful than we imagined. We hope very much to keep collaborating with him in future recordings and cannot wait to play live with him some day.
How did you choose the title of the EP?
The title is inspired by anthropologist Margery Wolf’s book “A Thrice Told Tale” in which she narrates a story three times from three points of view, thus presenting her audience with different texts and forms. This is similar to the case of our work on this EP, where each track went through multiple transmutations. Especially in our process of collaboration with Pier who recorded these tracks in his studio in Italy, each track was literally made twice (with and without the piano). We also included two versions of our track “Hikâye” (meaning “Tale”) in this EP, a 8 minute long, meditative version and a 5 minute long, more intense version featuring different takes on the piano.
How was the feedback so far?
The initial response of listeners, musicians, and critics has been very enthusiastic so far. The EP got featured on numerous radio channels and music magazines, and we have been receiving a lot of lovely messages from many people. It really warms our hearts especially during these times when we can no longer play and share our music live.
What’s up next after this release? What are your near future projects?
We have some tracks we have already completed, some new tracks in progress and some remixes from our previous work waiting to be released. So the production work continues full on, and we are getting eager to play live again.