Death Metal from Turkey is still kind of surreal to me… I know that a very exciting scene has developed there over the years, and all the bands that I’ve heard so far (ENGULFED, BURIAL INVOCATION, DIABOLIZER…) were absolutely fantastic. But in my area here in Germany, which has an above-average percentage of people of Turkish origin, I have never ever seen a long-haired Turkish Metalhead at all, let alone heard such music. Why I mention all this? Well, ABOLISH is another very hopeful Turkish Death Metal band which has just released their debut album “…From The Depths” via F.D.A. Records. And if that’s still not exotic enough for you, let me tell you that ABOLISH is fronted by a woman, who sounds way more brutal than many of her male colleagues. Did I get your attention now? Ok, then go ahead and read the following interview with vocalist Lucy Ferra and drummer Serdar Karahasanoğlu, to find out more about this five-piece…
Hello Lucy, hello Serdar… welcome to Voices From The Darkside. I really appreciate that you’re taking the time to do this interview, so I hope I won’t bore you too much with my questions… To kick things off, maybe you can start to introduce yourselves to our readers and tell us what kind of musical background you already bring to the table…
Serdar: “Hi, thanks for the interview. I am happy to answer your questions. I am Serdar, the drummer of the band. I am 36 years old and also practice other music genres. Musically I can be inspired and nourished by many different and diverse sources without being bound by boundaries.”
Lucy: “Hi, I am the vocalist Lucy. I’m 33 years old and I’m making this music professionally for 8 years. Not counting teenage years and covers, I only sang Death Metal.”
How would you characterize yourselves? What are your strengths and what are your weak points, personally and musically?
Serdar: “Firstly, I want to say that our friendship as a band is really good. It is the most important thing for a band to stay active. Me, Burak (guitars) and Lucy are the more experienced members of the band. Eren (guitars) and Mete (bass) are the younger talented members in their twenties. My strong side is discipline and devotion (the moment I received this interview I went to my room to answer the questions). I ask myself what I can do to improve the band. I also don’t create problems by being late to rehearsals. On the other hand, I think that my weak points are that I can be too hasty in certain situations, but it is because of my excitement towards the band and the music.”
Lucy: “Yes, I agree with Serdar. Friendship and balance within the band is very important, because everyone nourishes from different things and everyone’s understanding of discipline is different. I joined ABOLISH later and the fundementals of the songs were already written. At first I was uneasy, thinking if I could adapt them or if there would be any misunderstandings. As one can say, when everything is already clear your responsibility increases. I was scared to mess things up, but as time passed and we got to be friends, I grew more confident and felt closer to the band. I think we have a good balance within the band and it makes me happy. My weak point is, when there is something that I don’t like or feel like I am not enough for, I can be sluggish. For example, I came to the recordings later when everyone was already done. I made them wait. Sorry guys! My strength is my stubbornness and patience. In short, when I am locked in on something I do it until I am satisfied with it. I consider everything as business, this includes music and other topics.”
When did you all get together as ABOLISH and is this the first line-up or did you already play with any other members previously?
Serdar: “ABOLISH formed in 2017 by me and Burak. Then we asked our friend Ozan from SERPENT OF OLD to become our vocalist, he accepted. We did not do anything until late 2019 and we activated the band after 2019 ended. We got Metehan on bass and as our songs grew we got Hamit on guitar. But Ozan could not continue, so we offered Lucy Ferra to become our vocalist and started the recordings. After Hamit was drafted into army he said that he could not continue, so we got Eren Yurdusever from GODHEIM, so that’s our current line-up.”
What made you use the name ABOLISH? Was it just that the word sounded good to you or is there a deeper meaning connected to it?
Serdar: “There’s no particular reason, but we’ve avoided clichés and two-word band names. We had several names in our minds, while we were talking about it and then Burak proposed the name ABOLISH and everyone liked it.”
Lucy, for how long have you been singing this brutal music already? Is it difficult for you as a woman, to come up with such deep grunts? I know that you’re also singing in INHUMAN DEPRAVITY since 2015, so was that your first band? Did you listen to Metal your whole life already?
Lucy: “Like most Metalheads I listen to Metal since I was 13 or 14 years of age. My first band was formed when I was 16, as you can guess it was a cover band and I was singing in clean vocals. Later I started to practice and listen to brutal Death and improved my vocals. I can say that INHUMAN DEPRAVITY is my first professional band. I am aware that my vocals are different than what is expected, but still one shouldn’t look at it as “it’s good for a women”, because you don’t see this reaction when a male vocalist is on the stage. We look at the harmony and performance of it. Of course there’s only a small number of women who are in the extreme Metal scene, therefore we see shocked faces. I think we should change this perspective. I can accept that “for a woman” my vocals are manly. I think that’s because of my 3,5 octave vocal range, but I never had a professional answer, it’s just my personal thought. I don’t think that I am a really good vocalist, but I try to do my best. As long as I am alive, I will continue working for this music. If I stay strong today I owe it to metal.”
While the names of the other ABOLISH members sound typical Turkish, Lucy Ferra sounds alot more international… So, is that your real name or do you just use it as your stage name?
Lucy: “It’s my stage name, actually it has a funny story. I was 16 years old and started signing my illustrations. It was funny at first, but when my professional work life started I had to make a choice, because apart from music I make illustrations for children books. I use this name to avoid people getting shocked when they search for my real name. Of course after 20 years it has its own persona, I’m not sure. My real name is Ege by the way.”
I was pretty surprised that you never released any demos or EPs as ABOLISH, but started out with your debut full length album “…From The Depths” right away, which is pretty unsual… There’s not even a Metal Archives listing of you so far… So, how did you exactly get your record deal with such an established company as F.D.A. Records then? Did you record / self-finance the album on your own at first and then sent it to some companies or did you shop around any rehearsal tracks or promo recordings that just weren’t released to the public officially?
Serdar: “We never wanted to record an EP or a demo. After the album was finished we sent mails to a list of labels and F.D.A. Records was a part of it. F.D.A. Records got back to us in a short period of time, stating that they want to work with us. We spoke about details and made it official.”
Lucy: “F.D.A. got back to us in a very short time, in exactly 20 minutes!”
The material on the album sounds incredibly tight and very experienced already, so how long did you work on those songs until you recorded them properly?
Serdar: “Thanks. We finished almost half of the album in the quarantine of the Covid pandemic, we were very productive during that time. The whole album took us about a year.”
Where do you draw your main musical influences from? Is it basically the classic bands, like MORBID ANGEL, IMMOLATION, INCANTATION, BOLT THROWER and the likes or do you feel more inspired by the newer generation of brutal Death Metal bands, like DEAD CONGREGATION, GRAVE MIASMA, DISMA, UNDERGANG and so on?
Serdar: “All these bands are important for us, but the most inspiring ones to me are IMMOLATION and MORBID ANGEL. I find it hard to express my feelings when it comes to new bands such as DEAD CONGREGATION and GRAVE MIASMA. For us as the band the fathers of Death Metal like IMMOLATION, BOLT THROWER, MORBID ANGEL or INCANTATION were very inspiring during the making of the music. But drawing a line is not right, Wagner’s sonnet or a BLACK SABBATH song can give us these vibes as well.”
Lucy: “We all opened our eyes with the bands you’ve mentioned and we proceed by listening to newer generations. In addition to Serdar’s comment I want to say that all of our musical pasts influences our music. While I don’t listen to Thrash, Burak has a Thrash band called THRASHFIRE. Serdar and Ere are big time Black Metal fans and Mete listens to Thrash and Death Metal. Therefore the spectrum of influences is very rich.”
You recorded the instrumental part of album at Deadhouse Studio in Ankara with Ozan Yıldırım… Was that studio your number one choice or are there any other studios that offer a similar quality, that you had in mind and that you can recommend as well? Why didn’t you record the vocals at Deadhouse as well and used Midasın Kulaklığı instead?
Serdar: “Yes, Deadhouse was our first choice, because Ozan is very good at recording, mixing and mastering. He is also close to this music, therefore he knew what we wanted. At that time there was a problem with the dates, so it was more appropriate to record the vocals at Midas’ın Kulaklığı Studio.”
Ozan Yıldırım, the studio owner, who recorded, mixed and mastered “…From The Depths”, is already a very experienced guy when it comes to recordings… Did you personally know him before already or were you all so impressed by his previous productions (BURIAL INVOCATION, DIABOLIZER, ENGULFED etc.), that you wanted to work with him?
Serdar: “As I just said, he is in this scene for a long time and he is our friend as well.”
He also was the artist of your album cover… was that a piece of work he had already finished or did he create that, based on your own ideas, exclusively for you?
Serdar: “No, he created this cover art based on what he felt by listing to our music. We did not tell him to draw a specific thing. I mean, we did not interfere with his job, because we knew that he will do a great job, so we left him alone and he did this art work. What are your thoughts on it?” (I think it’s a very cool piece of art that fits the album very well – Frank)
Who of you writes the lyrics? Were they all written by you, Lucy, since you also have to sing them or does anyone else of you guys also contribute lyrical ideas. Could you give us a short summary what the songs on “…From The Depths” are dealing with?
Serdar: “Lyrics are written by me, Mete and Burak. ‘Ruins Of Empire’ was written by our good friend Fatih Buharalı, we thank him again from here. We write about different topics, for instance ‘Pervert Divine Doctrine’ is about the filthy cult structures and congregations. ‘Recm In The Ungodly Lands’ is about the Middle East and Islam truths about recm, which is when people dig women and stone them to death. War, Nihilism, anti-religion and metaphysical themes are included in our lyrical themes, but we don’t limit ourselves with just that.”
Lucy: “The lyrics were already written when I joined the band, so I will start writing them for the second album.”
I noticed that you just played at the “Heavy Stage 8” festival in Ankara on April 16, 2023… was that the first ABOLISH live show ever or had you played any gigs before that already? How many people show up at such a festival in Turkey in general and how was the reaction on ABOLISH in particular? Where you satisfied with your own performance?
Serdar: “Yeah, it was our first concert. Heavy Stage is an important festival for the Turkish underground Metal scene. It was a good thing. There were a couple of offers, but we never hurried. Our first priority was the album. Heavy Stage is not a big open air festival, but a club show. Nevertheless, it hosts the best underground bands. ABOLISH gained a lot of attention, people wanted to watch us since we are a new band and they were on fire when we were playing.”
Lucy: “The audience was insane and the praises after our performance was more than what we expected. I think we dominated the stage. After many rehearsals, I felt that we were one with our songs.”
A while ago I interviewed Mustafa of the Turkish Death Metal band ENGULFED and asked him about his general opinion on religion and if his band already had to face any difficulties because of the type of lyrics they write, considering the fact that the majority of people in Turkey are Muslims… So, what about you? Are you religious in any way? And if so, does it cause you any problems (public, family, friends) because you’re playing in a Death Metal band?
Serdar: “A bigger part of our society is muslim, but no one in the band is religious, and I think that people who are making this music shouldn’t be religious at all. It lacks consistency. We are going to our jobs and schools everyday, and wherever this place might be, the majority is religious. Therefore we cannot do anti-religious propaganda openly. This topic had led to many deaths already, so we must be careful.”
I also asked Mustafa how open- or close-minded Turkey is regarding tolerance and acceptance of a Metalhead, Metal bands or the Metal crowd in general? What kind of experiences can you share with us when it comes to this topic?
Serdar: “We live in the capital of Turkey, so we don’t come across such problems. People are also used to it. But I know that this is a problem in small cities. I studied at a collage in a little city and life stopped when people saw me. The reason was my long hair and any band shirt. Unfortunately it is like that, but compared to the ’90s the situation is better.”
Lucy: “Being a Metalhead is a bit part of a popular culture now, so we don’t get harsh reactions. With a world where Rihanna has a side cut, Billie Eilish has green hair and IRON MAIDEN t-shirts are sold at H&M, there is no specific Metalhead look. But in the ’90s and early 2000s it was absurd, because of slanders. There are no religious people in the Turkish Metal scene, most of us are Satanists hahaha. To speak for myself, I am the most spiritual one in the band, so there is no issue to call me a witch.”
Even though there’s already a lot more women in Metal bands nowadays than several years ago, I can imagine that it still must be a lot more difficult to really get accepted, especially in a country like Turkey, which internationally isn’t exactly wellknown for a big, healthy Metal scene yet… Lucy, can you tell us about your own experiences regarding this? How has your family reacted when they found out that you’re singing in a Death Metal band?
Lucy: “If you are a woman and make Metal, I knew I wasn’t taken seriously at first. It’s expected from you to sing opera on stage in Gothic princess dresses. When the music is heavier, people think that guys who wear camos are better. Someone once told me that “women can’t be good musicians”. This upsets me, but I did not give up. Why would I? As I said, I am an upright standing person, thanks to Metal. I do this because I feel a debt to this music, I do this for myself not anyone else. It satisfies me, that’s why I don’t care what people say. I am sure that this discrimination is worldwide and not exclusive to Turkey. Nevertheless, I believe that that there will be more women doing extreme music. Although there are women who have formed female bands and made Death / Black Metal records, I am the first woman in my country to record a longplay album. I am proud of that, but it is sad for this scene’s history. I am trying to encourage the new generation. At the end of the day I hope to be mentioned as a musician. My family’s reaction changed throughout time. Although I have a family who listens to Hardrock, they did not understand it at first, haha. I can’t forget that my mom said: “Why do these people shout?” Of course now she knows it’s normal. She asked the guitarist of INHUMAN DEPRAVITY: “What’s the difference between ABOLISH and INHUMAN DEPRAVITY?”. We tried to answer that, but didn’t succeed.”
Now that your album is about to be released, what kind of activities have you planned in support of it? Will there be any live shows or even a tour?
Serdar: “Band members publish the news on social media and we are thankful to our friends that supported us. F.D.A. Records is also actively publishing our songs. There is no tours or shows at the moment, but everything is possible for the near future.”
Lucy: “After the album release I think abroad shows will be legendary!”
Ok, I guess that should be enough for now. If there’s anything you’d like to add, that we previously haven’t talked about, you’re of course very welcome to mention it here now… Thanks a lot for the interview and all the best!
Serdar: “Our album will be released on May 05, 2023 as CD and digital formats. The LP will be available on July 28, 2023. Stay tuned and give the bands the support that they deserve! Thanks for the interview.”
Lucy: “See you at a show! Cheers!”
Live pics: Cüneyt Özer
Interview: Frank Stöver