Meriç Erseçgen has done sound editing for almost 50 movies including Mommo, Meryem, Musallat and Mucize while also mixing many advertising jingles. In 2013, the movie Meryem has won him the Jurors Special Award at Altın Portakal Movie Awards in Sound Editing. He has been the lead singer of various bands. In 2011 he joined Velet as a guitarist/producer and in 2014 he became the bass/synth player of Mind Shifter. He has founded his own business, Karasinek Ses Tasarım ve Müzik Yapım Ofisi, and continues working in his studio in Etiler.
Could you please introduce yourself to those who don’t yet know you?
I was born in 1984, in Değirmendere. I studied Statistics between 2002 and 2006, but didn’t finish. From 2007 till 2008, I worked at İKSV as a technician of light, stage and production. Afterwards I joined the movie department of a seemingly large post-production studio as a sound editor. I worked on the post-production sounds of about 50 theater movies. I mixed around 500 teasers for movies. In 2013, at the Altın Portakal Movie Festival, I was awarded the Jury’s Special Award for the sound editing of the movie Meryem. And in 2014, I founded my own studio, Karasinek Sound Editing and Music Production Office. I continue working with various major studios as a freelance sound editor as well. I am a black-belt Pro Tools operator. Currently, I am doing my post graduate in motion pictures and television. I am interested in stringed and percussion instruments. I enjoy rough music.
Since when are you interested in music?
In our family, everyone plays an instrument. My dad was involved and interested in Turkish Classical Music for a long time. I was born with an ear for rhythm. After my cousin gave me Metallica’s Load album in 1996, music became the most important aspect of my life. I began learning to play the acoustical guitar that my uncle, the military officer had brought from Italy in 1972 – which all family members had learned to play. I participated in some high school bands as the lead singer, bass player or the guitarist. In 2003, I became the bass player of Episode 13, a black metal band from Eskişehir. The band’s album, Tabula Rasa, came out in 2005. I stayed with them until 2006. We played at many large festivals and concerts. In 2011 I joined Velet as a guitarist/producer, and in 2014 I joined Mind Shifter as a bass/synth player.
How did you begin sound editing professionally?
In 2008, I began working at a post-production studio with the reference of Murat Özdemir, my cousin’s spouse, who is a movie and series musician and I stayed there until June 2014. I learned about this job from my supervisor, without any formal training. I worked on many different movies, well or poorly produced – I even did sound editing for an erotic thriller comedy! I worked very hard to come this far.
What exactly is sound editing and what stages does a movie’s sound editing consist of?
In theater movies, almost only the dialogue is recorded. Everything else you hear at a movie is added afterwards in post-production through creating, recording and inserting. The sound editing stages of movies consist of Dialogue Edit, Ambiance and Effects Design, Foley Recording, Doubling Recording, Special Sound Effects Design and the Final Mix. According to the budget, length and genre of the movie, this post-production period can take a few days or a few months. Since the allocated budget is usually not much in Turkey, the work has to be done with small teams(or usually one-man-bands), tight deadlines, fast and cheaply.
You have edited the sounds of many thriller movies. Is working with that genre generally scary?
Since thriller movie budgets are below average, one cannot really work in luxury. Most of Turkish thriller movies are based on religious stories and include sudden screams, bellows, and suddenly appearing demons and other creatures. The most basic fear we inherited from our ancestors is the fear of sudden and loud sounds. So there is a lot of work in thriller post-productions. It is very important in setting the mood for the scene. Working 12-hour days on the same movie for a few weeks can create enough tension as it is – I did absently scare myself to death on a few scenes that I was working on.
Were you expecting to receive an award in Altın Portakal? Could you tell us about the project and your work process a bit?
I attended the last few days of the festival thanks to the director Atalay Taşdiken’s invitation. It was a great chance to take a break from a hectic work schedule and let my hair down. I was not expecting to get an award at all – in fact, I was fiddling with my phone while I was being announced! I was very excited and happy. As for the work; the sound editing process began in September 2012 and continued until July 2013, with breaks. The movie was about a young girl living in Central Anatolia, who is waiting for her husband to return from working in İstanbul. It shows her coping with the pressure from her family and her community. There were a few scenes where we could include beautiful sound editing such as dream and fainting scenes. That must have gotten the attention of the jury.
You play with bands such as Velet, and Mind Shifter, which we have began hearing about often these days. How did these projects come to life? Where will they go?
I did some recordings for Velet before I became a part of them. We got along very well. In the summer of 2011, while we were discussing if we could do something together, I joined the band. Many band members changed. The current version includes Önder Dündar in bass/vocals, Deniz Ünlü(from Neyse) in percussions and me in guitar/synth and production. We have been silent for a while but right now we are trying to put together an album that we recorded the songs for in 2014. Meanwhile, in January 2014, I joined Mind Shifter. It had actually began a few years back, as a project of Orhan Yılmaz. We are friends since 2002, from Eskişehir. Before me, he had produced the album “Disconnected Space” from Partapart Records, the producer of great bands such as Men With A Plan and Astrofella. After brainstorming, we decided to play together. In 2014, our EP Another Life was produced. We did some remixes for bands such as Görkem Han Jr., Portecho, The Away Days. In February 16, our Welcome EP and a music video will be released. Our songs for the album we are hoping to release in 2015 are almost ready. And the concerts will continue in 2015…
Photo: Zeynep Özkanca
How was your studio founded? How is an ordinary working day? Is it hard to discipline yourself to work?
After working in not-so-great conditions for 6 years, me and my great friend Cem Taşkara rented a studio and began working as two friendly companies, Film Standartları(Movie Standards) and Karasinek(Blackfly). After working for years in post-production, we are aiming to do the best work we can, the best way we can. This summer Güçlü Başak, my former colleague of 3 years, and my younger brother Burak Erseçgen also joined the team. Önder from Velet designed a brand identity for us, which received an award for “Best Corporate Identity” in GMK. Usually we begin working around 10. Of course, it varied according to the work schedule. We prefer not to work during the weekends. We do lots of advertising, movie, series and musical work. And sometimes, we prefer not to do any work at all. Since we have been doing this job for years, disciplining ourselves to work hard has become part of our routine.
How are you getting along with İstanbul? Any other cities you dream of living in for inspiration?
I’ve been living in İstanbul since 8 years. I love it, but it is so noisy! For the last few years I’ve been living in various neighborhoods of Şişli. Mecidiyeköy is really unbelievable in terms of noise. Thanks to the viaduct, Mecidiyeköy has turned into an enormous room. It makes the already unbearable traffic noises reflect and get trapped under it. I have to travel through there everyday and it really is very tiring. Inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime. I never considered moving to find inspiration. Currently I can only make a living doing what I do in İstanbul, so I have no plans to move. But İzmir, Eskişehir, Marmaris are the top places I would like to live in if I ever relocate within Turkey.
Are there any projects, goals in line?
There are the albums we are preparing with my bands. I’ve been attending some meetings regarding a few great independent movies. I am planning to release some songs of mine that I’ve been keeping hidden through Karasinek. We are making an effort to accomplish great work. Although there are good things as well, the world in general is getting filled with unhappiness, ugliness, darkness and filth – especially Turkey. The more people we reach within this mess, the better. So I feel the urge to keep producing.