My Inspiration: Yolcu – A Hunter And The Prey | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Yolcu are an Anatolian-inflected art pop and indie-electronica duo based between Istanbul and Newcastle (the pair met whilst studying sonic arts in Istanbul) who have released their debut single, A Hunter and the Prey, taken from their upcoming EP, In Stream. It’s an intense and immediate track complete with tender baritone vocals (reminiscent of Ian Astbury) soaring on unceasing electronic oscillation and talks of the loss of self under the systematising force of relationships, employment and money.

We speak to Dağ and Joe from the band to find out what inspired this track….

Dağ: Just before I started writing music with Yolcu, I worked in the advertising industry for a few years full-time as a designer. I used to relate the situation of being an employee, being chased, controlled and consumed by companies to the kind of narratives you see in nature documentaries. The boss or company being a hunter and the employee being the prey. 

At that time we wrote A Hunter and the Prey, Joe and I were sharing lots of inspirations from nature between us and Joe’s huge interest in birds made me much more aware of the sound of the birds. When Joe sent his demo over me, I thought he wanted to synthesize birds flapping their wings in place of rhythmic hats. Although that wasn’t the case, my initial impression led me again to think about the relationship between a hunter and it’s prey. Also, the production of the track is completely electronic but had, to me, this natural impression within it; the combination felt like a reflection of a habitat that had become industrialised, and the flight of birds was fleeing from that. In previous employment I noticed an oppressive sense that people’s feelings and desires, and in time their ambitions and passions, became those of the industry. A slow, harmful, systemising effect settled in them. It became their world. This song is about being within that, and the process of being consumed. 

I’ve always liked tracks that are storytelling in attitude and for my vocal delivery for this track I wanted to convey that. At some level you are playing a role within a track. I wanted the vocals to struggle against the torrent of synths, which to me represented a force trying to pull you under. The climax of the track (‘’I’m in the world of you’s’’), where there is some recognition of the storyteller’s position, is also the moment the synths are most intense. They can’t quite escape.

This song is about a face-off. What do we hide under the armour of a career and are we aware of the cost of sacrifices made to get that? In this world of mutated you’s, what is really going to protect us?

Joe: A Hunter and the Prey was the first track we wrote together. When I made this track, our project was in such a nascent stage that I didn’t know what was going to work or what are our process would be, but that anxiety fed a kind of boldness where, instead of trying to find definite answers about what we ought to do or be, I just asked more questions. For example, in this track, there’s not really a chorus; there’s a middle section that acts like a chorus, but it’s only heard once. The second verse is also less like a verse and more like bridge. I didn’t know if it was going to work. It wasn’t so much an intention to subvert a classic ABABCB pop structure, but more just me wondering if I could make a song that was still pop and had a satisfying emotional arc but without the power of two or three choruses. The process of making this track set a precedent for Yolcu where it felt like I sent Dağ curveballs in my demos,  and instead of him asking me to change this and that, he would fit his vision within mine, and then after some further back and forth each track became as much his as it was mine.  Although when we were writing this track there were a lot of questions and uncertainty, the process and speed at which it all came together was so effortless that it vindicated the feeling that there was something to be gained by having that open posture and seeking without expecting.

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