[Music] An interview with: Kit Sebastian

Introducing the 60s' revival retro-futuristic sounds of Kit Sebastian.


Nostalgic, dreamy and unafraid, it is no exaggeration to say the duo Kit Sebastian comprised of Kit Martin and Merve Erdem create stunningly beautiful music that sounds as if it could have been made in another era. This in part stems from their brilliant musical history knowledge of genres from all corners of the globe. Their songs wouldn't feel out of place in a Jean-Luc Goddard French New Wave film and that's an ode to their talent as musicians to manifest this timeless essence in their vibrant style.


Genre redefining and experimental in their approach, the richly diverse reference points of Kit Sebastian span continents and eras: from Anatolian Psychedelia to European Pop, American Jazz and Brazilian Tropicalia.


Their second album 'Melodi' was released on October 1st 2021 and just like their debut album 'Mantra Moderne' is a wonderful fusion of soft melodies and layered instrumentation that will send you into a 60s' daydream.


"For Merve, growing up in Istanbul, studying in Rome, and now living in London has meant a constant negotiation with her identity, the preconceptions of Turkey abroad and grappling with complex, layered, often problematic histories. For Kit, who grew up between suburban London and rural France without internet, his love for music from around the world has led to a reckoning of what it means to create a pluralistic sound, without obscuring its origins in the process." - Mr Bongo (Record Label)


A plethora of rhythmic ornamentation exudes a bold new flair infused with timeless coherence. To discover their soundscapes is a textural delight: a world of instruments are electronically and organically layered in elegant compositions. Through digital recording, analogue tube compression and cassette tape alchemy, the vocal accompaniment exudes an effortless and highly refined interaction between the dynamic duo’s range, whilst singing in alternating parts English, Turkish and French.



Regardless of how it’s defined - their songs are funky, suave and deeply satisfying to experience - a testament to their unique process and secret formula for fusing historical and contemporary musical elements with an unmistakable flavour of storytelling.


Read on below for our interview with Kit Sebastian...


Tell us about yourself and how you both met?

We are a London based duo who make music that fuses different genres like Anatolian Psychedelia, Brazilian Tropicalia, 60s European pop and American jazz. Our lyrics are in Turkish and English with a bit of French from time to time. We met on a Facebook group for Turkish people in London in 2018, as K wanted to find someone to start a proj ect with who shared a passion for Turkish music. We met a few times and started to record our debut album together shortly after.


Your latest album 'Melodi' is amazing, tell us about the idea behind the project and the process of creating it?

We laid the groundwork for Melodi from our last album, Mantra Moderne, but this time we wanted to create something a bit more challenging, to expand our instrumentation and harmonic language. It was written during the pandemic and recorded in between the lockdowns. The solitude and excess of time that everyone experienced during the pandemic meant we tried a lot of new things that were exciting.


Did you grow up in musical households?

K: I grew up with a guitar and a mono cassette recorder so enjoyed messing around on them. Musically I found records in car boot sales in France when I was looking for British music, and what at first started as a compromise evolved into a passion for European and global music.
M: I grew up listening to mainly Turkish classical and folk music until my middle school years. I started to develop an interest in 60’s/70’s French, Polish and Italian pop and jazz music via films that I used to find in a small DVD shop close to my high school and then my uni library. My knowledge and love for global music grew as I moved to London.


Other than music, where else do you find inspiration?

K: I find inspiration from cinema and travel. Walking around a new area unseen before.
M: The inspiration comes from daily experiences and emotions as well as cinema and literature.


What are your personal views on Spirituality?

We can’t say we’re spiritual people, however; it’s interesting to observe similarities between different cultures’ and disciplines’ relationship to spirituality and mysticism. Questions regarding the ethics and aesthetics of life are important to ask and some people search for their truth in spirituality while the others try to find it in philosophy, materialism or something else.


Does nature inspire you?

The stillness of the countryside is very conducive to writing, and one thinks less about culture and more about the formal qualities of the music there. Nature also inspires the way we use language (as metaphors or symbols for example), especially in our Turkish lyrics. However, our music itself is perhaps more influenced by the city.


Favourite movies, books?

K: I love Eastern European films like Closely Watched Trains, Panelstory or Bariera, but this winter I will be watching Irony of Fate on repeat.
M: After years of procrastination, I finally started to read Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” that has already become one of my favourite books. Otherwise, I love modern Turkish literature and Russian classics. I love 60’s European cinema (Bergman, Antonioni, Truffaut, Visconti, Polanski, Chytilová, etc). But I currently enjoy kitsch Italian and French horror films from the 70’s.
 

You can listen to both of their albums in full for free below...

 

Be sure to follow them on Instagram & Bandcamp


& if that wasn't enough, you can listen to our exclusive BOSSA NOVA playlist featuring Kit Sebastian below. Enjoy!


- PSYCHIC GARDEN