Hüma Utku, a Berlin based İstanbulite, is an electronic music composer and sound artist. Utku combines her musical practice with her academic studies in psychology through her works drawing inspiration from human condition, psychology and folklore. With an overall disregard for genres, she utilises melody and sound as tools for storytelling. Her 2018 release Şeb-i Yelda EP and her 2019 debut album Gnosis, via Karlrecords, earned Utku recognition for her unique approach of storytelling through electronic music. Since then, her new works have been featured in various releases including her rework of Vanessa Wagner’s ”Struggle for Pleasure” in the company of selected artists like Wolfgang Voigt, Suzanne Ciani & Vladislav Delay, was released by InFine music. Utku has been selected as a SHAPE 2021 artist.
1. The truth enlightens.
2. Fortune favours the bold.
3. Do no harm, take no bullshit.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
My need for both self-expression and resonating with others. Music is a magical thing. I’m a vessel for what comes through me and once it lands on someone else’s ears, how it resonates with them is another story. I also use it as a tool to reflect on certain words, thoughts or themes that resonate with me but are brought forward by others.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
At the age of 14 I started classical piano training which was the start of my now almost two-decade long love hate relationship with the instrument. I was about 17 when I downloaded this daw called Acid and started to mess around with samples. 2 years later I was composing and producing my own music. The way I got into making music was pretty organic. I grew up in a house full of music. I do truly believe that music is deeper engraved in me as a tool of communication, rather than human language.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Piano Nights- Bohren und der Club of Gore
Soap&Skin – Sugarbread
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 – Sviatoslav Richter & Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra & Stanislaw Wislocki
Tinariwen – Tassili
Abul Mogard – Works
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Extremes. I owe so much to this city, for all the lessons learned and all the opportunities it has given me.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
In Berlin there is a small harbour in the south of the city, good for clearing the head. It’s not necessarily a secret spot but so far I’m the only one I know who goes there and I hope to keep it that way.
In Istanbul, the coast of Moda is among my favourites.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I’d work either for a human rights organisation or as a wildlife conservation & rehabilitation professional.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
I bought Klaus Schulze’s ‘Kontinuum’ vinyl. In the last 18 months I’ve formed an unexplainable obsession with this record. I still listen to it few times a week.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
A no-brainer: Trent Reznor.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The Mazaher ensemble performing in Makan, Cairo was hands down one of the best I’ve witnessed.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
First off, I come up with a concept. That’s where my creative process starts. This, almost always, happens away from technology. The composition happens on the piano or keys. This is followed by the production step, where technology plays a crucial part. Although I always try to learn more and progress, I also do not obsess over its possibilities, limitations actually help me creatively.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I do have a big sister who’s an artist herself. I asked her this and here’s what she said:
‘I’m happy to watch you make a career out of something you have put so much effort into, since a very young age – but I’m not surprised. I find it inspiring that you follow your own path and do all in your power to progress. I also see it as a rare chance and a special bond that as two sisters, we get to work together and produce artistically’.
Photo © Gözde Güngör