In Conversation With Milk Hunter @ Rock Off Festival

By Selin Genç & Gökay Atabek

All metalheads of Istanbul anticipate the summer. Every year in August the two biggest metal festivals take place. Rock Off, the first, has unfortunately gone by… It’s good to be able to listen to metal outdoors once in a while, after spending the whole winter  crammed in rock bars with barely any ventilation. This year’s Rock Off took place at Life Park where we were able to sit under the shade of trees, enjoying the sound of birds during the five minutes the stage took a pause to switch performers. At a point mother nature took no mercy and rain started to pour, but even that was fun as we were listening to Korpiklaani, our arms open to the gods of the sky, dancing and wrestling in the mud.

The metalhead community is a very friendly one. Getting all hyped up by Soulfly, I decided to join a mosh-pit. It was actually a lot of fun till someone darted towards me and I collapsed on the floor. Everyone was running in circles and they couldn’t stop even if they wanted to. The same guy who pushed me to the ground immediately became a shield and took hard blows while trying to make sure that I didn’t get run over. The black shirts, false chords and demonic references are surely intimidating, but this is also where everyone looks out for each other and the common objective is to have fun and enjoy the music.

For this reason we thought that we’d be supportive by introducing a Turkish metal band to Yabangee. Local bands unfortunately still don’t get the recognition and support they deserve. This is a band that we genuinely think should have more popularity; though a brief warning, they are very politically incorrect so it might not be everybody’s cup of tea! *Ahem* We meant cup of milk…

Milk Hunter was founded in 2006 by Volkan Koca (vocals and guitar) and ex-band member Emre Tombulel. On the drums is Onur Polat, Murad Erdoğdu is on the guitar and on the bass is Burak Altıparmak.  Their music is a combination of a variety of genres, mostly sub-genres of death metal. Their lyrics are in Turkish and they’re mainly centered around politics and sex. (You can find some of their songs here.)

Why is your band called Milk Hunter?

Murad Erdoğdu: It’s the name of a TV series we like.

Onur Polat: That’s not true! It’s because I like a cool glass of milk every morning!

Tell us about how it all started?

Volkan Koca: To be honest we were just looking for an excuse to be able to head-bang on stage. So we started a band with my friend.

Some say you play grindcore, some say porngrind… What do you identify your music as?

Volkan Koca: Mainly Florida death metal, but it’s really a mix of genres. It sounds like hardcore, deathcore, metalcore… Pretty much everything.

Instead of a more ethnic sound, for example Anatolian rock, why did you choose this genre?

Volkan Koca: Perhaps more subtle, but we do have some local traces in our music… I guess?

Onur Polat: First off, if that was our thing, we wouldn’t be playing in this festival! Also we don’t think that’d be what expresses us the best. In my honest opinion, I don’t think Anatolian rock has as much flavor to it.

How would you describe the metal scene in Turkey?

Onur Polat: Hehe! There’s one word to describe it: loser!

Volkan Koca: I’d have to disagree. It’s not that bad…

Murad Erdoğdu: Ditto. Speaking about the music, there are some very solid bands out there. So musically it’s far from being a loser, however since they don’t get the attention they deserve, it’s unfortunately shit.

Onur Polat: Heavy metal is like trying to make love to your girlfriend when her dad is downstairs. “Love under harsh conditions…”

Murad Erdoğdu: That deserves to be written on a bumper sticker!

Volkan Koca: Nah… I think I wanna get it tattooed on my back.

Burak Altıparmak: *silence*

Do you find the support you think you need and deserve from fans, organizers, etc.?

Volkan Koca: Haha! Good joke!

Murad Erdoğdu: This is the ‘funny’ question, right?

Milk Hunter @ Rock Off by Sevan Özbülbül Photography

If you could make an Istanbul Metalhead Travel Guide, where would it include?

Onur Polat: “Çultan-amed” for sure! Hehe! [a joke intended for the native Turkish speaker = Sultanahmet]

Where else?

Onur Polat: Çultanamed is where all the posers should visit… The metalcore kids!

Murad Erdoğdu: Ispanak Bar is a cool and cheap hangout.

Volkan Koca: They oughta go to Dorock instead… [Dorock Bar and Dorock XL have live gigs every weekend and Milk Hunter occasionally plays there.]

Onur Polat: Go drink beer at Rock n’ Rolla. And Rasputin!

Volkan Koca: Well, those are the only bars we ever go to anyway… So…

What are some essential local bands that everyone should listen to at least once? Well, Milk Hunter is already on the list, so skip that.

Murad Erdoğdu: Actually they better not listen to us.

Volkan Koca: No. Listen to us! Listen to us till your ears bleed.

Onur Polat: Rewind, rewind, and hit play!

Burak Altıparmak: *finally breaking his silence* Listen to You May Kiss The Bride!

Onur Polat: Don’t listen to him. He’s the bassist. He’s not from the band.

Volkan Koca: For serious though… Listen to Heretic Soul.

Onur Polat: Wait, are we allowed to recommend our friends? [We said yes as the music scene – especially the metal scene – is very compact in Turkey anyway.]

Murad Erdoğdu: Listen to those who are good and deserve to be listened to.

Volkan Koca: *turns to the Emre and in a sarcastic voice* They’re asking us who IS good and deserves to be listened to. *turns to us* Listen to Suicide.

Onur Polat: Insistence. *approval from Volkan*Since Yesterday. *disapproval from Volkan*

So what’s the verdict for Since Yesterday?

Volkan Koca: It’s complicated. I guess you have to tell for yourself whether they’re good or not. But surely look into Carnophage. Nötr too.

Here’s a song related question… Have you ever really failed to distinguish someone in the dark? (The chorus of the song: Karanlıkta seçemedim, erkekmiş / I couldn’t tell in the dark, turns out she’s a he)

Onur Polat: I, myself, can actually see very well in the dark.

Murad Erdoğdu: Well… I direct your attention to the songwriter… *points at Volkan*

Volkan Koca: Let’s just say it happened to a friend…

Onur Polat: I must remind you that the metal scene has plenty of long haired dudes. Like I’d think that I’m checking out a girl at a bar. But fortunately I always notice before it’s too late.

Volkan Koca: I never accidentally hit on a guy. But I came across some not-so-pretty-girls who looked a lot prettier in the dark.

Who’s the inspiration to your song Boy Boy Dildo [Dildos in All Sizes]?

Burak Altıparmak: Sasha Grey.

Volkan Koca: Those who get us pissed. [insert political connotation]

Onur Polat: Erotic shop.

Volkan Koca: Dude, Sasha Grey??

Burak Altıparmak: You know what, just ignore me.

On a scale of 1 to 10 how political are your songs?

Volkan Koca: 8.

Onur Polat: 5.

Murad Erdoğdu: 7.

Burak Altıparmak: Apolitical!

Onur Polat: Take the mean and you’ll get 5.5!! [Nope.]

Tekirdağ or Yeni Rakı?

Rock Off 2015

Onur Polat: Yeşil Efe.

Volkan Koca: Depends on which series of Yeni Rakı we are talking about.

Onur Polat: Yeni Rakı Ala!

Volkan Koca: Definitely. And some of Tekirdağ’s series are also worth trying out.

What time is your curfew?

Volkan Koca: My mom told me not to be late tonight!

Onur Polat: She told me not to come. At all.

Volkan Koca: “Don’t you come back you bastard!”

Onur Polat: “Don’t you come in the house with your muddy shoes or I’ll *beep* *beep* *beep*

Well that’s all that we have to ask. Would you like to add something?

Onur Polat: For god’s sake, we want some mercy. Local bands deserve some more respect. [We think that they’re referring to the ones who come to the concert at 7 just to watch the headliners. The locals bands are already upfront on the lineup – Milk Hunter was on stage at 1 PM, right after the gates opened.]

In that case is there anyone you’d like to get a message across to?

Onur Polat: That’s already what we do with our songs on stage. Fuck the system! Though we doubt that they have the sufficient IQ to get what we’re saying. They don’t care and they don’t get it anyway.

Here’s  a concert pro-tip guide that we found on Milk Hunter’s Official Facebook Page:

  • Do NOT keep calm during the concert
  • Be pumped and ready
  • Praise the band
  • Headbang!
  • Pogo!!
  • Wall of Death !!!
  • Meet new people (be a good lad)
  • Bring sunscreen
  • Do not drink cold water when you are sweaty
  • Listen to your parents
  • Bring painkillers (and a masseur if possible) for neck pain
  • Bring spare underwear and clothing
  • Come as early as possible (and support the local bands)
  • Meet n’ greet us (we don’t have ego issues)
  • Get charged by watching Milk Hunter videos.

And a little addition from us:

  • Eat well before you come
  • Bring earplugs if you are sensitive to high volumes – especially if you have tickets for front-stage
  • Don’t wear/bring anything you wouldn’t bring on a plane carry-on (we had to throw away an industrial chain)
  • Guard your face when you’re in a mosh-pit (all metalheads have broken noses)
  • Bring a plastic bag to put your things in for when it rains
  • Wear comfy shoes (NO BOOTS IN THE SUMMER!)
  • Bring your own choice of cigarettes as the brands sold in the venue are limited

(Featured image source)

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