Athena hit London

by Stella Floras 70 views

Three years after representing Turkey successfully in the Eurovision Song Contest, Athena – the ska and punk band from Istanbul- are taking a break from their Turkish career and have moved to London to record their first English album. The band will be participating in this year's Istanbul Limelight Festival in Finsbury Park, London, on Sunday 9 September together with Mazhar-Fuat-Özkan (MFO) who also represented Turkey twice in the past.

Athena's lead singer Gokhan Ozugoz spoke to about the successful band's Eurovision experience and their plans to expand their career with an international album recorded at the European music mecca, London.

"Would you say that your participation in the Eurovision Song Contest has helped your career?" we asked Gokhan." Yes indeed!" he admits, "as you realise, Athena did not fit the Eurovision stereotype, we entered as we are without changing anything from our style. Our aim was to build a bridge from Istanbul to the world,and it worked! We also got a record deal with Universal Germany for For real!"

What was the thing that made them move to London though? According to Gohkan the main purpose is to start their international career by finding a producer and release their album. They chose London as he grew up under the influence of both British and Turkish musical inspirations so it seemed like a natural choice. The songs are all ready but the right producer is still to be found.

Athena's latest CD, IT, was released in 2006 and it contained a cover of Nirvana's Breed – Kopek- under permission by Courtney Love. "That encouraged us for our plans" says Gohkan. As for future gigs, apart from their Limelight Festival appearance, Gohkan told us that they would rather wait for the release of their album first : "First of all I'd like to finalise that project and we are gonna see what will happen next because we don't want to enter the international scene with our Turkish songs, we prefer to have the English album out first."

On the Finsbury Park stage Athena promise to rock the place "Athena style" with a fusion of Turkish and Jamaican ska. We asked Gohkan to tell us a bit more about this interesting-sounding project: "We started to play ska and punk in 1993 and from that time Hakan (his brother and co-founder of Athena) and me wanted to combine our tunes, melodies, lyrics and manners with the genuine Jamaican musicians' for once in our career as a project. We are inspired by English punk and Jamaican reggae." The band hope to create a "special taste" by merging eastern and western musical cultures.

You can listen to songs from Athena's latest CD IT and find out more information about their future appearances (when available) at their myspace here.

For more information on the Istanbul Limelight Festival click here.

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Stella Floras

Thanks to Johnny Logan and Hold me now I fell in love with the Eurovision Song Contest, a love that's been going strong ever since with undiminished passion. My first memories date back to 1977 and the lyrics of Rock bottom, Dschinghis Khan and A ba ni bi are still engraved in my brain.

I joined in 2006 as a junior editor after being invited by Barry Viniker, I soon became Senior Editor and during the 2007 contest in Helsinki I was appointed Head of Communications. Today I hold the post of Head of Human Resources and I am proud to be working with the best editorial team in the world.