Cagan is a sound engineer who records and mixes albums as well as does FOH engineering for high-profile artists and start-up bands alike, both at all kind of local clubs and at major festivals all around the world. But he’s also the founder of Istanbul-based Noiseist Music Production Company. The Noisiest label, which he’s been actively running since 2009, aims to create a sincere and independent environment for alternative musicians, letting them freely express their music and be heard both in the studio and around the world.
[LEWITT] How did you end up becoming a sound engineer?
The idea of becoming a sound engineer actually came to me at a very early age. I started playing the guitar when I was around 13 or 14, and the sound coming out of the amplifier intrigued me immensely! But every time I put a microphone in front of the amplifier, I was unable to get the sound I wanted to record. “How come that I can’t capture the real sound of the amplifier with the microphone?” was the lingering question that sparked my journey. So I dug deeper into recording, and the technical details of it soon became my passion.
Creating your own music, living that same excitement that others feel, and being able to deliver what they’ve imagined are the greatest conceivable feelings.
I truly love my job!
[LEWITT] Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on right now?
At the moment, I’m involved in a number of different projects simultaneously.
For one thing, I’m producing a live electronic band called Monality. We’ve been working together for about a year on all the recording and mixing, and we’re now close to being done with some new tunes that will be coming out soon.
Rain Lab is another project; they do new-generation trip hop and world music with an electronic twist. All their recordings and mixes are finished and waiting to be released.
Also, I’ve been working with a very rootsy Turkish rock band called Pilli Bebek for about 6 years now. We’re currently in the process of recording their new album.
And for all the bands I’ve just mentioned, I’m also the FOH engineer .
At Noiseist, we have a platform where we publicize most of the bands’ studio and live recordings. We also try to record all of our Turkish and European artists live and publish these recordings on our YouTube channel.
Alongside all the producing and engineering, I also try to focus on writing my own music during my free time. And during the next few days, I’ll be releasing my new single Palaska24. My aim is to be able to put together some of my creations and release them in the near future as an album that reflects my own personal musical identity.
Listen to Cagan's new single Palaska24
[LEWITT] Which of the LEWITT microphones are you using?
I actively prefer using LEWITT microphones in nearly all my studio work and live sound engineering. I’m especially ecstatic about the drum mics in the DTP BEAT KIT PRO 7! It’s a must in all my recordings’ and live concerts’ drum sounds. I use the MTP 550 DM for live concerts as a vocal microphone. And in the studio, I tend to use the LCT 640 for more sensitive and detailed recording work with sound sources like vocals, wind and string instruments. It has a more natural touch that gives the sound the originality that I always strive to achieve.
[LEWITT] What are the qualities in the MTP 550 DM that made you choose that mic over the mics by other manufacturers that you might have used before?
I think the MTP 550 DM is a great microphone from price/performance standpoint. And I prefer it for its late feedback and its ability to read clean low frequencies. But depending on the vocalist’s sound color and musical style, I do use other MTP-series models, as well.
[LEWITT] Do you get any feedback on the LEWITT mics from the artists you’re working with?
I do! The responses are always very positive, and the best examples always come from drummers. Most of them have their own styles and patterns that they can’t give up very easily, so I have to persuade and convince them to just trust me about trying the DTP BEAT KIT PRO 7. Their reactions to these mics are instantaneous, and since they immediately hear the difference in quality, it helps both parties to collaborate in a much more assured way.
The microphones that you typically see used on every live stage have started to lose their unique qualities—they’ve become pretty much all the same. So if the vocalists I work with don’t have their own microphones, I’ll usually bring along my own set. And by now, nearly all my artists have started using the MTP 550 DM.
Last month I was working as FOH with one of my bands at a rock festival. During our soundcheck, the monitor mixer came running to me, told me how he loved my microphone set, and asked if he could use them for the rest of the festival. I said yes, of course! Which brings us back to my point about how the responses I get are really fast and really positive…
Monality is one of the bands, Cagan produces. Watch their music video to Your Eyes Your Tears featuring the MTP 550 DM:
[LEWITT] You mentioned that the DTP Beat Kit Pro 7 is a must in your recordings and live shows. Why’s that?
I’ve been in the business for a long time and have worked with a lot of the standard microphones. And some years ago, I came across the DTP BEAT KIT PRO 7 through the band I was working with at the time that got to open for Jennifer Lopez. A while later, I got a chance to use the mics in Amsterdam for a different concert, and that sealed the deal. I was immediately so fascinated and hooked that I bought them the very next day!
First and foremost, I’m a huge fan of the DTP 640 REX. It has a wide range of options for any style of music you might aim to create. And the feature of being able to blend the condenser and the dynamic element is a sublime luxury, since it’s a faster, easier, and more efficient way to get the sound I want. So the DTP 640 REX is really a beast! It is hands down the best kick drum microphone that’s ever come out on the market.
[LEWITT] Are there any weird or funny things you’ve experienced when working as FOH?
This is actually a hard question, since something weird or funny happens pretty much every week!
But probably one of the most interesting things that ever happened while I was doing FOH was around 8 years ago. I was at an open-air concert, and the whole time, my phone refused to stop ringing. I never answer my phone while I’m working, but after a while, I thought it might actually be something important. While I was trying to figure out how to deal with it, I saw someone waving at me from the stage – and I realized that the guy who played violin was waving his phone at me. He was the one calling! He said he was about to play his solo, and that he’d love it if I’d give him lots of reverb and delay! I was so shocked, I laughed for days! That was probably one of my funniest and weirdest FOH experiences.
[LEWITT] What are your plans for the near future?
For a long time, my hectic schedule has caused me to neglect my own music and projects. But I’m now planning to release 3 singles of my own by the end of this year, one of them by the end of November.
And at Noiseist, in addition to what I mentioned before, we’ll be undertaking a diverse bunch of projects: in addition to my busy touring schedule, I’ve got 3 albums and about 50 live concert mixes due by year’s end. So the near future is going to take a lot of good planning and discipline, and I have a feeling that the new year’s shaping up to be fast and intense…