Nene H.: „Life is tiring“
Beste Aydin, better known under her artistic imprint Nene Hatun, is one of those blessed people with multiple talents. As much as she is a great techno producer and dj she is also super talented as a piano player. And coming from her latest outstanding collaboration with the Georgian choir Ensemble Basiani for CTM festival it seems like sky is def not the limit for her.
This interview was conducted before the Corona virus hit us all.
Beste, which music was the first to touch you?
As far as I remember it was Turkish and Azerbaijani folk music. I didn’t have access to any other music at that stage – this was when I was a child. The moment I first came in contact with the piano was definitely a rush. especially as I felt me being really good with the piano. I fell in love with classical music at the age of eleven when my piano teacher at conservatory gave me a Rachmaninov piece as a summer homework. I remember sitting on the piano and crying while learning it.
What made Turkish and Azerbaijani folk music so special to you?
Turkish and Azerbaijani music is my culture, my heritage, my home and identity. And Rachmaninov?
I don’t know what made me fall in love with his music, probably the harmonies, the sadness and the drama.
How important is it for you to challenge yourself and your art on all dimensions and not just one? I mean you could easily just dj these days.
I think it is my character. Maybe in the future I will just dj – that would also be fine for me, but right now I feel the urge to go in all directions and try to do something else than everybody else does.
That said: I recently saw you during CTM festival in Berlin performing with the Ensemble Basiani from Georgia. Was this your idea to perform with a choir? Can you tell us a bit more about the preparations and how you experienced the performance?
Yes, of course, it is my project. I worked for the whole year of 2019 continuously on this performance. After we played I thought how crazy is it to do something like this, it felt very surreal. The experience was extremely special. Something like this happens once in your life. Bringing these guys to this world they know nothing about and how they adjust to it and how real they were on the stage – it was an amazing experience for me. You know, nowadays a lot of showing-off events and unpersonal stuff is happening in the name of art. But them, they brought such a realness into the whole thing – and the people at Berghain recognized it, afterwards many came and talked to me about it, so I am very happy that resonated!
You are a trained piano player and all signs where leading towards a career in that field before you changed paths and decided to dedicate yourself to techno – at least for the time being. What does techno offer you did not find in the field of classic music? And what can the classic music background offer you as a producer?
I was so naiv to think it would give me a lot of freedom, well in the beginning at least I thought so. But to be honest,I am still stuck in the system, so not much of that apparently was true.
Musically I am still free though, I don’t let myself stuck on one thing. Classical music does not offer that – plus classical music is a very European rich white people thing, sad but true. And I am non of those things. I mean, I can hear and understand through my education music a lot better, I have an analytic understanding of music. That’s something very good, but at the same time really bad cause by that I lack the ability of „just doing“ things.
Beste, you refer when talking about the use of your voice in your productions to the traditional Turkish music named Aşık – which means in love and references the artistic approach to be there for the listeners. Looking at the tonality of your posts on social media, I see you definitely in this tradition – and also the tradition of techno in the first place, when the audience and artists were equal important. How important for you as an artists is the communication with the listeners, both in concert and dj set situations as much as on social media.
Wow, I wish I could be an „Aşık“. They are on higher level of understanding the existence and they only humbly serve people. I am also very much about making everyone else happy, but I don’t know if I can ever be as amazing as them. It is a task of a lifetime.
I remember you playing at an earlier edition of CTM festival at Berghain wearing an hijab. Can you carry out what made you doing so?
Oh yeah, I forgot about my hijab phase. I wanted to disappear (demonstrating the humbleness) and by doing that make some people feel uncomfortable. Heheh.
What is your ideal space to listen to music?
On a bike :))
What do you think sets your “voice” or creative expression apart from others? What empowers you or helps you to overcome obstacles and challenges in your work?
I have always been a fighter and never had it easy in my life. To me trying to make the best out of the worst is daily business. It gets better by time – and I am glad that it does. Because life is tiring. I think the whole Nene H. thing is the result of my big life hustle – I think people can see and hear that in my work. To me integrity and honesty mean a lot, and I put a lot of effort and meaning into what I do, so my music, my art is very personal. I see and experience that people relate to that – that’s very important, it makes me very grateful.
What is your favorite instrument to create sounds with?
I love all my gear. I am now working on my modular set up, preparing my Atonal Live-Set. It is amazing to work with so much gear and instruments on my music, to have those opportunities – but that said I am also very much against fetishizing them. I think the most beautiful thing about electronic music is that everybody can do it. No one needs to have all this stuff that I have. You can also just find your sound only with your computer or one cheap synthesizer. The result and the sound is the most important thing, not the gear. No one should judge anyone else for not having the possibility to create music on expensive instruments.
Beste, thanks so much for sharing this with us.
This interview with Beste Aydin is part of the ongoing photo-project “Electric Lights – Women in Electronic Music” by Hamburg based photographer Katja Ruge and Kaput co-publisher Thomas Venker focused on the role of women in electronic music. Each photoshoot is accompanied by a short interview, based on a personalised questionnaire. The interviews will be published on the kaput website on a monthly basis, before finding their way into a book.