Music

Ottoman Punk: It’s Athena!

Athena is a special band. We shot around their hood like bunch of mischievous kids making faces, using the little shipyard like a playground.

Story by Teo J. Babini - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Icarus Blake

Athena from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.

Athena, the name is homage to their youths as metal heads, is one of the biggest bands in Turkey. That being said, they are one of the nicest groups of guys I’ve ever met. Tattooed from top to toe with dark shades complimenting their punk rock style, one might feel initially intimidated by them. In fact, they’re just a bunch of neighborhood guys; they live and love where they grew up, they’re big fans of their local teams. The Asian side of Istanbul is the more wholesome and residential of the two, calm and much less chaotic than the bustling European side where the “scene” seems to be. It caught me by surprise that such young, successful guys, literally exploding with energy would choose to remove themselves from the snares of metropolitan life in favor of the serenity in which they currently reside, but I think it also speaks to their maturity and focus as musicians. The twins are particularly talkative and friendly, constantly joking and laughing. The bassist and keys are a bit more silent and mysterious, but started smiling all the same after a short while.

Thank you to Esra Andiçen for making this possible.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Gökhan Özoğuz (Lead Vocals) Photo © Icarus Blake

They initially became popular with the song “Holigan”, dedicated to the Fenerbahçe S.K. (football club). Their punk/ska music incorporates Ottoman melodies. Since their beginnings, they’ve grown to perform with the likes of the Beastie Boys, Rolling Stones and Red Hot Chili peppers. They’re eclectic influences include everything from Ottoman marching bands to the Doors, from seventies Turkish psychedelic to Peppino di Capri. Their album, they told us, will feature more reggae sounds then the previous.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Athena Photo © Icarus Blake

We shot around their hood like bunch of mischievous kids making faces, using the little shipyard like a playground. They joked around with the old ship builders who knew their parents, and warned us not to shoot in front of the military compound, as we would likely be shot. They even invited us to their new pad for the interview. In the end, I didn’t feel like we’d done a story, it felt more like we’d made some new friends.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Umut Arabac (Bass) Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Athena at their new pad Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Hakan Özoğuz Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Athena Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Emre Ataker (Keyboard) Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Athena Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Icarus Blake

Athena Photo © Icarus Blake

Ottoman Punk Podcast (Music by Athena) by Citizenbrooklyn on Mixcloud

4 Responses to “Ottoman Punk: It’s Athena!”

  1. Gaya Holmes says:

    How cool are these guys?

  2. Teo J. Babini says:

    Super cool.

  3. Emirhan (Turkish) says:

    its “ATHENA”. they been fourth in Eurovision before.

  4. Kai says:

    my favorite Band!Hell yeah……it’s Athena….