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Turkish Delights: A Q&A with maNga Drummer Özgür Can Öney

Turkey’s Özgür Can Öney began drumming in high school.

From there it was a music story like any other.

He connected with a good teacher, continued with a band in college, and played bar gigs with friends.

Then, the story strays. In 2001, Özgür joined up with a group called “maNga” and, within a few years, he found himself part of one of the greatest Turkish acts of all time.

maNga’s sound, think “Linkin Park” or “System Of A Down,” has garnered the band millions of listeners in Europe and Asia while earning them the “Best European Act” award at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2009 as well as a runner-up win at 2010’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Now, maNga is bringing their Turkish brand of hip-hop-synth-rock to a wider audience.

Özgür and his maNga bandmates — singer Ferman Akgül, guitarist Yağmur Sarıgül (aka “Yamyam”), and bassist Cem Bahtiyar —  just played New York and Los Angeles.

For those of you who missed the shows, Özgür takes front and center, introducing himself to NewsWhistle readers, telling his favorite joke, not missing a beat.

Without further ado . . .

The NewsWhistle Q&A with musician Özgür Can Öney

Name: Özgür Can Any
Date of Interview: October 15, 2013
Age (if you want to give it up): 33
Birthplace: Ankara, Turkey
Current town: Istanbul, Turkey
Occupation: Drummer

1. What’s the funniest or saddest thing that’s happened to you this week?

Funniest: My son “Tuna” told an adventure story about himself; Saddest: A friend has cancer and isn’t well.

2. What’s your favorite movie? And why?

“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” (Life can be unexpected).

3. What’s the biggest risk you took in life?

Some extreme sports: driving, riding motor bikes, dirt bikes.

4. If you could go back in time and do one thing over, what would that be?

I wouldn’t spend it on my life. I would go back to many different times and learn what happened in history.

5. Tell us your favorite joke:

What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians?

The drummer.

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Özgür (on left) 

6. What’s something that most people don’t know about you?

I’m writing short stories and want to write a sci-fi novel.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?

Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight — Ad Astra Der Aspera (“Through hardships to the stars”).

8. Who’s your favorite celebrity? And why?

Bruce Lee … His feelings, thoughts, movies and life … Really inspiring …

9. What’s your strangest phobia or superstition?

I don’t take a knife from another person’s hand. First he or she must put it on a flat surface.

10. Last, but not least, is there anything you want to pitch, promote or discuss?

You can follow us on Facebook/maNgamusic; Twitter/maNgamusic

And me on Facebook/ozgurcanoney; YouTube/ozguremanga

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11. Oh, and a bonus curve question or two . . .

What Turkish bands should NewsWhistle readers be listening to?

Radical Noise, Climb, Athena, Duman, Pentagram, Kurban, and Dorian.

And what are your favorite rock clubs and dance halls in Turkey?

In Istanbul: Jolly Joker, Garajist, and Peyote.

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