A main attraction in the Turkish alternative rock scene, Mor Ve Ötesi followed a very rough path and had their breakthrough only after their fourth effort. Once a band against capitalism and everything it brought upon the new world, they were, album by album, accepted into the mainstream as a modern rock band singing Turkish lyrics. An inspiration to many bands and the voice of a generation, Mor Ve Ötesi is a top-notch band defining the direction that Turkish rock is headed in.
Mor Ve Ötesi was formed by Kerem Kabadayi (drums), Harun Tekin (vocals/guitar), Derin Esmer (vocals/guitar), and Alper Tekin (bass) in 1995. Commencing work on songs immediately, the band released the debut album Sehir ("The City") in 1996. The album was an amateur effort with the band looking more like a group of high school kids. Nevertheless, they managed to produce a hit with "Yalniz Sarki," which was also featured in the Hasan Yükselir compilation released by ADA Muzik.
A year and many gigs later, Burak Güven (who shouldn't be confused with the bass player of Bulutsuzluk Özlemi) replaced Alper Tekin on bass. Their second album was released in 1999. Brak Zaman Aksin ("Let the Time Flow") was more like the debut, but better produced, better played, and apparently better written. Although the album fell short of receiving much attention, it contained some hints of what Mor Ve Ötesi could accomplish. Harun Tekin and Derin Esmer traded vocal duties for the last time, as Esmer left the band after the release. Kerem Özyegen was chosen as the guitarist. In 2000, Mor Ve Ötesi participated in the tribute album to Bülent Ortaçgil with their version of "Sen Varsin."
Özyegen, along with the new producer Tarkan Gozubuyuk -- bass player with metal pioneers Mezarkabul -- provided the much-needed new blood for the band. Third album Gül Kendine ("Laugh at Yourself"), released in 2001, saw the band mature both in musical and commercial ways. The world-class, edgy production revealed a quality album, while Harun Tekin was becoming an attractive idol for young girls.
The band was also becoming a central image for humanitarian acts. They took the stage against nuclear energy and teamed up with important musicians like Bülent Ortaçgil, Feridun Duzagaç, and Nejat Yavasogullari for an anti-war anthem "Savasa Hic Gerek Yok." In 2003, the band released a cover version of a popular Turkish song "Yaz Yaz Yaz" as a single and wrote the music for the Cagan Irmak film Mustafa Hakkinda Hersey. But the album that made Mor Ve Ötesi what they are today was their fourth effort, Dünya Yalan Söylüyor ("The World Is Lying"). The soft side of Tekin's vocals were gone, the musicianship had improved, and although they had already written a handful of good songs, not a single one of them was close to the quality of any of the songs on this one. When Dünya Yalan Söylüyor was released in 2004, all hell broke loose immediately. Selling over 250,000 copies, it was chosen as the "Best Turkish Rock Album of All Times" by Blue Jean magazine and "Second Best Turkish Rock Album of the Last 10 Years" by Billboard. "Bir Derdim Var" featured in the film Mustafa Hakkinda Hersey was "Best Film Song" at the 41st Antalya International Golden Orange Film Festival.
The follow-up to their groundbreaking Dünya Yalan Söylüyor was released in 2006. Although Büyük Düsler was also chosen as the "Best Turkish Rock Album of the Year" and "Best Album of the Year" by Blue Jean and Rolling Stone Turkey, it wasn't close to living up to the success of its predecessor. Some gigs in Turkey and an eight date tour of Germany saw the band play in front of thousands of fans. The band recorded "1945" for a tribute album of late producer Onno Tunc and they also formed their own label Rakun in 2007. Mor Ve Ötesi was chosen to represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2008. ~ Vefik Karaege