"Knight Errant" which means "the rover knight who stands against the king's injustice" was selected as suitable name for the band, which formed in 1993, referring to idealist point of view. Knight Errant is the symbol of people's mentality who believe that there is still injustice although knights don't exist anymore...
The band has changed members frequently since it was formed, meanwhile they began to produce their first songs and performed their first show in Istanbul. A new guitarist, violinist and a new vocalist joined the band in 1996. Knight Errant's music, in which successful melodic and harmonic structure is based on aggressive guitar riffs with the help of the violin, has even attracted the attention of people who in fact weren't metal fans at all.
The positive reactions of fans and the rock press to the concerts that have been performed since the second half of 1997 helped the band to record their first album. In July 1999 the band's debut album was released by Kod Müzik / Trak Müzik.
After the release of the album, the band continued performing shows and increased their fans; meanwhile the band's plans about performing abroad began to get clearer. The German Magazine RockHard, which is the most popular publication in its subject, published an interview with the band and attracted attention to heavy metal in Turkey, which is not well known outside the country.
Wacken Open Air Festival: Knight Errant's first show abroad, is a dream shared with most Turkish heavy metal bands. Being the first band from Turkey to play at the festival, at which there were 35,000 fans from all around the world, was a milestone in Turkish heavy metal history. And being chosen as the opening band of the festival where 60 bands played in total was a symbolic sign of the importance given to Turkish heavy metal.
After Wacken, with a new line-up they recorded their second album "Divan" which has been released in 2005. The band is composing new songs for the third album and they are rehearsing for a great show at Headbanger’s Open Air 2007.
Uluer Emre ÷zdil - Vocals
Barbaros Bensoy - Vocals & Guitar
Ali Ulupınar - Guitars
Gizem Berger - Violin
Deniz Turan - Bass
Murat Arslanoğlu - Drums
01/2001; ISSUE: 164
by GŲtz KŁhnemund
Uluer Emre (26), singer of the second most popular heavy metal band in Turkey, lived in Germany between 5 and 8, so he's fluent on German language. As an important representative of his genre he didn't refuse to answer our questions.
"When Knight Errant was formed in 1993, there were only two people from this line-up. after one year the old line-up performed their first show. By the end of 1997, the band with the new line-up formed in 1996 began to perform shows once or twice a month, which we can say is a good amount for Turkey's conditions.
Our debut album 'Knight Errant' was released in summer 1999 and sold a few thousand copies up to now. We hope to release it abroad in the following years."
?> How do you describe your music?
-> We are trying to express our inner selves and to find the musical expressions of our souls by making music. Our fans - we call them our friends because the word 'fan' is too superficial for us - describe us as a progressive, symphonic power metal band. We are trying to combine heavy metal riffs with aggressive melodies of violin as a third guitar.
?> I see a very original tendency of power metal which includes your violinist's orientalist melodies added to a mix of Skyclad and Subway To Sally. Except these I can see influences of Manowar, Helloween and Maiden...
-> Running Wild and Judas Priest are influences of us too. We grew up with heavy metal, also being effected from our country's music at the same time. Allthough we don't spend effort for this, that might be the reason you hear Turkish or orientalist melodies. we don't make orientalist music, but you can feel the signs of our roots.
?> What are the difficulties of making music in Turkey?
-> Turkish metal bands struggle too much even for their smallest steps. The first struggle is against parents who have to accept this music, then press, TV and sometimes government follows this. There is so much prejudice against heavy metal here and this is usually supported by the media.
?> I heard that Turkish heavy metal fans are arrested by the police last year. How can this be possible?
-> Last year (1999) a young girl was murdered by three people who introduced themselves as satanists and black metal fans. After this, the public opinion described all heavy metal fans as satanists. This situation has gone too far that even guys with long hair who wore earrings and every young people who were wearing black t-shirts were blamed as satanist terrorists and public enemies. For example our bassist was teased while he was walking in the street, some people that were more unlucky than him were arrested. And of course nobody cared about who we were and what we were thinking.
?> The tension must be higher in Ankara...
-> Yeah. After one year things are normal again. The media doesn't blame metal fans much more thats why people began to see us as normal persons. I think if a murder like that happens again metal fans will be lynched and at that point it will be no more important that we don't have any interest in satanism.
?> Do you have to extract some themes from your lyrics? Is rock music censored by the government in Turkey?
-> No, not much in rock or metal area. For example Pentagram / Mezarkabul (Author's note: their album sold 100,000 in Turkey), the most popular metal band in Turkey mentioned the war in southeastern Turkey in their latest release "Anatolia". They didn't directly mention the insufficiency but their use lyrics that referred to these.
?> I know you are sensitive about this subject but I want to ask: Nearly 3 million Turkish people live in Germany including many Kurdish people who protest the human rights infrigements in Turkey. Allthough I strongly believe that Turkish metal scene shows its political reaction, it's hard for me to see anything to concretisize this in Ankara.
-> I can understand what you want to say. In fact that's a kind of reflex: A foreigner comes here and says everything's black, the answer will be "white". However, black and white takes part together in reality. Reality includes gray tones too. There are lots of problems, from 80's to now 30,000 people died but nobody asks anything about this. Reality has always different political dimensions but usually one of these dimensions is mentioned as a general thing. We donít take part in political area as musicians, the thing that we can do is struggling for pasific solutions because there are some people who wish to make money on war on the other side
?> You can activate a spesific part of people as musicians. Music, as a universal language, may help compromising by avoiding prejudice. I think this is the reason for you to make music.
-> Like everyone we have some problems in our daily life because of our point of view, etc We are trying to express these problems in a lyric form. As Rob Halford says: ďHeavy Metal is life.Ē We express our lives and the things we see here in a musical form.
?> Itís difficult to play abroad for Turkish bands. You need Visa and legal permission to work because your country is not a member of the European Union. You have experienced these problems
-> We love our country. We have been born and grew up here but itís certain that our job is more difficult than a spanish band, for example. Itís right, we have problems like Visa and legal permission to work but we canít solve these problems on our own. We need support from abroad.
?> But people can invite me and Thomas here, donít they have to have permission to send you abroad as musical messengers?
-> Maybe one day this happens, but now there is too much prejudice against it.
?> The cause of prejudice against Turkish people in Germany is not Turkish people themselves but the Turkish governmentís human rights infrigements. What do you think about the reports of Amnesty International?
-> Torture is a big crime due to Turkish laws and it has a serious responsibility of punishment, but in fact everybody knows that torture exists here. Even our politicians and president have had to accept this. Everyone is aware that we have to get rid of torture in order to join the European Union. We will wait and see if this happens. However, I have some hope: At least problems are being described now Nowadays Turkey has problems in every part: Torture, human rights infrigements, poverty People get disappointed when they experience these. The certain thing is that these problems can't be solved very quickly.
?> Do you believe that Turkish people want democracy in real meaning?
-> Yes, I do but things wonít change much without changing the system. A responsible for every big crime can always be found, but our general situation is just the same. The system clears its name by this way. Like chess: Sacrifice the pawns to save the queen.
?> As musicians can you mention these things directly?
-> Our lyrics are in English and donít include direct referrings but our friends know what we want to tell. We know, if we are in shit, we know itís shit. Nobody can make us believe that itís chocolate pudding. In this view we are rebel but our music is not agitative. Our disorder takes shape within our passions. What we want to tell people is live yourself, be free, be yourself!
?> Isnít it the thing that some fractions donít want?
-> We donít say it directly, we use symbols. You canít find the words ďIndianĒ or ďKurdishĒ in our songs. Windmills symbolise labour and struggle, gulls are the symbols of freedom.
?> So, we can say that some of the young people in Turkey are aware of problems and show their reactions?
-> Yeah. Turkey is full of problems but it doesnít mean that we wonít love it. We want things to be better. We can take part in it but we canít handle it on our own. This may seem to be a personal kind of disorder but if you want to change things you must begin with yourself.
?> Does the prejudice in Turkish society exist in Turkish heavy metal scene? For example against Kurdish people?
-> I will remind you Rob Halfordís words: ďHeavy metal is life.Ē As in life, there are racist and fascist people in heavy metal scene but we are here, too. There may be some bands to tell that their hate will win. We are against them and if we have to mention in words: ďOur love will winĒ we say Our passions will win. Our friends know and feel these.
?> There is no racism in rock music because music unites people without any borders. Can this be your message?
-> With no doubt. We donít ignore reality but we know that we canít live without hopes and dreams. Rock music isnít an utopia for us.
?> Your female violinist as a dominant part of your music is a sign of your disagreement against oppression of women in your society. My impression about your latest show (4th Ankara Rock Station Festival) is that your female fans Ė it is certain that they have a high population Ė get this message before everyone.
-> Yeah, you are right. Our female fans become identical with our violinist. ďWhat? A woman in a metal band? And not recessive!Ē We show that it is almost possible. Woman or man, itís no matter, everyone who really wants can reach the target. Believing yourself, working hard and being brave is enough for this. We aim to mention this. If we can be better than today tomorrow, we will win and motivate the others.